Author Topic: Interesting observations about the short story  (Read 6999 times)

Offline ednbarby

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Interesting observations about the short story
« on: July 20, 2006, 09:54:19 am »
I recently lent the short story to a good friend at work who is an avid reader and one of the sharpest people I know.  She read it twice and had three, I think, very interesting observations none of which I remember ever discussing here (she also saw the movie twice before she read the short story).

First, she said that when Ennis looks out Jack's bedroom window and it strikes him that this is the only road Jack ever knew growing up, it must also strike him how ironic it is that the Jack he knew came from such a stark and austere beginning.  I remember weeping the first time I saw the movie at the way Jack's room looked so bare - I couldn't put a finger on it, but something about such a burning soul living in that plain, cold room made my heart hurt.

Second, she said that the way A. Proulx describes nature as being so harsh and unforgiving is as if it's a metaphor for God (or society?) and that it seems to be trying to punish them more often than not.

Third, and most interesting, I think, she said that in the beginning, the narration seems to be coming from somewhere outside of or above Ennis - e.g., she says that he "urinated in the sink" instead of saying he "pissed in the sink."  But as the story goes on, the vernacular used in the narration changes.  It's as if she's getting further into Ennis' and Jack's world as she goes along, and in so doing that, she draws us into it, too.  Makes me wonder if Diana and Larry used Jack saying the word "asphyxiate" in the same way Annie used "urinated" early on - it sort of puts up a wall - the wall of Jack perhaps trying to impress Ennis with a "big word."  But as they get to know each other and their intimacy deepens, all walls (pretenses) fall away, and they talk in their most natural tongues to each other, and only to each other, and that draws us into their world, too.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2006, 10:47:06 am »
Those are interesting observations, Barb.

As regards to the third one--I'm just ruminating here--I wonder whether the difference in the narration might have a more mundane explanation, simply coming from the fact that the beginning of the story as we know it now--call it the prologue, if you will--the part that's italicized in my copies--was apparently written/added on later?

That section of the story--Ennis waking up in the trailer, urinating in the sink, boiling the stale coffee--was not a part of the story as originally published in The New Yorker. My understanding for, like, six months, is that it was written later and added on when the story was included in Front Range.

Jack's use of asphyxiate has always fascinated me, too. Interesting thought about the "wall" coming down. So I wonder whether that "wall" is starting to go back up when Jack refers to Ennis's inability to meet him in August as "an unsatisfactory situation." Granted, he calls it "a goddamn bitch of an unsatisfactory situation," but "unsatisfactory situation" has always struck me as--I don't know--peculiarly high-toned under the circumstances?
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Offline ednbarby

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2006, 11:20:01 am »
Jack's use of asphyxiate has always fascinated me, too. Interesting thought about the "wall" coming down. So I wonder whether that "wall" is starting to go back up when Jack refers to Ennis's inability to meet him in August as "an unsatisfactory situation." Granted, he calls it "a goddamn bitch of an unsatisfactory situation," but "unsatisfactory situation" has always struck me as--I don't know--peculiarly high-toned under the circumstances?

Good point, there, Jeff.  Yes, that always struck me as too high-toned under the circumstances, too - the very high-tonedness of it is what makes that line stand out to so many people, I think.  Rather than just say "This is a goddamn bitch," he adds that "of an unsatisfactory situation."  That was in the short story too, right?

Really, if you look at the short story minus the added-on prologue, there is still a sense of distancing in the narration at the beginning.  It starts out talking about where both of them were born and raised - on opposite ends of the state (which always hearkens to Plato's "Origin of Love" and the two halves of the two-backed individual being broken in two and flung to "opposite ends of the earth" to me) and how they came together in Aguirre's trailer.  Somehow there's a very subtle sense of distancing there - at least I know I don't start to feel myself getting pulled into it until they start talking to each other in the bar.  Maybe that's nothing extraordinary - you don't start to get a sense of characters until you hear them talk with your mind's ear.  But yeah, I do see Jack's saying "unsatisfactory situation" as putting up a wall.  If he wanted to really lay himself bare, he'd have said something like, "Ennis, I can't take this shit anymore.  I'm dyin', here.  Every time you go away, you take a piece of me with you."  (OK - I'm stealing shamelessly from Paul Young, there, but you get the gist.)  Instead, he puts up that bit of a barrier to protect himself.  :(
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Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2006, 02:33:12 pm »
Jack's use of asphyxiate has always fascinated me, too. Interesting thought about the "wall" coming down. So I wonder whether that "wall" is starting to go back up when Jack refers to Ennis's inability to meet him in August as "an unsatisfactory situation." Granted, he calls it "a goddamn bitch of an unsatisfactory situation," but "unsatisfactory situation" has always struck me as--I don't know--peculiarly high-toned under the circumstances?

I will agree here, this is a very good observation!  It is awfully formal language for Jack.  This in addition to all the layers of clothing (which tend to indicate distance/ walls between our boys) does seem to be a little bit about the tension and potential pit falls at this moment in their relationship.

I recently lent the short story to a good friend at work who is an avid reader and one of the
First, she said that when Ennis looks out Jack's bedroom window and it strikes him that this is the only road Jack ever knew growing up, it must also strike him how ironic it is that the Jack he knew came from such a stark and austere beginning.  I remember weeping the first time I saw the movie at the way Jack's room looked so bare - I couldn't put a finger on it, but something about such a burning soul living in that plain, cold room made my heart hurt.

Yes, Jack's room is unspeakably sad.  It emphasizes the poverty that Jack probably really understands down to his core (contradicting Ennis's idea that Jack had forgotten 'what it's like bein broke all the time') and yes, it also emphasizes the bleakness and boredom (for a restless kind of guy like Jack) of his background.  It's so hard to think of sweet Jack growing up in that hard-edged environment with an abusive Dad.  More than ever Mrs. Twist seems like the life saver here.  The visual emptiness of the room as a place also just hits us and Ennis over the head with the idea that Jack is not here anymore.  So the room feels particularly dead and tomb-like.  But, it is amazing how much Ennis is able to learn about Jack in that short visit to the room.

Quote
Second, she said that the way A. Proulx describes nature as being so harsh and unforgiving is as if it's a metaphor for God (or society?) and that it seems to be trying to punish them more often than not.

I've always thought that the nature in the book seemed harsher than the nature in the movie.  Some of Proulx's descriptions are down-right scary.  Doesn't she describe the mountain as having something like "demonic" energy at one point?  I don't have my book with me at the moment to check it out.  But, her descriptive passages about nature just knock me out.  They're some of my favorite aspects of the book.

Quote
Third, and most interesting, I think, she said that in the beginning, the narration seems to be coming from somewhere outside of or above Ennis...

I've always noticed the sense of narrative distance too.  It hadn't occurred to me to think of it as becoming increasingly familiar or vernacular as it goes on... That's an interesting point.  I think the overall sense of distance is very important to the idea of the reader's/viewer's role as intruder into a very personal story.  I don't mean intruder in a very negative way.  But, we are "voyeurs" here onto a story that is "private and precious" as Lee says.  I think the fact that we briefly inhabit Aguirre's viewing position (as we watch the happy tussle through his binoculars... as if we're actually inside his head or have his eyeballs) emphasizes the idea that we're voyeurs.  Even if we're not as bad or hostile as Aguirre.  Also, the fact that we often can't hear the boys' dialogue from a distance or even understand their whispers adds to the idea that we are inserting ourselves into a private encounter.
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2006, 02:49:14 pm »
This is so interesting and I'm so glad U brought it up. The topic of word choices in the book and movie is deep and we have hardly even scratched the surface. As I recall from reading the story, Jack loved to use big words. He would say "I'm commutin four hours a day" and would often get them wrong, such as asphixiate (as U point out), athaletes,  and vertebrates. I attribute this to Jack always wanting to better himself, to leave the poverty-ridden confines of his youth. And, as Jake said, he always tried really hard in everything he did.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2006, 03:25:18 pm »
This is so interesting and I'm so glad U brought it up. The topic of word choices in the book and movie is deep and we have hardly even scratched the surface. As I recall from reading the story, Jack loved to use big words. He would say "I'm commutin four hours a day" and would often get them wrong, such as asphixiate (as U point out), athaletes,  and vertebrates. I attribute this to Jack always wanting to better himself, to leave the poverty-ridden confines of his youth. And, as Jake said, he always tried really hard in everything he did.

About all I got time for (right now) is makin' a livin' (I'm at work), but I didn't want to pass up the opportunity to mention that I've always thought "commuting" was a funny concept to be coming from a Wyomin' ranch kid in 1963.
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Offline ednbarby

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2006, 04:35:27 pm »
About all I got time for (right now) is makin' a livin' (I'm at work), but I didn't want to pass up the opportunity to mention that I've always thought "commuting" was a funny concept to be coming from a Wyomin' ranch kid in 1963.

Me, too!  And that's an excellent point, F-R - you're right - I think all those usages are just Jack trying really hard to be something better - not so much than he is, but than he assumes (and is right) that the world thinks he is.
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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2006, 05:26:06 pm »

That section of the story--Ennis waking up in the trailer, urinating in the sink, boiling the stale coffee--was not a part of the story as originally published in The New Yorker. My understanding for, like, six months, is that it was written later and added on when the story was included in Front Range.
Hey, Jeff--

According to one of our former members who has since moved on, the 'prologue' (which I also have always seen italicized) was part of Proulx's original copyrighted text, but was omitted at the request of the editor(s) of The New Yorker when they accepted the story for publication in 1997. This portion of the story was reincorporated when the tale was next published in Close Range: Wyoming Stories. How this fellow knew this I can't rightly remember, nor do I recall an explanation for the putative editorial decision. As this fellow no longer has an active account with us, searching for the relevant post containing this information would present something of a challenge.

The tone of the story changes immensely with the inclusion of the prologue. Without it, the ending offers a feeling of horror, suggesting a kind of emotional stasis for Ennis not unlike what one might associate with hellish or purgatorial experiences. With the opening episode intact, the brutality of Ennis's situation is softened somewhat, reinforcing that, amidst his grief and solitude, the ageing cowboy does sustain some sense of pleasure and relief through his memory of Jack.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2006, 05:44:02 pm »
I have the same recollection about the on-again off-again prologue as you do, Scott. Was it in the "Getting Movied" essay in Story to Screenplay that Proulx talked about that? Can't recall...

I have never actually read the prologue, but I thought it had kind of negative tone... didn't it mention the wind slamming into Ennis's trailer like a load of dirt, as if he were being buried alive? But I know the New Yorker piece definitely had the words "joy and release" at the end, so I read it with a little frisson of hope. 
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2006, 07:09:25 pm »
Now that you mention it, Scott, I have a vague memory of reading that post about the prologue being "cut" by The New Yorker, but then I also have a vague memory of that point being disputed, that, indeed, it was written later. I need to look in my "Documents" to see whether I might have saved anything about this. I'm sure it doesn't come "right from the source" (Annie Proulx) in "Getting Movied."

???

The prologue does, indeed, describe the wind hitting the trailer like that, but I always feel that, nevertheless, the prologue adds a hopeful note because it describes Ennis as "suffused with a sense of pleasure because Jack Twist was in his dream."
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Offline silkncense

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2006, 09:30:13 pm »
I haven't read the short story in some time (need to read it again soon), but the section
Quote
Ennis as "suffused with a sense of pleasure because Jack Twist was in his dream."
to me was not so much hopeful as sad (ish). 

Ennis had the memories & dreams of the love of Jack & even now recognized that he'd been in love with Jack in return.  But, I see Ennis living totally in the past with that love & not moving forward.  I know some believe that Ennis moved on (thus fanfic such as Ennis & Ellery) but my feeling was just as I later heard Annie Proulx say "There is no Ennis w/out Jack." - his being died w/ Jack & then, outside his love for his daughters, only the shell existed.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2006, 09:48:44 pm »
Quote
I haven't read the short story in some time (need to read it again soon), but the section
Quote:
Ennis as "suffused with a sense of pleasure because Jack Twist was in his dream."
to me was not so much hopeful as sad (ish).

Fair enough. Maybe hopeful isn't the best word here, it's just the one that came to my mind first. Not to turn morbid or share too much, but to me that line is hopeful because it's exactly how I feel when I think of my late boyfriend--which I do, numerous times a day, though he's been dead nearly seven years--and I assure you it's a positive feeling, a good feeling not sad or depressing. 

I don't believe Ennis "moved on" and found someone else--I didn't mean hopeful in that sense--and I won't read the Ennis and Ellery saga, and that's why I ended up turning to writing Alternative Universe fanfiction where Ennis and Jack do ranch up and have a sweet life together.

But to move on, I checked materials I saved both on line and in hard copy, and all I can find are recollections of Annie Proulx having said that the prologue was added for the Front Range version of the story, but no positive evidence in the form of direct quotes from Annie with the source of the quote.
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Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2006, 10:00:31 pm »
This is so interesting and I'm so glad U brought it up. The topic of word choices in the book and movie is deep and we have hardly even scratched the surface. As I recall from reading the story, Jack loved to use big words. He would say "I'm commutin four hours a day" and would often get them wrong, such as asphixiate (as U point out), athaletes,  and vertebrates. I attribute this to Jack always wanting to better himself, to leave the poverty-ridden confines of his youth. And, as Jake said, he always tried really hard in everything he did.

Maybe Jack's love of long words mirrors a similar urge in Ennis.  I'm thinking here of the part (in the story) about Ennis wanting to be a sophomore.

"He had wanted to be a sophomore, felt the word carried a kind of distinction..."
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Offline Katie77

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2006, 11:24:52 pm »
I have been reading all the posts in this thread, and they are all interesting, and I think I have become to like the book a little bit more than what I did originally...

I saw the movie twice, before I bought the book, and after reading it for the first time, I thought, shit, how did they make such a powerful movie from that book.
I didnt like the description of the boys, didnt like the "urinating in the sink" bit, maybe I'm just not that good at gauging the emotions from the written word....(I usually prefer to see a movie before reading the book, then I have the characters and story all ready in place to fit to the written words)..

I have read the book many many times, usually when i just need a quick "hit", and havent got time to sit and watch the movie, and the more I read it, I must admit, the more I do like it, but I have said, that if I had read the book first, I might not have been so eager to see the movie.

On the other hand, I have always wished the book was a two inch thick novel, that I could have curled up with, and devoured , with explanations and lots more detail for everything we wonder about, and side stories, that we just imagine, or assume happened.......So often, have I damned Annie for only writing a short story.

Anyway, was wondering if any others out there felt like i did about the book.
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Offline ednbarby

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2006, 11:32:18 pm »
Ennis had the memories & dreams of the love of Jack & even now recognized that he'd been in love with Jack in return.  But, I see Ennis living totally in the past with that love & not moving forward.  I know some believe that Ennis moved on (thus fanfic such as Ennis & Ellery) but my feeling was just as I later heard Annie Proulx say "There is no Ennis w/out Jack." - his being died w/ Jack & then, outside his love for his daughters, only the shell existed.

Ah, Silk.  As is so often the case, you and I are on the same page, sentence, and word.  Just as Jack died the moment he knew for certain he couldn't be with Ennis, Ennis died the moment he knew Jack had literally died - the moment he looked at that returned postcard.  I love that shot, as painful as it is to watch - that 180 degree camera turn - the pivotal moment, as it were.  That shot mirrors the shot at the lake.  And that says - to me, anyway - that that was the moment Jack knew - the moment that Jack quit Ennis, as dear Ruthlessly so eloquently wrote.
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Offline RouxB

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2006, 11:40:15 pm »
Part of what makes the story brilliant is it's brevity and simplicity. An amazingly  complex character development in such a few short pages. Twenty years of time experienced by the reader...Evocative, heart-wrenching-I am enthralled each and every time I read it.

 O0

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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2006, 09:01:19 am »
I have been reading all the posts in this thread, and they are all interesting, and I think I have become to like the book a little bit more than what I did originally...

I saw the movie twice, before I bought the book, and after reading it for the first time, I thought, shit, how did they make such a powerful movie from that book.
I didnt like the description of the boys, didnt like the "urinating in the sink" bit, maybe I'm just not that good at gauging the emotions from the written word....(I usually prefer to see a movie before reading the book, then I have the characters and story all ready in place to fit to the written words)..

I have read the book many many times, usually when i just need a quick "hit", and havent got time to sit and watch the movie, and the more I read it, I must admit, the more I do like it, but I have said, that if I had read the book first, I might not have been so eager to see the movie.

On the other hand, I have always wished the book was a two inch thick novel, that I could have curled up with, and devoured , with explanations and lots more detail for everything we wonder about, and side stories, that we just imagine, or assume happened.......So often, have I damned Annie for only writing a short story.

Anyway, was wondering if any others out there felt like i did about the book.

It's funny, but I'm sure you could argue indefinitely the virtue of "reading the story first, then seeing the movie," vs. "seeing the movie first, then reading the story." Each side, I'm sure, would have its passionate defenders. I think, though, at least everyone can agree on how amazingly faithful the film is to the original Annie Proulx story.

I've known the story since its original publication in The New Yorker. (Boy, have I kicked myself for not saving that issue!  :laugh: ) So I already basically knew what to expect in terms of the plot. I deliberately went out and bought a copy of the story to read and refresh my memory just before I saw the film for the first time. I was absolutely stunned to hear whole passages of dialogue that I recognized as lifted right from the pages of Annie Proulx, and to see scenes (for example, Jack, in the pup tent, looking down at Ennis's "night fire," and Ennis looking up at Jack on the heights with the sheep) that I also recognized as coming right from the text.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2006, 12:27:44 pm by Jeff Wrangler »
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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2006, 11:49:26 am »
I remember weeping the first time I saw the movie at the way Jack's room looked so bare - I couldn't put a finger on it, but something about such a burning soul living in that plain, cold room made my heart hurt.


So true and well-put, it's exactly what I have noticed during the past viewings. The sheer persistance of Jack to create a better life for himself (and Ennis) than what he was brought up in is so overwhelming and such a wonderful character trait. It makes you love him even more. He had so many plans, he was such an idealist. It's such a stark contrast with the austerity and bleakness of his room (the music adds to this, it's soooo bleak...). Also, I think this is where Ennis realises that not only did Jack's father never believe in Jack's dreams, but that he himself was the one who really crushed Jack's dreams, that he was to blame for Jack not being able to live the dream (life) that he dreamed (wanted), I think that's what he feels most guilty about at that point.

Just when you think you are starting to get over the sadness of this story...

Offline Samrim

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2006, 03:08:20 pm »
Hello Katie, and all,
I have to say that I agree with Roux; I ache for the film still, it's just so perfect (I've even had a lump in my throat  reading some of the end tags on some messages in this string ::)), but when I  read the short story AFTER seeing the film, I was completely blown away. I mean how can we possibly SEE a twenty year life in thirty pages :) Annie Proulx has the sublime gift of saying much with little! Both film and book are jewels which I treasure
I can't add to the debate, which I find deeply interesting and pleasing. Thanks a bunch everyone! Best Wishes  ;D
Sam

Offline 2robots4u

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2006, 01:54:18 am »
Front-Ranger...the actual words are "The wind strikes the trailer like a load of dirt coming off a dump truck, eases, dies, leaves a temporary silence."

Offline JT

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2006, 02:03:11 pm »
So true and well-put, it's exactly what I have noticed during the past viewings. The sheer persistance of Jack to create a better life for himself (and Ennis) than what he was brought up in is so overwhelming and such a wonderful character trait. It makes you love him even more. He had so many plans, he was such an idealist. It's such a stark contrast with the austerity and bleakness of his room (the music adds to this, it's soooo bleak...). Also, I think this is where Ennis realises that not only did Jack's father never believe in Jack's dreams, but that he himself was the one who really crushed Jack's dreams, that he was to blame for Jack not being able to live the dream (life) that he dreamed (wanted), I think that's what he feels most guilty about at that point.

Just when you think you are starting to get over the sadness of this story...

I think this is the reason why I love Jack so much.  By looking at his room and the house he lived in, we're actually looking into his past.  I feel that I've learned more about him by looking into his room than listening to him talking throughout the whole movie.  It's hard to think that a lively, sweet young man used to live in such a bleak room and an abusive father, and by that, we also know what a beautiful person his mother was.  I've alway wonder why it was Jack who does the comforting because he seems like the weaker of our two boys, but now I know why.  I think he was the stronger of the two. 

I also agree that Ennis feels guilty because he has a hand in killing Jack's dream.  You can see how numb and sad Ennis looks when John Twist said, "like most of Jack's idea, never came to pass".  He knew then that he actually killed the biggest chunk of Jack's dream, since Jack's #1 dream was to have a sweet life with Ennis, having a cow and calf operation. 

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2006, 07:13:47 am »
I think he was the stronger of the two. 
 

I definitely agree, he overcame so much, Ennis might have been the stronger one physically, but Jack was so much stronger in knowing what he wanted and what it was that drove him to Ennis and what drove Ennis to him.

Offline CellarDweller

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Re: Interesting observations about the short story
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2022, 02:20:14 pm »
Annie Proulx and the Gift of ?Brokeback Mountain?

By Innocent Chizaram Ilo - October 13, 2022


On October 13th, 1997?exactly twenty-five years ago?The New Yorker published Brokeback Mountain, a short story by Pulitzer-winning writer Annie Proulx. ?Brokeback Mountain? is a bittersweet love story about two cowboys; Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar. The story dutifully follows Jack and Ennis?s twenty-year relationship from when it blossomed during a ranching gig in 1963 at the fictional ?Brokeback Mountain? range, to the duo reconnecting after four years with both men now married to women. Jack is married to ?a cute little old Texas girl down in Childress? called Lureen and Ennis to Alma Beers. From there, we follow them through Ennis?s divorce and separation from his kids, down to the ?fishing trips? that took them back to Brokeback Mountain, and finally to Jack?s death.

Annie Proulx?s mastery of American rural life shines through in ?Brokeback Mountain?; the breathtaking mountain ranges, the undulating plains of Wyoming, and the ruggedness of American cowboy life leap off the pages. Most importantly, she introduced us to one of the most exquisitely written characters in literature: Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar.

The reader is first impressed by the similarities of the star-crossed lovers. Both Jack and Ennis ?were raised on small, poor ranches in opposite corners of the state? and grew up to become roughened ranch hands in a culture where men are not encouraged to be vulnerable to each other, especially not in a romantic way. As the story progresses, we begin to see the parallels between the two. Ennis is reserved, less daring, scared, more grounded in reality. This manifests in his declaration that ?there?s no reins? to their love affair and how it ?scares the piss? out of him, his constant cold feet around having their ?fishing trips? more frequently, and his dismissal of Jack?s plans for them to be together. Jack, on the other hand, is the dreamer who constantly lays out plans of him and Ennis living together in a ranch they?d own together. He?s also unashamed of wanting more, and constantly makes this known to Ennis. ?How much is once in a while,? Jack asks. ?Once in a while every four fuckin years?? For him, it?s not enough: ?I can?t make it on a couple a? high-altitude fucks once or twice a year.?

https://www.intomore.com/books/annie-proulx-gift-brokeback-mountain/


Tell him when l come up to him and ask to play the record, l'm gonna say: ''Voulez-vous jouer ce disque?''
'Voulez-vous, will you kiss my dick?'
Will you play my record? One-track mind!