Author Topic: What happened to Jack's eagle feather?  (Read 10784 times)

Offline Brown Eyes

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What happened to Jack's eagle feather?
« on: April 10, 2006, 09:44:27 pm »
Lately, I'm growing increasingly curious about the differences between certain details in the story and in the film. 

One quick question I've had lately is, why did the detail of the eagle feather in Jack's hat get omitted from the film?  Proulx makes a pretty clear point of establishing the feather as an important attribute for Jack.  When Ennis and Jack first meet she says "He had shot an eagle [his first summer alone on Brokeback], he said, turned his head to show the tail feather in his hat band...."  Then in their last meeting in 1983, Proulx says "... Jack, the same eagle feather in his old hat, lifting his head in the heated noon..."

The feather seems to fit nicely with the idea of Jack being associated with air and the wind.  Any thoughts on why this (or other details from the story) would have been changed?

 8)
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What happened to Jack's eagle feather?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2006, 10:36:19 pm »
Lately, I'm growing increasingly curious about the differences between certain details in the story and in the film. 

One quick question I've had lately is, why did the detail of the eagle feather in Jack's hat get omitted from the film?  Proulx makes a pretty clear point of establishing the feather as an important attribute for Jack.  When Ennis and Jack first meet she says "He had shot an eagle [his first summer alone on Brokeback], he said, turned his head to show the tail feather in his hat band...."  Then in their last meeting in 1983, Proulx says "... Jack, the same eagle feather in his old hat, lifting his head in the heated noon..."

The feather seems to fit nicely with the idea of Jack being associated with air and the wind.  Any thoughts on why this (or other details from the story) would have been changed?

 8)

Maybe because it's illegal to shoot eagles now, even if it wasn't in 1962, when Jack would have shot it? Or maybe, since it wasn't going to be made a plot point, it was thought that if the feather was big enought to be seen, it might be a distraction?

I really have no clue, just throwing out thoughts. Just one of those things that seem to have been changed for no really good reason that I can see, like changing the name of Ennis's youngest from Francine to Jenny.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Lynne

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Re: What happened to Jack's eagle feather?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2006, 10:58:34 pm »
It just occurs to me that the movie portrays Jack as being a poor shot...missing the shot at the coyote and Ennis being 'tired of [Jack's] missing' when Ennis shoots the elk.  Perhaps having Jack shooting an eagle the first summer seemed inconsistent with this characterization?

Although up to now, I admit that I thought it was omitted for animal conservation issues - along the same lines as changing 'miss you so much I could whup babies' to 'miss you so much I can hardly stand it.'  Whipping babies won't get much empathy with today's audience.

-Lynne
« Last Edit: April 12, 2006, 10:01:01 pm by Lynne »
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: What happened to Jack's eagle feather?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2006, 12:07:49 am »
Lynne I think u are exactly right.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: What happened to Jack's eagle feather?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2006, 03:11:19 pm »
Yup, Lynne makes good points. A dead eagle would raise conservation and legal questions. And Ennis' superior cowboy skills, including marksmanship, are implicitly among the attributes that Jack finds attractive. :o Mentioning an earlier successful shot by Jack would confuse the issue.

Offline ednbarby

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Re: What happened to Jack's eagle feather?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2006, 03:24:34 pm »
I agree.  However, I think the fact that Jack shot an eagle in the short story shows how much of a revolutionary he is, and I'm thinking that's what Annie Proulx was going for.  One very observant and sensitive friend who recently saw the movie on my recommendation (and still thanks me every day) said that the only thing that didn't quite make sense to her from a historical standpoint was how Jack, raised the way he was in that place and that time, could be so secure in his sexuality and not have the least little bit of guilt or fear.  She applauded that, but just thought historically that it was inaccurate.  I told her my theory that he is a revolutionary - that he was always living way ahead of his time and place.  She still was doubtful.  I cited the "Well, *I* won't" line re: beans vs. sheep.  She was still doubtful.  Then I said, "Well, in the short story, Jack shoots an eagle and wears one of its feathers in his hat."  She goes - "Ah - you're RIGHT."

Still, considering the added scene showing Jack being a bad shot and considering that McMurtry and Ossana felt they were probably being revolutionary enough without giving certain idiotic audience members yet another reason to vilify Jack, it makes perfect sense not to include it.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What happened to Jack's eagle feather?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2006, 03:33:57 pm »
Agreed, Lynne and Barb! An eagle would be a lot more difficult to hit than a coyote or an elk or deer!

I don't have a copy of the story with me here at work; I wish I could remember whether or not the story has anything to say about Jack's marksmanship. I do remember from a discussion on the old board that the eagle feather wasn't in the original New Yorker version of the story.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Kd5000

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Re: What happened to Jack's eagle feather?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2006, 03:55:35 pm »
Oh gawd yes, ppl were saying "were the sheep mistreated on the IMDB.com board." Half of them were computer simulated. Can only imagine what an eagle feather would have done. DID THEY KILL AN EAGLE FOR THAT FEATHER, PETA would have issued a statement.

Poor Jack

He can't shoot well.

Has to get Ennis to help him get his truck started.

Must not have been very good at rodeoing. Mare thru him and damaged his harmonica. 

Has issues with a can-opener.  Remember the can popping open.

If Water Walking Jesus was a sample of his singing, I'd say he can't sing well either.

Obviously he has a problem changing flat tires, depending on your perspective.

Still love the guy... Glad he didn't have buck teeth in the film.

Was he really good at selling farm equipment? Maybe he was good at being a charmer... "they've got very good interpersonal skills..."  :D

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What happened to Jack's eagle feather?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2006, 04:12:06 pm »
Was he really good at selling farm equipment?

He was the best combine salesman they had. (Hell, he was the only combine salesman they had.)

 ;)
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: What happened to Jack's eagle feather?
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2006, 08:03:44 pm »

Has issues with a can-opener.  Remember the can popping open.


I think that part of his problems with the can opener had to do with the fact that Ennis was undressing near him.  A little distracted/ nervous maybe.  He also seems to be left-handed, which can make can-openers designed for right-ies a little tricky.


OK, I just introduced the feather topic (yes out of curiosity), but also because I'm curious about some of the little details from the book that got omitted in the film. I'm also curious about things that have gotten displaced (including dialogue).  Clearly, much of the dialogue from the motel scene in the book got spread out a bit to some of the different campfire chats in the film (including the story about Earl, the "if you can't fix it, you've got to stand it" line, etc.).

Here are two things that stood out to me or seem interesting in terms of dialogue.  On Brokeback during their first chat on the mountain side after the first tent scene, in the movie it's Ennis who says it's a "one shot thing", but in the book it's Jack who says that.  And, in the last argument scene in the film Jack says "there's never enough time, never enough" in his frustration with Ennis, but in the book that line comes from the narrator describing their love making.  I guess the meaning remains about the same in this second example.

And, I've been wondering how the filmmakers wove that beautiful line from the book about Ennis being so happy he could "paw the white out of the moon" into the imagery of the film.  Moonlight seems to be a general symbol of happiness during their love scenes, etc.  But, I've been thinking that the general idea of that sentence in the book is conveyed pretty well in the 'prayer of thanks' moment when Ennis is so contented gazing 'up there in heaven' perhaps thinking about pawing the white out of the moon...

Also, at the Thanksgiving dinner when Ennis tells his story about his rodeo experience he says he 'didn't have no wings', which seems to be perhaps a displaced reference to that awesome line in the book about the time Ennis punched Jack. "Ennis had suddenly swung from the deck and laid the ministering angel out in the wild columbine, wings folded." 

OK, I know I'm way over-analyzing things, and maybe stretching a bit. But there really are more examples of things from the book that seem to pop up in alternate places in the film.  Interesting.
 :D :-\
the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie