Author Topic: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?  (Read 211038 times)

Offline Rayn

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #60 on: May 01, 2006, 01:02:54 am »
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.


Not so, TJ... 
 

If you go back and read the first page of posts, you'll find that I mentioned the book and in fact I quote some of the same lines you do.  Most of us here, as Aussie Chris so politely calls attention to, have read the book and seen the movie several times or more.

We do need to stay ON TOPIC, please. 

I started the topic because when I began it I knew there wasn't really any "right or wrong" answer, but it sure would generate a lot of fun conversation and sharing of interpretations. 

The topic is similar to trying to figure out whether Jack met with a fatal accident or was murdered as Ennis believes.  There is nothing in the story or the movie and no comments from Annie P. to give any direction or conclusioin, but that's part of the brillance of the tale.   

By the way, I read the story in the collection of shorts "Still Wild" edited by Larry McMurtry and then in "Close Range" the collection of Annie's shorts and in hers there's even a whole page that begins the story that wasn't in "Still Wild".   

Her story in "Close Range" begins long after Jack is dead and Ennis is living in the trailer.  It's quite good and reveals more of how Ennis feels long after Jack's death.  Ennis' day is good when he has dreamed of Jack.  The whole thing about Jack in Ennis' dreams is so beautiful and revealing about Ennis' real love and longing for Jack.  I wonder if that page was in the New Yorker?

Anyway... that's OT too, but I mention it just to indicate how much I have looked at both the movie and the book too.  So, let's get back to the topic and let other people write in with what they think and feel.  I think that's what we're all here for.. least I am.

Peace,
Rayn

Offline serious crayons

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #61 on: May 01, 2006, 01:39:57 am »
I think the tragedy in the film is an integral part of the romance.  Most great romances are tragedies.

Yes, I think tragedy is almost a prerequisite.

I like light romantic comedies. They can even be fairly romantic! But true unforgettable classic romances almost seem to require tragedy (yes, I'm sure there are exceptions).

And while we're on the subject, something I've always found fascinating about Brokeback is -- setting aside all the fascinating metaphors and layers of meaning and phenomenal acting and beautiful cinematography and everything else -- why does it work so well as a romance? Why do I find it roughly a million times more romantic than any romance I can ever remember seeing?

I can think of a few reasons. No single factor fully explains it but, put together, perhaps they do. Maybe I'll start a thread on it and see what others have to say.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #62 on: May 01, 2006, 11:20:13 am »
Her story in "Close Range" begins long after Jack is dead and Ennis is living in the trailer.  It's quite good and reveals more of how Ennis feels long after Jack's death.  Ennis' day is good when he has dreamed of Jack.  The whole thing about Jack in Ennis' dreams is so beautiful and revealing about Ennis' real love and longing for Jack.  I wonder if that page was in the New Yorker?

Heya Rayn,
I just quoted that beginning paragraph of the Close Range story at length in my new "Jack and the Wind" thread.  I love that opening to the story.  A beautiful piece of writing.
the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

TJ

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #63 on: May 03, 2006, 12:59:27 pm »
Repeating the original post under this subject thread.

The line is cryptic and open to interpretation.  I thought he meant, "Jack, I declare, life is tough and strange."  But then he touches the postcard of the mountain and I thought maybe he meant, "Jack, I swear I'll get you (Jack's ashes) up there like you wanted."  I realize there may be no way to know exactly what he meant, but I'm very interested in hearing what others think about it.

Thanks,
Rayn

The screenplay writers and the movie people created more unanswered questions to the "on-purpose unanswered questions" which Annie Proulx wrote in her original short story.

Sometimes I forget that since late November 2005, I have been involved in quite a few Yahoo Discussion Groups about the Brokeback Mountain Movie and various internet discussion forums like this "BetterMost" one about the movie.

I have been a member of only one discussion where the emphasis was on the published-in-a-book version . . . and that was because I created the Yahoo Group BEFORE I even saw the movie. The official date of creation of that group is Dec 16, 2005, which was after I read the complete 1997 copyrighted by Dead Line, Ltd. version of the story.

Here is what I have in computerized text form of where (and why) Ennis said, "Jack, I swear---:"

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.


By what Annie Proulx wrote, those of us who know about friends swearing an oath (or promise) to each other, Ennis's swearing was a promise of some type which he swore to Jack. Since Ennis had said in the motel room, "no reins on this one," I would say that neither of the guys had sworn any kind of allegiance to each other when they were together. But, then Ennis swore an oath of some type related to his memory of Jack Twist. I say that it was a one-sided oath promised to Jack although he was no longer around. In Biblical period oaths made in covenant agreements, one person could be the only one who made a promise and the other person was only required to accept what was promised. In the Mid-Eastern parts of the world during the Biblical period of time, such covenanted one-sided oaths were actually quite common.

TJ

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #64 on: May 03, 2006, 01:02:17 pm »
I don't have a copy of the "Close Range" short story book; but, I do have the stand-alone version of Brokeback Mountain as published in paperback form in 2005. The story in both books is the same with the two opening paragraphs which were not published in the New Yorker Magazine in 1997.

TJ

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #65 on: May 03, 2006, 01:08:34 pm »
Heya Rayn,
I just quoted that beginning paragraph of the Close Range story at length in my new "Jack and the Wind" thread.  I love that opening to the story.  A beautiful piece of writing.

For the reader of the story with those two beginning italicized paragraphs, those words of Ennis preparing to pack and moving off the Stoutamire Ranch at/in/near Signal, Wyoming, sets the tone for the rest of the story.

It is like the story of Ennis and Jack which begins in Signal at Aguirre's parking lot in May 1963 is a flashback.

We don't even know whom Jack Twist is until that scene in the book nor do we know what his relationship was with Ennis.

Offline Mary Twist

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"Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #66 on: May 03, 2006, 05:22:03 pm »
Oh, my, I had such a long trip here from Wyoming and through Internet Movie Database system.  It's awful what happened there.  A disgrace it is.  Yet I am here now, thank God.

I know what my Ennis meant by "I swear, Jack".  He always loved him, stiil does and always will.  Ennis will be visiting me soon for Mother's Day weekend.

I love Ennis so much.

Mrs. Twist
« Last Edit: May 05, 2006, 05:05:06 pm by Mary Twist »
You come back and see us soon.  We'll have fresh hot coffee and homemade cherry cake!

Offline starboardlight

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #67 on: May 03, 2006, 07:38:09 pm »
Oh, my, I had such a long trip here from Wyoming and through Iinternet Movie Database system.  It's awful what happened there.  A disgrace it is.  Yet I am here now, thank God.

I know what my Ennis meant by "I swear, Jack".  He always love him, stiil does and always will.  Ennis will be visiting me soon for Mother's Day weekend.

I love Ennis so much.

Mrs. Twist

ha ha. welcome, pull up a chair, and make yourself at home. help yourself to the coffee, but don't ask for the cherry cake. ours only has one cherry in it, so it's best to avoid that awkwardness.
"To do is to be." Socrates. - "To be is to do." Plato. - "Do be do be do" Sinatra.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #68 on: May 03, 2006, 08:10:41 pm »
Welcome Mary, nice to see you here!  I remember you from the old boards.  :)
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Offline Rayn

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #69 on: May 04, 2006, 12:40:42 am »
I know what my Ennis meant by "I swear, Jack".  He always love him, stiil does and always will.  Ennis will be visiting me soon for Mother's Day weekend.


Readin' over TJ and Mary Twist's posts the thought just occurred to me that, of course what Ennis says has everything to do with love, but perhaps it's even a wider and more inclusive statement. 

In the movie, Ennis has just told his daughter he'll attend her wedding.  Ennis knows, now, how deeply Jack loved him and perhaps he has realized that he hasn't been too skilled at loving anyone.  It's not Ennis' fault. It's just how he is... for many reasons, but since he now knows, sees his lack of skill, he swears to Jack that he always loved him and will improve on it: "Jack, I swear, I always loved you and I'm gonna git better at lovin' others too...."  We can't really know, but it's a wonderful way to imagine it and I arrived at it because of my interaction with all you good friends here.
 
I know the part where Alma Jr. visits the trailer to announce her wedding isn't in the book which again shows how very different the movie is, but that first page intro in the book does mention "he might have to stay with his married daughter".  I bet that's where the idea for the wedding announcement came for the movie!

Thanks,
Rayn