Author Topic: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?  (Read 211023 times)

Offline serious crayons

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #110 on: June 05, 2006, 03:01:24 pm »
Usually I want to shout at Ennis during many scenes of the movie. But when they actually part, at Jack's truck, it's Jack I want to shout at. I have the feeling a little "Ennis" or "Wait a minute", or something along that content from Jack could have made another scenario.

To go back OT for just a second: One thing I really like about that scene, though, is that it makes such a powerful contrast to the reunion scene. They parted SO grimly and awkwardly, didn't see each other for four years ... and then ...!!

If they'd have somehow parted on an affectionate loving note, that passionate reunion kiss wouldn't be as moving and exciting.
 

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #111 on: June 05, 2006, 04:14:56 pm »
Another second OT

Quote
They parted SO grimly and awkwardly

Awkwardly - yes. Grimly? I guess I have a translation problem here. If you mean 'grimly' as tense/stiff, then yes. But if you mean 'grimly' as angry, annoyed or mad - then I don't agree.
Especially Jack seems more anxious and cautious to me than any other thing. "You gonna do this again next summer?"
After Ennis says "See you around, I guess" and Jack's answer "Right", there is a pause, a second or two  before Ennis turns around to leave.
I always have the feeling one of them (Jack) is sooo short of saying something more, but doesn't dare.

Quote
If they'd have somehow parted on an affectionate loving note
...then maybe they wouldn't have parted at all. I read it somewhere on IMDB: Ennis needed to draw himself emotionally away from Jack (this is one reason for the punch) to be able to part from him. This explains his cruel "See you around" too.
And for Jack: I think he would have agreed in a second to spend some more time with Ennis, had Ennis made a suggestion on this note.  (But there's no way Ennis would have done that.)

Offline serious crayons

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #112 on: June 05, 2006, 04:31:31 pm »
Awkwardly - yes. Grimly? I guess I have a translation problem here. If you mean 'grimly' as tense/stiff, then yes. But if you mean 'grimly' as angry, annoyed or mad - then I don't agree.
Especially Jack seems more anxious and cautious to me than any other thing. "You gonna do this again next summer?"
After Ennis says "See you around, I guess" and Jack's answer "Right", there is a pause, a second or two  before Ennis turns around to leave.
I always have the feeling one of them (Jack) is sooo short of saying something more, but doesn't dare.

I meant grimly in the first sense, mainly. But I also think there's a spectre of the angry sense. Not that either of them actually feels anger at this point -- they're both dying to stay together longer or at the very least to express their real feelings. But I think the shadow of the earlier fight and punch is still hanging over them and is part of why they can't say anything, or at least part of why Ennis can't say anything (he feels guilty). It's not like they never had expressed affection before. If they'd gotten the orders to break camp right after the "happy tussle" or the dozy embrace, for instance, things might have gone very differently.

I totally agree that they both long for something more than the "see you around" -- pause -- "right."

moremojo

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #113 on: June 05, 2006, 04:41:16 pm »

I totally agree that they both long for something more than the "see you around" -- pause -- "right."
I just reflected on the fact that the two don't shake hands in goodbye at their parting, which would have been a socially licit form of physical interaction between them down from the mountain, and would have given them a last parting touch. Ennis, for whatever reason, seems to be intentionally distancing himself from Jack in multiple ways in this scene; he is the first to turn and walk away from Jack, for example.

Scott

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #114 on: June 05, 2006, 05:36:50 pm »
Not that either of them actually feels anger at this point -- they're both dying to stay together longer or at the very least to express their real feelings. But I think the shadow of the earlier fight and punch is still hanging over them and is part of why they can't say anything, or at least part of why Ennis can't say anything (he feels guilty).

Thanks for explaining. Now I see your point and agree.

moremojo
Quote
I just reflected on the fact that the two don't shake hands in goodbye at their parting, which would have been a socially licit form of physical interaction between them down from the mountain, and would have given them a last parting touch

At the risk of sounding like someone else  ;) : In the story, they shook hands and hit each other on the shoulder.

A possible explantation for the difference between this scene(s) in the story and movie:
I think this scene was altered in the movie because movie-Ennis was different from story-Ennis.
Movie-Ennis is very sensitive to sensuous things: light, tactile things, scents (we talked about it a few days ago, someone else pointed this out - Amanda?). Ennis can't stand Jack being tender to him after Jack accidentally hit his nose  and being touched in order to be comforted. Ennis breaks totally and literally down when Jack holds him at the lake scene. Ennis can't help himself but kiss Jack passionately when hugging him at the reunion scene (ok, the four years have mattered, too  ;) ).
So a handshake or a hit on each others shoulder may have been too much for movie-Ennis. Either his breakdown would not have taken place in the alley, but right in front of Jack. Or, to avoid that, he would have rebuffed Jack again.

« Last Edit: June 06, 2006, 01:18:38 am by Penthesilea »

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #115 on: June 05, 2006, 06:36:48 pm »
My guess is that Jack really was mad about the punch at the time... I think it confused him.  The punch combined with the callous "I guess I'll see you around, hunh?" line, were probably enough to make even easy-going Jack a little mad.   He was probably getting serious vibes that Ennis wanted desperately to detach and to try to force his way back into conventional expectations.  I'm sure Jack was a bit afraid of being too pushy during the black-truck conversation.  But, you're right, if he'd tried he might have been able to get Ennis's mood to shift.  I think Ennis may have pushed Jack a little too far at this point.  Jack seems sad and expectant during the conversation but, once he's in his truck he seems angry (maybe just slightly angry).  He drives away really fast... especially as he's pulling out of the parking space and around Ennis initially.  I'm sure Ennis sensed Jack's hurt feelings here and worried about the situation for the next 4 years.

By the way, I love how this conversation against Jack's black truck mirrors the argument scene at the end at the lake while they're next to Jack's brown and white truck.  Sad!  It's even more interesting that in this early scene it's Jack that gets in a truck and drives away whereas in the late argument scene by the lake, it's Ennis that we see drive away in a truck.

« Last Edit: June 05, 2006, 06:40:03 pm by atz75 »
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #116 on: June 05, 2006, 10:26:17 pm »
He was probably getting serious vibes that Ennis wanted desperately to detach and to try to force his way back into conventional expectations.

You know, those aren't the vibes I get. I have always felt that Ennis doesn't want to go, but he doesn't know how not to. He wishes he could say something more meaningful, but he doesn't know how to do that, either, and his guilt over the punch makes it all the harder. That's why he kind of lingers there. I sense he's hoping Jack will say something, but Jack is wary of the situation, too. So in the end all that's left is, "See you around, hunh?" "Right." They both know that's a terrible way to leave things, but they feel helpless.

I also love the mirroring of the two scenes, though! And that they both end with Ennis collapsing. Really underscoring the story's line that, over 20 years, nothing has changed.  :'(

Offline nakymaton

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #117 on: June 05, 2006, 11:00:39 pm »
I don't think the movie characters could have touched one another at that good-bye scene. They were like a powder keg, and the slightest touch would have been like a match... though whether the passion would have turned into sex or violence, I don't know. So I don't think the hug and the punching on the shoulders would have been at all believable in the movie.

The way the two scenes are mirrored... it really is a mirror, you know? The conversations beside the truck match each other, and Ennis's collapse mirrors the punch. (Ennis even tries to hit Jack, but he doesn't... either because Ennis isn't fighting himself as hard as he used to, or because Ennis has gotten worn down from too many years of fighting himself, or because Jack knows how Ennis might react and just doesn't let it happen.)
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Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #118 on: June 05, 2006, 11:08:13 pm »
Yup, this scene is really complicated.  This is a great discussion.

For a moment, though, I'd like to turn back to the "I swear" topic.  It occurs to me that there's another "swear" moment in the movie.  It probably has absolutely nothing to do with Ennis's super serious "I swear" at the end.  But, I thought I'd bring it up to see what people can make of it.  In the motel,  Jack says "Swear to god, I didn't know we were going to get into this again."  So, I guess on some level Jack is a swearing kind.
 ::) ;D
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Offline nakymaton

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #119 on: June 05, 2006, 11:16:39 pm »
Sheeeeeeit.  ;) ;)

Actually, I don't think that AP's description of Jack as "not the swearing kind" fits the Jack of the movie at all. I think movie-Jack was quite ready to swear whatever oaths it would take to settle down with Ennis. I'm not as certain of the story-Jack, though. Movie-Jack seems driven to other men by all the long times away from Ennis, but I read story-Jack as actually less faithful. (It's interesting, because I've heard people on other message boards argue that story-Jack never cheated on Ennis with other guys, and that the movie people made Jack look really bad by making the Mexico metaphor real, and creating the Jimbo and Randall characters. We read the story very, very differently from one another!)
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