Author Topic: A Ninth Viewing Observation  (Read 151853 times)

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #110 on: August 06, 2006, 01:09:19 am »
About Ennis's regrets... again this is something I've said a lot on various threads, but I'll repeat it.  Given that he believes that Jack was murdered, I think the main core of his regret is realizing that living apart did not save Jack from the fate Ennis worried about for 20 years.  The regret, I think is over the huge amount of lost time with Jack.  I'm like Katherine in believing that Ennis knew he loved Jack before Jack died and that Jack love Ennis and knew it too.  They did not articulate this to each other, but I think they both knew this.  I always feel that one of the main tragedies in the movie (aside from obvious things like Jack dying) is the lost time.  "Never enough time" really stings for me when I think about the story.  Ennis's rules about living apart did not save Jack from homophobic violence (at least according to Ennis's belief about how he died), did not save Ennis from his huge grief and did not even really keep their relationship a secret (since there's quite a list of characters that do know about their relationship).  I think by the end Ennis really regrets not giving the living together idea a try.  I think another part of Ennis's regret is not saying "I love you" out loud to Jack.  This of course is how I see the "I swear..." moment.
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Offline welliwont

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Re: Ennis & Cassie: Who broke up with whom?
« Reply #111 on: August 06, 2006, 01:10:30 am »
Cassie leaves a bunch of notes, trying to get ahold of him and wondering what had happened to their relationship. Ennis meanwhile has decided on his own to break up with her, but instead of telling her he just cruelly ignores the notes.

Well I swore I wasn't gonna get into this again, but oh well, here goes, this thread is touching on things that I have been mulling over this week...

I don't know why so many people love Ennis, I really don't.  I know I am not gonna win any friends here, but here goes:  I am one of the ones who is down on Ennis.  Even more so now....  Ennis was selfish with most of the people in his life, not just with Jack.

#1)  Ennis is selfish with Jack, Ennis sets the tone and the frequency of their time together, hell, at the twenty year mark he is even cutting back on it!  Does he even put Jack's feelings into the equation?   If he is not blind and stupid he can see how much Jack hurts when they part, does he not care about how he's hurting Jack?  Instead he waits until the last possible moment to drop the bombshell, that Jack is now going to have to wait twice as long to see Ennis again.  I don't buy Ennis' excuse of having to work, if he is not stupid and a complete idiot he is getting older and should be getting wiser, he should have the smarts to figure out how to make the time in August.  Instead he says he can't, he has to work.  bs

#2)  the way he broke up with Cassie.  The timeline of the movie clearly shows that Cassie started seeing Ennis in 1978, and Ennis ended it with her in 1983.  What kind of a coldhearted bastard ends a five-year relationship by simply ceasing to show up or call?  Not one little word about it did Ennis say to Cassie.  How unspeakably cruel.  I can't find any excuse for that kind of cruelty, no matter how introverted and tortured Ennis may have been.

#3)  already been discussed above, he wasn't seeing his children all that much, post divorce, once a month?  And they live in the same rural community?  What was keeping him from seeing them once or twice a week?  It sure did not look like he had that busy a social life, wtf was keeping him away?

Refusing the sweet life with Jack.  He refused it when the girls were babies, he refused it after the divorce, and when his kids were almost grown, he seems not one whit closer to going to Jack than he ever was, in fact he is pulling back.   Here he has someone who is offering him love, and he is pushing it away.  Breaking Jack's heart to boot.  Here was poor Jack, still holding out hope, and Ennis screwing it all up.  Did he never ever hear the old saying "you only live once"?  How he could choose a lonely desolate life living in that shitty trailer over being with someone who loves him with all their heart?  Sounds like a no-brainer to me, sounds like Ennis is a masochist or an idiot.

A lot of people have nothing but sympathy for Ennis, poor tortured Ennis, and I am not lessening the horror of Ennis seeing at age 9 the tortured mutilated corpse of Earl, but Ennis is letting that horror rule and ruin his whole life!  Yes it was horrible, unspeakable, criminal.  It also is far removed (timewise) and unrelated to Ennis' present life, present circumstance.  It has nothing to do with the place he lives now, nothing to do with any of the important people in Ennis's life now.  Thirty-one years ago a crime was committed.  Ok.  Move on already!

Finally, one more paragraph on this:  Jack loved Ennis and would not stop loving Ennis, hell after the big fight, the minute Ennis has his breakdown what is Jack doing?  He moves to Ennis right away, comforting him, "shh It's alright, it's alright", always giving love to Ennis.  What does Ennis give to Jack?  Heartache and disappointment.  What did Ennis ever really *do* *for* Jack in those past 16 years besides just show up a couple-three times a year?

I don't know why so many people love Ennis, I really don't.  The thing is, for some strange reason most of the people I have made acquaintance with have been Heathens!  So I really am doing myself a disservice by posting this!  Oh well....

Jane
« Last Edit: August 06, 2006, 01:45:00 am by JakeTwist »
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Offline jpwagoneer1964

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Re: Ennis & Cassie: Who broke up with whom?
« Reply #112 on: August 06, 2006, 02:11:01 am »
Well I swore I wasn't gonna get into this again, but oh well, here goes, this thread is touching on things that I have been mulling over this week...

 
Refusing the sweet life with Jack.  He refused it when the girls were babies, he refused it after the divorce, 

It would have been the right thing for Ennis or anyone to leave his young family for another? NOT!!!!!!!THAT is selfish!!!!
« Last Edit: August 06, 2006, 02:31:38 am by jpwagoneer1964 »
Thank you Heath and Jake for showing us Ennis and Jack,  teaching us how much they loved one another.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Ennis & Cassie: Who broke up with whom?
« Reply #113 on: August 06, 2006, 02:41:48 am »
Well, there you go. That's exactly what I mean. Jane, I don't think you're at all alone in some of these thoughts. In my experience there are a number of people who would agree on many of these things.

Myself, I respectfully disagree with almost everything you say, but I've already explained that. Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion. But there is one point I do feel compelled to dispute.

I am not lessening the horror of Ennis seeing at age 9 the tortured mutilated corpse of Earl, but Ennis is letting that horror rule and ruin his whole life!  Yes it was horrible, unspeakable, criminal.  It also is far removed (timewise) and unrelated to Ennis' present life, present circumstance.  It has nothing to do with the place he lives now, nothing to do with any of the important people in Ennis's life now.  Thirty-one years ago a crime was committed.  Ok.  Move on already!

I think you have to keep in mind is that the Earl incident is not something that Ennis experienced for five minutes, three decades ago.

He was nine. He was gay. Which he probably already sensed, at some level. So for the next however many years until his dad died, he lived in the same house with a parent whom he may have loved and was taught to respect and yet whom he presumed fully capable of torturing someone to death for being the same way that he, Ennis, knew himself to be. His dad was implicitly saying, "This is what will happen to you, boy, if you ever have sex with a man." And Ennis knew his dad wasn't the only one who felt that way. In fact, gradually he came to believe everyone felt that way. Yet, he also knew he was attracted to men. So he learned to repress and hide it. Years of repression and hiding in childhood and adolescence aren't, IMO, something from which you "move on, already," all that easily.

Then his dad died. As Mikaela has pointed out, if Ennis would have ever have been able to reject those teachings and realize his dad was full of shit, his death made it that much harder-- you're supposed to grant even MORE respect for the dead.

Unrelated to Ennis' present life and circumstance? Nothing to do with the place he lives now? Nothing to do with the important people in his life now? Probably just about everyone Ennis has ever met, with the exception of Jack, more or less agreed with his dad, at least in the disapproval if not the outright murdering. As we were just discussing on another thread, even the radio announcer is telling a homophobic joke as Ennis is packing to go on a fishing trip with Jack.

Personally, I had a fairly normal childhood and adolescence. So I can't know firsthand what it would be like to live in terror as a child in my own house, fearing my own parent, or to try to overcome that later, or to be in love with someone even though I'd been taught that kind of love is so bad it deserves to be punished with a hideous death. I don't have any major demographic characteristic that would elicit vehement disapproval from pretty much everyone around me. So I can't say exactly what that would be like for Ennis.

But I think I can pretty safely say it wouldn't be particularly easy to "move on, already."

It's funny. Last night I had this same discussion with another Jackophile, except in that case she was arguing that Ennis could never overcome his homophobia because it was too deeply ingrained from his childhood, and I was arguing that Ennis should be able to unlearn his childhood teachings. I wasn't saying, "move on, already." But I was saying that, given the experiences he'd had in later life, he could eventually learn to transcend it.

Now I'm wondering if I didn't make it sound too easy, myself ...
« Last Edit: August 06, 2006, 03:16:21 am by latjoreme »

Offline welliwont

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Re: Ennis & Cassie: Who broke up with whom?
« Reply #114 on: August 06, 2006, 04:42:14 am »
I think you have to keep in mind is that the Earl incident is not something that Ennis experienced for five minutes, three decades ago.

He was nine. He was gay. Which he probably already sensed, at some level. So for the next however many years until his dad died, he lived in the same house with a parent whom he may have loved and was taught to respect and yet whom he presumed fully capable of torturing someone to death for being the same way that he, Ennis, knew himself to be. His dad was implicitly saying, "This is what will happen to you, boy, if you ever have sex with a man." And Ennis knew his dad wasn't the only one who felt that way. In fact, gradually he came to believe everyone felt that way. Yet, he also knew he was attracted to men. So he learned to repress and hide it. Years of repression and hiding in childhood and adolescence aren't, IMO, something from which you "move on, already," all that easily.

Then his dad died. As Mikaela has pointed out, if Ennis would have ever have been able to reject those teachings and realize his dad was full of shit, his death made it that much harder-- you're supposed to grant even MORE respect for the dead.

OK, you are way more eloquent than I, but I will respond anyway.  Everything you said is true.  but just because his father believed and tried to make Ennis believe that homosexuality is BAD, etc etc. and yes his father probably did have a big influence on Ennis for the first 12 or 14 years of his life, the fact is, his father is long gone now.  I don't believe that the misguided hateful beliefs of the father are necessarily hopelessly branded into the mind and soul of the son, even less so if the father disappears at such a early stage of his life.

Ok, Ennis knew what his father believed.  But just because you know that a parent has this or that strong belief, does it become your strong value?  no, not necessarily.  Kids reject their parents' values all the time.  So Ennis finds himself doing and enjoying that very thing that his dead father hated so much, having sex with a man!  Good grief, Ennis *does* have pleasure when he is with Jack, he goes to Jack with a smile on his face, he lives for his time with Jack, so why is it so difficult for him to say to himself, "yeah my old man, he was a sumbitch, dead for 20 years now, he sure didn't care for queers, but shee-yt this here is what I like, this man is the one I wanna be with, and be naked with, shee-yt, I guess my old man was wrong!"

Anyway, I can't think of a better way to explain this, except to say that many people have experienced horrific tragediies in their lives equal to and greater than what Ennis did, and they do not let themselves be paralyzed with fear the way Ennis does.

The reason I am saying it has nothing to do with Ennis' present surroundings, is, Earl's murder is the only queer murder that we are told about, as being something that Ennis has heard about from around Wyoming.  Hell, what are the odds anyway, of it happening again?  Are the odds so stong that it makes sense to live like Ennis did, not liive the one life you have to the fullest?

Jane
Then the clouds opened up and God said, "I hate you, Alfafa."

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Ennis & Cassie: Who broke up with whom?
« Reply #115 on: August 06, 2006, 01:44:19 pm »
Ok, Ennis knew what his father believed.  But just because you know that a parent has this or that strong belief, does it become your strong value?  no, not necessarily.  Kids reject their parents' values all the time.

Sure. Kids with conservative parents become liberals, kids with religious parents stop going to church, and vise versa, etc. etc. But what causes them to do that? Usually, they grow up and get exposed to other opinions, and realize different viewpoints are valid.

Say your parents are conservative, and you accept their views even as a teenager. But then you go off to college, where many of the other students are liberal and most of the faculty is liberal and the authors of the assigned books are liberal and maybe you start dating a liberal. Pretty soon, your parents teachings don't seem quite so absolute.

How is Ennis different? Well, for one, it's not simply a matter of Ennis rejecting his parents' beliefs or values. I would argue that growing up feeling sexual attractions that no one else you know seems to share and being told in very graphic terms, by the person you are supposed to respect the most, that those attractions are worthy of fathomless shame and hideous death -- that's not quite the equivalent to having your parents tell you to support President Bush. It hits much closer to home.

For another, until the day he meets the Mr. and Mrs. Twist, Ennis never encounters anybody who seems to disagree with his father. Even Jack, who is not a neutral observer but is equally "guilty," seems to subscribe at least partly to the "I ain't queer, either," homosexuality-is-bad mindset. So Ennis apparently is surrounded by people who agree with his dad.

Quote
So Ennis finds himself doing and enjoying that very thing that his dead father hated so much, having sex with a man!  Good grief, Ennis *does* have pleasure when he is with Jack, he goes to Jack with a smile on his face, he lives for his time with Jack, so why is it so difficult for him to say to himself, "yeah my old man, he was a sumbitch, dead for 20 years now, he sure didn't care for queers, but shee-yt this here is what I like, this man is the one I wanna be with, and be naked with, shee-yt, I guess my old man was wrong!"

I would argue that he does just that. Ennis' response to Jack vs. his own upbringing is a glass half full/half empty situation. For pete's sake, he doesn't reject Jack outright! On the contrary, he quits jobs and takes risks and endangers his marriage in order to see him. He just doesn't live with him.

Quote
Anyway, I can't think of a better way to explain this, except to say that many people have experienced horrific tragediies in their lives equal to and greater than what Ennis did, and they do not let themselves be paralyzed with fear the way Ennis does.

Also true. But again, what Ennis experienced was not the same as experiencing a one-time trauma. It wasn't a matter of just seeing the body of a murdered man, horrific as that would be. Ennis edured an ongoing, intensely personal, isolating, secret experience that stretched over a number of years during a particularly sensitive time in his life. People can even overcome terrible childhoods. But it's a long struggle, and it usually involves talking to other people about it, and getting therapy, or at least having others reassuring them that the abuse was wrong ... or something. It's rarely -- if ever -- as easy as "move on, already."

Could Ennis overcome his past anyway? Well, he partly did, early in the movie and gradually continuing throughout! And I would say that by the end of the movie he's made considerable progress.

Quote
The reason I am saying it has nothing to do with Ennis' present surroundings, is, Earl's murder is the only queer murder that we are told about, as being something that Ennis has heard about from around Wyoming.  Hell, what are the odds anyway, of it happening again?  Are the odds so stong that it makes sense to live like Ennis did, not liive the one life you have to the fullest?

Again, I don't think it was a simple rational calculation of risk, of Ennis thinking, Uh-oh, this kind of thing got Earl killed, so guess I'd better not take the chance. It went much, much deeper than that.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2006, 11:44:29 pm by latjoreme »

Offline 2robots4u

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #116 on: August 06, 2006, 09:37:04 pm »
My first comments are directed to the last 2 or 3 postings.  I tend to agree with Jane's views on the subject of Ennis' constant concern about the murder of Earl, but what I'm really concerned about is the comment "He was 9.  He was gay".  I don't see anywhere a reference to Ennis being gay..at any time in his life prior to meeting Jack.  A 9 year old has no inkling of what "gay" is; in fact many young boys 9-12 years old fool around with their only sex because of curiosity and it doesn't imprint them for life. In all probability, that scene Ennis witnessed stayed with him for a while and, as with all young kids, just as quickly departed, only to be recalled again on BBM. 

Hating Ennis?  I can't say that I hate him, but I certainly pity him.  The thing that makes him happiest is being with Jack, and Jack mades himself available to Ennis countless number of times, and all Ennis thinks of is "how will this personally affect me?"  Serious character flaw.

Now for the comments re: who asks whom to dance, going way back to postings as early as nbr 24:  soas to keep typing at a minimun, here are the abbreviations...J-Jack, R-Randall, La-Lashawn, Lu-Lureen, VC-view change

1.  Scene open with dancing couples, camera panning and comes to rest on table
2.  La is talking; J and L both looking directly at her
3.  J turns head back toward La, then immediately looks directly at R
4.  VC shows R looking at J, slight smile comes to his lips
5.  VC to J with cigarette in mouth, still looking at R
6.  VC back to R who is looking at La (still talking)
7.  We then hear Lu make her Kappa Phi comment. 
8.  Next La comments to Lu about having to dance with themselves, and "husbands ain't the least bit (looks toward R) interested in dancing.  Ain't got a smidgen of rhythm (looks back to Lu) between 'em."
9.  Lu comments about husbands never wanting to dance with their wives.
10.  J removes cig from mouth, dropping ashes, looks down and begins to brush pants
11.  Lu taps J shoulder and says "Why do you think that is?"
12.  J looks at Lu then back to his lap and comments about never giving it any thought
13.  J head comes up turning to his left, eyes going directly left of where R is sitting, then back to R (very briefly), then back to La
14.  Whilke looking directly into a eyes, he asks her to dance
15.  R is looking in the direction of J because J was the last one speaking, then turns to La, who is looking at J and says "Yes. Thank You"
16.  La is still looking at J when we hear him say to R "Do you mind?"
17.  VC R is still looking at La, then down to the table, then at J when when we hear "do you mind?"
18.  VC close up of "bug-eyed" J who turn head to his left and puts out cig, and stands
19.  During J standing VC directly toward R who is taking a drink and he watches La and J leave table
20.  VC showing Lu disguest
21.  VC dancing couples.  Scene ends...

The next time we see J and R together is outside on the bench, when R makes his proposition to J.  J seems very uncomfortable; eyes blinking several times, but no dialogue because the girls appear.

It is very clear to me that J and R were "eye-flirting" at the table, but J invitation to dance is directed entirely toward La, and eventhough J glances directly at R just a split-second before the invite, I do not believe there is any intention, jokingly or not, that he was going after R.

As to R being responsible for J death, there is a whole world of speculation:  did he have an affair with R (or La, as he tells Ennis); did Jimbo blab to someone (we do see him telling his friends something in the bar, and pointing at J, but just was said he don't know); did J, at some time, put the make on the wrong man who then took revenge by killing J.  There are just too many "what-ifs".  That's why the scene of J beating is left ambiguous...so that the viewer can form his own opinion.  I choose to believe it is a thought in Ennis's mind, his speculation that the one thing that bothered him about living with J was the one thing that actually kept them apart and, ultimately, responsibility for J death.   

« Last Edit: August 06, 2006, 09:39:59 pm by [email protected] »

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #117 on: August 06, 2006, 10:33:50 pm »
I think Ennis knew he was gay when he was 9.  Most gay people I know (including myself) knew they were interested in their own gender going way, way back into childhood.  I actually feel very strongly about the idea that there are gay kids and that their view of the world is very different (and hardly ever considered)... that it's completely unfair to believe that all kids are bound to grow up straight.  At 9, I'm sure Ennis would not have come up with an articulate statment that he was "gay", "queer" or whatever vocabulary would have been familiar to him.  But, I'm sure he knew he liked boys.  I think one of the reasons (aside from the obvious) that this memory is so charged for Ennis is that he was probably, secretly sort of looking at Earl and Rich as role models when he was a kid.  He was probably fascinated by the two guys who ranched up together (and not for the same reasons as his homophobic family or town).  I think it's particularly important to note that even in his telling of the story to Jack he calls them "tough old birds."  I think this is meant to be a compliment by Ennis and shows that even as a kid he recognized how hard things were for them, how unfair and how much he secretly admired their "tough-ness" in the face of all this.  I do think that the psychological torture of a gay kid is one of the subtexts or even one of the major tragedies of the movie.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #118 on: August 07, 2006, 12:14:30 am »
A 9 year old has no inkling of what "gay" is

Amanda stated it much more eloquently than I can, but I was just about to say that by age 9 you might not think of yourself in terms of sexual orientation, but by that age many people already have felt attraction to one gender or the other. I know I had. (Just yesterday, for another example, my 11-year-old son got a LONG DISTANCE call from a 10-year-old girl confessing she had a crush on him. My other son, at 9, insisted on calling a girl (not long distance) whom he had a crush on.) IMO, attraction is not the same as fooling around out of curiosity, and neither one "imprints you for life" in terms of sexual orientation. I think that's already imprinted.

The scene Ennis witnessed quickly departed, only to be recalled on BBM? I don't know about you, but being forced by a parent to view the body of a person who'd been tortured to death lying in a ditch would not quickly depart from my mind under any circumstances. Let alone if I thought my dad might have done the job. And ESPECIALLY if I thought the same fate might befall me if I made a wrong move.

Quote
all Ennis thinks of is "how will this personally affect me?" 

I don't agree this is all Ennis thinks of.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #119 on: August 07, 2006, 08:04:01 pm »
Thanks Katherine.
 :)


Well, I've been wondering about something in terms of the viewpoint of people who strongly dislike Ennis (and I realize there are lots of people and that there are compelling arguments for why Ennis is dislike-able at moments)...  I try my hardest to be egalitarian.  I think that's part of the point of the movie/ story... the two cowboys have to be taken together, they compliment each other and "complete" each other (I know I'm risking sounding sappy here..).  But, I will admit that I do have a slight Jack affinity.  What I don't understand is how people who whole-heartedly love Jack can so completely dislike Ennis.  Jack's love for Ennis defined him (Jack).  So what did Jack find in Ennis to love so deeply to risk his life... to keep coming back for 20 years, etc?  I think Jack is genuinely sweet and who knows if he's a good judge of character... but he found something hugely special about Ennis.  Maybe this is a new way to think about Ennis.  Of course, this question can be reversed for those of you who love Ennis and dislike Jack.
 ???
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