Author Topic: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?  (Read 211164 times)

Offline serious crayons

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #180 on: February 20, 2007, 12:45:33 pm »
If this is true, Jack is being disingenuous and lying again; being manipulative. He is not being direct and honest with the man he purports to be in love with for 20 years. Poor Jack had felt the need to lie several times and as such I think his character evolves in stark contrast to the goodness, purity, and honesty of Ennis.

That's a little hard on Jack, IMO. I don't blame Jack for trying to draw Ennis out about his sexuality. He wasn't planning to use the information against him -- Jack has good reason to be interested and deserves to know how Ennis feels. Ennis, meanwhile, has not been exactly forthcoming with Jack on this subject. When he describes Cassie, we can hear in his voice that he's unexcited about her, but he doesn't openly say that to Jack, he pretends to be interested in her, when even his dating her is a form of dishonesty.

As for Jack lying, he usually does it in ways that show him caring for Ennis -- for example, when he doesn't mention Aguirre knowing about them, or doesn't mention having taken the shirt.

Don't get me wrong, I think Jack makes some mistakes and Ennis does the best he can. I'm usually the one defending Ennis against harsh judgment. But I don't blame Jack in this case, nor see a stark contrast between them in terms of honesty or integrity.

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #181 on: February 20, 2007, 02:16:50 pm »
Therefore he will continue to repeat this uncomplete "swearing" for as long as he draws breath.
This is one of the most interesting elucidations of the story's close I have encountered. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #182 on: February 20, 2007, 09:23:29 pm »
That's a little hard on Jack, IMO. I don't blame Jack for trying to draw Ennis out about his sexuality. He wasn't planning to use the information against him -- Jack has good reason to be interested and deserves to know how Ennis feels. Ennis, meanwhile, has not been exactly forthcoming with Jack on this subject. When he describes Cassie, we can hear in his voice that he's unexcited about her, but he doesn't openly say that to Jack, he pretends to be interested in her, when even his dating her is a form of dishonesty.

As for Jack lying, he usually does it in ways that show him caring for Ennis -- for example, when he doesn't mention Aguirre knowing about them, or doesn't mention having taken the shirt.

Don't get me wrong, I think Jack makes some mistakes and Ennis does the best he can. I'm usually the one defending Ennis against harsh judgment. But I don't blame Jack in this case, nor see a stark contrast between them in terms of honesty or integrity.



Yes, I guess that was just a little hard on Jack, but each time I screen the film, Jack becomes more a pathetic figure in that he overtly exemplifies the person who cannot accept and fully enjoy what he has, rather he spends much energy on what he has not. Clearly Ennis knows that Jack is tempermental; rubbing his thumb on the truck chrome in nervous anticipation of telling Jack about his need to cancel August plans. Ennis does his very best to be fair, compassionate, understanding, caring for jack, yet Jack sees the glass always half full. "there's never enough time..." that is a complaint that sadly diminishes all the goodness they had for 20 years.

In Jack's frustration, albeit in my opinion a frustration that is shamelessly mishad, he does seem to need to covertly play a cat and mouse game with sweet Ennis that, after 20 years, seems ever so immature.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #183 on: February 20, 2007, 11:36:31 pm »
In Jack's frustration, albeit in my opinion a frustration that is shamelessly mishad, he does seem to need to covertly play a cat and mouse game with sweet Ennis that, after 20 years, seems ever so immature.

Your sympathy for Ennis is certainly a refreshing and welcome view!  :D

Offline sock

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #184 on: February 28, 2007, 12:53:26 pm »
Funny, people interpret these words all over the place, which is fine. However, from the book and film I always felt that the words "Jack, I swear...." are words of regret, that Ennis would have done things differently. I think it is that simple. He feels his loss every day and it's never going to leave him and if he had another chance, things would have been different.

BTW, Heath nailed that scene.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #185 on: February 28, 2007, 02:28:54 pm »
Funny, people interpret these words all over the place, which is fine. However, from the book and film I always felt that the words "Jack, I swear...." are words of regret, that Ennis would have done things differently. I think it is that simple. He feels his loss every day and it's never going to leave him and if he had another chance, things would have been different.

BTW, Heath nailed that scene.

Well put, sock. And congratulations on your first post! Welcome to BetterMost -- it's nice to have a new voice contributing to these conversations.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #186 on: March 01, 2007, 01:11:59 am »
That's a little hard on Jack, IMO. I don't blame Jack for trying to draw Ennis out about his sexuality. He wasn't planning to use the information against him -- Jack has good reason to be interested and deserves to know how Ennis feels. Ennis, meanwhile, has not been exactly forthcoming with Jack on this subject. When he describes Cassie, we can hear in his voice that he's unexcited about her, but he doesn't openly say that to Jack, he pretends to be interested in her, when even his dating her is a form of dishonesty.

As for Jack lying, he usually does it in ways that show him caring for Ennis -- for example, when he doesn't mention Aguirre knowing about them, or doesn't mention having taken the shirt.

Don't get me wrong, I think Jack makes some mistakes and Ennis does the best he can. I'm usually the one defending Ennis against harsh judgment. But I don't blame Jack in this case, nor see a stark contrast between them in terms of honesty or integrity.

Heya,

I'm just popping in here to say I think this was really nicely said, Friend!  :D  I think you're right that both boys make mistakes and both try hard to manage their situation as best they can under very strained circumstances.  Neither one is perfect, and that's part of the realism of the film.  I think that the issue of "blame" directed towards either Jack or Ennis has led to some of the most heated (and often interesting) debates around here.  I think it's all always a balancing act between them.  And sometimes the "bad" behavior on the part of one of the boys is actually in reaction to the "bad" behavior of the other (and I think we could all find examples for both Jack and Ennis pretty easily).  At this late stage of their relationship being discussed here... there are so many compounded strains on their relationship that the issue of "blame" one way or the other is in no way clear cut.  Years and years of hiding... years and years of both of them deceiving the women in their lives... white lies that both of them have told each other... frustration at not having enough time together and at not allowing the relationship to grow beyond the singular environment of isolated camping trips... etc.  All of these factors (and many more) have led both Jack and Ennis to make poor decisions at various times.  Katherine, you know I think you're right when you note that sometimes Jack was very carefully deciding what he would or wouldn't tell Ennis out of a desire to both protect Ennis and to protect their relationship.

In terms of the idea of integrity... Ennis's comments about Cassie (and even the disrespectful way he describes sleeping with her) are not exactly all that "honorable," especially since we know she's part of Ennis's plan to appear straight in his daily life, and according to the wierd Brokeback timeline he's probably been dating her for about 4 years by the time he describes her as some "waitress" to Jack.  And, Jack's quite "dishonorable" decision to search out prostitutes and to date other guys can be said to be a reaction to his frustration at not having enough time or permanent time with Ennis.  None of these things are ideal forms of behavior.  But, again, these poor decisions have been forged under very complex pressures... and often due to one of our cowboys generating some kind of pressure that the other responds to.  Everything with Jack and Ennis is a push and pull... the good and the bad stuff.
 :-\
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Offline David In Indy

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #187 on: March 01, 2007, 01:40:42 am »
Sorry if this has already been mentioned (I hate duplicating ideas) but I haven't scrolled back and read all of the posts in this thread. We say "I swear" here in the Midwest all the time. Actually I was very surpirised at all the confusion over this. It's a very familiar term with Midwesterners, and it can mean a whole host of things, depending on the situation.

"I swear I wish I remembered to bring my charge card with me" (Self admonition for forgetting to bring the charge card)

"I swear I can't remember what I had for dinner yesterday" (Reassuring the listener that the speaker, after much thought, honestly cannot remember)

"I swear I didn't do that" (sincere promise)

"I swear if you ever do that again..." (a threat to the listener)

"Jack.... I swear" (In this case, I think Ennis is musing on all the chances he had with Jack and missed out on. Ennis is saying "Jack, I swear if I had the chance to do this all over again, things would turn out different") or {"I can't believe I let this all slip away").

Now, I SWEAR I will go back and read all these posts, and find out this has already been mentioned a dozen times!

Sorry about that folks!  :D
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Offline lachlan

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #188 on: March 01, 2007, 09:49:37 am »
Thanks for that - very valuable and informative. I'm sure Annie Proulx knew that expression and used it accordingly.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #189 on: March 01, 2007, 10:24:02 am »
Heya,

I'm just popping in here to say I think this was really nicely said, Friend!  :D  I think you're right that both boys make mistakes and both try hard to manage their situation as best they can under very strained circumstances.  Neither one is perfect, and that's part of the realism of the film.  I think that the issue of "blame" directed towards either Jack or Ennis has led to some of the most heated (and often interesting) debates around here.  I think it's all always a balancing act between them.  And sometimes the "bad" behavior on the part of one of the boys is actually in reaction to the "bad" behavior of the other (and I think we could all find examples for both Jack and Ennis pretty easily).  At this late stage of their relationship being discussed here... there are so many compounded strains on their relationship that the issue of "blame" one way or the other is in no way clear cut.  Years and years of hiding... years and years of both of them deceiving the women in their lives... white lies that both of them have told each other... frustration at not having enough time together and at not allowing the relationship to grow beyond the singular environment of isolated camping trips... etc.  All of these factors (and many more) have led both Jack and Ennis to make poor decisions at various times.  Katherine, you know I think you're right when you note that sometimes Jack was very carefully deciding what he would or wouldn't tell Ennis out of a desire to both protect Ennis and to protect their relationship.

In terms of the idea of integrity... Ennis's comments about Cassie (and even the disrespectful way he describes sleeping with her) are not exactly all that "honorable," especially since we know she's part of Ennis's plan to appear straight in his daily life, and according to the wierd Brokeback timeline he's probably been dating her for about 4 years by the time he describes her as some "waitress" to Jack.  And, Jack's quite "dishonorable" decision to search out prostitutes and to date other guys can be said to be a reaction to his frustration at not having enough time or permanent time with Ennis.  None of these things are ideal forms of behavior.  But, again, these poor decisions have been forged under very complex pressures... and often due to one of our cowboys generating some kind of pressure that the other responds to.  Everything with Jack and Ennis is a push and pull... the good and the bad stuff.
 :-\

Thanks for that, Amanda. Reading through it, I'm reminded of the comment that I guess goes all the way back to Annie Proulx herself, that these two poor guys find themselves in a really impossible situation. I guess all the lies and deceptions may ultimately be rooted in the impossibility of their situation, and maybe in the end assigning "blame" is fruitless and perhaps even pointless.
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