Author Topic: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?  (Read 241131 times)

TJ

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #70 on: May 04, 2006, 01:15:39 am »
Ennis's getting the postcard and putting up the postcard above the shirts on the wall of his trailer and his oath of "Jack, I swear--" was the beginning of Ennis working through his own handling of grief and bereavement due to the loss of his apparently first best friend who was also loved Ennis with no changes in whom he was.

In the short story as Diana Ossana first read it and had Larry McMurtry read in the New Yorker Magazine, there was nothing about a married daughter at all. But, I don't have a problem with Alma Jr. going to her father to tell him that she was going to get married and Ennis asking, "Does Kurt love you?" In the movie, she did not have to drive so many miles to the rural trailer park somewhere near Riverton; but, in the book, Ennis's trailer was not even in the same county and it was on the Stoutamire ranch. I actually had a little tear when Ennis asked that question in the movie.

We are sorta OT here; but, I have known many guys who were born to be great fathers, yet they failed miserably as husbands or should not have been married in the first place. My late partner/husband, Ed, had been married 13 years to a woman whom he loved as a friend and she already had a son and a daughter. His step-daughter, Linda, was 17 when she herself got married just before Ed divorced Jessie. Linda told me that Ed was the only father she ever knew and he could not have been a better father.

Offline Aussie Chris

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #71 on: May 04, 2006, 10:32:04 am »
In the short story as Diana Ossana first read it and had Larry McMurtry read in the New Yorker Magazine, there was nothing about a married daughter at all. But, I don't have a problem with Alma Jr. going to her father to tell him that she was going to get married and Ennis asking, "Does Kurt love you?" In the movie, she did not have to drive so many miles to the rural trailer park somewhere near Riverton; but, in the book, Ennis's trailer was not even in the same county and it was on the Stoutamire ranch. I actually had a little tear when Ennis asked that question in the movie.

Yes TJ, this is one of the most powerful scenes in the film, everyone loves it and with the help of our Amanda (atz75) and others I appreciate it more each time.  I was listening to a podcast that Phillip posted somewhere that has a really good interview with Ang Lee about the writing of that additional scene.  He felt it was necessary to really establish Ennis' redemption.  I think Ang was saying that he took it (or the idea I can't remember) to Larry McMurtry and he immediately loved it.  I think they were so right to have it, I don't think I would have been so moved otherwise.
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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #72 on: May 04, 2006, 12:28:07 pm »
And we've discussed this before, but a little repetition never hurts: the most moving part for me is not so much the question as Ennis' expression right afterward, when he gazes out the window.

I only started noticing the complexity of that amazing moment toward the end of my theater viewings, so when I finally get my DVD those are some frames I will especially concentrate on.


TJ

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #73 on: May 04, 2006, 05:40:32 pm »
I have noticed, in real time, that some men of few words do look to the side to pause to think before they say something very important. Because that looking to the side as though out the window was done in the movie, it added to the question about Junior's boy friend. And, that's why it affected my own response.

Offline chris_chicago

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #74 on: May 05, 2006, 02:21:59 am »
"Jack, I swear......I did love you"
(<>..<>)

Offline Mary Twist

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #75 on: May 05, 2006, 05:13:59 pm »
Thank you very much Mr. Light.  You know.... some folks thought that I was, well... umm, "deceased".  Oh, no.  I do not know why.  I did not assume that they were dead.  I'll come back and see you again.

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.
You come back and see us soon.  We'll have fresh hot coffee and homemade cherry cake!

jopo

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #76 on: May 08, 2006, 02:15:08 pm »
I kinda thought "Jack, I swear..." was Ennis with his totally wounded heart affectionately scolding Jack because of what Ennis thought Jack's risky sex with others led to.  Of course it could have meant any of the things others here thought it might have meant as well.

 :'(

Offline ednbarby

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #77 on: May 08, 2006, 02:38:33 pm »
I kinda thought "Jack, I swear..." was Ennis with his totally wounded heart affectionately scolding Jack because of what Ennis thought Jack's risky sex with others led to.  Of course it could have meant any of the things others here thought it might have meant as well.

 :'(

That's a thought-provoking take, jopo.  Never thought of it that way, but it's certainly a possibility.  I do sort of go against the majority on this and think of it as if he's saying something to the effect of "I swear... I don't know how the hell I'm gonna survive without you."  Because shortly after in the short story comes that bit about the space between what he knew and what he wanted to believe was true and the final line of "If you can't fix it" (in this case, Jack's death), "you've gotta stand it."
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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #78 on: May 08, 2006, 02:52:49 pm »
Also in the short story -- and I don't have it in front of me so I'm paraphrasing -- it talks about how Ennis says, "Jack, I swear" even though Jack himself was never much for swearing. I've always interpreted that as meaning that he is saying "Jack, I love you" (or something similar) even though Jack was never much for verbal endearments, himself.

TJ

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #79 on: May 08, 2006, 06:19:32 pm »
Quote
"Jack, I swear -- " he said, though Jack had never asked him to swear anything and was himself not the swearing kind.

Ennis was not the person who would make a promise to anybody, by swearing an oath, to do something. And, as Annie Proulx wrote, Jack never asked him to swear a promise either.

Even when Ennis set up their get-to-gethers, all of them were just tentative dates. 

I just say that Ennis (although he did not finish his sentence aloud) swore a promise to Jack when He hung the on-a-hanger shirts on a nail under the postcard as soon as he put up the postcard. (Although, in the movie, the shirts and the postcard had been hanging INSIDE the trailer closet on the BACK of the closet door for some time.) I like the book version better.

When politicians take their oath of office, they are sworn in. They do say, "I swear---," making a promise to the government and the state or federal Constitution.