Author Topic: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?  (Read 211159 times)

Offline ednbarby

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #50 on: April 21, 2006, 05:14:27 pm »
Good point, JLP.  And BBM_Grandma.  I think you're both right.  Especially in re-reading your first post, B_G, and in remembering in the short story that right after that, as you pointed out, Ennis started seeing Jack in his dreams.

Once again, though, the genius of this movie (and short story and screenplay) is that it never beats you over the head with what everything is supposed to mean or how you're supposed to feel about any of it.  It lets each of us take away from it what we need to take away from it.  They have all given us the credit for having a mind and heart enough of our own to be able to do that.

Nice to see you here, JLP, by the way.   :)
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Offline Rayn

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #51 on: April 22, 2006, 05:43:28 am »

I have to think of something good coming out of his (Ennis') life, or I'd just be wrecked for the rest of my days for him.

ME TOO!  Me too, ednbarby...   I wouldn't be wrecked for the rest of my days, but I don't want to go even one more day thinking there's no hope for him.  That alone would be too much, so I don't.

What a wonderful imagination you have.


Sincerely,
Rayn

Offline serious crayons

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #52 on: April 22, 2006, 09:46:35 am »
Another way of feeling better about Ennis is by concentrating on how much happiness he experienced while Jack was still alive.  True, not as much happiness as he might have, if he'd overcome his fears.

But having a love that wonderful for 20 years, even if he only saw his lover occasionally, is more than many of us ever have.


Offline ednbarby

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #53 on: April 22, 2006, 04:39:03 pm »
Another way of feeling better about Ennis is by concentrating on how much happiness he experienced while Jack was still alive.  True, not as much happiness as he might have, if he'd overcome his fears.

But having a love that wonderful for 20 years, even if he only saw his lover occasionally, is more than many of us ever have.

That's true, latjoreme.  It truly is better to have loved and lost...  Just to think of what a miserable existence all of his days would have been without Jack...  That's an almost unbearable thought, too.
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TJ

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #54 on: April 29, 2006, 09:03:53 pm »
It is interesting what people are trying to guess the meaning of "Jack, I swear--" from their viewing of the movie; but, they never checked the words in Annie Proulx's short story. The part about buying the postcard is not in the movie either.

Quote
A few weeks later on the Saturday he threw all Stoutamire's dirty horse blankets into the back of his pickup and took them down to the Quik Stop Car Wash to turn the high-pressure spray on them. When the wet clean blankets were stowed in the truck bed he stepped into Higgins's gift shop and busied himself with the postcard rack.
   "Ennis, what are you lookin for rootin through them postcards?" said Linda Higgins, throwing a sopping brown coffee filter into the garbage can.    "Scene a Brokeback Mountain."
   "Over in Fremont County?"
   "No, north a here."
   "I didn't order none a them. Let me get the order list. They got it I can get you a hunderd. I got a order some more cards anyway."
"One's enough," said Ennis.    When it came -- thirty cents -- he pinned it up in his trailer, brass-headed tack in each corner. Below it he drove a nail and on the nail he hung the wire hanger and the two old shirts suspended from it. He stepped back and looked at the ensemble through a few stinging tears.

   "Jack, I swear -- " he said, though Jack had never asked him to swear anything and was himself not the swearing kind.


What Ennis did not finish aloud was thought in words. Ennis swore an oath to, somewhat like one does in a courtroom or when taking public office, promising that he would never stop loving him.

In the cowboy, country, Native American and Jesus' way, when a man made an oath promise, he kept it no matter what. And he could swear something without the other person having to do anything.

Some people have confused cursing or using strong "adult" language, aka cussin', with swearing. They have even confused the commandment "Do not take the LORD's name in vain," with saying "Jesus" as a cuss word. But, "Jesus" was the name of a lot of people in the 1st Century AD. Actually, the name in Hebrew was "Joshua."

But, taking the LORD's name in vain had to do with making a promise and using the name of YHWH (the real name of the God of the Israelites/Jews/Hebrews as one's witness and then not keeping the promise.

Jesus amended that commandment and said "Don't swear by anything, in heaven or on the earth; let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no' be 'no'."

We have politicans who put a hand on the Bible at the swearing-in ceremonies when taking the oath of office. And, what are they swearing on and by? God in heaven and a Bible on earth. When a politician does not do his best to keep his promises to his constituents when he actually has the wherewithall to do so, he has taken God's name in vain.

Offline Aussie Chris

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #55 on: April 29, 2006, 10:39:56 pm »
It is interesting what people are trying to guess the meaning of "Jack, I swear--" from their viewing of the movie; but, they never checked the words in Annie Proulx's short story. The part about buying the postcard is not in the movie either.

TJ, I think you might find that some people will feel strongly in opposition to your post here.  That "I swear" being some kind of pledge is not in question.  What he is pledging is.  And your assessment that it is about never stopping loving Jack is an interpretation, not a truism.  The insights you gain from reading the short-story only adds to your interpretation, since A.P. never says that he is talking about love.  You do seem very involved with Brokeback Mountain, having at least seen the film and read the short-story, so I respect that you have an opinion that is worth listening to.  However most of the people on this site fit into that category, and some could star in a remake without having to learn a single line or choreograph a sequence.  Whether you agree with all of them, perhaps you might still learn something that you missed?  I know I do, on a daily basis.

Also, I am concerned that you are making such a strong emphasis on religion here.  Humbly I assert that this is off topic for a general conversation about the film.  There is a topic that has already been raised on the topic of religion (http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?topic=883.0), and it may be better to discuss such ideas there.  I'll be happy to check back there from time to time to see if you have.
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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #56 on: April 29, 2006, 11:32:46 pm »
It is interesting what people are trying to guess the meaning of "Jack, I swear--" from their viewing of the movie; but, they never checked the words in Annie Proulx's short story. The part about buying the postcard is not in the movie either.

TJ, I think you might find that some people will feel strongly in opposition to your post here.  That "I swear" being some kind of pledge is not in question.  What he is pledging is.  And your assessment that it is about never stopping loving Jack is an interpretation, not a truism.  The insights you gain from reading the short-story only adds to your interpretation, since A.P. never says that he is talking about love.  You do seem very involved with Brokeback Mountain, having at least seen the film and read the short-story, so I respect that you have an opinion that is worth listening to.  However most of the people on this site fit into that category, and some could star in a remake without having to learn a single line or choreograph a sequence.  Whether you agree with all of them, perhaps you might still learn something that you missed?  I know I do, on a daily basis.

Also, I am concerned that you are making such a strong emphasis on religion here.  Humbly I assert that this is off topic for a general conversation about the film.  There is a topic that has already been raised on the topic of religion (http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?topic=883.0), and it may be better to discuss such ideas there.  I'll be happy to check back there from time to time to see if you have.


I don't want to start an international "war" here to speak; but, we in the USA who have lived in parts of the country where people who have similar backgrounds to Jack and/or Ennis look at things differently than those who have never lived in the area between west of the Mississippi River and Eastern side of the Western Continental Divide which is mostly in the Rocky Mountains. Annie Proulx does use expressions that I am quite familiar with because I have heard people use them in their everyday speech.

I notice that a lot of folks in the religion discussions could not even correctly spell "Pentecost." The word, which means "fifty," is only used once in the Annie Proulx story. I have found that many people have rejected the teachings of Jesus the Christ without ever reading what they are when they reject the organized religion of "Christian Orthodoxy," aka "Orthodox Christianity," which did not begin in 30 AD/ACE, but in 325 AD. "Christianity" became an organized religion when the the Emperor Constantine decide to call the first of the Seven Church Councils which met at Nicea (in Turkey).

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #57 on: April 30, 2006, 12:22:17 am »
Another way of feeling better about Ennis is by concentrating on how much happiness he experienced while Jack was still alive.  True, not as much happiness as he might have, if he'd overcome his fears.

But having a love that wonderful for 20 years, even if he only saw his lover occasionally, is more than many of us ever have.

Yeehaw latjoreme!  Seriously, I couldn't agree more.  Upon my very first viewing ever my reaction to the whole situation (all the obstacles and sadness aside) was "wow, they were reallly, really lucky."  I absolutely think that what they had was extremely special and those memories can help Ennis get by as the years go on (as Proulx suggests).  We all tend to focus on the missed opportunities, the time lost, etc. but what they did have was quite a lot.

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Offline serious crayons

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #58 on: April 30, 2006, 01:20:30 am »
Another way of feeling better about Ennis is by concentrating on how much happiness he experienced while Jack was still alive.  True, not as much happiness as he might have, if he'd overcome his fears.

But having a love that wonderful for 20 years, even if he only saw his lover occasionally, is more than many of us ever have.

Yeehaw latjoreme!  Seriously, I couldn't agree more.  Upon my very first viewing ever my reaction to the whole situation (all the obstacles and sadness aside) was "wow, they were reallly, really lucky."  I absolutely think that what they had was extremely special and those memories can help Ennis get by as the years go on (as Proulx suggests).  We all tend to focus on the missed opportunities, the time lost, etc. but what they did have was quite a lot.

Hey Amanda, I've come to believe that one of the reasons I generally agree with everything you write is that you seem to share my tendency to view this movie in a fairly positive light, to focus on the romantic and cute somewhat more than the frustrating and tragic, as much as we might also acknowlege the unhappy aspects. I'm not particularly Pollyannaish by nature -- if anything, the opposite -- but the movie's ambiguity affords a lot of leeway, and plenty of support for an interpretation that's, yes, achingly sad, but also thrilling and touching and to some extent upbeat (though this probably explains why both of us share the inclination to skip the last half). Anyway, I'm glad you're around and supplying so many thoughtful posts that usually happen to reflect my worldview. Er, my Brokebackview.


Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #59 on: April 30, 2006, 11:20:16 pm »
Heya,
Yes, I think that despite all the sad things that happen in the movie, the positive things tend to out weigh them.  The intense love between Jack and Ennis was a great thing regardless of all their difficulties.  The happiness that they did share out weighs all the sadness. And, there are good reasons to be optimistic for Ennis at the end. 

I think the tragedy in the film is an integral part of the romance.  Most great romances are tragedies.  One only needs to think of Romeo and Juliet and countless other classic and mythological figures to see this.  So, our boys are "moonlight-crossed lovers" as opposed to Shakespeares's "star-crossed lovers."  The great old Classical allusions thread was excellent at explaining the connections between Jack and Ennis and classical lovers... especially Aeneas and Dido.

I'm quoting CaseyCornelius here from the original old imdb thread.

"Ennis's final words of "Jack, I swear" echo those of Aeneas when confronted with the 'shade' or ghost of his beloved Dido who committed suicide after he abandoned her. Aeneas says to Dido's ghost, "I swear by every oath that hell can muster, I swear I left you against my will. The law of God--the law that sends me now through darkness, bramble, rot and profound night--unyielding drove me; nor could I have dreamed that in my leaving I would hurt you so".
the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie