Author Topic: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?  (Read 241132 times)

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2006, 10:47:05 pm »
" 'Jack I swear...' he said, though Jack had never asked him to swear anything and was himself not the swearing kind."- from the book.

From Proulx's description here, I take it to mean that neither Jack nor Ennis really needed to hear the word "I love you" in order to know that was true.  They could read each other like books as soulmates.  So, maybe he would still have had trouble saying "I love you" to Jack if he magically came back to life.  At least we know he *felt* that by the end.

But,  I'm sure he really, really meant the part about "I swear I'd do it all differently if I had the chance."  I truly believe if he had one more chance (after all he's learned) that he would try to live with Jack and make a serious commitment to him.  I still feel like that idea is at the heart of the little "ceremony" of "swearing" and caressing his little shrine to Jack (tidying it up by buttoning the shirt... straightening the postcard).  I feel like as much as he'll be consumed by his memories of Jack he'll be consumed by regret (and I'm sure he'd dearly love to be able to un-do that).

On one hand, the love and the time Jack and Ennis DID have together make them extraordinarily lucky.  And, Ennis remains lucky having had such an exciting, deep and passionate love in his life.  Lots of people never experience that kind of romance.  I'm sure the memories that he does have of Jack will comfort him.

On the other hand...
His earlier statement (and the very last line of the book)- "If you can't fix it you've got to stand it."  Is really like a life sentence at this point.  He really can't fix it and he will have to live with the weight of his regret.  All those years of living apart were meant (I think in Ennis's head for sure) to be a form of protection, and now he realizes how badly he miscalculated and how much time he lost with Jack as a result.
 :'(
the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #31 on: April 13, 2006, 10:21:50 am »
"If you can't fix it you've got to stand it."  Is really like a life sentence at this point.  He really can't fix it and he will have to live with the weight of his regret.

Another good point, Amanda! And yet another instance of the resonance of that line (another one being when he breaks down at the lake and says "I can't stand it no more, Jack.") It's amazing how many lines in the movie are echo edlater, either explictly or implicity. As when someone -- and I'm so sorry I can never remember names to credit! -- mentioned that "I think my dad was right," in reference to rodeo f'ups, also summarized Ennis' feelings toward his dad's view of homosexuals.

Offline Rayn

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #32 on: April 13, 2006, 11:08:04 am »
"I think that his "Jack, I swear" nebulously represents the huge jumble of feelings -- love, grief, regret, affection, sorrow, loneliness, devotion, despair, etc. -- that constantly threaten to overwhelm him at this point."

latjoreme

Yes, I think this gets at Ennis, how he is inside himself, often nearly overhelmed by emotions that he doesn't always understand and sometimes cannot control and which he often fears giving into. The "jumble of feelings" at the moment of "Jack, I swear..." is a good possible explanation for why he can't complete the sentence.  We all know Ennis loves Jack, more than anyone in his life and will never forget him, but here, in what latjoreme says, is what I think, a real in-sight into Ennis's heart and mind.  All of what everyone has imagined the line means only adds to our understanding, but this is really the heart of the matter, for me anyway.  Thanks, latjoreme!  And thanks to all who are contributing here to what is, though I didn't know it would be, a hot topic! 

Cheers...
Rayn

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2006, 09:53:18 pm »
Very well put Rayn!  latjoreme, that is a really nice way to explain the complexity of the "jumble" of emotions matched up with the incomplete sentence.  Yes, how could he complete the sentence with just one of those words?  The blank at the end of the sentence can be filled with any one of those words you listed.

Also, the "I think my Dad was right" observation is just heartbreaking.  :-\ :'( :(
the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

texman

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #34 on: April 13, 2006, 10:19:47 pm »
These are all good answers to the question posed. Here is my take based on how I interpreted the character of Ennis.

Jack... I swear if only things had been different

I think Ennis finally realizes that his life turned out the way it did due to his own choices in life and not the fact that he simply fell into these situations.  In the "Let Me Be" scene he accuses Jack of being the cause as to why he turned out the way he has. I think now he finally realizes that he is the own root cause of the way his life turned out and there is no changing it now. After watching this scene again, I get another impression that Ennis really is blaming Jack for starting the relationship in the first place and if it hadn't been for Jack, they wouldn't have seen each other ever again and none of these problems would have occured.

Jack...I swear if only you were still here

I think that while he is buttoning the shirt he is thinking about the memories of the times that he and Jack had and reflecting on those moments and realizing the emotional desolation of the future.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2006, 03:04:15 am by texman »

Offline Jack_ME

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #35 on: April 14, 2006, 11:18:57 am »



"Jack, I swear...........(I loved you too)"


Finding the shirts Jack kept 20 years, taking possesion of the shirts, enshrining the shirts, moving Jack's shirt inside his own on the hanger to show that Jack is inside his heart and soul, touching the shirts.....touching the postcard image of Brokeback Mountain.....and through all that process having realized the great depth of Jack's love for him during all those 20 years is prelude to his spoken and unspoken words:

"Jack, I swear...........(I loved you too...............just as you loved me)"

Jack in Maine



Offline Jack_ME

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #36 on: April 14, 2006, 11:42:00 am »
snip
You could also argue that it was more about the sadness or lonliness:

snip
And then there's a slightly abstracted sense (regarding Alma Jr):

Jack, I swear...  As long as he (Kurt) loves her, then it's ok

snip



AussieChris:

A bit along the lines of these two statements, a good friend of mine with whom I saw the film, said immediately afterwards, that Ennis has, in audibly swearing to Jack, internally decided to "join life again" and to be happy.....by going to his daughter's wedding to start, and will take happiness in an active involvement with his daughter's lives.

I got the sense of what my friend was saying...and it gave me a teeny teeny sliver of emotional hope......although I felt that idea was just a bit too optimistic.

It could be though, if one wants to believe that Ennis (who was also only age 40) could go on to find happiness and peace in his life wherever he could and to live in some bittersweet happiness cherishing  the memory of his friend and lover of 20 years.

The story and their relationship is tragic and it's sad, becasue Jack is killed/died, and because the two never had the full day-in day-out partnership that Jack wanted, but even fully realized relationships with mutually loving partners eventually do suffer the loss of one partner thruogh death, and these loving partners do go on with their lives, keeping their memories, loving their loved ones, but living in their own present and having more morments of peace and happiness with others, and more moments of love. Some partners marry again, with no slur on the deceased, others never again marry, simply accepting that they have had their great love partnership in life and take pleasure in other aspects of life.

So, as I say, my friend's view on Ennis's last scenes and words, does offer a sliver of emotional hope for a future NOT filled only with sadness, regret, and loneliness for Ennis.

I have my own take on that final scene as expressed above in a separate post, but this view of my friend's as I understood his meaning is also possible.

Jack in Maine



Offline Aussie Chris

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #37 on: April 14, 2006, 06:58:01 pm »
I have my own take on that final scene as expressed above in a separate post, but this view of my friend's as I understood his meaning is also possible.

That's right Jack, and as far as I'm concerned they're all 100% correct.  Just like rayn has put (much better than I did) in his "jumble of feelings" description.  The hope, dispair, love, and even resentment are all emcompassed in that one moment and unfinished sentence.  Like you're friend's "join life again" point, everyone's take on it builds on my understanding like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  I don't see any of these interpretations as mutually exclusive, they're all correct. :)
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Offline Rayn

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #38 on: April 15, 2006, 12:16:49 pm »
So, as I say, my friend's view on Ennis's last scenes and words, does offer a sliver of emotional hope for a future NOT filled only with sadness, regret, and loneliness for Ennis.
Jack in Maine [/color]


Oh, yes, Jack and Chris... There is hope for Ennis.  I don't know about other people, but I for one see that the strength of Jack's love for Ennis and Ennis' final realization of the depth of his own love for Jack has, like nothing else in life could, "saved" Ennis. 

He is able to see what is truly important ... the loved ones around him are; his daughter, for starters is,  because Ennis will start over, has no choice but to start over, but with the knowledge of what love really is and how important it is not to stifle it in life.   His first step toward a new beginning is his decision to attend "Junior's" wedding.   

I don't think anything else could have "saved" Ennis but the real love that the two men continued to share all those years.  Although Jack never had what he wanted exactly, he still had as much of Ennis as Ennis could give and, in the end, what Jack gave Ennis was a true gift.  I hate that Jack died; I wish he could've convinced Ennis to move beyond his fear and doubt and live with him, but that's not what happened and once Jack died, the chances for that died too, but it's only in death and loss that hope for Ennis is born.  He is finally able to move past his fear, meet Jack's folks, move beyond his doubt and see how genuine Jack's love was. 

"In my end is my beginning." wrote T. S. Eliot in The Four Quartets; the end of Brokeback Mountain is really a beginning because Ennis starts moving toward being more loving. He begins to let others love him more too.   In that, there is great hope.

Peace,
Rayn


« Last Edit: April 15, 2006, 12:33:03 pm by Rayn »

Offline hermitdave

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #39 on: April 15, 2006, 12:35:54 pm »
Thank You Rayn. I have had a lot of difficulty dealing with the ending. Every time I visualize Ennis in the final scene I start to cry. Ive had a hard time with wondering what happened to Ennis. I know he is fictional but in my heart and mind he is very real.
"Whenever Im alone with you, you make me feel like I am whole again. Whenever Im alone with you, you make me feel like I am young again." - The Cure