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BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN => Scene-by-Scene => Topic started by: Melisande on January 08, 2006, 09:46:51 AM

Title: Scenes with Ennis and Alma OR Jack and Lureen
Post by: Melisande on January 08, 2006, 09:46:51 AM
Discuss Jack and Lureen's scenes, except Thanksgiving, which has its own thread.

Discuss Ennis and Alma's scenes together, except for Thanksgiving and the Reunion, which have their own threads.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: M. Alexander on January 08, 2006, 02:05:40 PM
I thought the sledding scene Ennis and Alma have together, shown just after they marry, is sweet and kind of tells the difference between what Ennis had with his wife and what he had with Jack. They are having a good time in the snow, but when they roll off the tobaggan (or was it a sled?), laughing, Ennis wants to rough house, I think, but realizes that Alma is delicate and so he can't. I can't help but think that he thinks of Jack at this time and all the hard play they shared together... :-\
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: M. Alexander on January 08, 2006, 02:30:56 PM
Sorry, I've got to add one more. The scene in the grocery store. I love the way Ennis grabs up the girls as he comes in - thank God for those little girls! - and how he's stymied a bit when, after asking Monroe where Alma is and is told "Condiments".  "The wha?" "Ketchup." (Thank you Larry M. and Diana O. :D ) I love it when Ennis calls Alma "Ma" as he comes to her with the girls. I mean, he's probably 23 years old, tops, and he soundin' like an old married man. (Which I guess he feels he is...) Anyway, the tension and depth of feeling that Heath and Michelle imbue this scene with is just amazing. The visible twitches on Ennis' face when Alma resists his request initially and then her (rather frightened) compliance. This is just great acting. Oh, and how did they get that wonderful moment of Alma Jr. saying "Mamma, I need crayons.." SO SWEET! I think I read in the credits that this little girl has the last name of Proulx. Must be Annie's granddaughter - or maybe her great granddaughter! Anyway, just a wonderful, character establishing scene that pulls us in to the drama between Alma and Ennis. Thank you, Ang Lee! Thank you Heath and Michelle! Thank you everyone!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: canmark on January 08, 2006, 03:46:39 PM
and how he's stymied a bit when, after asking Monroe where Alma is and is told "Condiments".  "The wha?" "Ketchup." (Thank you Larry M. and Diana O. :D )

Aside: it seems like gay men like to laugh at that line... like they feel that only a straight guy wouldn't know what the "condiments aisle" was (ie. Ennis is straight-acting). Similarly, gay men seem to laugh when Jack fails to catch to catch the keys thrown to him by Lureen's father (ie. Jack is more gay).  ::)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: peteinportland on January 09, 2006, 08:15:20 AM
Canmark, I totally agree those two little actions are on purpose to show the masculinity of the two. This also ties into when LaShawn is telling Jack that Randall doesn't know anything about fixing cars. I laugh out loud there every time. Duh! Of course, he doesn't. And what a wink and a nod to tell us Randall might be gay (and what a playing into the stereotypes many think this film is trying to shatter).
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: gnash on January 10, 2006, 02:25:53 AM
"whatcha waitin' for cowboy? a matin' call?"

lureen was awesome... i loved how she's fending off other cowboys, who are asking her if she wants to dance (presumably), you can read her lips she says, "no thank you," a couple times.

smart girl, jack was a looker! i thought the whole thing about their relationship was bittersweet. she knew what she wanted, she got it, and then she slowly lost was was never really hers as she faded from his interest... and finally, she lost it all. poor girl. and to have to hear those assholes calling jack names in the office... she just swallowed and carried on.

i felt for the girl. it's too bad she fell for jack, or jack allowed her to fall in love with him. then again, she could have married somebody even more atrocious! somebody like her dad, who thought boys needed to watch football to be a man.

i never saw anne hathaway in princess diaries, this was my first exposure to the actress. very impressed with her abilities, nicotine stained teeth and all.  :D  from princess to booby barin' cowgirl, i felt she was the perfect match for jake g. in this movie. good casting call.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: David on January 10, 2006, 01:25:14 PM
"whatcha waitin' for cowboy? a matin' call?"

lureen was awesome... i loved how she's fending off other cowboys, who are asking her if she wants to dance (presumably), you can read her lips she says, "no thank you," a couple times.

smart girl, jack was a looker! i thought the whole thing about their relationship was bittersweet. she knew what she wanted, she got it, and then she slowly lost was was never really hers as she faded from his interest... and finally, she lost it all. poor girl. and to have to hear those assholes calling jack names in the office... she just swallowed and carried on.

i felt for the girl. it's too bad she fell for jack, or jack allowed her to fall in love with him. then again, she could have married somebody even more atrocious! somebody like her dad, who thought boys needed to watch football to be a man.

i never saw anne hathaway in princess diaries, this was my first exposure to the actress. very impressed with her abilities, nicotine stained teeth and all.  :D  from princess to booby barin' cowgirl, i felt she was the perfect match for jake g. in this movie. good casting call.

Jake G. called her a "great partner" in the Logo Brokeback Mountain special.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: peteinportland on January 11, 2006, 12:24:48 AM
There is some discussion on other threads about an interview with Anne where she says she is not used to being the "predator" which she is with Jack. I find it interesting that Lureen has to pursue Jack while Jack so clearly pursued Ennis.

We really don't see any emotional scenes with Lureen and Jack like we do with Ennis and Alma. In fact, IMO, the only real time we get to see Anne really stretch as an actress is in the phone call scene with Ennis (not that she is not good in any scenes, she just does not have the very heavy emoting type scenes that Michelle has). Hers and Jack's marriage is shown in a very different light than is Ennis and Alma's.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: aceygirl on January 12, 2006, 07:52:58 AM

Jack's affair with Randal is similarly understandable. Ennis won't live with him and he has burning sexual needs with no outlet. Randall is a willing--even eager--participant in flirtation. But of course it's objectionable because he's 'cheating' on Ennis. (I wonder: does anyone think Jack would have told Randall about Ennis, or kept him secret? I can't decide on that right now.)


I've wondered this too. It's pure speculation of course. Some think Jack's plans to have Randall (or whomever it was) move up to Lightning Flat with him in lieu of Ennis means that he was preparing to finally end it with Ennis. I tend to want to believe that had Jack survived, no matter what  happened with Randall, he would keep going on those fishing trips with Ennis. No matter what he thought he would've done, when he saw Ennis crumple like that on their last trip together, I don't see how he could've abandoned Ennis.


Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: bookgirl on January 12, 2006, 09:09:30 PM
Quote
(I wonder: does anyone think Jack would have told Randall about Ennis, or kept him secret? I can't decide on that right now.)
 
Quote


I hope that Jack would keep Ennis to himself.  What they had was so intimate and powerful that I can't imagine he would violate his bond with Ennis by sharing the details with some one else.  Even if it was someone he was considering starting a new relationship with.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: scot5636 on January 13, 2006, 12:52:06 PM
Lurene knows Jack likes men, right?  There's that very pointed, almost cutting, conversation in the dance hall/countryclub where Lurene (who appears about as jaded and cynical as it's possible to imagine) asks Jack "Why is it that men never want to dance with their wives?"  It's almost like she's sensed that there's a little spark between Jack and Randall, and she's saying to herself "Oh God, not this again."  Then Jack kinda slams it back at her by asking Randall's wife to dance.  I got a sense that this little drama had played itself out many times between them.

So, is this an indication that Lurene knows, or just that their marriage is at a point where they can do it "over the phone?"
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Mr. Wrong on January 14, 2006, 09:07:27 AM
I agree with others on here that Alma Jr knew about her Dad. Remember she was in the car and a witness to the emotional misunderstanding about the divorce postcard Ennis had sent. Watching their faces, eyes, and especially Jack's devastation she would have at least wondered "whoa, what's going on here?".
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: IAdude71 on January 14, 2006, 11:05:40 PM
Since I don't yet have the screenplay of the movie (it's on it's way!) I need some help with something.

In the scene with Jack, Lureen, and the other couple, Lureen says to Jack "Why is it that men don't want to dance with their wives?" 

What does Jack say back to her?  In the 3 times I have watched the movie I cannot tell what he says, but the audience in the theatre seems to chuckle at whatever it is that he says.

Can someone help???   ??? ??? ???
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: David on January 15, 2006, 02:44:01 PM
Since I don't yet have the screenplay of the movie (it's on it's way!) I need some help with something.

In the scene with Jack, Lureen, and the other couple, Lureen says to Jack "Why is it that men don't want to dance with their wives?" 

What does Jack say back to her?  In the 3 times I have watched the movie I cannot tell what he says, but the audience in the theatre seems to chuckle at whatever it is that he says.

Can someone help???   ??? ??? ???

I think he says, "I don't never give 'at no mind."
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Scott88 on January 15, 2006, 02:50:11 PM
I think Lureen may have had a sense that Jack liked other men, but she probably remained in denial about it until Jack's death.  And it's pretty clear, IMO, that Lureen doesn't make the full connection until she's on the phone with Ennis.

What I think is so spectacular about the scene is that we're seeing a watershed moment for Lureen.  All these years of inattention from Jack, of an icy marriage...it can all be explained by the fact that Jack had already fallen in love with another person (Ennis) well before she had ever met him.

Amazing how much can be conveyed in a single scene.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: David on January 15, 2006, 02:55:36 PM
I think Lureen may have had a sense that Jack liked other men, but she probably remained in denial about it until Jack's death.  And it's pretty clear, IMO, that Lureen doesn't make the full connection until she's on the phone with Ennis.

What I think is so spectacular about the scene is that we're seeing a watershed moment for Lureen.  All these years of inattention from Jack, of an icy marriage...it can all be explained by the fact that Jack had already fallen in love with another person (Ennis) well before she had ever met him.

Amazing how much can be conveyed in a single scene.


Well said, Scott.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ranchgal on January 15, 2006, 05:19:09 PM
When Alma says outloud to Ennis-"I would have 'em if you would support them." In their final bedroom scene.
Just about everyone in the theater with me gasped out loud.  Like none of them could believe she could actually say that.

I keep wondering If Ennis really would have been happy to leave her alone??
I mean in the scheme of things using some protection doesn't seem like all that big a problem, esp. considering how much they didn't have as compared to what they did have, and just scraping by to support the ones they have.  Even though it is obvious Ennis wouldn't mind having lots of kids, IF he doesn't have to deal with them day to day.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: peteinportland on January 18, 2006, 02:36:31 AM
A man wearing a condom in the late 60s is emasculating and an insult to his masculinity. Ennis is a rural cowboy. He ain't gonna wear no condom, especially as fragile as he already feels about his masculinity. MHO.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: peteinportland on January 18, 2006, 02:45:44 AM
I wonder what Jack told her when he drove 1200 miles after Ennis divorce? Was it just another "fishing trip" until he sees how Ennis reacts? If so, that tells me he must have known in the back of his head what Ennis might say. I also wonder why he never left Lureen to move closer to Ennis. We see that he admires her in some ways. What keeps this relationship together? A son, finances, and some history? Habit? Amazing that Ennis and Alma divorce, but that Jack and Lureen never do.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: In Tears on January 18, 2006, 11:49:11 AM
When Alma says outloud to Ennis-"I would have 'em if you would support them." In their final bedroom scene.
Just about everyone in the theater with me gasped out loud.  Like none of them could believe she could actually say that.

Agreed, that is one of Alma's two knockout lines (the other being "that line ain't never touched water...").  Alma demonstrates a remarkable ability to push on and hide the hurt she feels, but in these two instances, each provoked by E's unfair suggestions that she was not a good wife, she lets it fly. 

Plainly, part of the power of this film is that it resists the temptation to villianize or mock the women.  Indeed, through Alma, Lureen, Cassie and even the mothers of Jack and Lureen, we see suffering which reflects that of J and E.
 

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: In Tears on January 18, 2006, 10:09:04 PM
I apologize for the directness of my questions but I have zero experience in these matters.  Perhaps the straight men (and women) there can help me.  Thanks.

In E's first sex scene with Alma, she ends up facing downward.  In the story it says, "he rolled her over and did quickly what she hated."  Later, in the "I'd have 'em if you'd support 'em" scene, the story says Alma "... thought, [a]nyway what you like to do don't make too many babies."

Is E having anal sex with her or is this vaginal sex from behind?  How common is anal sex among heterosexual couples?  Is it pleasurable for the woman or is it painful?  Is it deemed degrading or humiliating, or simply a variation of normal, healthy sex?

At the root of my questions:  Is the implication here that E is using Alma for J?

Thanks for any insights.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: trebor99 on January 19, 2006, 07:29:40 AM
I haven't seen this detail of the movie discussed anywhere----perhaps someone can answer this question.

In the scene where Ennis, Alma and the girls are in on a Saturday night, Alma suggests going to the church social, Ennis is watching a movie on TV, does anyone know what movie he is watching?

thanks
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: maturben on January 19, 2006, 05:24:24 PM
In Tears---Thank you!  I, too, was not sure whether the topic of "other" intercourse should have been brought up.  In the original story there is a bit in which Ennis brings Alma to climax manually. It would seem that Ennis is trying to deal with his sexuality in the only ways he knows how. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cyoung on January 19, 2006, 06:56:14 PM
Is E having anal sex with her or is this vaginal sex from behind?  How common is anal sex among heterosexual couples?  Is it pleasurable for the woman or is it painful?  Is it deemed degrading or humiliating, or simply a variation of normal, healthy sex?

At the root of my questions:  Is the implication here that E is using Alma for J?

It's not really clear which it is, but I think we're meant to believe it's anal sex and that she's none too happy about it.... or maybe just not happy that he won't look at her face-to-face during lovemaking. I do think the implication is that he's using Alma or trying to recreate with her what he had with Jack. (A female friend of mine said she finds this scene "appalling" not only because it shows Ennis's disregard for Alma but also because it seems to reduce homosexuality to being only "about anal sex.") In answer to your other questions, I would say that it depends on the heterosexual couple or the particular individuals. People vary so much in their sexual likes and dislikes, and it's tough to generalize. Some women enjoy anal sex and/or anal stimulation, while others don't find it pleasurable.

Cara
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: In Tears on January 19, 2006, 11:36:29 PM
Is E having anal sex with her or is this vaginal sex from behind?  How common is anal sex among heterosexual couples?  Is it pleasurable for the woman or is it painful?  Is it deemed degrading or humiliating, or simply a variation of normal, healthy sex?

At the root of my questions:  Is the implication here that E is using Alma for J?

It's not really clear which it is, but I think we're meant to believe it's anal sex and that she's none too happy about it.... or maybe just not happy that he won't look at her face-to-face during lovemaking. I do think the implication is that he's using Alma or trying to recreate with her what he had with Jack. (A female friend of mine said she finds this scene "appalling" not only because it shows Ennis's disregard for Alma but also because it seems to reduce homosexuality to being only "about anal sex.") In answer to your other questions, I would say that it depends on the heterosexual couple or the particular individuals. People vary so much in their sexual likes and dislikes, and it's tough to generalize. Some women enjoy anal sex and/or anal stimulation, while others don't find it pleasurable.

Cara

Thanks for the insights (and the Human Sexuality 101); I need both!  I suppose this begs the question, is E using Alma for J or is he angry and punishing her for not being J?  He certainly inflicted emotional punishment on Alma in many cruel and hurtful ways and, with two notable exceptions ("if you'd support 'em" and "Jack Nasty"), she quietly tolerated it.  Do you think the sex is rooted in love for Jack or in deep rage over his confining marriage?

Thanks to all who add their ideas; you are a wise and sensitive group!


Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: gnash on January 20, 2006, 03:29:55 AM
i'm draggin this over from the "last scene" thread, as per the mod's suggestion:

Funny, but in my first veiwing, I swore I saw Jack looking at Randall when he asked Lasahwn to dance. Which one was he addressing (privately or publically)? - probably just me, but each time I see it Jack seems to be flirting a bit with Randall.

YES! He WAS looking at Randall! Randall even looks startled when his wife pipes up and agrees to dance with Jack. Jack's definitely playing a little game there.  :D

Cara

OH yeah, and he's no newbie at it either.  Way out of Randall's league, although of course Randall doesn't know that.

Dal


well he surely was looking at randall, but right after jack asks lashawn to dance, he shoots randall a very telling glance. i think he says "YOU MIND?" it's almost hostile. his eyes widen and his head cocks forward, as if to drive home a point. to me, it was like jack KNEW that randall was gving him the eye, and by asking randall's wife to dance, he was stopping randall, and again, driving home a point: don't fucking cruise me in front of our wives. i'm going to dance with your wife to prove, or at least make it seem, like i'm straight.

(one wonders what randall and lureen talked about when jack and lashawn were dancing)

now, think about that scene, or study it the next time ya'll see the movie, and hopefully you won't think i'm wrong. he's very direct, and the look in his eyes when he does that, at least to me, is more than just a random look. he was telling randall NOT to play games.

jack wasn't dumb here, he'd learned early on that what he did with men could get him in trouble. remember "seeing" him thinking, when the bartender told him that maybe he should try calf roping? he knew what was up, that jimbo had his number, and that any "games" he played could get him in a heap of trouble. he slammed the money on the bar after telling the bartender, basically, to eff off.

i have a feeling that ang lee described the scene and went into detail about how he wanted jake to play it out at the dance with the wives. it was very obvious to me that jack was aware of randall's flirting, and wanted to put a stop to it pronto.

then, when they were outside, jack was more lenient. with the two of them alone, he tested randall by asking "...ever notice how a woman will powder her nose.." before and after a party? he asks, "why powder your nose just to go home to bed?"

to me, that was jack addressing his suspicion that randall was gay and coming on to him at the party.

but randall is clueless at this point and doesn't pick up on the meaning of jack's question. if randall were straight, he might have chimed in with "well, maybe it's cuz the party's not over when we get home, hehe."

but no. there's silence, and jack changes the subject, talking about how roy is a good guy.

randall agrees, the starts in on his notion of the two of them getting drunk at the lake. "...get away, you know..."

jack then realized what he suspected was true. randall wanted a "fishin' buddy."

the realization renders him speechless, and then the women come out.. of course, the audience then laughs because lashawn is STILL talking a blue streak. however, the depth of the situation was not lost on me, and as the lashawn's conversation ends with "...boy we were behind the times..." i was still reeling from what had just gone down between the two men.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Yumasol on January 22, 2006, 02:08:24 AM
i'm draggin this over from the "last scene" thread, as per the mod's suggestion:

Funny, but in my first veiwing, I swore I saw Jack looking at Randall when he asked Lasahwn to dance. Which one was he addressing (privately or publically)? - probably just me, but each time I see it Jack seems to be flirting a bit with Randall.

YES! He WAS looking at Randall! Randall even looks startled when his wife pipes up and agrees to dance with Jack. Jack's definitely playing a little game there.  :D

Cara

OH yeah, and he's no newbie at it either.  Way out of Randall's league, although of course Randall doesn't know that.

Dal


well he surely was looking at randall, but right after jack asks lashawn to dance, he shoots randall a very telling glance. i think he says "YOU MIND?" it's almost hostile. his eyes widen and his head cocks forward, as if to drive home a point. to me, it was like jack KNEW that randall was gving him the eye, and by asking randall's wife to dance, he was stopping randall, and again, driving home a point: don't fucking cruise me in front of our wives. i'm going to dance with your wife to prove, or at least make it seem, like i'm straight.

(one wonders what randall and lureen talked about when jack and lashawn were dancing)

now, think about that scene, or study it the next time ya'll see the movie, and hopefully you won't think i'm wrong. he's very direct, and the look in his eyes when he does that, at least to me, is more than just a random look. he was telling randall NOT to play games.

jack wasn't dumb here, he'd learned early on that what he did with men could get him in trouble. remember "seeing" him thinking, when the bartender told him that maybe he should try calf roping? he knew what was up, that jimbo had his number, and that any "games" he played could get him in a heap of trouble. he slammed the money on the bar after telling the bartender, basically, to eff off.

i have a feeling that ang lee described the scene and went into detail about how he wanted jake to play it out at the dance with the wives. it was very obvious to me that jack was aware of randall's flirting, and wanted to put a stop to it pronto.

then, when they were outside, jack was more lenient. with the two of them alone, he tested randall by asking "...ever notice how a woman will powder her nose.." before and after a party? he asks, "why powder your nose just to go home to bed?"

to me, that was jack addressing his suspicion that randall was gay and coming on to him at the party.

but randall is clueless at this point and doesn't pick up on the meaning of jack's question. if randall were straight, he might have chimed in with "well, maybe it's cuz the party's not over when we get home, hehe."

but no. there's silence, and jack changes the subject, talking about how roy is a good guy.

randall agrees, the starts in on his notion of the two of them getting drunk at the lake. "...get away, you know..."

jack then realized what he suspected was true. randall wanted a "fishin' buddy."

the realization renders him speechless, and then the women come out.. of course, the audience then laughs because lashawn is STILL talking a blue streak. however, the depth of the situation was not lost on me, and as the lashawn's conversation ends with "...boy we were behind the times..." i was still reeling from what had just gone down between the two men.

Yesss! I call it "Shell we dance" scene!  Damn Well done! One of my favorite! Jake just sparkling....
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sarah on January 22, 2006, 05:47:36 AM
I apologize for the directness of my questions but I have zero experience in these matters.  Perhaps the straight men (and women) there can help me.  Thanks.

In E's first sex scene with Alma, she ends up facing downward.  In the story it says, "he rolled her over and did quickly what she hated."  Later, in the "I'd have 'em if you'd support 'em" scene, the story says Alma "... thought, [a]nyway what you like to do don't make too many babies."

Is E having anal sex with her or is this vaginal sex from behind?  How common is anal sex among heterosexual couples?  Is it pleasurable for the woman or is it painful?  Is it deemed degrading or humiliating, or simply a variation of normal, healthy sex?

Yes, he is having anal sex with her in my opinion, and yes, it is probably to remind him of his encounters with Jack.  I was wondering when someone was going to bring this up -- I was just about to myself!

At the root of my questions:  Is the implication here that E is using Alma for J?

Thanks for any insights.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: kaboyz on January 22, 2006, 05:24:15 PM
I don't know exactly where I read this, but in many comments I have read that people suggest Lureen approached Jack (in their first encounter in the bar) just to hush up some whispers she was hearing about Jack being gay, after the clown rodeo incident.  Those scenes were completely different scenes. 

When reading those comments at first I couldn't remember if the if they were related, so when I saw it a third time, I made sure to check it out.  Laureen was sitting alone, men kept approaching Lureen and requesting her attention and she kept blowing them off.  Then eventually she approached Jack.  There were no whispers, groups of men weren't even in ear shot.  Am I missing something? 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: tomisintown on January 23, 2006, 03:15:57 PM
Did anyone else laugh when Jack failed to catch those keys in the scene with the newborn baby? Jake played that brilliantly as well, with that innocent "did anyone see that?" look on his face. When I first saw it I chuckled and said "the gays don't catch", then realised he did catch at one point and never regained my maturity since.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Danny on January 23, 2006, 10:19:21 PM
i'm draggin this over from the "last scene" thread, as per the mod's suggestion:

Funny, but in my first veiwing, I swore I saw Jack looking at Randall when he asked Lasahwn to dance. Which one was he addressing (privately or publically)? - probably just me, but each time I see it Jack seems to be flirting a bit with Randall.

YES! He WAS looking at Randall! Randall even looks startled when his wife pipes up and agrees to dance with Jack. Jack's definitely playing a little game there.  :D

Cara

OH yeah, and he's no newbie at it either.  Way out of Randall's league, although of course Randall doesn't know that.

Dal


well he surely was looking at randall, but right after jack asks lashawn to dance, he shoots randall a very telling glance. i think he says "YOU MIND?" it's almost hostile. his eyes widen and his head cocks forward, as if to drive home a point. to me, it was like jack KNEW that randall was gving him the eye, and by asking randall's wife to dance, he was stopping randall, and again, driving home a point: don't fucking cruise me in front of our wives. i'm going to dance with your wife to prove, or at least make it seem, like i'm straight.

(one wonders what randall and lureen talked about when jack and lashawn were dancing)

now, think about that scene, or study it the next time ya'll see the movie, and hopefully you won't think i'm wrong. he's very direct, and the look in his eyes when he does that, at least to me, is more than just a random look. he was telling randall NOT to play games.

jack wasn't dumb here, he'd learned early on that what he did with men could get him in trouble. remember "seeing" him thinking, when the bartender told him that maybe he should try calf roping? he knew what was up, that jimbo had his number, and that any "games" he played could get him in a heap of trouble. he slammed the money on the bar after telling the bartender, basically, to eff off.

i have a feeling that ang lee described the scene and went into detail about how he wanted jake to play it out at the dance with the wives. it was very obvious to me that jack was aware of randall's flirting, and wanted to put a stop to it pronto.

then, when they were outside, jack was more lenient. with the two of them alone, he tested randall by asking "...ever notice how a woman will powder her nose.." before and after a party? he asks, "why powder your nose just to go home to bed?"

to me, that was jack addressing his suspicion that randall was gay and coming on to him at the party.

but randall is clueless at this point and doesn't pick up on the meaning of jack's question. if randall were straight, he might have chimed in with "well, maybe it's cuz the party's not over when we get home, hehe."

but no. there's silence, and jack changes the subject, talking about how roy is a good guy.

randall agrees, the starts in on his notion of the two of them getting drunk at the lake. "...get away, you know..."

jack then realized what he suspected was true. randall wanted a "fishin' buddy."

the realization renders him speechless, and then the women come out.. of course, the audience then laughs because lashawn is STILL talking a blue streak. however, the depth of the situation was not lost on me, and as the lashawn's conversation ends with "...boy we were behind the times..." i was still reeling from what had just gone down between the two men.

Yesss! I call it "Shell we dance" scene!  Damn Well done! One of my favorite! Jake just sparkling....





Sorry guys... I dont see it his way.  I would love to but paid attention to this part as well on my fifth and sixth trips.  Lureen and Lashawn are talking about their sororities and then says something to Lureen about having to dance with themselves, "dont matter no ways" she says cause neither of our husbands probably have a lick of rhythem between em anyway,  "ah yes" Lureen says "why is it that husbands neeever seem want to dance with their wives?" speaking towards Jack, cigarette in hand as Jack exhales cigarette and snuffs a but out in ashtray, paying more attention to that then his wife " "Never gave it no mind" replies Jack half heartedly with dis-interest (or something to that effect) then he looks up, wide eyed and bright, his disinterest snaps into appeared excitement, looks at LaShawn and says "wanna dance?"  LaShawn replies "Yes" with excited disbelief,  Randall looks shocked and you can clearly see Jack shift his eyes to Randall and say "you mind?" ( the shift implying he was NOT looking at Randall any time before)  Randalls look of shock diminishes into a liitle chuckle as he shakes his head slowly back and forth, eyes close like "i cant believe you just did that" and replies "No." while still chuckling.  I see this as more of a diss on Lureen, although intended in a light hearted, funny way.  kind of like a "quick comeback"
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: timmer12 on January 25, 2006, 07:57:36 PM
This may be in the wrong thread, but in the scene where Alma tells Ennis about the power company job (as he's packing to go fishing) the radio is on in the backround.  The DJ is telling a joke about 2 guys one of them big ("he must have worked construction his whole life...") and the other small.  The small guy speaks with a lisp, and it sounds like some kind of gay bashing joke.  I was wondering if others caught more of it.  No one reacts to it visibly, it was just part of the backround, but it seemed so sad, that once again, Ennis is being told queer is wrong.
     Did I misunderstand the whole thing?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: aevkc on January 25, 2006, 08:24:37 PM
In Tears, from my reading of the story and seeing the movie I think it's definitely referring to anal sex between Ennis and Alma.  And I think he's substituting her for Jack.  Notice in the scene in the movie, just before he flips her over, he turns out the light.  My first thought was he did that so he could pretend it was Jack.  Just my opinion.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: peteinportland on January 25, 2006, 08:27:32 PM
This may be in the wrong thread, but in the scene where Alma tells Ennis about the power company job (as he's packing to go fishing) the radio is on in the backround.  The DJ is telling a joke about 2 guys one of them big ("he must have worked construction his whole life...") and the other small.  The small guy speaks with a lisp, and it sounds like some kind of gay bashing joke.  I was wondering if others caught more of it.  No one reacts to it visibly, it was just part of the backround, but it seemed so sad, that once again, Ennis is being told queer is wrong.
     Did I misunderstand the whole thing?

I listened to this part very closely yesterday, but I could not catch the entire radio joke. Although, your interpertation would make sense. I also tried to catch what it was being advertised on the radio when Alma is washing clothes in the sink. Ang doesn't leave these little details to chance. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: In Tears on January 25, 2006, 10:27:21 PM
In Tears, from my reading of the story and seeing the movie I think it's definitely referring to anal sex between Ennis and Alma.  And I think he's substituting her for Jack.  Notice in the scene in the movie, just before he flips her over, he turns out the light.  My first thought was he did that so he could pretend it was Jack.  Just my opinion.
Thank you.  Do you gather that Alma, who is said to "hate" the act, tolerates this as she does so much other abuse from E, as a means of competing with J? 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: case on January 25, 2006, 11:54:35 PM
This may be in the wrong thread, but in the scene where Alma tells Ennis about the power company job (as he's packing to go fishing) the radio is on in the backround.  The DJ is telling a joke about 2 guys...

I listened to this part very closely yesterday, but I could not catch the entire radio joke. Although, your interpertation would make sense. I also tried to catch what it was being advertised on the radio when Alma is washing clothes in the sink. Ang doesn't leave these little details to chance. 

No, he sure doesn't. I don't know exactly about the radio ad, maybe soda? I caught some words like "different flavors", "root beer" and "diet", though. I saw Alma drinking a bottle of Coca-Cola at the drive-in.

Something else I noticed was a card showing up, thumbtacked, onto their kitchen bulletin board as Ennis is packing to go fishing. It has a red flower on it. Looks like a rose, too.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: aevkc on January 26, 2006, 08:11:39 AM
In Tears, I hadn't really thought much about why she allowed it if she hated it, but that's a good question.  I don't think she was trying to compete with Jack because it was happening even before she knew about Ennis and Jack.  The scene where he flips her over comes before the reunion.  I'm assuming, given the time and place and Alma herself, that she was a virgin when they married and maybe she just thinks that is the way it always is so doesn't voice her complaints. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Scoutjr on January 26, 2006, 11:30:00 AM
Quote

jack wasn't dumb here, he'd learned early on that what he did with men could get him in trouble. remember "seeing" him thinking, when the bartender told him that maybe he should try calf roping? he knew what was up, that jimbo had his number, and that any "games" he played could get him in a heap of trouble. he slammed the money on the bar after telling the bartender, basically, to eff off.
Quote


I never "got" the comment about calf ropin'.  Can you explain?? Sorry!  ???
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: happycamper on January 26, 2006, 12:05:54 PM
I never "got" the comment about calf ropin'.  Can you explain?? Sorry!  ???
Calf roping is a rodeo event: a calf comes running out of one shoot, a rider on horseback has to lasoo the calf, jump off his horse, work his way down the rope, and pin the calf to the ground, sometimes hog-tie it as well. It is one rodeo event that I have seen the animals get injured in, because the calf can get jerked pretty hard. The roping horses are specifically trained for this, as they back up to keep the rope taut (the rope is tied to the saddle at one end).

The way I read the scene is that the bartender is trying to cover over Jack's embarassment by making conversation, but Jack takes out his discomfort on the guy by yelling at him "Do I look like I got money for a roping horse?"

One take on the scene is that since Jack has struck-out with the rodeo clown, maybe he should try another event.  :)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Scoutjr on January 26, 2006, 01:07:39 PM
I never "got" the comment about calf ropin'.  Can you explain?? Sorry!  ???
Calf roping is a rodeo event: a calf comes running out of one shoot, a rider on horseback has to lasoo the calf, jump off his horse, work his way down the rope, and pin the calf to the ground, sometimes hog-tie it as well. It is one rodeo event that I have seen the animals get injured in, because the calf can get jerked pretty hard. The roping horses are specifically trained for this, as they back up to keep the rope taut (the rope is tied to the saddle at one end).

The way I read the scene is that the bartender is trying to cover over Jack's embarassment by making conversation, but Jack takes out his discomfort on the guy by yelling at him "Do I look like I got money for a roping horse?"

One take on the scene is that since Jack has struck-out with the rodeo clown, maybe he should try another event.  :)


Thanks, I just wasn't sure!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: michelle on January 26, 2006, 06:02:51 PM
I haven't read the story yet, so didn't know about the "what she hated" description in the original. That said, Michelle Williams managed to convey in Alma's plaintive gasp ("Ennis!) as he turns her over that this was not the first time he did this to her. It also explains why she seemed a little frantic, begging him to "Com' 'ere" as he hovered above her, just before turning her over.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: happycamper on January 26, 2006, 06:19:22 PM
I haven't read the story yet, so didn't know about the "what she hated" description in the original. That said, Michelle Williams managed to convey in Alma's plaintive gasp ("Ennis!) as he turns her over that this was not the first time he did this to her. It also explains why she seemed a little frantic, begging him to "Com' 'ere" as he hovered above her, just before turning her over.
yes, that was painful to watch, her trying to hold onto him so she wouldn't get flipped. The "what she hated" was anal sex, as you probably surmised.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cyoung on January 26, 2006, 06:47:37 PM
I haven't read the story yet, so didn't know about the "what she hated" description in the original. That said, Michelle Williams managed to convey in Alma's plaintive gasp ("Ennis!) as he turns her over that this was not the first time he did this to her. It also explains why she seemed a little frantic, begging him to "Com' 'ere" as he hovered above her, just before turning her over.
yes, that was painful to watch, her trying to hold onto him so she wouldn't get flipped. The "what she hated" was anal sex, as you probably surmised.

I got the sense that her anguish was in part because he wouldn't actually look at her during lovemaking.... wouldn't really connect with her. Boy, that scene sure makes Ennis look insensitive, doesn't it? You'd think he would have noticed her dismay.  :(

Cara
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: peteinportland on January 26, 2006, 07:56:56 PM
Ennis IS insensitive in a way many men (straight and gay) are still insensitive today. IMO, he wasn't purposefully insensitive to his wife in some of these scenes: he really did not register it or even think about it.

Keep in mind that if Alma never told him she did not like anal sex, then he may have thought it was okay. After all, Jack seemed to enjoy it with him (even compliments him in the book). I've had partners I learned there were certain things they did not like long after we started seeing each other. People are very, very shy when it comes to talking about sex, even with long time partners.

I agree that she was trying to hold him on top of her in this scene, so she could see his face and so that he would not have anal intercourse with her. He was pretty emotional detached from her, wasn't he?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: peteinportland on January 27, 2006, 01:25:20 AM
Last viewing, when Jack asks Randall why women powder their nose just to go home and go to bed, I laughed out loud. Randall replies dumbly, "I don't know." Those two poor guys have no idea the last powder of the night is for them! I never caught the meaning of that line until seeing it explained here. And bless 'em, but they look so clueless. What a great bit of dialog.

And I still marvel at Larry and Diana's back hand compliment to the Marlboro icon when Lashawn tells Lureen "we thought ranching was still all about cowboy hats and Marlboro's." Sorry honey, they have on cowboy hats, but these aren't your father's Marlboro men!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: In Tears on January 27, 2006, 10:10:41 AM
In my umpteenth viewing of the film I was struck by the parallels between the two scenes where E & J are observed together in moments of passion.  Alma sees them in an embrace and says nothing until much later.  So too, Aguirre waits to say something, although each character has plenty of opportunities to do so.  Alma seizes upon a "got-cha" moment (having herself been insulted) to embarrass E; so too, Aguirre slaps J in the face with his "stem the rose" remark.  E never tells J what Alma said to him, nor does J ever tell E what Aguirre said to him.

The dynamics of these parallel stories speak to me about the cycle that exists between fear, humiliation, and the closet.  The Aguirres and Almas of the world parlay our privacy into a thing of shame.

Thanks to all for your insights.  Great group!


Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Delmar on January 27, 2006, 12:41:08 PM
In the drive in movie scene....does anyone know the name of the movie alma and ennis are watching?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: NYboy on January 28, 2006, 12:25:23 PM
I've seen Brokeback twice now and neither time am I able to make out AlmaJr.'s line to Cassie.  Cassie replies: "You sure do know how to make your point."  What does AlmaJr. say to her?  She's examining a bottle at the time.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: peteinportland on January 29, 2006, 10:03:03 PM
I'm reposting something from symbolism because the discussion it generated really belongs here. Thanks for your indulgence  ;)

A couple of thoughts on the scene with the bartender.

1. This is the scene with Jack right before he meets Lureen. I think the filmmakers set up two things for us here. First, we see that Jack is hitting on men, and people are whispering about him. On the rodeo circuit, one sees a lot of the same people over and over. Obviously, Jack does not want to get a reputation as a queer on the rodeo circuit. We may think only Ennis is worried about the public perception, but there are plenty of examples that Jack cannot and will not live as an openly gay man in his society either. He does not want to be perceived as a queer.

Also, we are reminded in this scene that Jack is poor and that he can't even afford a horse (kinda sad for a cowboy).

This is a great set up for him meeting Lureen. He needs to quieten the rumors AND he is poor. Remember he asks the second bartender if he knows Lureen and the bartender tells him how rich her daddy is. At that point he gets a bit of an interesting look on his face, and then Lureen comes up to him. Now isn't it odd that Jack is being pursued here? It is not really in his character to be shy--we notice all the other cowboys did not have a problem approaching Lureen.  We also notice that Jack had no problem approaching Jimbo. I think the contrast in the two scenes speaks volumes.

Here is a poor, gay cowboy being suddenly pursued by a beautiful, rich girl. Bingo! Jack (unlike Ennis) ain't no dummy! He switches on the charm (and then sadly enough a few minutes later while dancing is reminded of Ennis with the song).

2. Remember, Jack is a bull rider (and tell me there is no symbolism in that!). It is perceived as the most manly sport in rodeo. There are no women bull riders (at least in 1965). Calf roping is a bit of a sport for dandy's. Both men and women calf rope. So, I think there was somewhat of a implied insult there. I think Jack got the message. (BTW, when I was growing up, barrel riding, which is Lureen's sport, is only a sport for women--it may have changed, but it was true in their day.) Also, we know on BBM Jack rides a mare. There may be some symbolic language here: shouldn't you stick to mares and not bulls? The bartender may not know Jack rode a mare, but we do, so as viewers, we can catch the symbolism. Also, remember, livestock are important symbols throughout the film (and especially horse symbolism as it applies to Jack and Ennis).

IMO, this scene works beautifully for foreshadowing and sets up of the next parallel scene with Jack and continues the horse/livestock symbolism.
 
 
 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ImEnnisShesJack on January 30, 2006, 05:13:15 AM
In the scene with Jack, Lureen, and the other couple, Lureen says to Jack "Why is it that men don't want to dance with their wives?" 

Can someone help???   ??? ??? ???



                                                  LUREEN: 
It's funny, ain't it?  Husbands don't never seem to dance with their wives.
(sarcastic) Why do you think that is, Jack?

JACK wants to have a good time--doesn't take her bait

                                                  JACK
Ain't never give it a thought.
  (to Lashawn)
Wanna dance?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: aceygirl on January 30, 2006, 08:12:01 AM
In the scene with Jack, Lureen, and the other couple, Lureen says to Jack "Why is it that men don't want to dance with their wives?" 

                                                  LUREEN: 
It's funny, ain't it?  Husbands don't never seem to dance with their wives.
(sarcastic) Why do you think that is, Jack?

JACK wants to have a good time--doesn't take her bait

                                                  JACK
Ain't never give it a thought.
  (to Lashawn)
Wanna dance?

Boy, I can't wait to receive my copy of "Story to  Screenplay"!  ;D

Does anyone think that line of Lureen's may be a hint that she knows Jack's tendencies?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: philchan on January 30, 2006, 03:08:25 PM
In the scene with Jack, Lureen, and the other couple, Lureen says to Jack "Why is it that men don't want to dance with their wives?" 

                                                  LUREEN: 
It's funny, ain't it?  Husbands don't never seem to dance with their wives.
(sarcastic) Why do you think that is, Jack?

JACK wants to have a good time--doesn't take her bait

                                                  JACK
Ain't never give it a thought.
  (to Lashawn)
Wanna dance?

Boy, I can't wait to receive my copy of "Story to  Screenplay"!  ;D

Does anyone think that line of Lureen's may be a hint that she knows Jack's tendencies?


Ha, just got that.
Lureen was the one to ask Jack for a "dance" when they first met, which led to the quickie in the car.
Is she alluding to Jack not paying her much attention at this point in their marriage? Jack doesn't "dance" with his wife
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: NYboy on January 30, 2006, 05:35:44 PM
I'm one of the few who never read much meaning into Lurleen's "Husbands never seem to dance with their wives." 

First, it reminds me of the line in the song "Chicago":  "Why, I saw a man dancing with his own wife...in Chicago, Chicago, that toddlin' town."

Second, it seems to be stated as a universal truth as opposed to "Jack never seems to want to dance with me."

Still, this screenplay is so rich with meaning everywhere that I suppose I shouldn't discount subtext.  I guess I'll have to watch Lurleen's face more carefully on viewing # 3 when she's saying it.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Charlie on January 31, 2006, 03:22:12 PM
Do you think that Jack and Lureen "had to" get married?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: NYboy on January 31, 2006, 07:09:31 PM
Do you think that Jack and Lureen "had to" get married?

What an interesting thought...it sure would explain her father's disdain for Jack.  The guy who knocked up his little girl.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: romeshvr on February 01, 2006, 04:39:49 AM

the realization renders him speechless, and then the women come out.. of course, the audience then laughs because lashawn is STILL talking a blue streak. however, the depth of the situation was not lost on me, and as the lashawn's conversation ends with "...boy we were behind the times..." i was still reeling from what had just gone down between the two men.
Quote

I also noticed as the girls came out and randall looked their way, jack gave him another look...i don't know if anyone noticed...that's why i think randall was hitting on jack..wanting a 'fishin buddy'...and jack knew...i also thought when jack realized what happend he thought of ennis..his eyes looked red...watery......too bad we will never know if jack too up randall's offer for sure...although jack's father mentions it at the end as the neighbor rancher at the end...it would have made it real if we saw randall and jack fishing :)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: aceygirl on February 01, 2006, 09:35:19 AM
I'm one of the few who never read much meaning into Lurleen's "Husbands never seem to dance with their wives." 

First, it reminds me of the line in the song "Chicago":  "Why, I saw a man dancing with his own wife...in Chicago, Chicago, that toddlin' town."

Second, it seems to be stated as a universal truth as opposed to "Jack never seems to want to dance with me."

Still, this screenplay is so rich with meaning everywhere that I suppose I shouldn't discount subtext.  I guess I'll have to watch Lurleen's face more carefully on viewing # 3 when she's saying it.



It might very possibly not mean anything for Lureen herself--but the irony is apparent as Randall ends up hitting on Jack, thus bringing the viewer a new perspective on why these particular husbands don't wanna dance with their wives!  :P

Yes, I've wondered about the possibility that Jack knocked Lureen up too. After all, at least in the book it's clear he never really wanted a child. A pregnancy, Lureen's apparent crush on him, her money, and the need to appear hetero may all have conspired to force Jack into marriage.


The bond between Jack and Lureen seems to me to stem at least partly from their mutual  daddy issues.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: dogged on February 01, 2006, 02:40:06 PM

2. Remember, Jack is a bull rider (and tell me there is no symbolism in that!). It is perceived as the most manly sport in rodeo. There are no women bull riders (at least in 1965). Calf roping is a bit of a sport for dandy's. Both men and women calf rope. So, I think there was somewhat of a implied insult there. I think Jack got the message. (BTW, when I was growing up, barrel riding, which is Lureen's sport, is only a sport for women--it may have changed, but it was true in their day.) Also, we know on BBM Jack rides a mare. There may be some symbolic language here: shouldn't you stick to mares and not bulls? The bartender may not know Jack rode a mare, but we do, so as viewers, we can catch the symbolism. Also, remember, livestock are important symbols throughout the film (and especially horse symbolism as it applies to Jack and Ennis).

IMO, this scene works beautifully for foreshadowing and sets up of the next parallel scene with Jack and continues the horse/livestock symbolism. 
 

Thanks for explaining that! I'll start explaining these things to people who see the movie and they'll think I'm brilliant. I knew there was something insulting about what the bartender said, but didn't know the details. If it had just been the rebuff by Jimbo, Jack wouldn't have left his nearly full beer on the bar, because that would have cast more suspicion on him, if he were worried that Jimbo was telling his friends that Jack had been hitting on him. That kind of super charged macho environment makes me shudder.

I also remember, although I could be wrong, that when Jack sat down with Jimbo, they show a fraction of a second of a kind of flirty wink. That seemed to make it a little more of a pick up than had he not done that. Perhaps there was a little more sustained eye contact too, something straight men don't do with each other.

As you wrote, a lot of the same crowd travels from rodeo to rodeo, so they know a lot about each other.

The attempted clown pickup was on a night after the clown saved him and he didn't do too well, which could have been weeks before he met smart, pretty, wealthy Lureen. Plus, with Lureen, there was a brief flirtation during the rodeo that seemed genuine. I think of Jack as being bi, maybe 20% straight, and was attracted to Lureen because after all the strike-outs with men, at least he could score with her, and like nearly all bi men, he thought that marrying her would help him to forget Ennis and his attraction for men. In other words, I don't think he dated or married her just for cover. If he'd been completely aware that he was more attracted to men at the time, he wouldn't have been risking too much trying to pick up rodeo people, but instead just meeting guys at a Greyhound bus station or something. There could have also been the element that he saw her wealth as a way out of rodeo, since he was getting injured a lot and didn't know how long it would last, not knowing that her father was a jerk.

I don't know if this has been mentioned -- probably has -- but I see the Jimbo scene as a possible set up, to snare Jack. Jimbo's friends could have put him up to sitting at the bar alone and letting Jack think he wanted to be picked up, as a test. They may have wondered about Jack, because he hadn't been aggressive enough in trying to pick up ladies, not making lewd comments about every babe that goes by, nor did he seem comfortable around the guys.

This confuses me though, because it seems like that a guy as good looking and personable as Jack, straight men like hanging around that type of guy too, and being a bull rider, who would even think it. I guess all it would take though, would be for Jack to hit too hard on the wrong guy once, or someone to say something, like Aguerre blabbing to someone, while on the phone about a load of sheep.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 01, 2006, 04:12:32 PM
I apologize for the directness of my questions but I have zero experience in these matters.  Perhaps the straight men (and women) there can help me.  Thanks.

In E's first sex scene with Alma, she ends up facing downward.  In the story it says, "he rolled her over and did quickly what she hated."  Later, in the "I'd have 'em if you'd support 'em" scene, the story says Alma "... thought, [a]nyway what you like to do don't make too many babies."

Is E having anal sex with her or is this vaginal sex from behind?  How common is anal sex among heterosexual couples?  Is it pleasurable for the woman or is it painful?  Is it deemed degrading or humiliating, or simply a variation of normal, healthy sex?

Yes, he is having anal sex with her in my opinion, and yes, it is probably to remind him of his encounters with Jack.  I was wondering when someone was going to bring this up -- I was just about to myself!

At the root of my questions:  Is the implication here that E is using Alma for J?

Thanks for any insights.

Yes, Sarah, I agree with you. I felt from the first screening I had that he was using Alma and imagining she was Jack. IN fact, the previous scene of Alma trying to relax his muscles suggested to me that he was thinking of Jack, since he went through the entire scene with his eyes closed.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: helen_uk on February 01, 2006, 04:29:51 PM
In Tears, from my reading of the story and seeing the movie I think it's definitely referring to anal sex between Ennis and Alma.  And I think he's substituting her for Jack.  Notice in the scene in the movie, just before he flips her over, he turns out the light.  My first thought was he did that so he could pretend it was Jack.  Just my opinion.

When I first saw the movie and was watching the sex scenes between him and Alma I was a bit confused, as he seemed to be enjoying himself.  But then we get to the end, he switches the light out, flips her over, and it's obvious she was Jack all along.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 01, 2006, 05:08:59 PM
Question for everyone. This has been bugging me for weeks....

In ALL four of my viewings of the film (all in San Francisco), the same thing happened during two scenes. When Alma opens the apartment door and sees Ennis and Jack kissing in the alley and also when Alma is filmed alone, desperate, at the kitchen table when Ennis is gone off....there was general laughter in the audience.

Each time, I couldn't believe that a large number of viewers found it funny that this woman discovers such a thing as devastating as her husband involved with Jack. Is the public so tainted to view everything like "Dynasty" episode?  >:(

It was truly annoying and, in fact, sad and disappointing, and wonder if you all experienced any such behavior during those scenes. Thanks!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: lynn on February 01, 2006, 05:17:10 PM
It was truly annoying and, in fact, sad and disappointing, and wonder if you all experienced any such behavior during those scenes. Thanks!

Hi! Yes, many of us saw this also and there's been some discussion on this topic in the Audience thread: 

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=152.msg4900#msg4900
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Chuck Ivins on February 01, 2006, 06:36:48 PM
In the scene where Ennis "kicks the bucket" following the fight with Alma on the way to work:  am I being too obscure, or could this be a hint of an upcoming death?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ellye on February 02, 2006, 04:37:44 PM
I apologize for the directness of my questions but I have zero experience in these matters.  Perhaps the straight men (and women) there can help me.  Thanks.

In E's first sex scene with Alma, she ends up facing downward.  In the story it says, "he rolled her over and did quickly what she hated."  Later, in the "I'd have 'em if you'd support 'em" scene, the story says Alma "... thought, [a]nyway what you like to do don't make too many babies."
Is E having anal sex with her or is this vaginal sex from behind?  How common is anal sex among heterosexual couples?  Is it pleasurable for the woman or is it painful?  Is it deemed degrading or humiliating, or simply a variation of normal, healthy sex?

At the root of my questions:  Is the implication here that E is using Alma for J?

Thanks for any insights.
I haven't read the book yet, but just going by that, at the stage she said it, having seen Jack and Ennis years before and knowing what they do every year, it sounds like she's saying she knows he prefers to be with Jack, with whom he has anal sex, which 'don't make too many babies'.

Just what it sounds like to me having not seen it before. Like she's telling him she knows he's gay and would rather be with Jack than her and she's had enough.

A simplistic view maybe, as someone who hasn't read the book!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: maturben on February 02, 2006, 06:06:04 PM
Ellye--yes, it's anal sex. Can't really help you on the hetero question.  Get a copy of the original story as there is an indication there that Ennis brings Alma to climax manually.  See a previous posting of mine.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Island in the Sea on February 04, 2006, 10:47:44 AM
In the scene where Alma is scraping the dishes after the Thanksgiving dinner, it seems to me that she is trying to relieve herself of continued responsibility for Ennis. She wants to "clean Ennis off her plate".  This she can do by either seeing him remarry or by exposing him as "not the marrying kind."  I wonder if she is trying to help Ennis, hurt Ennis or really do neither. She may be just trying to move on, with more concern for her own life. Running the water into the sink may indicate time is passing, things are changing and/or she wants things clean. In this scene, Ennis is the one who gets emotionally "rolled over" and Alma does to him what he hates. Thus Alma has a chance to treat Ennis the way he treated her in sex. By calling Jack "Nasty" and following that with "You and him...", Alma can say that Ennis is nasty, too. In the screenplay, after he threatens her, she orders him out of her house. She quits him.

For all the suffering Alma endures, it is less than that endured by Ennis. As a heterosexual woman, Alma is can imagine better fates for herself than to stay married to Ennis. She is free to find another man and openly marry him. Ennis has only Jack as his outlet for happiness. He doesn't find a way to integrate his desires into a respectable social life.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: dogged on February 05, 2006, 10:20:39 AM
I like the introduction of the Lureen character and the way she meets Jack, her first flirt with him on screen. It was lots of fun.

ANNOUNCER: Here she comes ladies and gentleman, oh boy, look at her fly….

As Lureen rockets onto the screen on her horse, in her home town rodeo.

This delightfully light scene follows the heaviness of the previous; the shot of Ennis, posed against firework rockets going off, the archetypal man and cowboy father having defended his family against two crude drunks at the 4th of July picnic.

Lureen takes off around the barrels and her hat flies off in front of Jack and he picks it up for her, and the flirtatious Lureen, a girl who knows what she likes when she sees it, thanks him and looks back for good measure. In other words, she does just about everything a girl could do to show interest, short of "a matin' call" which she mentions in the bar that evening, in her great line, which reminds me of Mae West. In western bars, many a woman will probably try that line on some of the shyer guys, "Whaddaya waitin for cowboy, a matin' call." Perhaps, seeing the movie, women will watch a cowboy carefully for a while though, to make sure he ain't checking out the guys, which is the real life bar scene that inspired Proulx to write the short story.

Real life sets in fast for Jack and Lureen, in the form of Lureen's Dad. Even before the Thanksgiving scene, we see Jack, standing in the corner looking handsome as hell, smiling at his wife and newborn, with father-in-law treating him like a lackey, putting him down by saying the male newborn looks like his wife, who reminds me of Mrs. Danvers from REBECCA. As Jack's kid grows up, he starts to look a bit like Jack's father-in-law. Wonder if that was intentional.





Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: jakeb2 on February 05, 2006, 12:27:27 PM
  I think Alma may have just been doing the dishes but there may be more symbolism in this scene than I am able to pick up on.
  Her comment about Ennis needing to re-marry may have been an attempt to guide him back to a heterosexual relationship and her worry about him "being alone" is more a concern about his temptation to be with another man.  Almost as if he needs a chaperone to keep him out of "trouble".
  The "Jack nasty" outburst is a perfect expression of her hatred towards Jack and his interference in their lives as well as demonstrating her complete anger and disgust towards Ennis' relationship with Jack.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: SquallCloud on February 05, 2006, 11:16:10 PM
I've seen it 5 times. The first time I saw it there was a lot of laughter in the audience during these emotional secens. In fact it kind of dulled some of the emotional resonance because the audience was so lively but I didn't let it get to me. The place was packed and it was almost entirely gay men. I think there was some snickering at another screening too. However people veiw the film, as long as their viewing it and enjoying it I can't complain too loudly.

Thanks everyone for the insigt on the calf roping thing. I felt as though I'd missed something too East coast city girl that I am. I wish we could have seen more Jack and Lureen because her bitterness just kinda is there. There's no leading up to she's just all of a sudden wearing big hair and complaining about how "Husbands don't ever wanna dance with their wives."
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: gnash on February 07, 2006, 05:22:51 AM
posted this on another thread in response to a question, but thought it might sit well here, if only as an addendum to my earlier post on this thread regarding the "shall we dance" scene between randall and jack when jack was with lureen at the dance:

So can someone explain the nose powdering?

i posted my take on the nose powdering here: http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=599.msg16208#msg16208

i think it wasn't so much random chit chat as a calculated choice of words by the screenplay writers. perhaps it was meant to sound random but even i felt jack knew what he was asking when he posed the question to randall. i felt he was trying to get a feel for the guy. if you're straight, or at least attuned to the desires of your "woman," then you might have an answer to the question. but no, randall was clueless.

i agree with rickb on what jack is all about regarding his love for jack. however, i felt he was exceedingly frustrated with ennis' reluctance to commit and held out long after the divorce, but the high altitude fucks weren't enough -- and so that's why he was seeing (the geographically closer) randall, admitting to ennis this fact (in a lie about the ranchhand's wife) and even going so far as to tell his father about the new guy that he wanted to bring up to the ranch.

of course, many here see jack as fully commited to ennis. maybe spiritually, emotionally... but certainly not physically. his "hell yes i been to mexico" seemed to spell that out, and no, i don't think he went to mexico just once. jack admits he's not like ennis.

jack twist was pretty insatiable if you ask me -- knew what he liked, knew how to get it. he sensed he was different from an early age, and because of this had a different outlook on his sexuality. he wasn't afraid of it, and i think his experiences growing up and in the meantimes throughout the 20 years with ennis (which boils down to what, maybe two years of actual time together?) meant he knew how to read a man.

jack read randall like an open book, and his question about nose powdering may have been line he used before to determine, in his subtle way, if a man was maybe gay -- or bisexual.  think of the various ways randall, or any straight man, could have answered the question.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 07, 2006, 09:03:45 AM
It's hard to believe that such a good-looking couple (handsome Jack and beautiful Lureen) should have such a sour-looking, unattractive little boy - a punishment for both living a lie? Why do the filmmakers show us then such a pretty Alma Jr.? Is this meant to prove that Ennis's marriage was the "superior" one of the two, the "straighter"? Or did they want to show that Jack, in spite of his caring for his boy's school success and driving him around in the tractor, just simply wasn't ABLE to love his "ugly" son the same way Ennis loves Alma jr.?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cricket99999 on February 07, 2006, 10:09:58 AM
I think it's to emphasize that Jack is an outsider within the Newsome family -- Bobby really did resemble JD Newsome more than he resembled Jack.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cyoung on February 07, 2006, 12:03:22 PM
It's hard to believe that such a good-looking couple (handsome Jack and beautiful Lureen) should have such a sour-looking, unattractive little boy - a punishment for both living a lie? Why do the filmmakers show us then such a pretty Alma Jr.? Is this meant to prove that Ennis's marriage was the "superior" one of the two, the "straighter"? Or did they want to show that Jack, in spite of his caring for his boy's school success and driving him around in the tractor, just simply wasn't ABLE to love his "ugly" son the same way Ennis loves Alma jr.?

Ugly? I don't think he was ugly at all. He looked more like the father-in-law than Jack, though.

Cara
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: peteinportland on February 07, 2006, 08:58:38 PM
It's hard to believe that such a good-looking couple (handsome Jack and beautiful Lureen) should have such a sour-looking, unattractive little boy - a punishment for both living a lie? Why do the filmmakers show us then such a pretty Alma Jr.? Is this meant to prove that Ennis's marriage was the "superior" one of the two, the "straighter"? Or did they want to show that Jack, in spite of his caring for his boy's school success and driving him around in the tractor, just simply wasn't ABLE to love his "ugly" son the same way Ennis loves Alma jr.?

I got a big chuckle out of this one. I didn't think he was ugly either, but I love the way you put it.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: aceygirl on February 08, 2006, 02:49:30 PM


Ugly? I don't think he was ugly at all. He looked more like the father-in-law than Jack, though.

Cara

A chilling link, perhaps, to the day the son was born and the stud duck/ignorant bastard coos "Don't he look just like his grandpa? Don't he?" (Blech!)

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: gblady on February 08, 2006, 08:51:00 PM
This is really trivial, but in that scene where Alma asks Ennis if he knows someone named Jack, there are 2 flesh colored "somethings" sitting on the kitchen counter where Alma is cooking in the electric fry pan.   Does anyone know what in the heck those things are?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: romeshvr on February 08, 2006, 08:54:18 PM
humburgers i think...
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: gblady on February 08, 2006, 09:16:17 PM
I don't think they were hamburger patties......they were cylindrical shaped, looked to be 2-3 inches tall.......looked like 2 large thumbs, or gigantic nipples, or something.....
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: TiWaKi on February 09, 2006, 05:28:30 AM
A question for discussion:  Alma was the social one and would have been more in contact with the other residents of Riverton, especially after she marries Monroe.  She'd be the one people would ask what ended her marriage to Ennis.  What do you suppose she told them?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 09, 2006, 05:31:08 AM
She told them, it would be better for the girls. That Ennis was a loner, not willing to make enough money, never take her out. That she was frightened by his bursts of violence towards her.

Certainly not, that she left him because he was stemming the rose with fishingbuddy Jack nasty.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: TiWaKi on February 09, 2006, 05:45:05 AM
She told them, it would be better for the girls. That Ennis was a loner, not willing to make enough money, never take her out. That she was frightened by his bursts of violence towards her.

Bursts of violence towards her?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: TiWaKi on February 09, 2006, 05:56:34 AM
She told them, it would be better for the girls..[    ]..Certainly not, that she left him because he was stemming the rose with fishingbuddy Jack nasty.

Okay, not Jack, the fishing buddy:  We know Alma Junior was aware daddy Ennis "wasn't the marrying kind."  She told Cassie so.  Junior would have gotten that from Alma.  Who else do you suppose Alma would have shared this with?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 09, 2006, 06:20:06 AM
That's just the point: It's Alma junior's understanding that Ennis is "not the marrying kind".
Not Alma's.
Alma still believes in marriage for Ennis, she hasn't understood him entirely the way his & her daughter has.
In the kitchen scene, she even suggests he should get married again, though she should know better.

Bursts of violence: yes, all the time unfortunately (supermarket scene, Alma leaving for an extra shift, anal intercourse etc.).
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: TiWaKi on February 09, 2006, 09:35:11 AM
That's just the point: It's Alma junior's understanding that Ennis is "not the marrying kind".
Not Alma's.
Alma still believes in marriage for Ennis, she hasn't understood him entirely the way his & her daughter has.
In the kitchen scene, she even suggests he should get married again, though she should know better.

Bursts of violence: yes, all the time unfortunately (supermarket scene, Alma leaving for an extra shift, anal intercourse etc.).

I disagree.  Alma knows because she saw Ennis and Jack together and she put the note in Ennis' creel case to test her belief, all this when Junior was a small child.  Junior has no such evidence to conclude her father was "not the marrying kind" except what she would have gotten from Alma.

As for the bursts of violence, the only incident of violence prior to the divorce in the movie that Alma witnessed was directed at two vulgar men at the fireworks, not at her.  Remember, the fireworks to the left of the screen behind Ennis, who--in his mind--just defended the honor of his family and womankind, and darkness to the right behind Alma conforting her kids.  She wasn't afraid for herself, she was embarrassed.  His intent didn't register with her, but she didn't fear for her safety.

In the supermarket scene, Ennis is not angry, he is baffled.  Alma has just declared her job at the store on level with his job at the ranch.  She showed no fear of any burst of violence from him.  She asserted herself and then took care of making arrangements for the kids.

Likewise, Alma leaving for the extra shift.  Alma had just finished cooking and announced she was taking off for a overtime shift, surprising Ennis who was expecting the family to be together for the meal.  If they had had no prior discussion about her accepting overtime shifts during family times such as meals, he had a valid complaint.  He argued and she argued back at him on the way out.  There was no burst of violence at her.  She was not afraid of him.  Even when he later kicked the door and can out of frustration going back to the apartment, he checked to be sure the kids didn't "need a push" first.  No one in the family feared any bursts of violence from him against them.

Anal intercourse as violence, I can't say.  She obviously doesn't like it, but the movie doesn't tell us what they've agreed is allowed and not allowed during sex.  The more obvious sex scene determining whether he was violent would be when she questions them having unprotected vaginal sex.  He says if she doesn't want any more of his kids he would happily leave her alone.  Then, with his hulking mass over her, she looks him in the eyes and says "I'd have them if you'd support them."  That's not being said by someone who is expecting a burst of violence from her husband in bed.  He gets off her and she calmly and almost smugly rolls over and turns out the light.

And in the kitchen scene, she should know better and she does know better.  In the scene prior the daughters were at the dinner table just idolizing their dad and she sat there fuming about it.  She wants Ennis out of her life altogether.  In the kitchen she's using the same ploy she used that got him to move into Riverton--her daughters.  Oh, his daughters wish he would marry.  When Ennis says "Once burned" he's telling her he recognizes what she's doing and it won't work.  She wanted the divorce, not him.  That's what sets her off and she uses the creel case story as her evidence she knows he's gay to get at him.  But it makes no sense to Ennis.  It wouldn't because she never told him she saw the two of them kissing.  He grabs her arm in frustration.  It's when when she said she'd call for Monroe that he raised his fist and he said he'd make both of them eat the floor if she did, that she was ever actually afraid of him.  Still, he ultimately did what she expected--he fled.  Mission accomplished:  Ennis never again entered Alma's house.  The girls would have to go out to his truck to be with him after that scene.




Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: In Tears on February 09, 2006, 11:20:37 AM

I disagree.  Alma knows because she saw Ennis and Jack together and she put the note in Ennis' creel case to test her belief, all this when Junior was a small child.  Junior has no such evidence to conclude her father was "not the marrying kind" except what she would have gotten from Alma.

As for the bursts of violence, the only incident of violence prior to the divorce in the movie that Alma witnessed was directed at two vulgar men at the fireworks, not at her.  ..... 

In the supermarket scene, Ennis is not angry, he is baffled.  Alma has just declared her job at the store on level with his job at the ranch.  She showed no fear of any burst of violence from him.  She asserted herself and then took care of making arrangements for the kids.

Likewise, Alma leaving for the extra shift.  Alma had just finished cooking and announced she was taking off for a overtime shift, surprising Ennis who was expecting the family to be together for the meal.  If they had had no prior discussion about her accepting overtime shifts during family times such as meals, he had a valid complaint.  He argued and she argued back at him on the way out.  There was no burst of violence at her.  She was not afraid of him.  Even when he later kicked the door and can out of frustration going back to the apartment, he checked to be sure the kids didn't "need a push" first.  No one in the family feared any bursts of violence from him against them.

Anal intercourse as violence, I can't say.  She obviously doesn't like it, but the movie doesn't tell us what they've agreed is allowed and not allowed during sex.  The more obvious sex scene determining whether he was violent would be when she questions them having unprotected vaginal sex.  He says if she doesn't want any more of his kids he would happily leave her alone.  Then, with his hulking mass over her, she looks him in the eyes and says "I'd have them if you'd support them."  That's not being said by someone who is expecting a burst of violence from her husband in bed.  He gets off her and she calmly and almost smugly rolls over and turns out the light.

And in the kitchen scene, she should know better and she does know better.  In the scene prior the daughters were at the dinner table just idolizing their dad and she sat there fuming about it.  She wants Ennis out of her life altogether.  In the kitchen she's using the same ploy she used that got him to move into Riverton--her daughters.  Oh, his daughters wish he would marry.  When Ennis says "Once burned" he's telling her he recognizes what she's doing and it won't work.  She wanted the divorce, not him.  That's what sets her off and she uses the creel case story as her evidence she knows he's gay to get at him.  But it makes no sense to Ennis.  It wouldn't because she never told him she saw the two of them kissing.  He grabs her arm in frustration.  It's when when she said she'd call for Monroe that he raised his fist and he said he'd make both of them eat the floor if she did, that she was ever actually afraid of him.  Still, he ultimately did what she expected--he fled.  Mission accomplished:  Ennis never again entered Alma's house.  The girls would have to go out to his truck to be with him after that scene.

Ha!  TiWaKi, we see E's actions very differently but I am certain of this, If E had you as his divorce lawyer, he never would have faced  those burdensome child support payments.   
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 09, 2006, 11:22:55 AM
Must say the same. It's a completely idealized vision of what was going on between Alma & Ennis.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: peteinportland on February 09, 2006, 02:34:58 PM
Must say the same. It's a completely idealized vision of what was going on between Alma & Ennis.

I don't find it overly idealized. I think the truth might be a bit more in the middle than what either of you have in mind; however, Ennis as dominating abusive husband over a timed and cowering Alma is far from the truth as well (IMO).
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: lolita on February 09, 2006, 04:19:44 PM
In the movie and the book I dont find Alma as 'frightened by bursts of violence towards her' except that one time in the kitchen.
And you have to admit, she baited him.
She is aware how scared he is of his feelings about Jack Twist becomming known. He never mentions their friendship, just takes off twice a year for  'fishing trips' , he is the one rejecting Jack's plans to be together as he doesnt want society to find out - suddenly he is outed, the least thing he expects in a vitrolic attack from Alma, who is still bitter about it all.
Not only is she telling him that she knows, she is saying 'Jack Nasty' that there is something wrong with them both.
The only love and tenderness that Ennis keeps in his heart is for Jack.
I think he reacted in the only way he knew how, by trying to shut her down with a threat - that he couldnt carry out.
Ennis seems to just react to flight or fight in a threatened situation - and its obvious he felt very threatened.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: kmich on February 09, 2006, 06:15:13 PM

I disagree.  Alma knows because she saw Ennis and Jack together and she put the note in Ennis' creel case to test her belief, all this when Junior was a small child.  Junior has no such evidence to conclude her father was "not the marrying kind" except what she would have gotten from Alma.

As for the bursts of violence, the only incident of violence prior to the divorce in the movie that Alma witnessed was directed at two vulgar men at the fireworks, not at her.  Remember, the fireworks to the left of the screen behind Ennis, who--in his mind--just defended the honor of his family and womankind, and darkness to the right behind Alma conforting her kids.  She wasn't afraid for herself, she was embarrassed.  His intent didn't register with her, but she didn't fear for her safety.

I think Alma is shocked and quite possibly afraid. She didn't know Ennis was capable of such violence. I believe this incident changes her view of him. And I disagree that Ennis thinks he is defending his family's honor. He politely asks the vulgar men to be quiet. But he doesn't become violent until they question his masculinity. One of them says "probably stopped putting it to the wife after the kids come." That's what makes him violent. They've implied something about his sexuality. 

Quote
In the supermarket scene, Ennis is not angry, he is baffled.  Alma has just declared her job at the store on level with his job at the ranch.  She showed no fear of any burst of violence from him.  She asserted herself and then took care of making arrangements for the kids.
I don't even know where to start with this comment. Ennis is not baffled. He's angry and he makes that clear with his very threatening look. Which makes Alma immediately back down. And why is Alma's job less important than Ennis's? Why doesn't Ennis make arrangements for someone to take care of the kids? He just dumps them on her. And they promptly make a huge mess in the store that she'll have to clean up.

Quote
Likewise, Alma leaving for the extra shift.  Alma had just finished cooking and announced she was taking off for a overtime shift, surprising Ennis who was expecting the family to be together for the meal.  If they had had no prior discussion about her accepting overtime shifts during family times such as meals, he had a valid complaint.  He argued and she argued back at him on the way out.  There was no burst of violence at her.  She was not afraid of him.  Even when he later kicked the door and can out of frustration going back to the apartment, he checked to be sure the kids didn't "need a push" first.  No one in the family feared any bursts of violence from him against them.

Obviously they need money so Alma is working an extra shift. And not only is she working an extra shift,  she's also cooked dinner for everyone before leaving for work. All Ennis needs to do is serve it to the girls. While I don't think he's especially violent here, he is throwing a temper tantrum. Of special note is the fact that this is the first time we see Alma standing up to Ennis. And he doesn't like it all. 

Quote
Anal intercourse as violence, I can't say.  She obviously doesn't like it, but the movie doesn't tell us what they've agreed is allowed and not allowed during sex.  The more obvious sex scene determining whether he was violent would be when she questions them having unprotected vaginal sex.  He says if she doesn't want any more of his kids he would happily leave her alone.  Then, with his hulking mass over her, she looks him in the eyes and says "I'd have them if you'd support them."  That's not being said by someone who is expecting a burst of violence from her husband in bed.  He gets off her and she calmly and almost smugly rolls over and turns out the light.

I don't find Alma smug at all in this scene. She looks completely miserable to me.

Quote
And in the kitchen scene, she should know better and she does know better.

So she asks for it basically? By finally confronting him for his years of betrayal, she deserves having him roughly grab her arm, shove his fist in her face, and threaten her (while she's pregnant!)?  I give Ennis credit for pullling himself together and leaving the house but his behavior is just not acceptable. We may be able to understand why  he acts as he does, but it doesn't excuse it.

Quote
  In the scene prior the daughters were at the dinner table just idolizing their dad and she sat there fuming about it.  She wants Ennis out of her life altogether.  In the kitchen she's using the same ploy she used that got him to move into Riverton--her daughters.  Oh, his daughters wish he would marry.  When Ennis says "Once burned" he's telling her he recognizes what she's doing and it won't work.  She wanted the divorce, not him.  That's what sets her off and she uses the creel case story as her evidence she knows he's gay to get at him.  But it makes no sense to Ennis.  It wouldn't because she never told him she saw the two of them kissing.  He grabs her arm in frustration.  It's when when she said she'd call for Monroe that he raised his fist and he said he'd make both of them eat the floor if she did, that she was ever actually afraid of him.  Still, he ultimately did what she expected--he fled.  Mission accomplished:  Ennis never again entered Alma's house.  The girls would have to go out to his truck to be with him after that scene.

To me, the "once burned" comment is an attempt to put the blame for their marriage's failure on Alma. He's implying that she's hurt him so badly that he'll never marry again. And we know that isn't really the true.






Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: FoS on February 10, 2006, 06:32:56 AM
The sledging scene between Ennis and Alma is very happy and loving. But I could not help thinking of it as a forewarning of how their marridge will take a dive down the slope, and in the end spill them in the cold snow/divorce.
Just like Ennis felt in the book - but for a very different reason - comming down from the mountain:  As they descended the slope Ennis felt he was in a slow-motion, but headlong, irreversible fall.
And Alma later: his failure to look for a decent permanent job with the county or the power company, put her in a long, slow dive and when Alma Jr. was nine and Francine seven she said, what am I doin hangin around with him, divorced Ennis and married the Riverton grocer.

Also: as a film director it can nott be just any old film Ang Lee shows us in the drive-in scene. I know that somebody has allready stated this, and i am really frustrated that no one has come up with an answer, so please help.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 10, 2006, 09:48:45 AM
Thanks, kmich, for getting these points straight and confirming many of my previous thoughts and comments.

In any case, physical (less verbal) violence is a major theme throughout the whole movie.

I could easily imagine an exclusive thread on that aspect.

Too bad that the masculinty thread has dried out a little meanwhile, by the way...
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 10, 2006, 10:01:19 AM


To me, the "once burned" comment is an attempt to put the blame for their marriage's failure on Alma. He's implying that she's hurt him so badly that he'll never marry again. And we know that isn't really the true.

Ironically, the "once burned"-remark is also a hint to something Ennis could subconsciously have wished to express here, referring to his experiences with another man, or, precisely, with Jack. Certainly not outspoken at all, certainly not really intended here. But try to think about it. It would read: "Once burned" by love, passion and desire to Jack Twist, there's no option that any new marriage to a woman could ever repair the solitary situation he seems to be in now.





Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: rnmina on February 10, 2006, 10:08:55 AM
Quote
Why is it that men never want to dance with their wives?"  It's almost like she's sensed that there's a little spark between Jack and Randall, and she's saying to herself "Oh God, not this again." 

You've just given me another reason to see this great movie again..like I need an excuse ;). I never imagined that Lureen was  thinking about anything other than  her annoyance at not being asked to dance. She's obviously unhappily married and probably is thinking--like I did when I was unhappily married--that her partner could dance with her once in a while. Now I don't know ???
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: rnmina on February 10, 2006, 11:07:51 AM
Quote
Question for everyone. This has been bugging me for weeks....

In ALL four of my viewings of the film (all in San Francisco), the same thing happened during two scenes. When Alma opens the apartment door and sees Ennis and Jack kissing in the alley and also when Alma is filmed alone, desperate, at the kitchen table when Ennis is gone off....there was general laughter in the audience.

Each time, I couldn't believe that a large number of viewers found it funny that this woman discovers such a thing as devastating as her husband involved with Jack. Is the public so tainted to view everything like "Dynasty" episode? 

It was truly annoying and, in fact, sad and disappointing, and wonder if you all experienced any such behavior during those scenes. Thanks!
 


The first three-four times I went to see of BBM  the laughter nearly drowned out the dialog. I was like Hold on this is SO  NOT funny. But then I thought that perhaps the laugher emanated from years of frustration...more than I will ever know--of having to deal with  married men on the down low. I didn't like the  laughter either  but maybe the men were laughing... no women ever laughed-- remembering  their liaisons with men like Ennis. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cabin on February 10, 2006, 11:31:04 AM
Quote
Question for everyone. This has been bugging me for weeks....

In ALL four of my viewings of the film (all in San Francisco), the same thing happened during two scenes. When Alma opens the apartment door and sees Ennis and Jack 

It was truly annoying and, in fact, sad and disappointing, and wonder if you all experienced any such behavior during those scenes. Thanks!
 


The first three-four times I went to see of BBM  the laughter nearly drowned out the dialog. I was like Hold on this is SO  NOT funny. But then I thought that perhaps the laugher emanated from . . . . laughed-- remembering  their liaisons with men like Ennis. 

I experienced that also, however, not as severe there may have been 3 or 4 slightly nervous laughs.  I didn't hear it as a real "laugh"  ha ha funny.  It was more as a nervous reaction coming out as a chuckle.  Also, the remarks were heard very briefly and then stopped, I think people quickly realizing the true nature of the scene.  Beautifully acted by everyone.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: bluehorse on February 10, 2006, 11:44:44 AM
I think the laughter is two-fold. One is surprise, even Jack and Ennis (especially Jack) is surprised that this guy who left him last time saying: see you around, is suddenly devouring him with total abandon. I think both of them are blindsided by the depth of their need and passion for each other in this scene. Even with all the anticipation (Ennis nervously waiting, Jack red-lining it all the way there) I think the sudden torrid, unstopable need in both of them is a bit of a surprise, the undeniable ferocity of it. So, there's that: the feeling as a viewer of HOLY HOLY SHIT, the giant WOW. But I think it's also relief both for the audience and the lovers, so much pent-up desire, so much dissatisfaction in their lives, marriages, so much flatness and gray, cramped quarters, compromises and then this explosion of emotion, passion, love that is pure, real irrefutable. So, I think the laughter is also from relief. AND in relationship to Alma, I think it's not for lack of sympathy with her but frankly, I think in this scene you want e & j together so badly, you don't care that much about Alma, our sympathies are with the lovers here, they have to be. There is also an element of uncomfortable laughter at her shock, a "girlfriend you have no idea. . ." type of response.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cyoung on February 10, 2006, 02:10:50 PM
So, I think the laughter is also from relief. AND in relationship to Alma, I think it's not for lack of sympathy with her but frankly, I think in this scene you want e & j together so badly, you don't care that much about Alma, our sympathies are with the lovers here, they have to be. There is also an element of uncomfortable laughter at her shock, a "girlfriend you have no idea. . ." type of response.

I've seen the movie three times, and nobody has laughed during that scene. The first time I saw it, I gasped and said "oh no" when Alma saw them. I definitely felt for her. It wasn't a case of either/or, because I also felt for Jack and Ennis.

Cara
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: TiWaKi on February 10, 2006, 06:40:16 PM
I think Alma is shocked and quite possibly afraid. She didn't know Ennis was capable of such violence. I believe this incident changes her view of him. And I disagree that Ennis thinks he is defending his family's honor. He politely asks the vulgar men to be quiet. But he doesn't become violent until they question his masculinity. One of them says "probably stopped putting it to the wife after the kids come." That's what makes him violent. They've implied something about his sexuality. 


Their comment about Ennis' manhood is their last one made.  I'll look over the scene again, to see just when it is Alma starts coaxing Ennis just to move away from the loudmouths and when he starts handing Junior over to her, and if its his manhood or just that they aren't shutting up that works him up enough to charge over there.   (I'm always open for an excuse to go to the movie theater again for this movie!)  I do agree it changes Alma's view of him, or is at least the beginning of her change of view.

I want to search for when and where Ennis and Alma comment on their money matters anyway.  I don't that they were impoverished from seeing their apartment or the children's clothes, just low income, more than comfortable for Ennis, but far below the standard Alma had hoped for.

----------------------------------------

While I here...

There is one scene that eventually changed my view on Ennis and Alma.  It's where Alma says "Have you forgotten something?" and Ennis comes back, grabs his creel case--I think--and takes off.  The first few times I saw it I thought, "Ouch, poor Alma, he didn't take the hint to kiss her good-bye, and this after that horribly painful episode where she saw him passionate with Jack and having to be alone with the pain for the whole weekend."  Though it seemed odd that the Ennis I understood to love his family as a group hadn't automatically given attention to Alma after chatting with his daughters.  And that Almas' expression after he left wasn't the hurt expression I was looking for, more like one of resolve--like something else was in her head.

Then during one later viewing (I've seen this thing 13 times, the theater owners love me) the scene clicked.  When Alma says, "Have you forgotten something?" instead of turning toward him to be kissed, she turns her back to him!  She had no emotion for him and he appears to have understood she was literally referring to the case on the table when she spoke.

With this in mind, looking back over the other scenes between Ennis and Alma, here is what I see:

1.)  After their marriage Ennis fails to live up to Alma's expectations.  In Riverton, Monroe is interested.  Alma moves more of her family time with Ennis toward work time with Monroe.

2.)  Enter Jack.  Alma witnesses Ennis and Jack's reunion and later confirms, to her satisfaction anyway, they are having an affair.

3.)  Here are her choices at this point:  Either bring up what she knows to Ennis about the affair and attempt to save their marriages; or keep mum, let the marriage die, and pursue Monroe who is obviously available.

4.)  Monroe wins.  The marriage dies.

5.)  Still, Ennis comes through the divorce unscathed--at least visably.  This leads to Alma fuming at her daughters continued acceptance of Ennis during the Thanksgiving meal and the confrontation in the kitchen, which ends with Alma skewering Ennis with her I-know-you're-queer story.  Ennis flees.  Major Super Bonus Points for Nasty Alma!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: TiWaKi on February 10, 2006, 06:56:20 PM
The sledging scene between Ennis and Alma is very happy and loving. But I could not help thinking of it as a forewarning of how their marridge will take a dive down the slope, and in the end spill them in the cold snow/divorce.
Just like Ennis felt in the book - but for a very different reason - comming down from the mountain:  As they descended the slope Ennis felt he was in a slow-motion, but headlong, irreversible fall.
And Alma later: his failure to look for a decent permanent job with the county or the power company, put her in a long, slow dive and when Alma Jr. was nine and Francine seven she said, what am I doin hangin around with him, divorced Ennis and married the Riverton grocer.

Also: as a film director it can nott be just any old film Ang Lee shows us in the drive-in scene. I know that somebody has allready stated this, and i am really frustrated that no one has come up with an answer, so please help.



Thanks for the assist.

In return, the answer to your question:  The scene is from "Surf Party," which open in theaters in 1963, the year Ennis and Alma married.  Since Alma is pregnant here, it appears to have
reached Wyoming a bit later.

You are very welcome.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: peteinportland on February 10, 2006, 07:21:01 PM
I think what is important in showing that movie clip at the drive in is the line "You are not allowed to park your trailer on the beach. I wanted to tell you before the police came along." (this is a rough paraphrase).  Another reference to trailers. Arguments have been made that trailers represent Ennis and his life (or his love for Jack). You can't put that in this warm and happy place (a beach). If you try you might get a friendly warning or you might get a visit from the police (the final arbiter of what society says is right).

I think this scene also contrasts the American ideal versus what Jack and Ennis have. Here is a beautiful blonde girl and an all-American guy in what seems a bit of a flirty scene that sets up what lead to a romance in a "beach blanket bingo" type of setting. This is what all of America is taught they should want: not a forbidden relationship that has to take place in the cold on a mountain. Ennis has his own pretty blonde girl with him (she is even pregnant). He is on his way to fulfilling the American ideal. All he needs to do is make sure he keeps his love (and life) off the forbidden beach (which he doesn't do).

I'd be interested to hear other interpretations.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cyoung on February 10, 2006, 07:50:16 PM
Ennis has his own pretty blonde girl with him (she is even pregnant). He is on his way to fulfilling the American ideal. All he needs to do is make sure he keeps his love (and life) off the forbidden beach (which he doesn't do).

I'd be interested to hear other interpretations.

My only quibble with your interpretation is that Alma has auburn hair in the movie.  :)

Cara
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: FoS on February 11, 2006, 04:25:07 AM
Thanks for the assist.

In return, the answer to your question:  The scene is from "Surf Party," which open in theaters in 1963, the year Ennis and Alma married.  Since Alma is pregnant here, it appears to have
reached Wyoming a bit later.

You are very welcome.


Thanks a lot, and to Pete too!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 11, 2006, 11:06:14 AM
Just a mind game: What do you believe would have happened if Alma hat NOT initiated the divorce?

By the way, what do you think which reasons for being forced to split up she offered the civil judge to get the divorce through (since she obviously did NOT mention Ennis's unfaithfulness or having an affair with a guy)?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 11, 2006, 11:09:32 AM
It's amazing how many people so important to each other have never actually met during the entire movie (story):

Ennis and Lureen
Lureen and Alma
Jack and Alma (only once very briefly)
Ennis and Jack's son
Jack and Alma jr (only once very briefly).
Ennis and Lureen (only on the phone - did he have any idea who she looked like?)

God knows they could have had loads of subjects to talk / argue about !!!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 11, 2006, 11:10:41 AM
oops, I meant: HOW she looked like, of course
excuse me
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: TiWaKi on February 12, 2006, 01:08:03 AM
Just a mind game: What do you believe would have happened if Alma hat NOT initiated the divorce?

I'd guess Ennis and Alma would bicker more and remain miserable, with Alma constantly trying to get Ennis to get a better job and to be more social and Ennis resisting.  His affair with Jack would end real quick if she simply mentioned she saw the two of them trading spit.  Ennis' frightened butt would stay right there at home.  But it wouldn't solve the the problems caused by their differences.

Quote
By the way, what do you think which reasons for being forced to split up she offered the civil judge to get the divorce through (since she obviously did NOT mention Ennis's unfaithfulness or having an affair with a guy)?

Maybe irreconcilable differences?  Alma craved some of the comforts of life and social interaction.  Ennis would rather she stayed home with him and the kids and live a more isolated and Spartan life.  The two dreams could never co-exist.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on February 13, 2006, 01:19:30 PM
  Major Super Bonus Points for Nasty Alma!

You are joking here, right? Because I'm really fed up with the number of guys on this board who only seem to be able to grasp how the world might look from Ennis's point of view. Does it ever occur to you that you can have insight and compassion for more than one character here? Or even a woman!? Read the interview with Michelle Williams to get a bit of a glimpse into how she played this woman. Yes, she does become hardened and angry and bitter. Why don't you have some compassion for that? She gets a hard time in this marriage and it really isn't her fault, and the guy says. Ennis rightly gets loads of understanding for the narrow, cramped man he becomes but so man guys seem to revel in what is frankly sheer misogyny as far as I can see.

She is not allowed to do anything spontaneously according to you people. She's connived everything to cause Ennis maximum hard. That is such a crude way to read the film, in my opinion, and is oblivious to the complex, rich performance that Michelle Williams delivers as Alma.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Lola on February 13, 2006, 01:29:01 PM
Alma is as much a victim in this movie as Ennis and Jack.

Her life with Ennis wasn't exactly a bed of roses and he was cheating on her, with another man.  I know alot of people who actually couldn't get past this in the movie and had a hard time even feeling sympathy for Ennis and Jack.

But Alma got some strength, she worked, she raised her girls and she got a man who was willing to give her love and all the other things she wanted in life.

In the end Alma faired a heck of alot better than Ennis or Jack.

GO ALMA!!

And go Michelle, for a brilliant performance  ;)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 13, 2006, 02:25:35 PM

Is there any hint in the movie that Alma is actually showing DESIRE for Ennis?
Or him for HER?
I mean, desire defined as physical pleasure combined with deepest love emotion?

Do you believe that A & E fell in love before the BBM summer?
Or were they promised to each other, because marriage was something one did if one came from the same background/village, had the same age, wanted to build a modest future/household etc.? Was she just the neighbor girl, the "girl next door"?

Funny - we really don't know ANYTHING about Alma's background. Parents, brothers/sisters etc.? ? ? We know even a lot more about Lureen who is, generally speaking, by far the most "hidden" character of the four.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Marge_Innavera on February 14, 2006, 08:43:49 AM
Alma knows because she saw Ennis and Jack together and she put the note in Ennis' creel case to test her belief, all this when Junior was a small child.

Maybe someone can help me here.....

All through Alma's account of the price tags still being on the fishing tackle, putting a note in the tackle box - why does she go through this routine?  It implies that this is how she found out about him and Jack, when in reality she's known ever since the first "fishing trip."

I'd have loved to be a fly on the wall when Ennis attends his daughter's wedding, and know what these two say to each other.  And wonder if Alma would detect any change in her ex.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cricket99999 on February 14, 2006, 10:01:53 AM
Alma knows because she saw Ennis and Jack together and she put the note in Ennis' creel case to test her belief, all this when Junior was a small child.

Maybe someone can help me here.....

All through Alma's account of the price tags still being on the fishing tackle, putting a note in the tackle box - why does she go through this routine?  It implies that this is how she found out about him and Jack, when in reality she's known ever since the first "fishing trip."
If she pretends she knew nothing during the first years of "fishing trips" she appears truly a victim.  To admit she knew would be to imply some degree of tacit approval, or at least acceptance.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: aceygirl on February 14, 2006, 10:44:27 AM


All through Alma's account of the price tags still being on the fishing tackle, putting a note in the tackle box - why does she go through this routine?  It implies that this is how she found out about him and Jack, when in reality she's known ever since the first "fishing trip."
If she pretends she knew nothing during the first years of "fishing trips" she appears truly a victim.  To admit she knew would be to imply some degree of tacit approval, or at least acceptance.

It might very well be that Alma simply didn't know what else to do throughout those years. She was still trying to make a go of it with Ennis, and probably had no concept of how to deal with a husband who goes on occasional trips with a guy he makes love with without jeopardizing the family unit for the sake of the children. He was a good father, a dutiful husband (agrees to move to town), treated her with reasonable enough affection--kissing her on the cheek when he comes home, went sledding with her, whatever...and she did love him. So those components of *daily* life--measured against this "love that could not speak its name" that only happened a few times a year--could only, I would think, have made speaking up during the marriage even harder to do.







Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cyoung on February 14, 2006, 10:52:19 AM
  Major Super Bonus Points for Nasty Alma!

You are joking here, right? Because I'm really fed up with the number of guys on this board who only seem to be able to grasp how the world might look from Ennis's point of view. Does it ever occur to you that you can have insight and compassion for more than one character here? Or even a woman!? Read the interview with Michelle Williams to get a bit of a glimpse into how she played this woman. Yes, she does become hardened and angry and bitter. Why don't you have some compassion for that? She gets a hard time in this marriage and it really isn't her fault, and the guy says. Ennis rightly gets loads of understanding for the narrow, cramped man he becomes but so man guys seem to revel in what is frankly sheer misogyny as far as I can see.

She is not allowed to do anything spontaneously according to you people. She's connived everything to cause Ennis maximum hard. That is such a crude way to read the film, in my opinion, and is oblivious to the complex, rich performance that Michelle Williams delivers as Alma.


Will you marry me, Patroclus?  :) LOL.

Cara
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cricket99999 on February 14, 2006, 11:21:14 AM


All through Alma's account of the price tags still being on the fishing tackle, putting a note in the tackle box - why does she go through this routine?  It implies that this is how she found out about him and Jack, when in reality she's known ever since the first "fishing trip."
If she pretends she knew nothing during the first years of "fishing trips" she appears truly a victim.  To admit she knew would be to imply some degree of tacit approval, or at least acceptance.

It might very well be that Alma simply didn't know what else to do throughout those years.

I agree; she didn't know what else to do during those years -- tried to get through the pain and confusion as best she can.  And later she explains it in a way that makes her look a little better... so that she's less likely to be accused of complacency. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: moni45 on February 14, 2006, 12:17:27 PM
Doe anyone think that Alma might have been seeing Monroe on the side,hence her need to get to the store so quickly. It is obvious Monroe has a thing for her,the look he gives her when Alma Jr knocks over the jars!! Just a thought.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: YouBet on February 14, 2006, 12:45:42 PM
(http://)Moni,
I thought the same thing.  It was a surprise to Ennis that Alma had taken that extra shift.  And she goes rushing off, despite Ennis' demands that she stay home.  Of course, it's all speculation but that's what I read into the scene.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: aceygirl on February 14, 2006, 02:44:37 PM


It might very well be that Alma simply didn't know what else to do throughout those years.

Quote
I agree; she didn't know what else to do during those years -- tried to get through the pain and confusion as best she can.  And later she explains it in a way that makes her look a little better... so that she's less likely to be accused of complacency. 
Quote

Well, I'm not sure if "complacency" is totally the right word--the "misery look" she gives him is not complacent! Then again, when I think of that adjective I think of complacent in a somewhat benign sense, like "placid" or "blithely content."

Maybe it was more about showing that she wasn't completely fooled or cuckolded? That she was not the clueless wife Ennis thought she was? The way I saw her last scene with Ennis, she had a lot of bottled up hurt, anger and frustration--it seemed to me like she wanted to say, "I'm not as dumb as you made me out to be, cheating ex-hubby!" --to nurse some hurt pride.

An understandably human reaction, in my view--what cuckolded, feeling-betrayed human has the patience and forgiving nature of a saint? Not too many!

But cheating on Ennis with milquetoast Munroe? Hmmm....I really didn't see that extra shift as anything but a culmination of her frustration with Ennis's constant array of low-paying jobs. As you say, YouBet, it's all speculation on our parts...

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: maturben on February 14, 2006, 04:38:52 PM
I have a question for everyone:  Who among us hasn't gone thru a period of denial in a relationship  going bad?  We KNOW but.....  And considering the time/place frame of the story, wouldn't Alma's actions make sense?  Also, re Alma Jr.' s comment to Cassie---perhaps,as this is several years later, she would be more "aware" of what is going on in the world in general.  I believe the story begins in 1963 and ends in 1983.  In those 20 years a lot happened re gay awareness.  I know I was there and thankfully am still here. (the gods do protect fools, sometimes)  As a callow youth, I was at Stonewall, but that is a another story altogether.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: aceygirl on February 15, 2006, 08:18:01 AM
I have a question for everyone:  Who among us hasn't gone thru a period of denial in a relationship  going bad?  We KNOW but.....  And considering the time/place frame of the story, wouldn't Alma's actions make sense?  Also, re Alma Jr.' s comment to Cassie---perhaps,as this is several years later, she would be more "aware" of what is going on in the world in general.  I believe the story begins in 1963 and ends in 1983.  In those 20 years a lot happened re gay awareness.  I know I was there and thankfully am still here. (the gods do protect fools, sometimes)  As a callow youth, I was at Stonewall, but that is a another story altogether.



Good points. Oh man, especially about being in a period of denial....it's tough enough in a flat-out hetero or homo relationship! "Maybe he'll change... " "She's working on it..." "He promises he'll stop this time!" "She doesn't mean it, really!" "It's not lesbian bed death, it's just a phase!" etc. etc.  :P

Add the issue of being in the closet during a crucial period of change and yeah...wow.

A Stonewall veteran! Cool! :)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: maturben on February 15, 2006, 09:09:12 AM
sometimes this "Stonewall veteran" feels like a dinosaur
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cricket99999 on February 15, 2006, 10:38:24 AM


It might very well be that Alma simply didn't know what else to do throughout those years.

Quote
I agree; she didn't know what else to do during those years -- tried to get through the pain and confusion as best she can.  And later she explains it in a way that makes her look a little better... so that she's less likely to be accused of complacency. 
Quote

Well, I'm not sure if "complacency" is totally the right word--the "misery look" she gives him is not complacent!
I'm not sure either if that's the word I want... what I mean is this.  She wouldn't want anyone to be able to say, "Why did you go so many years knowing about the kiss -- hence knowing about the affair -- yet you complacently said nothing about it at all?"

Personally I would have mentioned the kiss if I were Alma delivering the "Jack Nasty" accusation.  (Not that I would do that; I am such an angel LOL)   Without admitting she saw the kiss, how can she claim to interpret Ennis' *not* fishing?  One wouldn't immediately think their hubby and buddy were gay.  For example, the trips could be cover for gambling trips, or any other activity which Alma might not approve.  Or there may be girlfriend(s) hubby sees, and the 'fishing buddy' is the cover.  And so on...  Alma claims to know the fishing line never touched water -- but without seeing the kiss there'd be little chance of figuring out what that means.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cricket99999 on February 15, 2006, 10:43:16 AM
Quote
But cheating on Ennis with milquetoast Munroe?
LOL like that would be a thrill.  I say no affair... Alma went straight from being Monroe's employee to being his wife. Anything in between is hard to imagine.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on February 15, 2006, 01:20:47 PM
sometimes this "Stonewall veteran" feels like a dinosaur

no, no: all honour to you - a jewel to be treasured, mate!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on February 15, 2006, 01:28:11 PM
Alma claims to know the fishing line never touched water -- but without seeing the kiss there'd be little chance of figuring out what that means.

yes, that is true. She's also making a point about Ennis's neglect of her and the girls, his self-centredness here, too. Bring us back some fish, Ennis, the note said. She says he knows that they like fish. But he never did. And that he was lying to her all the time. But it's true that she's not telling Ennis how she really knows the real purpose of the fishing trips. Which triggers paranoia in poor En of course, because he assumes that she can see what he is, that the truth is just leaking out of him and becoming obvious. Hence his anxious questions to Jack the next trip we see when he asks him is he ever wonders if other people can tell...
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cricket99999 on February 15, 2006, 02:54:53 PM
Quote
Which triggers paranoia in poor En ...
Awww I love that nick, and someone said Jack calls him that in the parka scene w/ Lureen.  That "he doubts En's truck would make it to Texas" or something like that.  Do you know?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on February 15, 2006, 02:57:05 PM
Quote
Which triggers paranoia in poor En ...
Awww I love that nick, and someone said Jack calls him that in the parka scene w/ Lureen.  That "he doubts En's truck would make it to Texas" or something like that.  Do you know?


He does. World of tenderness in that little syllable, eh?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cricket99999 on February 15, 2006, 03:00:34 PM
*melts*
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: peteinportland on February 15, 2006, 05:38:21 PM
I've always heard "I doubt HIS truck would make it...." However, I still hear "I'm sorry," and "roll your own," so whadda I know?  ;D
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: bluehorse on February 15, 2006, 06:30:44 PM
But it's true that she's not telling Ennis how she really knows the real purpose of the fishing trips. Which triggers paranoia in poor En of course, because he assumes that she can see what he is, that the truth is just leaking out of him and becoming obvious. Hence his anxious questions to Jack the next trip we see when he asks him is he ever wonders if other people can tell...

This was revelatory for me; it never occurred to me how Ennis would internally belabor how Alma knew about him and Jack, and how this would further his paranoia, leading to his questions at the river. . .I forget that Ennis, in the film, doesn't see Alma see them. In the story, it's more ambiguous. The line after she sees them kissing in the story is: What could he (Ennis) say?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: maturben on February 15, 2006, 07:03:01 PM
Just returned home from seeing BBM a fifth time.  Took a close friend of mine (actually we're boink-in-laws) who was seeing the film for the first time.  She was totally blown away by the film.
I had lent her my copy of the story to read before hand and sent her home with the story/screenplay ppbk, at her request, so that she could study it.  Over dinner after the movie we had a really great discussion about the movie.
One detail I zeroed in on with this viewing of the movie was the look of desolation on Ennis's face in the divorce scene.  His eyes are brimming with tears.

Patroclus, thanks for the compliment
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: TaoOfMeow on February 15, 2006, 08:31:34 PM
(Newbie here...please forgive my long post. :))

Interesting points being raised in this thread, and I wanted to share a few things that stand out for me as I watch their respective scenes play out:


Ennis/Alma:

Jack/Lureen:


I could say more...but I've rambled enough.  I find it amazing that we can all can glean so much more meaning out of such precious few minutes of screen time!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 16, 2006, 03:52:48 AM
I don't think Ennis and Alma really "talked" to one another very much, even though I sense that they had much more in common than Ennis and Jack did.

As much as I agree with you concerning the first half sentence of your analysis, I wonder what made you believe in what you say in the second half... For what exactly is it that E & A might have possibly in common - apart from the poor, dull background they share, their "fate" so to speak, or the marriage "arrangement" you mentioned earlier?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: TaoOfMeow on February 16, 2006, 10:07:44 AM
I don't think Ennis and Alma really "talked" to one another very much, even though I sense that they had much more in common than Ennis and Jack did.

As much as I agree with you concerning the first half sentence of your analysis, I wonder what made you believe in what you say in the second half... For what exactly is it that E & A might have possibly in common - apart from the poor, dull background they share, their "fate" so to speak, or the marriage "arrangement" you mentioned earlier?

Grasping at straws, I know...but I get the sense that Ennis and Alma, being shy and isolated small-town folk, probably knew each other as children. (He casually refers to her by first name when talking to Jack, not in a general "girl I'm engaged to" sort of way -- could just be him being respectful, but it sounds more friendly to me.)  I'll also go out on a limb and say that Alma was also the youngest child in her family (her sister is referenced to only once, and like Ennis' siblings I don't see her playing an active emotional role in Alma's adult life).  Ennis and Alma may have met one another over time at church functions, perhaps even played together in grade school.  Aside from their personalities (reserved, quiet, hardworking), they also share the same social background, the same level of worldly experience, the same expectations, the same attitudes towards family and children.  And based on what others have mentioned about costume design in other threads, I think the fact that both characters seem to dress in similar subdued earthtones (as opposed to Jack's blues and Lureen's reds) is a subtle visual clue for me in as to their "sameness".

I find it telling that, even though early on they both know that their life as a couple is an emotional/physical wasteland, their mutual sense of responsibility (to their children? or their own misguided notion of what marrige itself really meant?) forces them to keep up the facade for thirteen years.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: TaoOfMeow on February 16, 2006, 10:27:34 AM

Ennis/Alma:
  • From the little we know of their lives/circumstances beforehand, I believe that their marriage may have been arranged. (Ennis is so repressed, so closed off and isolated, that I just can't see him dating anyone by choice.)
Just backpedaling a bit and realized I forgot to clarify this thought.  :-[

As far as "arranged" goes, I believe it leans somewhere toward the notion that their families felt that they would be best suited to one another.  Nothing along the lines of a "matchmaker", certainly -- but I think that Ennis and Alma were shown the marriage road beforehand and were pushed hard in that direction.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: DaveL on February 16, 2006, 10:48:50 AM
ingmarnicebbmt, persons who never met would include:  J's parents never met Lureen, and did not attend son's funeral; Ennis only met parents at the "wake" scene.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: maturben on February 16, 2006, 10:49:20 AM
TaoOfMeow--having grown up in a small town myself (not as small as in the movie, tho'), I believe your explanation is totally correct.  We must all keep in mind that the story begins in 1963.  The last 40 odd years (!!) have wrought many changes in our society's fabric.  We can't, therefore, base our judgement of the movie's characters on present-day standards.
Good god, I just made myself feel way old. :o
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cyoung on February 17, 2006, 10:36:06 AM
[I find it telling that, even though early on they both know that their life as a couple is an emotional/physical wasteland, their mutual sense of responsibility (to their children? or their own misguided notion of what marrige itself really meant?) forces them to keep up the facade for thirteen years.

This isn't surprising, though, is it? Many couples live exactly like this for the same reasons. Many put duty and responsibility for their children above their own needs. In a way, it's part of the "bargain" you make when you decide to have children.

In many ways I think it's unfair to compare Ennis and Alma with Ennis and Jack. I try to imagine Jack and Ennis as the couple setting up a household with two demanding children and all the responsibilities and then seeing what their life together is like several years down the road. We never see what those pressures can do to a relationship, even a very good one.

Cara
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: PetiteMiel on February 18, 2006, 07:30:14 AM
I noticed that several people in this thread feel that Alma Jr. knows her father's gay because she tells Cassie "He's not the marrying kind."  I have to say I didn't see this scene that way at all and don't see anything in the film to make me believe she is aware of her father's sexuality.

The phrase "He's not the marrying kind" could refer to a man being gay but it was also used to refer to a man who liked to play the field and had no intention of settling down. However if we assume the phrase does refer to someone being gay and AlmaJr. using it because she knows the truth it would stand to reason that Cassie also knows the meaning of this phrase. That being the case it would mean that Alma Jr. had just "outed" her father to his current girlfriend. If that had happened I think Cassie's reaction would have been a bit different.

To me the use of this phrase was just Alma Jr's way of telling Cassie to back off and not get any ideas about her father. This is why Cassie responds by saying "You don't say much but you sure know how to  get your point across" and why Alma Jr. then apologizes for being rude to her.

If you look at the scene just before this it sets this scene up nicely. Alma Jr. is waiting for her father to pick her up. When she sees the truck coming down the street she jumps up excitedly with a big smile on her face. When the truck comes to a stop and she sees Cassie in the truck her smile dissappears and she gets a look on her face that to me says she is not happy about seeing this woman with her father.

It seemed to me that she sees Cassie as a threat with regards to her father's time. She wants his attention and doesn't want to share it with this woman.
 
I also can't see Alma ever discussing Ennis and Jack's relationship with anyone especially her daughters. She obviously has a lot of pain associated with those events and she is clearly disgusted, (the jack nasty comment) by their relationship. I think she would have been humiliated by it and would have kept it to herself.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: All4one on February 18, 2006, 08:19:35 AM
I agree 100%.
I assumed that Alma, to explain the divorce to her children -and 'everyone else'- had either used that phrase or some version of it. Nothing is Ennis's behavior would contradict it. He didn't remarry, he didn't begin seeing another woman until Cassie initiated their relationship. 'Not the marrying kind' is what Monroe - the 'marrying kind' - also must believe.

And as you said, Cassie's reaction was mild. I could see her unspoken "That's what he thinks" :)) at that time.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: DaveL on February 18, 2006, 08:37:05 AM
I saw it in a very good theatre, dead center,  6 rows back and with a quiet audience.  I heard "I'm sorry" "It's all right" BOTH in the second tent scene AND when E collapses in the trailhead scene (final parting) and J embraces him.   I heard J tell Lureen  he doubts E's "pickup would make it" to Tx
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: gblady on February 18, 2006, 09:39:48 AM
This is really trivial, but in that scene where Alma asks Ennis if he knows someone named Jack, there are 2 flesh colored "somethings" sitting on the kitchen counter where Alma is cooking in the electric fry pan.   Does anyone know what in the heck those things are?

(http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f78/gblady/bbm0794.jpg)

OK, guys, I posted this question b4, see above, and didn't get an answer that figured it out.   So, now with the picture.....it's those 2 flesh colored "thingys" under Alma's left arm....they look like thumbs?, or elongated nipples?, miniature penis's?.  I figure they must have something to do with cooking, but I'm baffled .........does anyone know what they are???   ???
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ken on February 18, 2006, 09:50:51 AM
They look like Salt & Pepper shakers to me. :)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Jaysmommy on February 18, 2006, 10:01:22 AM
They look like Salt & Pepper shakers to me. :)

yes, they are salt and pepper shakers, but a very weird color!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 18, 2006, 10:10:25 AM
Why would, of all people, Alma & Ennis own PENIS-SHAPED salt and pepper shakers? :o
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: gblady on February 18, 2006, 10:10:51 AM
ahhhhhh, that makes sense......thank you.....
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: gnash on February 18, 2006, 10:14:37 AM
They look like Salt & Pepper shakers to me. :)

me too. i doubt they are baby bottle parts, but the color seems to indicate they might be... what ever they are, it's meant to be. that's the scene in the screenplay where alma "...has made a greasy hamburger." it again shows the twin/dual aspects that repeats itself in the movie. they are intentional -- they must be -- framed in the triangle formed by the counter and alma's body and arm...

it's alma, cooking with one hand, the other forming a protective sheild over two objects that could maybe represent her kids.  ya know?

they look like plastic salt and pepper shakers, and while they're awfully small, more like tabletop shakers, i suppose they might have been placed on the counter to season her greasy burger. (what's funny is  my parents had that same style of electric skillet that alma's using in that scene.)

another scene that i like is the kitchen table in some other scene, there on one side is a big round container of white sugar, and i think two salt and pepper shakers. alma, and the two children. on the same table, but seperated by some distance, are two empty beer bottles, and an ashtry overflowing with spent butts. to me, it's like jack and ennis, and the awful mess they've created.

i know that the "meaning" i put into the coffee cups and coffee pots isn't widely accepted, but i think we must really force ourselves to look at ang's film as a painting in motion. i really do think that he was wanting to created symbolic scenes where the visual elements speak for themselves, in a subtle, hidden manner.

i really wish there was a "little details" thread! ;)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: In Tears on February 18, 2006, 11:28:17 AM
I noticed that several people in this thread feel that Alma Jr. knows her father's gay because she tells Cassie "He's not the marrying kind."  I have to say I didn't see this scene that way at all and don't see anything in the film to make me believe she is aware of her father's sexuality.

The phrase "He's not the marrying kind" could refer to a man being gay but it was also used to refer to a man who liked to play the field and had no intention of settling down. However if we assume the phrase does refer to someone being gay and AlmaJr. using it because she knows the truth it would stand to reason that Cassie also knows the meaning of this phrase. That being the case it would mean that Alma Jr. had just "outed" her father to his current girlfriend. If that had happened I think Cassie's reaction would have been a bit different.

To me the use of this phrase was just Alma Jr's way of telling Cassie to back off and not get any ideas about her father. This is why Cassie responds by saying "You don't say much but you sure know how to  get your point across" and why Alma Jr. then apologizes for being rude to her.

Thanks, PetiteMiel.  I was once in your camp but in my umpteenth viewing last night I was persuaded otherwise.  Yes, "not the marrying kind" is ambiguous in the same way that "confirmed bachelor" and "old maid" leave plenty of room for interpretation.  What convinces me that Alma, Jr. really knows her dad is their near-intimate relationship.  Like her father, she is a person of few words who quietly gets her "point across."  At the Thanksgiving dinner table she jump-starts the conversation to give E something to say.  She later asks her father if she can move away from her mother and live with him.  In the final scene, does a remarkable job of showing that she understands E's deepest nature and what a tough decision her wedding presents for him.

More specifically, she grew up in a household where her father showed little affection for her mother but went crazy whenever J showed up.  E's long trips away with J were the norm.  More significantly, Alma, Jr. was old enough at the time to appreciate the "divorce trip" embrace which she witnessed from the truck.

I view Alma, Jr. and Jack's mother as parallel characters, the only women (indeed the only people) who truly understand J and E's troubled lives.  It is both ironic and tragic that Alma (Sr.) and Lureen know their husbands far less than a daughter and a mother.

Many thanks for your insights.  Great group!
 

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: romeshvr on February 18, 2006, 12:04:40 PM
gblady...they are salt and pepper shakers...

next time pay attention to the scene where ennis comes back from the motel and alma is sitting at the dinner table.  right in front of her is the funny looking sugar bottle and on either side of it is the things you see on the counter, salt and pepper shaker.  i think the colour is from the late 60s.  according to the screen play I believe alma was making hamburgers.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: PetiteMiel on February 18, 2006, 09:21:21 PM
Thanks, PetiteMiel.  I was once in your camp but in my umpteenth viewing last night I was persuaded otherwise.  Yes, "not the marrying kind" is ambiguous in the same way that "confirmed bachelor" and "old maid" leave plenty of room for interpretation. 

I'm afraid I must disagree again.  :) Yes all those terms are open for interpretation but if we are to believe that the use of that term by AlmaJr. is proof she knows her father is gay, as some have suggested and she is using it in this scene to imply that to Cassie then we must assume the term is commonly used as such where she lives and that Cassie would be aware of this common usage as well. I find it hard to believe she would use a term that would "out her father" in front of his girlfriend. If we assume it was a term that might be interpreted differently by Cassie then it's use is not proof of anything as Alma Jr. may be using it to mean something else as well. The possibility exists that she knew but I don't see the use of this phrase as proof of that.

Quote
What convinces me that Alma, Jr. really knows her dad is their near-intimate relationship.  Like her father, she is a person of few words who quietly gets her "point across."  At the Thanksgiving dinner table she jump-starts the conversation to give E something to say.  She later asks her father if she can move away from her mother and live with him.  In the final scene, does a remarkable job of showing that she understands E's deepest nature and what a tough decision her wedding presents for him.

Yes they are close but just because she's close to Ennis doesn't mean she know all his secrets. Being close or having a good understanding of a parents personality and general demeanor doesn't mean you can see into their souls. People guard their secrets like a starving man guards his food. I don't think having similar personality traits and a good father/daughter relationship means she knew he was gay.

Also consider that AlmaJr. only saw her father once a month from the time she was eleven. She had very little exposure to his life, daily habits and behavior. No exposure to his relationship with Jack from that point on. I think under those circumstances it would be hard for any child to draw general conclusions about a parent let alone drawing conclusions about their sexuality.   

Quote
More specifically, she grew up in a household where her father showed little affection for her mother but went crazy whenever J showed up.  E's long trips away with J were the norm.

The fact that her father wasn't very demonstrative toward her mother would not be enough to make a girl think her father was gay. Afterall her parents did divorce so obviously they were having problems and it's not unreasonable to think she would assume that his lack of outward affection for Alma was due to the strains of their failing marriage. As for his going crazy whenever Jack came around...Jack only came to the house once when Alma Jr. was three years old. I doubt she has any memory of that at all. After that they met where they were camping. Yes she may have seen her dad excited about going on his fishing trips but I don't think that she would come to the conclusion that her father was gay just that he was glad to be spending time with his best friend and doing something he enjoyed. Plus remember she was not so focused on Ennis' activities and bahvior as we are. She was a young girl living her life; doing homework, playing with barbies, get her first crush on a boy. Yes I'm sure she noticed her father in a peripheral way with regards to the fishing trips but his behavior wasn't so outlandish to illicit any special attention by Alma Jr.


Quote
More significantly, Alma, Jr. was old enough at the time to appreciate the "divorce trip" embrace which she witnessed from the truck.

Actually at the time of the divorce Alma Jr. was eleven years old. She probably only had a very limited knowledge of sex in general and little or no knowledge about homosexuality except what she might have heard whispered in school. Also if you look at that scene she and her sister can't see the embrace between Jack and their Father from the front seat of the truck. Ennis specifically walks toward Jack stepping out of the girls view. They are also not witnesses to the conversation as the men move away from the truck for that reason. Even if she had seen it though I don't think that one hug would make an eleven year old jump to the conclusion that her father was gay.

Obviously as a teenager Alma would be more aware of sexual things and have more info about homosexuality then when she was younger. I feel it would still be limited (stereotypical) info considering where she grew up, who was raising her and what she would have access to though. Her father would not have fit that "stereotypical norm for being gay" that society bought into, that some people in society still buy into today. I also think the fact that he was dating Cassie would have probably worked as cover for her.

In todays world Alma Jr. might have seen Jack and Ennis' relationship for what it was. Teen-agers are far more sophisticated and worldly now then they were at her age even twenty years ago. They have access to a lot more infomation and are exposed to much more with regards to sex and sexuality then she would have been then.

If she had ever seen anything overtly intimate between Jack and Ennis or overheard the conversation in the kitchen at Thanksgiving then I might agree that she knew because then there would have been something for her to base that idea on. There would have been something to make her go HMMMM? and start looking back over the years at her father's life and maybe putting it together but I just don't see that in the film. I just don't see her having access to any info or seeing any behavior that would make her suspect her father was gay. Her limited exposure with regards to these things leaves me feeling that she was a daughter who loved her father dearly but didn't know the truth about him. I do feel though that if she had known she would have felt no differently about him and that's as it should be.

This is of course is just my view of things. Thanks for sharing yours. Sorry this post is so long but you're making me work for it.  :)

Edited by me for typos.

 


Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: In Tears on February 19, 2006, 12:39:23 AM
I'm afraid I must disagree again.  :) Yes all those terms are open for interpretation but if we are to believe that the use of that term by AlmaJr. is proof she knows her father is gay, as some have suggested and she is using it in this scene to imply that to Cassie then we must assume the term is commonly used as such where she lives and that Cassie would be aware of this common usage as well. ... The possibility exists that she knew but I don't see the use of this phrase as proof of that.

Yes they are close but just because she's close to Ennis doesn't mean she know all his secrets. ...  I don't think having similar personality traits and a good father/daughter relationship means she knew he was gay.

Also consider that AlmaJr. only saw her father once a month from the time she was eleven. She had very little exposure to his life, daily habits and behavior. No exposure to his relationship with Jack from that point on. I think under those circumstances it would be hard for any child to draw general conclusions about a parent let alone drawing conclusions about their sexuality.   

The fact that her father wasn't very demonstrative toward her mother would not be enough to make a girl think her father was gay. Afterall her parents did divorce so obviously they were having problems and it's not unreasonable to think she would assume that his lack of outward affection for Alma was due to the strains of their failing marriage. As for his going crazy whenever Jack came around...Jack only came to the house once when Alma Jr. was three years old. I doubt she has any memory of that at all. After that they met where they were camping. Yes she may have seen her dad excited about going on his fishing trips but I don't think that she would come to the conclusion that her father was gay just that he was glad to be spending time with his best friend and doing something he enjoyed. Plus remember she was not so focused on Ennis' activities and bahvior as we are. She was a young girl living her life; doing homework, playing with barbies, get her first crush on a boy. Yes I'm sure she noticed her father in a peripheral way with regards to the fishing trips but his behavior wasn't so outlandish to illicit any special attention by Alma Jr.

Actually at the time of the divorce Alma Jr. was eleven years old. She probably only had a very limited knowledge of sex in general and little or no knowledge about homosexuality except what she might have heard whispered in school. Also if you look at that scene she and her sister can't see the embrace between Jack and their Father from the front seat of the truck. Ennis specifically walks toward Jack stepping out of the girls view. They are also not witnesses to the conversation as the men move away from the truck for that reason. Even if she had seen it though I don't think that one hug would make an eleven year old jump to the conclusion that her father was gay.

You make some very good points, PetiteMiel, though you set a very high standard of proof.  Do you think Jack's mother knew he was gay? 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Rob. on February 19, 2006, 03:15:36 AM

You make some very good points, PetiteMiel, though you set a very high standard of proof.  Do you think Jack's mother knew he was gay? 


  Obviously can't answer for PetiteMiel, but - Yes, she knew.  Watching the scene closely shows she knew everything - and unlike Mr Twist - either didn't care, or actually approved.

  Rob
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 19, 2006, 03:54:19 AM
I agree completely with PetiteMiel's analysis here.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: romeshvr on February 19, 2006, 03:56:34 AM
I agree completely with PetiteMiel's analysis here.
I think she knew too. Mother's usually know everything....
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: gnash on February 19, 2006, 06:25:10 AM
...Also consider that AlmaJr. only saw her father once a month from the time she was eleven. She had very little exposure to his life, daily habits and behavior. No exposure to his relationship with Jack from that point on. I think under those circumstances it would be hard for any child to draw general conclusions about a parent let alone drawing conclusions about their sexuality....

i posted my thoughts on this subject on the parents and children in BBM thread:

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=632.msg51295#msg51295
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Marge_Innavera on February 19, 2006, 06:46:52 AM
Quote
LOL like that would be a thrill.  I say no affair... Alma went straight from being Monroe's employee to being his wife. Anything in between is hard to imagine.

There are so few details given about Monroe; but this is a small town in a sparsely populated area so there would be few people moving there and it's reasonable to assume that Ennis, Alma and Monroe have known each other most or all of their lives. My impression was that Monroe had always been interested in Alma and had waited for her.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: romeshvr on February 19, 2006, 08:14:54 AM
I read the 2003 screen play and it had little bit more deatil on Monroe, which I thought was interesting, but not in the movie version of the screen play.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: gnash on February 19, 2006, 10:07:24 AM
I read the 2003 screen play and it had little bit more deatil on Monroe, which I thought was interesting, but not in the movie version of the screen play.

do you have a link to that romeshvr? was there more to bobby's character and lureen's relationship with jack, by chance? it's interesting that the focus is on ennis and alma mostly, but that makes sense, just curious if they had stuff in there they cut out...
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: PetiteMiel on February 19, 2006, 01:36:36 PM
In Tears, I think my standard of proof is quite low actually. All I require is that the writers or film makers tell the audience or show us one thing that would make Alma Jr. suspect her father might be gay and I don't see anything like that in the film. Girls don't just wake up one day and know their father's gay. There has to be something to "trigger" that suspicion to make me believe it.

As for Jack's mother, yes I do believe she knew. I think the film shows that she had a "trigger" if you will. Jack's comments about bringing Ennis to the ranch to live with him, building a house, working the ranch together and his later comments about leaving his wife etc. All these things would have made his parents wonder. It's enough to have made them think back on other things in his life that may have convinced them he was gay. That plus her behavior toward Ennis and the way she reacted to his taking the shirts with him is enough for me to believe she knew. 

I'd like to apologize for getting so OT though. I didn't realize there was a thread for discussion on parents and children and only meant to touch on this subject here since someone had brought it up.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cyoung on February 19, 2006, 03:20:24 PM
I think you're disregarding how much children can pick up practically "by osmosis." I grew up in a dysfunctional family in which my parents had a lot of problems (infidelity being one of them), and I picked up on an amazing amount of unspoken stuff. So did my siblings. Don't forget, as well, that Alma Jr. was in Alma's arms that first time Ennis left with Jack. She saw her mother's grief, probably quite often.

By the time she was a teenager, I think she'd figured it all out.

Cara
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sandyday on February 19, 2006, 04:16:52 PM
you know what i think is really interesting (and i should post this on 'scenes on brokeback thread') --- has anyone posted this or thought of this? it's really peculiar--the famous "what" sequence when jack says to Ennis, that's more than you spoke in a week and E says "that's more than i spoke in a year" -- you mean he didn't say more than three sentences to Alma and he's ENGAGED to be married to the woman? that's a sure sign to me that he's gay or not totally interested in women--he flashed the biggest smile in the whole dang movie--to JACK--when he's making a fool of himself. i think at that precise moment he fell in love w/ jack. anyway, this post relateds to alma & ennis, but i guess it sorta belongs to scenes on brokeback.   the fact that he didn't speak more than four sentences in a year to Alma--means that he was just following society's rules, going out to movies, hardly talking, i guess, right? going to social dances, not talking? well, maybe ennis means they talked more than what we saw on the screen...

thing is, though, that line isn't in the book--so maybe that's not what annie was thinking and larry & diana were using it for dramatic emphasis. i know we can't take these things too seriously, but still.......
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: PetiteMiel on February 19, 2006, 05:20:07 PM
I think you're disregarding how much children can pick up practically "by osmosis." I grew up in a dysfunctional family in which my parents had a lot of problems (infidelity being one of them), and I picked up on an amazing amount of unspoken stuff. So did my siblings. Don't forget, as well, that Alma Jr. was in Alma's arms that first time Ennis left with Jack. She saw her mother's grief, probably quite often.

By the time she was a teenager, I think she'd figured it all out.

Cara

I'm really not disregarding what children are capable of picking up but it doesn't have much to do with the point I was trying to make. :) It's not about what she might have picked up, seen or heard it's about the fact that the film fails to show any of these incidents people speculate about, where she may have done so. If they had shown even one of these where you could point to it and say that was the moment where she started to wonder about her father, that was the thing that made her think back on her childhood and re-evaluate her memories in search of the truth then I could agree there was some proof she knew. I don't see one thing that has the kind of impact that would make her wonder about her father's sexuality. I don't even see a group of separate things that when looked at together would automatically make Alma Jr.think her father was gay.

The thing is I don't have a problem with people speculating that Alma Jr. knew about her father. I speculate on things in the movie too. I don't even have a problem with the idea that she may have picked up on something or may have heard stuff over the years that gave her clues about his sexuality. If this were a RL situation I'd be inclined to assume she had as well, in fact I'd find it hard to believe that she hadn't picked up on something over the years but that's all just supposition and assumptions on our part.

I commented initially because there were people pointing to one comment by this character as proof she knew. Supposition and assumptions on what she may or may not have known, seen or heard are not facts though and that is what's being used to bolster that argument.

So as far as speculating that Alma Jr. knew I have no problem with that theory but as far as there being any proof of it presented in the movie I have to say I don't see it.

sandyday I always thought that was meant to represent just how comfortable Ennis felt around Jack and that he was able to open up to him in a way that he couldn't even with Alma. I think the writers wanted to show the connection between them was unique.

I actually worked with a guy like that once. He could literally work an 8 hour dayand never speak to anyone and he did on a regular basis. He would speak if spoken to but usually didn't initiate conversation. He was probably the quietest person I had ever been around.



Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: In Tears on February 20, 2006, 12:50:32 AM
In Tears, I think my standard of proof is quite low actually. All I require is that the writers or film makers tell the audience or show us one thing that would make Alma Jr. suspect her father might be gay ...
As for Jack's mother, yes I do believe she knew. I think the film shows that she had a "trigger" if you will. Jack's comments about bringing Ennis to the ranch to live with him, building a house, working the ranch together and his later comments about leaving his wife etc. All these things would have made his parents wonder. It's enough to have made them think back on other things in his life that may have convinced them he was gay. That plus her behavior toward Ennis and the way she reacted to his taking the shirts with him is enough for me to believe she knew. 

Oh, I forgot all about the "trigger" standard.  Thanks ever so much for the clarification.  :o
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: PetiteMiel on February 20, 2006, 12:38:26 PM
Oh, I forgot all about the "trigger" standard.  Thanks ever so much for the clarification.  :o

If you disagree with my views on this issue that's fine afterall that's what debate is for to express differing points of view but I see no reason to be snide. I have been polite and respectful of you, your comments and your viewpoint throughout this discussion and I only ask that you treat me the same way.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: michelle on February 22, 2006, 04:28:05 PM
This is my first visit to this thread, so I apologize if the following subject has already been covered. I'm interested in the way the first bedroom scene between Ennis and Alma has been altered in the movie, as compared to the short story and the screenplay. The short story is not very descriptive, making only passing reference to Ennis doing "what she hated". The screen play says only that "Ennis is on top of her now. She moves under him. Then Ennis rolls her over on her stomach. Alma: "Ennis..." He positions himself behind her."

In the movie, as soon as Ennis reaches to turn off the light (of which there is no mention in the screenplay), Alma seems to panic, clutching at him in the dark as he tries to pull away, begging him to "Come 'ere, come 'ere", until he finally rolls her over and she lands on her face, groaning "Ennis!...".

This is a masterful piece of directing and acting, with almost no words spoken, but that eloquently conveys what Alma is to Ennis, a convenient and woefully poor substitute for Jack, his true love, whom he craves with his whole body, heart and soul. This is also expressed in the lead-up to this scene, in the way Ennis shuts his eyes when Alma, "at her most seductive" (says the screenplay) "wraps her scrawny arms around him", strokes his ear and whispers to him enticingly. Even when he turns to kiss her, his eyes are squeezed tight, as if he doesn't want to see her and in the kiss, is imagining Jack, the only other person he has ever kissed and whose mouth, whose skin, whose every touch and quiver he vividly remembers, every time he starts making love to Alma.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 23, 2006, 07:21:26 AM
Yep, and it's exactly the opposite of his own beautiful DOZY EMBRACE scene afterwards (in fact, before!).
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: happycamper on February 23, 2006, 08:05:47 AM
Yep, and it's exactly the opposite of his own beautiful DOZY EMBRACE scene afterwards (in fact, before!).
Oh yes! At the Boston date night, one of our forum members Brian was mentioning all of the pairings in the movie which have been discussed on different threads. Like the truck bringing Ennis to Signal before he meets Jack and Ennis driving back in his truck from Jack's parents' house. This is another one, the dozy embrace, and Alma's embrace of Ennis. I'm not sure if the point of all these pairings is to amplify the effect by having them resonate or if it is to contrast the emotions in each of the occurances, but they sure do make for interesting conversation!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: helen_uk on February 23, 2006, 08:52:08 AM
 
(http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d145/cccccarol/2005_brokeback_mountain_006.jpg)
Forgive me for changing the subject for a moment, but:
I've always had difficulties to recognize HL in this scene.
His mouth and his chin look weird, almost distorted and not at all like in the rest of the movie (or in any other HL pic). Is this my perception playing tricks on me or has someone observed the same?



Yeah I thought so too! It's like he totally stuffed his face full of popcorn so he wouldn't have to talk to Alma. Or maybe he borrowed some chew from that guy on the road crew he works with and he's trying to eat and chew tobacco at the same time but he doesn't realize you can't do it and doesn't want Alma to know so she doesn't think he's a sissy! :P

Whenever I used to see this clip I thought she was just making him touch her, not feel the baby kick. Now that I realize what's going on I still hate Alma! Down with Alma!  (Forgive my exuberance this is my first posting over here)


Whenever I used to see this clip I thought she was just making him touch her, not feel the baby kick.

I mentioned that on another thread too, but I was severely reprimanded by other (female) posters... sniff...

Of course she wants him to feel the baby. But above all, she wants him to know: "I'm still here too! Touch me! Feel me! Forget about the popcorn, the movie, Jack... Concentrate on me!"
I don't want to upset anyone, but I just SENSED in that scene how incredibly bored Ennis was already with Alma (and that was BEFORE the reunion scene...)

P.S.: This is NOT at all intended to insult the Alma character or her feelings. Just my impression.

Just bringing this over from the Photo Captioning thread.

I agree that in this scene Ennis looks really bored.  He seems to have just gone into braindead mode, with his mouth hanging open.  His facial expression here looks really similar to the one he has when Alma is trying to be all seductive with him, too.  Totally different from any other part of the film.  As if he's just switching off, going through the motions type thing.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 23, 2006, 09:06:40 AM
"Braindead", "switched off", I like these expressions. They speak volumes about their early marriage, I must say.

(Oh yes, and: Thanks for bringing our discussion over from the P.O.F. thread, helen - I never figured out how that technically works though...)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: peteinportland on February 26, 2006, 09:54:42 PM
I reread Annie's essay in the Story to Screenplay book today, and she felt that Jack and Ennis loved their wives in their own way and got married to fulfill societal conventions. She also talked about how "rural gays" often get married and turn our to be very good fathers and okay husbands.

I just wonder how many "rural gays" also have their once-in-a-life loves that exists outside their marriage. I think few of them. For most, it is probably furtive sex acts and not much love. At least, Jack and Ennis found one another and knew great love. How many people in this world never find this?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: RonitR on February 27, 2006, 12:40:22 AM
A question that bugs me -  I apologies if it had been discussed before :

Jack says about Lureen, that "she is good at making tough sales, but as far as their marriage went, they could do it over the phone" (not an exact quote, off course..).

Sounds like he is complaining, to me.

I'm confused. Did he expect a good marriage with Lureen? (while at the same time willing to drop her like a hot potato if Ennis would just say the word ?) What did Jack expect?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: flametrees on February 27, 2006, 02:05:15 AM
No, I don't think Jack was complaining at all - just stating a fact.
 It was, after all, a marriage of convenience on Jack's part. It gave him a cover so he could live in society as a "normal" husband and father though his heart was never in it. The lack of interest in pursuing any female was evident from the beginning in  the bar scene  when Lureen approaches Jack -  he keeps his head down and its almost as if he has to force himself to look at her and  muster up any enthusiasm to interact with her.... though he did brighten up a little when she had him pinned to the car seat!!

I don't think Jack ever expected to have a good marriage. The marriage was just for "show" ..... a comfortable cushion to sit upon. Considering  that Jack never made any real coin in his earlier bull-riding career the fact that Lureen's family had money certainly wouldn't have hurt, either!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on February 28, 2006, 02:00:56 AM
Maybe she's trying to prove to herself that the kiss really happened and it means that her husband is bisexual. And if so, it could be used in court as grounds and for custidy. She knows that Alma Jr. loves her father more than her and doesn't want any controversy in townabout the grounds or the custidy. She doesn't use exhibit A but it's there when she needs it. People didn't talk about homosexuality in those days, esp. a woman.

I don't romanticize Alma even though I do pity her situation. She uses Ennis to get her way with the traditional means, sex and his love of his children, as many women have used men to get their way probably from time immemorial. She wants to move away from the country and into town even though this was Ennis' dream, and she needed to take a job to pay the rent. Then she blames him for not making enough money. She's unhappy and Ennis is unhappy. He is confused by his love for Jack and used by Alma, and she is puzzled by his lack of closeness to her, his deceit, his sexuality. She goe for and gets what she thinks she wants and is disappointed, then blames it on Ennis. It's an unfortunate position for a man with a confused sexual identity, married to an average heterosexual woman. I've been there several times in my life, no to the point of marriage, only because I knew that I was too confused to make this commitment. But this kind of relationship made several women very unhappy and certainly me too.

Alma could have confronted Ennis about what she saw and maybe they could have worked out a divorce that helped them both to grow and learn. But they were not extraordinary enough, just average folk caught in a difficult situation.

I was disappointed that after it was all over, Alma felt the need to finally throw Ennis sexuality in his face. I thought Ennis was just being honest if undiplomatic with his "burnt" comment as they both should have learned something and gotten used to being divorced by then. Alma blames Ennis for something he had no control over. They had their fights but he was as good a husband and provider as he knew how. Alma blames him for cheating on her but makes no effort to deal with that fact. She makes herself more of a passive victim than she has to be. Ennis finally learns and grows; she doesn't.

Anyway, that was my impression of Alma. Maybe being a gay man has colored my impression. I see a lot of comments about Alma but none that resonated with my experience.

Rich


Alma knows because she saw Ennis and Jack together and she put the note in Ennis' creel case to test her belief, all this when Junior was a small child.

Maybe someone can help me here.....

All through Alma's account of the price tags still being on the fishing tackle, putting a note in the tackle box - why does she go through this routine?  It implies that this is how she found out about him and Jack, when in reality she's known ever since the first "fishing trip."
If she pretends she knew nothing during the first years of "fishing trips" she appears truly a victim.  To admit she knew would be to imply some degree of tacit approval, or at least acceptance.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: bluehorse on February 28, 2006, 11:54:39 AM
Has it been discussed that in the story, it is intimated that Ennis sees Alma see him and Jack kissing madly?

           The door opened again a few inches and Alma stood in the narrow light.
           What could he say? "Alma, this is Jack Twist, Jack, my wife Alma." His chest was heaving. he could smell Jack--the intensely familiar odor of cigarettes, musky seat and a faint sweetness like grass, and with it the rushing cold of the mountain. "Alma," he said, "Jack and me ain't seen each other in four years." As if it were a reason. He was glad the light was dim on the landing but did not turn away from her.
            "Sure enough," said Alma in a low voice. She had seen what she had seen. . .
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on February 28, 2006, 02:48:22 PM

I agree that in this scene Ennis looks really bored.  He seems to have just gone into braindead mode, with his mouth hanging open.  His facial expression here looks really similar to the one he has when Alma is trying to be all seductive with him, too.  Totally different from any other part of the film.  As if he's just switching off, going through the motions type thing.


Hang on! He's watching a film. I wonder what expressions we all have on our faces if we were photographed while we watched BBM? or a not particularly great film, like the one they are watching? I think we can project way too much into one still like this. I saw a scene where they are newly wed, getting comfortable with each other and she chose that moment to let him know that the baby was kicking. I thought he was really pleased and found it charming. We know he wanted his children. I do want to stick up for Alma. And I'm not a female poster.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on February 28, 2006, 02:58:25 PM
Has it been discussed that in the story, it is intimated that Ennis sees Alma see him and Jack kissing madly?

           
Oh no! Bluehorse! Is nothing unequivocal in this damn story? I just re-read that bit and you're right. I'd always read it that she saw them and then opened the door after they stopped kissing but that's not certain at all is it? Ennis could know she saw them being very intimate at the very least.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: intervale on February 28, 2006, 06:47:01 PM
Hang on! He's watching a film. I wonder what expressions we all have on our faces if we were photographed while we watched BBM? or a not particularly great film, like the one they are watching? I think we can project way too much into one still like this. I saw a scene where they are newly wed, getting comfortable with each other and she chose that moment to let him know that the baby was kicking. I thought he was really pleased and found it charming. We know he wanted his children. I do want to stick up for Alma. And I'm not a female poster.

I was going to write exactly the same thing, patroclus. Instead: DITTO.

It's also a nice contrast to later.  Here we see them at a movie together and it's a good time, they're very close, and starting a family together.  Later we see them watching tv together and it's a miserable time, they're far apart, and the family is soon going to break up.

I'm not suggesting that was intentional, no reason for it really, just a nice thing to notice.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on March 02, 2006, 02:39:27 PM
Maybe she's trying to prove to herself that the kiss really happened and it means that her husband is bisexual. And if so, it could be used in court as grounds and for custidy. She knows that Alma Jr. loves her father more than her and doesn't want any controversy in townabout the grounds or the custidy. She doesn't use exhibit A but it's there when she needs it. People didn't talk about homosexuality in those days, esp. a woman

I don't think so - there didn't seem to be any problem with custody, and she didn't seem to criticise Ennis's fathering particularly.  I think maybe the fishing thing was for the opposite reason - she hopes that fish will be brought back.  And of course, she is disappointed.....

Quote
I don't romanticize Alma even though I do pity her situation. She uses Ennis to get her way with the traditional means, sex and his love of his children, as many women have used men to get their way probably from time immemorial. She wants to move away from the country and into town even though this was Ennis' dream, and she needed to take a job to pay the rent. Then she blames him for not making enough money. She's unhappy and Ennis is unhappy. He is confused by his love for Jack and used by Alma, and she is puzzled by his lack of closeness to her, his deceit, his sexuality. She goe for and gets what she thinks she wants and is disappointed, then blames it on Ennis. It's an unfortunate position for a man with a confused sexual identity, married to an average heterosexual woman. I've been there several times in my life, no to the point of marriage, only because I knew that I was too confused to make this commitment. But this kind of relationship made several women very unhappy and certainly me too.


I didn't see her as using him to get her own away.  She blames him for not making enough money, because he is trying to get her pregnant again.  He doesn't make enough money partly because he leaves jobs to be with Jack.  And then he's reluctant to help her out when she has to work.  I can understand her frustration.

Quote
Alma could have confronted Ennis about what she saw and maybe they could have worked out a divorce that helped them both to grow and learn. But they were not extraordinary enough, just average folk caught in a difficult situation.


You are right.  Although maybe she knew better than to confront him.

Quote
I was disappointed that after it was all over, Alma felt the need to finally throw Ennis sexuality in his face. I thought Ennis was just being honest if undiplomatic with his "burnt" comment as they both should have learned something and gotten used to being divorced by then. Alma blames Ennis for something he had no control over. They had their fights but he was as good a husband and provider as he knew how. Alma blames him for cheating on her but makes no effort to deal with that fact. She makes herself more of a passive victim than she has to be. Ennis finally learns and grows; she doesn't.

I can understand exactly why she felt the need to throw his sexuality in his face.  She had protected his secret for years.  She had had to initiate the divorce, and was therefore the person at fault in a way (there was no implication that she every used his sexuality against him).  But for YEARS she had to stick to the unspoken rule that she could never mention what she'd seen, even though he knew that she knew.  She certainly couldn't mention it while there were still married, not while she was trying to preserve the marriage.  When she finally spits it out, it's in response to his very cruel 'once burned' comment - a comment that implies that she was at fault in the marriage. 

She does learn and grow - over the years.  At least enough to leave Ennis and find someone who suits her needs better.

Quote
Maybe being a gay man has colored my impression.

As I'm sure being a straight woman has coloured mine.  :)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Marge_Innavera on March 05, 2006, 08:25:47 AM
In ALL four of my viewings of the film (all in San Francisco), the same thing happened during two scenes. When Alma opens the apartment door and sees Ennis and Jack kissing in the alley and also when Alma is filmed alone, desperate, at the kitchen table when Ennis is gone off....there was general laughter in the audience.

If I'm repeating a post, I apologize....

There seems to be quite a lot of variety in audience responses generally.  On both my viewings, in theatres located two different parts of the Kansas City area, there were shocked/startled gasps from the audience when Alma sees them out the window. The same reaction happened in the brief scene showing Jack being killed.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Marge_Innavera on March 05, 2006, 08:38:39 AM
But for YEARS she had to stick to the unspoken rule that she could never mention what she'd seen, even though he knew that she knew.


Not in the movie he didn't. She didn't open the door and see them on the stairway; she looked out the window and saw them from the second story of the building. There's not a second where Ennis looks up and sees Alma's face in the window: the way HL played him, he would have freaked out at that.

I know that the version in the original story was that she saw them on the stairway, but to transpose that into the movie would be to put something into the film that didn't happen, and take out something that did.

IMO Ennis wouldn't have been aware that she knew; otherwise she couldn't have bluffed him with that "note in the tackle box" story.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on March 05, 2006, 09:14:52 AM

I was disappointed that after it was all over, Alma felt the need to finally throw Ennis sexuality in his face. I thought Ennis was just being honest if undiplomatic with his "burnt" comment as they both should have learned something and gotten used to being divorced by then. Alma blames Ennis for something he had no control over. They had their fights but he was as good a husband and provider as he knew how. Alma blames him for cheating on her but makes no effort to deal with that fact. She makes herself more of a passive victim than she has to be. Ennis finally learns and grows; she doesn't.

Anyway, that was my impression of Alma. Maybe being a gay man has colored my impression. I see a lot of comments about Alma but none that resonated with my experience.

Rich


Alma knows because she saw Ennis and Jack together and she put the note in Ennis' creel case to test her belief, all this when Junior was a small child.

Maybe someone can help me here.....

All through Alma's account of the price tags still being on the fishing tackle, putting a note in the tackle box - why does she go through this routine?  It implies that this is how she found out about him and Jack, when in reality she's known ever since the first "fishing trip."
If she pretends she knew nothing during the first years of "fishing trips" she appears truly a victim.  To admit she knew would be to imply some degree of tacit approval, or at least acceptance.

Firstly, I think she does the thing with the fishing tackle for the following reasons: I imagine that seeing something like the reunion kiss which you then can't talk about with anyone, especially Ennis, must have left Alma both shocked and, as time goes by, increasingly wondering if she imagined it all, or if she's exaggerated what she saw. Surely people can relate to that sense of 'have I made all this up; am I going mad?', especially is someone else behaves as if nothing has happened. So I think testing it out with the fishing note was a way of double checking what was going on and also a way for her to take control, instead of having it all thrust upon her inadvertently. I think this was part of her testing out her thinking in preparation for her exit strategy from this marriage. It was also a way of demonstrating to herself that Ennis was being essentially selfish - always time for him to take off with Jack, never time or inclination to take her out. And the providing of fish summed this up perfectly. Her and the kids liked fish, Ennis was claiming her caught lots - so why didn't he bring any back. I imagine she must have had a very mixed response of bitter vindication and real sadness that any hope she may have held onto that her marriage could be saved was finally shredded when she opened the creel case after his return, 'all perky'. I've certainly had the experience in a break-up that I've needed my own moment of decision in order to come to terms with how I'm going to manage a relationship, not just leave it to the other person how it will go. I think it's the opposite of being a victim, I see it a regaining control of her situation by creating a test for what she knows which is of her making.

Secondly, I agree with Desecra. Ennis was being totally dishonest with Alma with his 'once burnt' comment. I don't know whether he meant it or was just fending off the subject of re-marriage with a commonplace but it implied that he was the injured party from their marriage. For Alma it must have been irresistable to bring up what she knew about him and Jack under such brazen and unfair provocation. Suppose he'd just said 'Well, Alma, I don't think I'm too good at it - didn't do that good a job when I was with you, did I?' I don't think he'd have given her the occasion to retaliate in the way she did. And he'd have been speaking honestly, too. She may still have felt the need to say, 'Look I know about you and Jack' but in a much less hot tempered way. This ain't Alma's fault and she was justifiably angry. Didn't handle it in the most elegant way or the most helpful for a amicable longer term relationship but that is very like life. I wonder how they were with each other at Alma jnr's wedding?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Lizandre on March 05, 2006, 02:00:58 PM
The once burnt thing is not dishonesty, it is Ennis way of being light when the subject is becoming very difficult for him. He does it with Jack at their last meeting, he does it with Cassie (the not so fun thing). It backfired each time, of course.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on March 06, 2006, 01:38:02 AM
I wrote this post because I saw a lot of opinion here that Alma was justifiably angry at Ennis for his "once burned" response to her "you ought to get married again, Ennis," as if Ennis' comment was meant as a jab at Alma because Ennis blamed her for the divorce. I felt that Alma in this scene showed a pettiness and vindictiveness that shocked me and repelled me. Then I went back and looked at Alma's character development to see what was bothering me, and I noticed how she used sex, closeness and their children to get what she wanted from Ennis. But I couldn't find any reference to this side of Alma in this forum.


“I can understand exactly why she felt the need to throw his sexuality in his face.  She had protected his secret for years.  She had had to initiate the divorce, and was therefore the person at fault in a way (there was no implication that she every used his sexuality against him).  But for YEARS she had to stick to the unspoken rule that she could never mention what she'd seen, even though he knew that she knew.  She certainly couldn't mention it while there were still married, not while she was trying to preserve the marriage.  When she finally spits it out, it's in response to his very cruel 'once burned' comment - a comment that implies that she was at fault in the marriage. 

She does learn and grow - over the years.  At least enough to leave Ennis and find someone who suits her needs better. "


I don't consider the "once burned" comment to cruel in itself or intended to be cruel by Ennis. The saying goes "once burned, twice shy" and refers to someone, usually a child, discovering fire for the first time, and learning to respect it from then on. By cruel I assume you mean that Ennis is implying that Alma was at fault for initiating the divorce. Nowhere does Ennis blame Alma for the divorce. In fact With Jack on Brokeback Mountain, he defends Alma when jack denigrates his marriage. Someone here thought that the  "once burned" comment was Ennis' attempt to lighten up the situation. This could be true since it was Ennis' style, but it was at least a neutral statement of fact that he had been hurt by the situation and learned something from it. He was in the kitchen helping Alma clean up after dinner while her new husband was sitting in front of the TV not engaging with his step-children. I see no evidence of him blaming Alma either in the film or the book. In fact, I'm pretty sure that he blamed himself and his relationship to Jack, for the divorce. He is very good at beating himself up.

Alma was sulking in every scene since she saw Ennis kissing Jack. She was initially shocked, and then perhaps to satisfy her disbelief with the fishing tackle note, she was angry up to and through the Thanksgiving scene. It was probably her daughters that wanted Ennis there because they enjoyed his company so much and seemed to have no connection to their step-father. Alma cracks a brief nervous smile when she is forced to by Ennis' self-deprecating cowboy story. She confronts him only when he declines Alma suggestion that he remarry. She is not concerned with E's welfare but with her own reputation being married to a bisexual man. If E doesn't get married, a small town will talk and that would reflect badly on A and her daughters, she thinks. She hasn't kept E's secret out of respect for him. His response is what enrages her for a number of reasons, including the above.

Alma seems to be mostly driven by a need for security and respectability IMO. She might have been afraid to confront E before this although he hasn't threatened to hit her before this scene even though they have both gotten angry before. She wasn't afraid to confront E in bed.


”I don't think so - there didn't seem to be any problem with custody, and she didn't seem to criticize Ennis's fathering particularly.  I think maybe the fishing thing was for the opposite reason - she hopes that fish will be brought back.  And of course, she is disappointed.....”

You're probably right here about the custody. I doubt she went to the trouble of putting a note in his case to bring home fish when she could have told him this personally when she reminded him to take it. I also doubt she had some great yen for a fish dinner either. It was a reality check to help her decide to divorce him, to give herself grounds. I think the daughters probably did question why he didn't bring home any fish and she had to deal with that. What were the grounds for divorce if A couldn't admit E's relationship with Jack publicly or face to face with E? What did she tell the girls? Her new husband? She probably blamed E in court for some vague irreconcilable differences and that’s what she told everyone else. I don’t see her blaming herself.

“I didn't see her as using him to get her own away.  She blames him for not making enough money, because he is trying to get her pregnant again.  He doesn't make enough money partly because he leaves jobs to be with Jack.  And then he's reluctant to help her out when she has to work.  I can understand her frustration.”

He tells Jack that he can't get together with him in Aug. because he has financial needs to support his family. He seems to have regular work throughout the film but not enough to satisfy A. He can leave his job at the first reunion because his boss owes him a favor for having worked extra. I see no evidence of him having neglected his family financially. A has to work because she wants to move to town and that costs more money.  In fact he sacrifices his relationship with Jack over and over because of his family responsibilities, and defends A to Jack. They are just poor and A doesn't like being poor.

E spends 55 weeks a year with A and she begrudges him 1 week with J. I think she has real grievances with E but most are because of her own actions; influencing to move into town where they struggle to meet the rent because E can't make more money than he does, and then blaming him for not making enough while they're having sex, and then withholding sex. She knows what she wants at all times and goes for it, unlike E who is afraid of his own feelings. She finally gets the new husband, a cipher who doesn't say boo and doesn't seem to connect with his stepdaughters but who can support her comfortably as she's always wanted. What A learns from her situation with E seems to be to go for security, not love. What E learns is Jack and his love is a force of nature that has no reins but is something to go for no matter what the consequences. E certainly has his faults, and his inability to deal with his relationship to Jack caused him, J and A much misery but nowhere do I see an intension to hurt A.

I think Alma affected me so strongly because of Michelle Williams' excellent performance. It's too bad that she didn't get an Oscar.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Marge_Innavera on March 06, 2006, 06:44:31 AM
Firstly, I think she does the thing with the fishing tackle for the following reasons: I imagine that seeing something like the reunion kiss which you then can't talk about with anyone, especially Ennis, must have left Alma both shocked and, as time goes by, increasingly wondering if she imagined it all, or if she's exaggerated what she saw. Surely people can relate to that sense of 'have I made all this up; am I going mad?', especially is someone else behaves as if nothing has happened. So I think testing it out with the fishing note was a way of double checking what was going on and also a way for her to take control, instead of having it all thrust upon her inadvertently. I think this was part of her testing out her thinking in preparation for her exit strategy from this marriage. It was also a way of demonstrating to herself that Ennis was being essentially selfish - always time for him to take off with Jack, never time or inclination to take her out. And the providing of fish summed this up perfectly. Her and the kids liked fish, Ennis was claiming her caught lots - so why didn't he bring any back. I imagine she must have had a very mixed response of bitter vindication and real sadness that any hope she may have held onto that her marriage could be saved was finally shredded when she opened the creel case after his return, 'all perky'. I've certainly had the experience in a break-up that I've needed my own moment of decision in order to come to terms with how I'm going to manage a relationship, not just leave it to the other person how it will go. I think it's the opposite of being a victim, I see it a regaining control of her situation by creating a test for what she knows which is of her making.

Very perceptive. These 'games', not to denigrate the seriousness of it, go on in troubled marriages, whether sexual orientation is the issue or not. Plenty of us have crossed that particular river, and the sort of cognitive dissonance, too (i.e., "I know this happened but it couldn't really have").

It did seem odd to me that Ennis didn't try to cover that better. Going on fishing trips for  years and bringing nothing back? If he was so paranoid about people finding out, it would have been easy to actually do some fishing - maybe with trot lines if he wasn't interested in spending time on it - or even buying fish in the area. Certainly many a hetero husband covering an affair, gambling problem, illegal activity, etc. has resorted to that.  It was almost like he subsconsciously wanted her to find out. He might have at that, if he wanted out of the marriage, but that would seem to be less urgent than the need to keep the affair secret.


Secondly, I agree with Desecra. Ennis was being totally dishonest with Alma with his 'once burnt' comment. I don't know whether he meant it or was just fending off the subject of re-marriage with a commonplace but it implied that he was the injured party from their marriage. For Alma it must have been irresistable to bring up what she knew about him and Jack under such brazen and unfair provocation. Suppose he'd just said 'Well, Alma, I don't think I'm too good at it - didn't do that good a job when I was with you, did I?' I don't think he'd have given her the occasion to retaliate in the way she did.

That would have been a better response, but maybe more articulate than Ennis was capable of being on the spur of the moment. I interpreted the "once burnt" comment to be a clumsy variation on "once bitten, twice shy" - in other words, "One marriage that didn't work out; I wouldn't want to risk it again."

Quote
This ain't Alma's fault and she was justifiably angry. Didn't handle it in the most elegant way or the most helpful for a amicable longer term relationship but that is very like life. I wonder how they were with each other at Alma jnr's wedding?

That was one of the aspects of the ending I was most curious about - if the subtle change in Ennis reflected in his deciding to go at all would extend to his being able to handle meeting Alma and Monroe there. 

Would also be curious to know what Alma's reaction was when her daughter told her Ennis would be there. If the movie had extended that far, that would have determined the degree of sympathy I had for her.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JackF******Twist on March 06, 2006, 10:12:35 AM
It would interesting to know too how Alma Sr would have reacted to Jack Nasty Twist's accident.  Would she sympathize with Ennis or would create another scene...
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: In Tears on March 06, 2006, 05:18:15 PM
It would interesting to know too how Alma Sr would have reacted to Jack Nasty Twist's accident.  Would she sympathize with Ennis or would create another scene...
I'd be curious as to Alma's reaction when Monroe starts to receive postcards from his buddies and decides to take up fishing.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: romeshvr on March 06, 2006, 06:02:00 PM
Ok.  Now that is funny :)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 14, 2006, 11:54:08 AM
I wrote this post because I saw a lot of opinion here that Alma was justifiably angry at Ennis for his "once burned" response to her "you ought to get married again, Ennis," as if Ennis' comment was meant as a jab at Alma because Ennis blamed her for the divorce. I felt that Alma in this scene showed a pettiness and vindictiveness that shocked me and repelled me. Then I went back and looked at Alma's character development to see what was bothering me, and I noticed how she used sex, closeness and their children to get what she wanted from Ennis. But I couldn't find any reference to this side of Alma in this forum.


“I can understand exactly why she felt the need to throw his sexuality in his face.  She had protected his secret for years.  She had had to initiate the divorce, and was therefore the person at fault in a way (there was no implication that she every used his sexuality against him).  But for YEARS she had to stick to the unspoken rule that she could never mention what she'd seen, even though he knew that she knew.  She certainly couldn't mention it while there were still married, not while she was trying to preserve the marriage.  When she finally spits it out, it's in response to his very cruel 'once burned' comment - a comment that implies that she was at fault in the marriage. 

She does learn and grow - over the years.  At least enough to leave Ennis and find someone who suits her needs better. "


I don't consider the "once burned" comment to cruel in itself or intended to be cruel by Ennis. The saying goes "once burned, twice shy" and refers to someone, usually a child, discovering fire for the first time, and learning to respect it from then on. By cruel I assume you mean that Ennis is implying that Alma was at fault for initiating the divorce. Nowhere does Ennis blame Alma for the divorce. In fact With Jack on Brokeback Mountain, he defends Alma when jack denigrates his marriage. Someone here thought that the  "once burned" comment was Ennis' attempt to lighten up the situation. This could be true since it was Ennis' style, but it was at least a neutral statement of fact that he had been hurt by the situation and learned something from it. He was in the kitchen helping Alma clean up after dinner while her new husband was sitting in front of the TV not engaging with his step-children. I see no evidence of him blaming Alma either in the film or the book. In fact, I'm pretty sure that he blamed himself and his relationship to Jack, for the divorce. He is very good at beating himself up.

Alma was sulking in every scene since she saw Ennis kissing Jack. She was initially shocked, and then perhaps to satisfy her disbelief with the fishing tackle note, she was angry up to and through the Thanksgiving scene. It was probably her daughters that wanted Ennis there because they enjoyed his company so much and seemed to have no connection to their step-father. Alma cracks a brief nervous smile when she is forced to by Ennis' self-deprecating cowboy story. She confronts him only when he declines Alma suggestion that he remarry. She is not concerned with E's welfare but with her own reputation being married to a bisexual man. If E doesn't get married, a small town will talk and that would reflect badly on A and her daughters, she thinks. She hasn't kept E's secret out of respect for him. His response is what enrages her for a number of reasons, including the above.

Alma seems to be mostly driven by a need for security and respectability IMO. She might have been afraid to confront E before this although he hasn't threatened to hit her before this scene even though they have both gotten angry before. She wasn't afraid to confront E in bed.


”I don't think so - there didn't seem to be any problem with custody, and she didn't seem to criticize Ennis's fathering particularly.  I think maybe the fishing thing was for the opposite reason - she hopes that fish will be brought back.  And of course, she is disappointed.....”

You're probably right here about the custody. I doubt she went to the trouble of putting a note in his case to bring home fish when she could have told him this personally when she reminded him to take it. I also doubt she had some great yen for a fish dinner either. It was a reality check to help her decide to divorce him, to give herself grounds. I think the daughters probably did question why he didn't bring home any fish and she had to deal with that. What were the grounds for divorce if A couldn't admit E's relationship with Jack publicly or face to face with E? What did she tell the girls? Her new husband? She probably blamed E in court for some vague irreconcilable differences and that’s what she told everyone else. I don’t see her blaming herself.

“I didn't see her as using him to get her own away.  She blames him for not making enough money, because he is trying to get her pregnant again.  He doesn't make enough money partly because he leaves jobs to be with Jack.  And then he's reluctant to help her out when she has to work.  I can understand her frustration.”

He tells Jack that he can't get together with him in Aug. because he has financial needs to support his family. He seems to have regular work throughout the film but not enough to satisfy A. He can leave his job at the first reunion because his boss owes him a favor for having worked extra. I see no evidence of him having neglected his family financially. A has to work because she wants to move to town and that costs more money.  In fact he sacrifices his relationship with Jack over and over because of his family responsibilities, and defends A to Jack. They are just poor and A doesn't like being poor.

E spends 55 weeks a year with A and she begrudges him 1 week with J. I think she has real grievances with E but most are because of her own actions; influencing to move into town where they struggle to meet the rent because E can't make more money than he does, and then blaming him for not making enough while they're having sex, and then withholding sex. She knows what she wants at all times and goes for it, unlike E who is afraid of his own feelings. She finally gets the new husband, a cipher who doesn't say boo and doesn't seem to connect with his stepdaughters but who can support her comfortably as she's always wanted. What A learns from her situation with E seems to be to go for security, not love. What E learns is Jack and his love is a force of nature that has no reins but is something to go for no matter what the consequences. E certainly has his faults, and his inability to deal with his relationship to Jack caused him, J and A much misery but nowhere do I see an intension to hurt A.

I think Alma affected me so strongly because of Michelle Williams' excellent performance. It's too bad that she didn't get an Oscar.



No one wanted Jack and Ennis to be together more than I did, but I think to paint Alma out as being difficult, demanding, and vindictive is unfair.  After all, HER HUSBAND WAS CHEATING ON HER!  Who cares if it was with a man, woman, alien, whatever, Ennis broke their marriage vows.  She had every right to throw everything back in his face, but she didn't for a long time, probably out of love for him and the kids, and I respect her for that.  I do think Ennis did the best he could by her, but, of course, she finally realized that wasn't enough for her.  I see her as being the brave one to a certain extent--at least she saw the marriage was a sham and had the nerve to get out and try for a better life, something Ennis never did with Jack.  Of course, If it were me, I'd still take hot Ennis, even if it meant getting flipped over, any day over Monroe!   ;)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on March 14, 2006, 07:17:55 PM
I wondered at points if Alma wasn't seeing Monroe, or at least getting very close to it.

I have a hard time thinking of Ennis commiting adultery with Jack.  After all, they were together first.  I said before that I felt like he liked her, but loved Jack.  He wanted to have a "normal" life, but it wasn't what was in his soul.

I think Michelle Williams did a wonderful job, but I didn't like Alma that much.  Even my husband thought her bringing up such a hurtful subject on a holiday with other people around was insensitive and cruel. I don't care how she felt, it was still nasty.  I think she wanted to hurt him.  I'm sure I'm not the only woman on this list whose partner/husband did something terrible at one time or another.  My husband is almost non functional when he's depressed and drinking, and he screams and swears at me.  The rest of the time he's fine, but do you think I would bring up his bad behavior in front of family or friends.  Not on your life.

I would not get mad if my husband fell in with another man because it's not a reflection on me, or our marriage at all. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: downloaded1 on March 14, 2006, 07:18:42 PM
I wondered at points if Alma wasn't seeing Monroe, or at least getting very close to it.

I have a hard time thinking of Ennis commiting adultery with Jack.  After all, they were together first.  I said before that I felt like he liked her, but loved Jack.  He wanted to have a "normal" life, but it wasn't what was in his soul.

I think Michelle Williams did a wonderful job, but I didn't like Alma that much.  Even my husband thought her bringing up such a hurtful subject on a holiday with other people around was insensitive and cruel. I don't care how she felt, it was still nasty.  I think she wanted to hurt him.  I'm sure I'm not the only woman on this list whose partner/husband did something terrible at one time or another.  My husband is almost non functional when he's depressed and drinking, and he screams and swears at me.  The rest of the time he's fine, but do you think I would bring up his bad behavior in front of family or friends.  Not on your life.

I would not get mad if my husband fell in with another man because it's not a reflection on me, or our marriage at all. 


you are JOKING??????
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on March 14, 2006, 07:38:18 PM
I wondered at points if Alma wasn't seeing Monroe, or at least getting very close to it.

I have a hard time thinking of Ennis commiting adultery with Jack.  After all, they were together first. 


You're not the first person to say this, but I just don't get it at all. Technically, Alma was there first of course, but even if she wasn't, I don't understand.  Would it be OK for me to track down my numerous exes for a bit on the side and tell my boyfriend it doesn't count ecause they were there first?  Or does it only count if I loved them first? 

Maybe if Ennis had given Alma the full facts before the marriage it might be have been OK (although still adultery), but she wasn't given that information. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on March 14, 2006, 07:56:24 PM
I've just been thinking how similar the 'fishing' scene with Alma is to the final scene between Jack and Ennis.  In the fishing scene, a similar question is asked, there are lies, things unsaid, nothing resolved, but it is Ennis who has been 'braced for it all these years'. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cyoung on March 15, 2006, 12:20:21 AM
I wondered at points if Alma wasn't seeing Monroe, or at least getting very close to it.

I have a hard time thinking of Ennis commiting adultery with Jack.  After all, they were together first. 

Well, that's not really true. Ennis and Alma were already engaged before Ennis and Jack even met. So technically, Ennis was cheating on Alma even before they were married.

Cara


Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on March 15, 2006, 01:06:13 AM
I wondered at points if Alma wasn't seeing Monroe, or at least getting very close to it.

I have a hard time thinking of Ennis commiting adultery with Jack.  After all, they were together first.  I said before that I felt like he liked her, but loved Jack.  He wanted to have a "normal" life, but it wasn't what was in his soul.

I think Michelle Williams did a wonderful job, but I didn't like Alma that much.  Even my husband thought her bringing up such a hurtful subject on a holiday with other people around was insensitive and cruel. I don't care how she felt, it was still nasty.  I think she wanted to hurt him.  I'm sure I'm not the only woman on this list whose partner/husband did something terrible at one time or another.  My husband is almost non functional when he's depressed and drinking, and he screams and swears at me.  The rest of the time he's fine, but do you think I would bring up his bad behavior in front of family or friends.  Not on your life.

Alma brought up the subject in private, where they would not be overheard.  However, she needed to be in a public place - she knows that Ennis can get violent if his masculinity is threatened.   She knew that she wasn't 'allowed' to mention it.  I hope that's not the case with you and your husband (seriously). 

Quote
I would not get mad if my husband fell in with another man because it's not a reflection on me, or our marriage at all. 

I would be absolutely gutted.  Unless he let me watch - no, I'm kidding.  But with Alma, it wasn't just a case of sexual jealousy.  How would you feel, for instance, if your husband was spending your joint income on going on holidays with his lover, whilst you and the children couldn't afford to go on holiday?  How would you feel if you couldn't afford children and your husband refused to use contraception then blamed you for not having sex?  Alma has every right to feel aggrieved, and to tackle Ennis about it.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on March 15, 2006, 12:02:45 PM
agree with every single word of every one of your posts here Desecra.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ranger77 on March 15, 2006, 01:19:51 PM
Quote from richm's March 6 post:

" In fact, I'm pretty sure that he blamed himself and his relationship to Jack, for the divorce. He is very good at beating himself up. "

I have thought for a long time that following Thanksgiving with Alma, Monroe and the girls, Ennis gets into the fight with the roughneck initially because he has so much pent up anger and he is looking for any outlet to let off steam.  In the short story, there is reference to Ennis' body type, among other things, being "suited to fighting" or words to that effect.  Also in the short story there is reference to a "short, dirty fight" at the bar after the Thanksgiving argument with Alma.  However, in the film, he ends up getting pummeled visiously by the roughneck.  My feelings have slowly evolved to the point now that I have the theory that Ennis takes this pummelling from the roughneck as punishment for his transgressions; transgressions for falling in love with a man, transgressions for his marriage ending in divorce, transgressions for not being there for his girls and finally for the immediate transgression of getting into a pretty violent altercation with Alma.  I really think that Ennis, with his rage converted to physical action, could and would easily fight and win with anyone.  (Witness his ability to take out both the bikers at the 4th of July.)  In the Thanksgiving instance, I think he feels he needs to be punished for all his perceived transgressions.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on March 15, 2006, 01:39:30 PM
agree with every single word of every one of your posts here Desecra.

Thank you!  I do feel sorry for Alma, she seems very young at the beginning, but still a pretty good catch I think - hardworking, resilient, practical, etc. - she tries to make the best of things, and to hold everything together, getting work, appeasing, compromising, but still holding her own when necessary (over the contraception particularly - that does strike a chord with me).  I think if Ennis had been straight, if he'd loved her, she'd have been a pretty good choice in a wife.  I've never been in the situation she is in but I do feel for her, and I think it's unfair to portray her as some sort of manipulative harridan who tries to keep the lovers apart (sadly, Ennis does a pretty good job of keeping them apart without any help ...)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on March 15, 2006, 02:07:52 PM
[
Thank you!  I do feel sorry for Alma, she seems very young at the beginning, but still a pretty good catch I think - hardworking, resilient, practical, etc. - she tries to make the best of things, and to hold everything together, getting work, appeasing, compromising, but still holding her own when necessary (over the contraception particularly - that does strike a chord with me).  I think if Ennis had been straight, if he'd loved her, she'd have been a pretty good choice in a wife.  I've never been in the situation she is in but I do feel for her, and I think it's unfair to portray her as some sort of manipulative harridan who tries to keep the lovers apart (sadly, Ennis does a pretty good job of keeping them apart without any help ...)


God, yes. I find the posts which characterise her as cruel or spiteful in the Thanksgiving scene really hard to handle. I think she had earned the right to that outburst and that Ennis practically asked for it with his thoughtless and insensitively perky 'once burned' remark. And this revisionist argument that really, if you think about it, SHE was the one making Ennis commit adultery against Jack ... topsy-turvy reasoning! The story loses all its balance if you turn it round like that. Cara and I are part of Team Alma - we stand up to any and all unreasonable or over judgemental attacks on Alma. LOL.

I wonder what would come out on a thread devoted to the morality of Ennis' decision to re-start his affair with Jack? We don't really talk about that, do we? Just accept it but the ethics of it bear some looking into, I think.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: AgBabe on March 15, 2006, 07:13:33 PM
Alma, in my opinion, is 100% a wronged, innocent partner in this relationship.  We can't blame anything on Alma.  She held her anger in for years and then with Ennis' saying "once burned....", she just exploded, and rightfully so. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cyoung on March 16, 2006, 10:13:04 PM
I wonder what would come out on a thread devoted to the morality of Ennis' decision to re-start his affair with Jack? We don't really talk about that, do we? Just accept it but the ethics of it bear some looking into, I think.

I have often wondered about that but have been almost afraid to discuss it in depth. I remember how.... dismayed I felt, how empathetic for Alma, the first time I saw the movie & Ennis was seemingly oblivious to her and her feelings while he got ready to run off with Jack. ("Don't Texans drink coffee?") How could he NOT notice? He wasn't an insensitive man. Couldn't he see it in her eyes, in her face? I don't know.... it seemed just a little too easy for him to disregard her.

Cara
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: David G on March 16, 2006, 10:33:22 PM
Quote
I have often wondered about that but have been almost afraid to discuss it in depth. I remember how.... dismayed I felt, how empathetic for Alma, the first time I saw the movie & Ennis was seemingly oblivious to her and her feelings while he got ready to run off with Jack. ("Don't Texans drink coffee?") How could he NOT notice? He wasn't an insensitive man. Couldn't he see it in her eyes, in her face? I don't know.... it seemed just a little too easy for him to disregard her.

Cara

After Jack came back, Ennis seems to have lost most, if not all, of his interest in Alma.

If she hadn't seen them kiss, would she have ever suspected? Would their relationship have survived? Her knowing changed the dynamic of their marriage completely. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on March 17, 2006, 01:08:55 AM
I wonder what would come out on a thread devoted to the morality of Ennis' decision to re-start his affair with Jack? We don't really talk about that, do we? Just accept it but the ethics of it bear some looking into, I think.

I have often wondered about that but have been almost afraid to discuss it in depth. I remember how.... dismayed I felt, how empathetic for Alma, the first time I saw the movie & Ennis was seemingly oblivious to her and her feelings while he got ready to run off with Jack. ("Don't Texans drink coffee?") How could he NOT notice? He wasn't an insensitive man. Couldn't he see it in her eyes, in her face? I don't know.... it seemed just a little too easy for him to disregard her.

Cara

I think he was pretty single minded at the time - he had to get away with Jack and couldn't let himself think or care about how Alma was feeling.  In the book he rushes off quickly to try to stop her saying something that will mean he needs to come back more quickly - so I think he DOES notice.  He knows that she knows, and but only thinks of her feelings as a possible barrier to him spending time with Jack. 

I felt awful for Alma in that scene.  She knows that what she has seen changes everything, but she is excluded and left alone to deal with it.  She also knows even then that she is never going to be allowed to mention it. 

Ennis doesn't seem to think too much of the morality of it.  I think being with a man is a such a huge step for Ennis that cheating on his wife is a tiny one.  I also think he sometimes sees things as inevitable, outside his control, fated - and this may be one of them.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on March 18, 2006, 02:44:48 PM

 He knows that she knows, and but only thinks of her feelings as a possible barrier to him spending time with Jack. 

I felt awful for Alma in that scene.  She knows that what she has seen changes everything, but she is excluded and left alone to deal with it.  She also knows even then that she is never going to be allowed to mention it. 

Ennis doesn't seem to think too much of the morality of it.  I think being with a man is a such a huge step for Ennis that cheating on his wife is a tiny one.  I also think he sometimes sees things as inevitable, outside his control, fated - and this may be one of them.


Hi, Desecra. I don't think he does know that she was him and Jack kissing. I can't see how that could be? It would make the whole Thanksgiving encounter really odd if she could have simply referred to the kissing knowing he knew.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 18, 2006, 04:17:59 PM

 He knows that she knows, and but only thinks of her feelings as a possible barrier to him spending time with Jack. 

I felt awful for Alma in that scene.  She knows that what she has seen changes everything, but she is excluded and left alone to deal with it.  She also knows even then that she is never going to be allowed to mention it. 

Ennis doesn't seem to think too much of the morality of it.  I think being with a man is a such a huge step for Ennis that cheating on his wife is a tiny one.  I also think he sometimes sees things as inevitable, outside his control, fated - and this may be one of them.


Hi, Desecra. I don't think he does know that she was him and Jack kissing. I can't see how that could be? It would make the whole Thanksgiving encounter really odd if she could have simply referred to the kissing knowing he knew.


I didn't get the impression Ennis ever knew Alma saw he and Jack kissing.  As paranoid as Ennis was, I think that would have sent him over the edge, and he may never have hooked up with Jack again.  I know it is portrayed differently in the book, but I think in the movie there is no indication that Ennis knew that Alma knew, so to speak.
Patroclus, you bring up an interesting point.  Why, during the Thanksgiving confrontation, didn't Alma just say to Ennis, "Know what?  I saw you kissing that Jack Nasty, so don't lie to me."   I was rather perplexed by that.  Did she think her mind was playing tricks on her and she didn't really see what she saw?  Was she too sexually backward or shy to bring it up?  I thought when the confrontation began that she would have hit him over the head with that fact, but she didn't.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on March 18, 2006, 04:42:23 PM
Patroclus, you bring up an interesting point.  Why, during the Thanksgiving confrontation, didn't Alma just say to Ennis, "Know what?  I saw you kissing that Jack Nasty, so don't lie to me."   I was rather perplexed by that.  Did she think her mind was playing tricks on her and she didn't really see what she saw?  Was she too sexually backward or shy to bring it up?  I thought when the confrontation began that she would have hit him over the head with that fact, but she didn't.

Well, if the conversation had gone any further she might have done, but it was cut very emphatically short by Ennis. He gave out very clear vibes that he didn't want to discuss it any further!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on March 18, 2006, 04:49:18 PM
Patroclus, you bring up an interesting point.  Why, during the Thanksgiving confrontation, didn't Alma just say to Ennis, "Know what?  I saw you kissing that Jack Nasty, so don't lie to me."   I was rather perplexed by that.  Did she think her mind was playing tricks on her and she didn't really see what she saw?  Was she too sexually backward or shy to bring it up?  I thought when the confrontation began that she would have hit him over the head with that fact, but she didn't.

Probably too shy. Kissing between men simply doesn't compute on Alma's simple data processor. Imagine what a blow

I wouldn't call her "sexually backward." After all, she was well acquainted with other forms of intercourse thanks to Ennis' prowess at giving her the ol' Jack Nasty.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: dejavu on March 18, 2006, 05:35:14 PM
Patroclus, you bring up an interesting point.  Why, during the Thanksgiving confrontation, didn't Alma just say to Ennis, "Know what?  I saw you kissing that Jack Nasty, so don't lie to me."   I was rather perplexed by that.  Did she think her mind was playing tricks on her and she didn't really see what she saw?  Was she too sexually backward or shy to bring it up?  I thought when the confrontation began that she would have hit him over the head with that fact, but she didn't.

Well, if the conversation had gone any further she might have done, but it was cut very emphatically short by Ennis. He gave out very clear vibes that he didn't want to discuss it any further!

There's a lot about this scene that intrigues me.  For one, some reviews say they don't understand why the
Thanksgiving scene was even included (previous posts have helped me understand that: the parallels of the
two dinners; the necessity of Alma's confrontation coming out, etc.)  The bigger question that came up after my
boyfriend (BF) saw the movie with me (he's been through a divorce) was why would a divorced man be having
Thanksgiving dinner with his wife's new husband?  Some of you have suggested it was because of the girls;
not to be a "sad daddy", etc.  I pointed out to BF that after all, it was a small town, Ennis and Monroe knew each
other, had been speaking-terms friendly before (in the grocery store).  I wondered if the fact that Ennis essentially
left Alma for a man (even though Alma actually left Ennis) would have reduced some of the possible jealosly
between Monroe and Ennis.  But BF was quite sure Alma would never have mentioned her knowledge of Jack
Nasty to Monroe, or clued her new husband in on what was really at the root of her first marriage failing.  Yet
Monroe looks so placid about having Ennis there.  I read that "after all, he had Alma now" helped him feel a bit
smug.  Did anyone else feel that in real life, this dinner wouldn't have happened?  My brother is divorced, too,
(and not remarried) but he cooks a second Thanksgiving dinner for his son on a different day.  Of course, Ennis
probably didn't have the skills or money for that.

As for Alma's remarks in the kitchen, I was pretty sure she was mad enough to come out with the news about
seeing the kissing, after Ennis said (about the fishing line) "that don't mean nothin Alma".  And as someone else
remarked on here earlier, in a way it's a pity that she never did let that come out because that left Ennis wondering
whether something about him "showed", something that let her jump from the fishing line not being used to the
conclusion about Jack Nasty ("I know what it means. . .Don't try to fool me Ennis").  She could just as easily have continued "Don't try to fool me Ennis, I saw the two of you outside the first time he came to see you."  Of course he didn't
"know" she could have been about to say that, but I can understand his rage then as wanting her to just SHUT UP
and not continue with ANYTHING that might be overheard by the girls in the other room. It seems like he could almost
sense that there was more behind her remarks and didn't want to find out (or have the girls find out) what.

Thoughts?

Anyway, a bad ending to what must have probably started as an awkward dinner, anyway.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: AgBabe on March 18, 2006, 05:43:10 PM
My ex-husband and I get along fine now after being divorced 25 years.  We have an only child and have both remarried.  I have been a guest in his home and he in mine.  It depends on the circumstances.  My ex and I grew up together in a very small town, so I don't see it as being completely unusual.  Each relationship is different.  The girls probably put pressure on Alma for "Daddy" to come for dinner since he was alone.  It got a little out of hand in the kitchen when Ennis was helping her with the dishes. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: gblady on March 18, 2006, 06:37:22 PM
as a divorced Mom with kids, having a holiday meal with the ex isn't unusual at all......
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on March 19, 2006, 08:34:45 AM
This may be in the wrong thread, but in the scene where Alma tells Ennis about the power company job (as he's packing to go fishing) the radio is on in the backround.  The DJ is telling a joke about 2 guys...

I listened to this part very closely yesterday, but I could not catch the entire radio joke. Although, your interpertation would make sense. I also tried to catch what it was being advertised on the radio when Alma is washing clothes in the sink. Ang doesn't leave these little details to chance. 

No, he sure doesn't. I don't know exactly about the radio ad, maybe soda? I caught some words like "different flavors", "root beer" and "diet", though. I saw Alma drinking a bottle of Coca-Cola at the drive-in.

Something else I noticed was a card showing up, thumbtacked, onto their kitchen bulletin board as Ennis is packing to go fishing. It has a red flower on it. Looks like a rose, too.

Im on this thread for the first time because of wanting to reflect upon Alma - taken me awhile - which indicates something - I've mostly been taken up with the overpowering passion of the two men - that has consumed all else, including my own time and sanity.

So my first comment here: I didnt hear the content of the radio in the background - but I DO recall an old country song about Sneaky Snake that likes root beer - need I say more?



Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on March 19, 2006, 08:40:50 AM
Firstly, I think she does the thing with the fishing tackle for the following reasons: I imagine that seeing something like the reunion kiss which you then can't talk about with anyone, especially Ennis, must have left Alma both shocked and, as time goes by, increasingly wondering if she imagined it all, or if she's exaggerated what she saw. Surely people can relate to that sense of 'have I made all this up; am I going mad?', especially is someone else behaves as if nothing has happened. So I think testing it out with the fishing note was a way of double checking what was going on and also a way for her to take control, instead of having it all thrust upon her inadvertently. I think this was part of her testing out her thinking in preparation for her exit strategy from this marriage. It was also a way of demonstrating to herself that Ennis was being essentially selfish - always time for him to take off with Jack, never time or inclination to take her out. And the providing of fish summed this up perfectly. Her and the kids liked fish, Ennis was claiming her caught lots - so why didn't he bring any back. I imagine she must have had a very mixed response of bitter vindication and real sadness that any hope she may have held onto that her marriage could be saved was finally shredded when she opened the creel case after his return, 'all perky'. I've certainly had the experience in a break-up that I've needed my own moment of decision in order to come to terms with how I'm going to manage a relationship, not just leave it to the other person how it will go. I think it's the opposite of being a victim, I see it a regaining control of her situation by creating a test for what she knows which is of her making.

Very perceptive. These 'games', not to denigrate the seriousness of it, go on in troubled marriages, whether sexual orientation is the issue or not. Plenty of us have crossed that particular river, and the sort of cognitive dissonance, too (i.e., "I know this happened but it couldn't really have").



Absolutely!  Alcoholism is a case in point.  Considered shamelful.  Homosexuality the same, I think more so, especially in some cultures.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on March 19, 2006, 08:52:56 AM

Alma seems to be mostly driven by a need for security and respectability IMO. She might have been afraid to confront E before this although he hasn't threatened to hit her before this scene even though they have both gotten angry before. She wasn't afraid to confront E in bed

You're probably right here about the custody. I doubt she went to the trouble of putting a note in his case to bring home fish when she could have told him this personally when she reminded him to take it. I also doubt she had some great yen for a fish dinner either. It was a reality check to help her decide to divorce him, to give herself grounds.


No one wanted Jack and Ennis to be together more than I did, but I think to paint Alma out as being difficult, demanding, and vindictive is unfair.  After all, HER HUSBAND WAS CHEATING ON HER! 

A few comments: scene in grocery store when Alma doesnt want to take the girls: Ennis surely is threatening violence in the look he givees her in grocery store when she doesnt want to take the kids: -

I agree about reality check with the note in the tackle box. 

And I will say front and forward that I dont believe Ennis was "cheating on her".  Rather, cheating on himself in a cheating culture that does not recognize m/m as "normal" - and punishes such behavior. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on March 19, 2006, 09:14:39 AM
Ah, so having entered this thread, I guess I should speak of my present interest in the primal response(s) of a woman when she loses her man to another man. 

I see Alma, after seeing the famous clinch, walking as if she's just been kicked in the stomach.  I see her fear, grief and, later, when she looks down at Jack, leaning against the truck: her fury.  Life, as she has known it, is over.  The task at hand is survival of herself and her children. 

When she hears the men returning - her whimper, her gathering her "purse" - symbolic of womb, security, so much - what a scene!   

Also interested in a comment on the Reunion Thread that Jack in this scene is confronting Alma, staking out territory.  What's this about?  If a gay male makes such a move, is there behind it the threat (always present, for a woman) of male violence?

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on March 20, 2006, 02:09:48 AM
Hi, Desecra. I don't think he does know that she was him and Jack kissing. I can't see how that could be? It would make the whole Thanksgiving encounter really odd if she could have simply referred to the kissing knowing he knew.


This is one of the things I've changed my mind on over time.  I wondered why, in the kissing scene, Ennis looks around then pushes Jack out of view - but NOT out of view of Alma.  I thought he just misjudged it - he didn't know what could be seen from that window.  Over time, I've now wondered if it was because Alma didn't matter too much.  He wanted to hide Jack from the general public, but he knew his wife didn't have any power over him.   

This view was backed up by some parts in the book which hint that Ennis knew Alma had seen them:

'What could he say? ..... "Jack and me ain't seen each other in four years"  As if it were a reason.'  A reason for what?  Presumably a reason for their passionate reunion which she has witnessed.

And later on, Ennis notices Alma taking money from her pocket and 'guessed she was going to ask him to get her a pack of cigarettes, bring him back sooner' at which point he rushes off.  It's subtle but he notices that she is jealous, and that she is doesn't want him to spend too much time with Jack - why would he think that if he didn't know she'd seen them?

I think it still fits with the Thanksgiving encounter.  He knows that Alma won't mention it, and she doesn't until the Thanksgiving time.  She could have mentioned that she'd seen them kissing whether or not he knew that she knew.  However, I think that maybe to her, the fishing thing was worse than the kissing because it represented the ongoing infidelity, the time and money spent away from her and the chlidren, etc.

None of this is proof, of course, and I may change my mind yet again :).
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: dan_senti on March 20, 2006, 06:31:29 AM
Hi guys, I’m a new brokeaholic ;D, fascinated about the BBM too, and as a problem of language, I just have several scenes that I didn’t comprehend.
1) After the separation, Ennis got married. Then is something about Jack. He fell from the bull in one competition of rodeo and the night he went to a bar, where he came across a guy. Jack offered to buy him a beer and the guy refused and said “Save your money to your next…..” and left. Jack and him had a strange eye contact. Well, I didn’t completely understand that scene. Anyone minds explaining to me? Do they have some affairs? (Just my doubt)
2) In a chic party, Jack Lureen and another couple got together talking about their life. When Jack invited the women, who complain his husband, (guess her a friend of Lureen) to dance, Lureen seemed to be a bit jealous. So I think Jack and Lureen had a love but different from that from Jack and Ennis. Then on the bench a dialog between Jack and the bearded guy. I’m not sure about their relationship, anyone know? Which seized me is that when the guy said : so I used to ..what I wanna want…… we can go down some weekend, drink a whisky, kissing(is that kissing, the guy said? Not sure again) old way, you know. Hearing this, Jack seemed to think about something.
So did you guys noticed these scenes? Maybe we can talk about this.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on March 20, 2006, 06:44:29 AM
When I said “E spends 55 weeks a year with A and she begrudges him 1 week with J. I think she has real grievances with E but most are because of her own actions; influencing to move into town where they struggle to meet the rent because E can't make more money than he does, and then blaming him for not making enough while they're having sex, and then withholding sex.”

I didn’t mean to say that Alma didn’t have a grievance with Ennis over his affair with Jack or his ignoring her. I understand her feeling devastated when she saw Jack and Ennis kissing. I’ve gone through breakups like this and they’re awful. I do feel sorry for Alma.

Patroclus said "I think she had earned the right to that outburst and that Ennis practically asked for it with his thoughtless and insensitively perky 'once burned' remark. And this revisionist argument that really, if you think about it, SHE was the one making Ennis commit adultery against Jack ... topsy-turvy reasoning!"

“Perky” remark? No one’s saying that Alma made Ennis commit adultery. See below.

"Desecra said "How would you feel, for instance, if your husband was spending your joint income on going on holidays with his lover, whilst you and the children couldn't afford to go on holiday?  How would you feel if you couldn't afford children and your husband refused to use contraception then blamed you for not having sex?  Alma has every right to feel aggrieved, and to tackle Ennis about it."

The film never shows Ennis and Alma on a holiday so I assume that they didn’t do more that day trips or simple things. His children seem to love him so I imagine that he did do things with them if not with Alma. The trips to BBM didn’t look like budget busters to me. They use Jack’s truck to drive to a wilderness area that means a lot to them and live off the land. It’s safe to assume what little money was spent, was spent by Jack. Would Alma have begrudged Ennis spending a weekend with another buddy where they actually did only fish?

Stacp said “No one wanted Jack and Ennis to be together more than I did, but I think to paint Alma out as being difficult, demanding, and vindictive is unfair.  After all, HER HUSBAND WAS CHEATING ON HER!  Who cares if it was with a man, woman, alien, whatever, Ennis broke their marriage vows.  She had every right to throw everything back in his face, but she didn't for a long time, probably out of love for him and the kids, and I respect her for that.  I do think Ennis did the best he could by her, but, of course, she finally realized that wasn't enough for her.  I see her as being the brave one to a certain extent--at least she saw the marriage was a sham and had the nerve to get out and try for a better life, something Ennis never did with Jack. “

For me the whole point of the film and story was Ennis’ difficulty understanding what was going on inside himself and therefore, what to do about it. He was inexperienced when he married, closed in and insecure, vaguely frustrated, but mostly a straightforward good man without the intention of hurting anyone. So he couldn’t express or visualize any future with Jack or any future beside the one he committed to at his marriage.

Alma knew what she was feeling and where she stood throughout the film, so she chose a sensible future by divorcing Ennis and marrying Monroe. I don’t blame Alma for doing this. I don’t blame her for manipulating Ennis to move to an apartment, allowing her to get a job and get out of the home. I just make note of her manipulation of Ennis through the film to get what she wants. When Ennis throws her down on the bed and “does what she hates”, I saw this as Ennis’ way to prevent pregnancy, not as Ennis’ preference.  It’s not a major criticism of Alma that she manipulates him; just an observation.

I saw Alma’s refusal to have sex with Ennis saying she would have his children if he would support them, as Alma having a tantrum because life with Ennis didn’t turn out the way she hoped. She knew what Ennis’ prospects were before she married him; she was a practical person. This was an unfair accusation and quite bold for Alma. What would have been a fair accusation at this point was to confront Ennis over Jack. She decided not to do this but to confront him over his lack of income and I think this is where she decides to get divorced.

Since she was not afraid to confront Ennis like this, to reject her husband in bed, I fault her for not bringing up his relationship with Jack before the divorce when they could have tried to grapple with this. They probably would still have divorced but at least Ennis might have come to understand more about what he was going through. Alma wasn’t afraid of Ennis’ anger if she could make that statement to him in bed. I think she just didn’t want him any more.

I do blame her for throwing his relationship with Jack in his face AFTER the divorce, after they had both been through some time apart, and had cooled down. Ennis was very easy with Alma during and after dinner, but Alma was seething and uncomfortable. She blamed Ennis for the divorce and took this opportunity to tell him why, and got all her anger out at him then. I don’t see her as being afraid of him hitting her because he never raises a hand to her until the Thanksgiving dinner comment. He gets angry at times but so does she, and they knew each other and dealt with it during the marriage. He doesn’t hit her even after that comment which devastates him. He didn’t see it coming because she had never talked about it, and he DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO TALK ABOUT IT. Now when it doesn’t matter any more she takes the opportunity to vent and demean Ennis.

Watching the film again last night, I suspect that Alma staged the whole Thanksgiving fight scene for her own reasons. She obviously didn’t care about Ennis anymore when she said that she and the girls were worried about him. Why does she ask him whether he’ll remarry? She thinks he’s homosexual. Her face and voice does change when he says “once burned” but what does she expect him to say? I think she intends to bring up his homosexuality out in the open, his worst fear come true, precisely at Thanksgiving dinner to finally vent her rage and alienate her daughters against their father. That it doesn’t alienate them, just points to the daughters’ integrity and capacity for love, something I didn’t see in Alma. Affection maybe but never passion or loving.

I don’t mean to say she’s a bad person or that she hasn’t been deeply hurt. Just that she isn’t entitled to confront Ennis that way she did AFTER the divorce, with the children listening, just because he cheated on her. She is using Ennis again; this time to vent and to demean Ennis to her children who seem to like their dad better than Monroe. After all Ennis cheats with Jack but he stays with Alma.  Who knows; maybe this blowup along with Jack’s death, helped Ennis appreciate his love for Jack, and his understanding of his children. I don’t see any such understanding in Alma.

I guess we can agree to disagree. That’s what makes the film and this forum so interesting.

Rich
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: David G on March 20, 2006, 07:04:54 AM
Quote
1) After the separation, Ennis got married. Then is something about Jack. He fell from the bull in one competition of rodeo and the night he went to a bar, where he came across a guy. Jack offered to buy him a beer and the guy refused and said “Save your money to your next…..” and left. Jack and him had a strange eye contact. Well, I didn’t completely understand that scene. Anyone minds explaining to me? Do they have some affairs?

Yes, Jack winked at Jimbo the rodeo clown. And when he winked, their conversation went bad. Jimbo saw the wink and knew that Jack was "queer" and trying to pick him up so Jimbo got up and left and went to talk to the men playing pool and maybe tell them about Jack winking at him.

You have a very good eye at seeing what was happening.

Quote
2) In a chic party, Jack Laureen and another couple got together talking about their life. When Jack invited the women, who complain his husband, (guess her a friend of Laureen) to dance, Laureen seemed to be a bit jealous. So I think Jack and Laureen had a love but different from that from Jack and Ennis. Then on the bench a dialog between Jack and the bearded guy. I’m not sure about their relationship, anyone know? Which seized me is that when the guy said : so I used to ..what I wanna want…… we can go down some weekend, drink a whiskey, kissing(is that kissing, the guy said? Not sure again) old way, you know. Hearing this, Jack seemed to think about something.
So did you guys noticed these scenes? Maybe we can talk about this.


Jack and Laureen had long ago fallen out of love with each other. All the passion was gone and their relationship was dead. Jack didn't dance with his wife because they were no longer having sex either. He was telling his wife he no longer loved her and wanted to dance with someone else.

Outside on the bench, Randell (the bearded guy) is hitting on Jack just like Jack hit on Jimbo the rodeo clown. Only this time, Jack is surprised that someone is hitting on him. He has probably tried hundreds of times to pick up men but no one ever took the bait. He probably stopped hitting on men a long time ago out of fear of rejection and fear of being called queer.

Although you don't know the language very well, you understood what you were seeing in the film. The director and the actors did a very good job at showing you all you need to know.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 20, 2006, 10:00:07 AM
"Jack and Laureen had long ago fallen out of love with each other. All the passion was gone and their relationship was dead. Jack didn't dance with his wife because they were no longer having sex either. He was telling his wife he no longer loved her and wanted to dance with someone else."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not trying to get off topic here, but I thought Jack asked LaShawn to dance to throw off suspicion from both Lureen and Randall that he was gay (Lureen seems a little suspicious when she asks Jack "why don't husbands ever want to dance with their wives?").  Of course this is Jack just putting on a show in public, as we know he later gets it on with Randall.  Also, there is river scene between Jack and Ennis after the Thanksgiving scenes when Ennis asks Jack if it's (meaning sex) "normal" between he and Lureen, and Jack give a rather unconvicing nod (if I'm remembering correctly).  Is this scene before or after the dance?  I'm thinking things were not really alright in the Twist bed, but I don't know if Jack and Lureen completely stopped having sex.  She would get really suspicious then, I think.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: David G on March 20, 2006, 10:18:51 AM
Quote
I thought Jack asked LaShawn to dance to throw off suspicion from both Lureen and Randall that he was gay (Lureen seems a little suspicious when she asks Jack "why don't husbands ever want to dance with their wives?").  Of course this is Jack just putting on a show in public, as we know he later gets it on with Randall.  Also, there is river scene between Jack and Ennis after the Thanksgiving scenes when Ennis asks Jack if it's (meaning sex) "normal" between he and Lureen, and Jack give a rather unconvicing nod (if I'm remembering correctly).  Is this scene before or after the dance?  I'm thinking things were not really alright in the Twist bed, but I don't know if Jack and Lureen completely stopped having sex.  She would get really suspicious then, I think.

It's possible. But I think it was more of a dig at Laureen firmly establishing that he no longer wanted to "dance" with her anymore. Their relationship was over. After Laureen asks Jack, 'why don't husbands want to dance with their wives', Jack asking Lashawn to dance was an FU slap in the face. 'It's over Laureen. I have no intention of dancing with you ever again.'
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 20, 2006, 10:21:51 AM
In the Ennis/Alma/Thanksgiving scene.

ENNIS:

That don't mean nothin', Alma.
ALMA:

Don't try to fool me no more, Ennis, I know what it means.  Jack Twist?

ENNIS:

Alma...

ALMA:

Jack Nasty.  You didn't go up there to fish.  You and him...

ENNIS:

Now you listen to me, you don't know nothing about it.

Two times he says she doesn't know about it.  I have decided that the first time he says this, his meaning is that he's trying to deny the relationship.  The second time (I like to think) that he is not denying the relationship but telling her she doesn't understand the nature of the relationship.  Maybe in that little instance we see Ennis growing to acceptance just a little bit.  I know it is a little obsessive, but you understand.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Stacia on March 20, 2006, 10:24:51 AM
I'm sure this subject has been tackled before - but I am new here.

How does Jack so willingly have sex with Lureen on their first date if he is gay?  He is all smiles and the movie does not show a hint of confusion on his part.  Anyone have insight about this?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 20, 2006, 10:32:51 AM
I'm sure this subject has been tackled before - but I am new here.

How does Jack so willingly have sex with Lureen on their first date if he is gay?  He is all smiles and the movie does not show a hint of confusion on his part.  Anyone have insight about this?

I think this is further indication that they believed they had to maintain traditional roles regardless of what they felt for each other.  And remember, he marries her before the first reunion, so he doesn't know that he will meet up with Ennis ever again.  He may not be sure, even, that he is fully gay at this time.  Even today closeted gay men marry because they think they are supposed to do.  I am personally of the belief that of the two he WAS the one closest to being gay in a post Stonewall sense.  Let me know what you think.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Stacia on March 20, 2006, 10:44:35 AM
I'm sure this subject has been tackled before - but I am new here.

How does Jack so willingly have sex with Lureen on their first date if he is gay?  He is all smiles and the movie does not show a hint of confusion on his part.  Anyone have insight about this?

I think this is further indication that they believed they had to maintain traditional roles regardless of what they felt for each other.  And remember, he marries her before the first reunion, so he doesn't know that he will meet up with Ennis ever again.  He may not be sure, even, that he is fully gay at this time.  Even today closeted gay men marry because they think they are supposed to do.  I am personally of the belief that of the two he WAS the one closest to being gay in a post Stonewall sense.  Let me know what you think.


ITA that Jack was the closest to being gay - hence the confusion.  That was the only scene I didn't fully understand.  When she picked up his hat and gave it to him, while they were dancing -  he seemed to be all smiles.  It makes me think that he did have an attraction for women also (though not as strong as for men).  I'd like to think Jack was bi-sexual and Ennis had no clue what he was.  When they met each other they did not care who was what - they were just in love.  That was the beauty of the film for me, I don't think "gay" when I see Jack and Ennis together.  But when I see Jack away from Ennis it gets kind of confusing.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: David G on March 20, 2006, 10:50:58 AM
Quote
How does Jack so willingly have sex with Lureen on their first date if he is gay?  He is all smiles and the movie does not show a hint of confusion on his part.  Anyone have insight about this?

He's a sexually frustrated 19 year old. He probably gets erections all day long "riding bulls". Besides, there's the on going debate whether Jack and Ennis are gay or bi or something undefinable. You seem to believe that Jack was gay. Others aren't so sure precisely because of having sex with Laureen.

To me, I think after they had sex, Jack got Laureen pregnant which is the reason they got married. We see them have sex, there's not indication of a marriage, and then we see them with their new baby.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 20, 2006, 10:58:48 AM
I'm sure this subject has been tackled before - but I am new here.

How does Jack so willingly have sex with Lureen on their first date if he is gay?  He is all smiles and the movie does not show a hint of confusion on his part.  Anyone have insight about this?

I think this is further indication that they believed they had to maintain traditional roles regardless of what they felt for each other.  And remember, he marries her before the first reunion, so he doesn't know that he will meet up with Ennis ever again.  He may not be sure, even, that he is fully gay at this time.  Even today closeted gay men marry because they think they are supposed to do.  I am personally of the belief that of the two he WAS the one closest to being gay in a post Stonewall sense.  Let me know what you think.


ITA that Jack was the closest to being gay - hence the confusion.  That was the only scene I didn't fully understand.  When she picked up his hat and gave it to him, while they were dancing -  he seemed to be all smiles.  It makes me think that he did have an attraction for women also (though not as strong as for men).  I'd like to think Jack was bi-sexual and Ennis had no clue what he was.  When they met each other they did not care who was what - they were just in love.  That was the beauty of the film for me, I don't think "gay" when I see Jack and Ennis together.  But when I see Jack away from Ennis it gets kind of confusing.

Yeah, he's all smiles but as they spin and turn the smile changes.  The final smile is really a sort of sad smile, to me.  Maybe he realizes that he's missing Jack.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: mwp2paris on March 20, 2006, 11:05:43 AM

A few comments: scene in grocery store when Alma doesnt want to take the girls: Ennis surely is threatening violence in the look he givees her in grocery store when she doesnt want to take the kids: -

I agree about reality check with the note in the tackle box. 

And I will say front and forward that I dont believe Ennis was "cheating on her".  Rather, cheating on himself in a cheating culture that does not recognize m/m as "normal" - and punishes such behavior. 

The first time I saw the grocery store scene, I thought there was a hint of potential violence, but I have rethought that over and over and upon 13th viewing, I think that it is still early in the marriage, they have fallen into certain roles and stereotypes and the fact that Alma didn't just immediately drop what she was doing and take the girls tested Ennis just a bit. He looks at her like "you know your job is the girls and this grocery thing is a hobby," though completely necessary for them to make ends meet given Ennis's lack of desire to get a better paying job. But for him to have to admit that would undercut his perception of his role...to tell the ranch foreman "I can't make it out there boss just now; my wife is working and I got to watch my girls till she gets off in three hours," would have been unthinkable to Ennis and so he gives Alma that look to cut to the outcome they both know, at this point, they will end up at.

Balance that giving in by Alma to her standing up to him as she marches off to work and Ennis is demanding she stay home and serve dinner, then Alma comes into her own when she provokes him...she knows right where his achille's heel is, draws back an arrow, and scores a direct hit and Ennis, not even thinking Alma has a clue, is left reeling, and reaches back to the only reaction he knows when caught off-guard...raise the fist.

Think of what happened up on BBM and his raised fist to Jack...caught off-guard by what he is feeling, having to go down early, the wrestling that leads to the nose bleed...Ennis reached out and let the only reaction he knows guide him and he raises his fist to Jack.

A vow was made in front of God and all, Ennis stepped outside of that vow, and in breaking it cheated on Alma...I do not judge him for it, we all make decisions and must live with the aftermath of those decisions.

This may be the most poetic committing to film of those two simple words that form the unanswerable question of human existance...

"What if?"
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Stacia on March 20, 2006, 11:06:29 AM
I'm sure this subject has been tackled before - but I am new here.

How does Jack so willingly have sex with Lureen on their first date if he is gay?  He is all smiles and the movie does not show a hint of confusion on his part.  Anyone have insight about this?

I think this is further indication that they believed they had to maintain traditional roles regardless of what they felt for each other.  And remember, he marries her before the first reunion, so he doesn't know that he will meet up with Ennis ever again.  He may not be sure, even, that he is fully gay at this time.  Even today closeted gay men marry because they think they are supposed to do.  I am personally of the belief that of the two he WAS the one closest to being gay in a post Stonewall sense.  Let me know what you think.


ITA that Jack was the closest to being gay - hence the confusion.  That was the only scene I didn't fully understand.  When she picked up his hat and gave it to him, while they were dancing -  he seemed to be all smiles.  It makes me think that he did have an attraction for women also (though not as strong as for men).  I'd like to think Jack was bi-sexual and Ennis had no clue what he was.  When they met each other they did not care who was what - they were just in love.  That was the beauty of the film for me, I don't think "gay" when I see Jack and Ennis together.  But when I see Jack away from Ennis it gets kind of confusing.

Yeah, he's all smiles but as they spin and turn the smile changes.  The final smile is really a sort of sad smile, to me.  Maybe he realizes that he's missing Jack.


Yes, I noticed the final smile also.  *sigh*    I think this film strikes a chord in everyone that has been heartbroken or unable to be with the person they are in love with - this also includes Alma for me.  I cried when she cried and held her little girl close...
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 20, 2006, 11:23:17 AM

A few comments: scene in grocery store when Alma doesnt want to take the girls: Ennis surely is threatening violence in the look he givees her in grocery store when she doesnt want to take the kids: -

I agree about reality check with the note in the tackle box. 

And I will say front and forward that I dont believe Ennis was "cheating on her".  Rather, cheating on himself in a cheating culture that does not recognize m/m as "normal" - and punishes such behavior. 

The first time I saw the grocery store scene, I thought there was a hint of potential violence, but I have rethought that over and over and upon 13th viewing, I think that it is still early in the marriage, they have fallen into certain roles and stereotypes and the fact that Alma didn't just immediately drop what she was doing and take the girls tested Ennis just a bit. He looks at her like "you know your job is the girls and this grocery thing is a hobby," though completely necessary for them to make ends meet given Ennis's lack of desire to get a better paying job. But for him to have to admit that would undercut his perception of his role...to tell the ranch foreman "I can't make it out there boss just now; my wife is working and I got to watch my girls till she gets off in three hours," would have been unthinkable to Ennis and so he gives Alma that look to cut to the outcome they both know, at this point, they will end up at.

Balance that giving in by Alma to her standing up to him as she marches off to work and Ennis is demanding she stay home and serve dinner, then Alma comes into her own when she provokes him...she knows right where his achille's heel is, draws back an arrow, and scores a direct hit and Ennis, not even thinking Alma has a clue, is left reeling, and reaches back to the only reaction he knows when caught off-guard...raise the fist.

Think of what happened up on BBM and his raised fist to Jack...caught off-guard by what he is feeling, having to go down early, the wrestling that leads to the nose bleed...Ennis reached out and let the only reaction he knows guide him and he raises his fist to Jack.

A vow was made in front of God and all, Ennis stepped outside of that vow, and in breaking it cheated on Alma...I do not judge him for it, we all make decisions and must live with the aftermath of those decisions.

This may be the most poetic committing to film of those two simple words that form the unanswerable question of human existance...

"What if?"

I think your comments about the grocery story scene and Alma are right on.  I would only add that these scenes add to the sense of a "slow corrosion...no real trouble, just widening water.  That also may be so obvious it doesn't even need to be mentioned.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 20, 2006, 11:28:06 AM
A vow was made in front of God and all, Ennis stepped outside of that vow, and in breaking it cheated on Alma...I do not judge him for it, we all make decisions and must live with the aftermath of those decisions.


Remember the trailer for this movie.  "There are lies we have to tell".  Both Jack and Ennis lied and I refuse to fault them.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 20, 2006, 12:10:00 PM

Alma seems to be mostly driven by a need for security and respectability IMO. She might have been afraid to confront E before this although he hasn't threatened to hit her before this scene even though they have both gotten angry before. She wasn't afraid to confront E in bed

You're probably right here about the custody. I doubt she went to the trouble of putting a note in his case to bring home fish when she could have told him this personally when she reminded him to take it. I also doubt she had some great yen for a fish dinner either. It was a reality check to help her decide to divorce him, to give herself grounds.


No one wanted Jack and Ennis to be together more than I did, but I think to paint Alma out as being difficult, demanding, and vindictive is unfair.  After all, HER HUSBAND WAS CHEATING ON HER! 

A few comments: scene in grocery store when Alma doesn't want to take the girls: Ennis surely is threatening violence in the look he givers her in grocery store when she doesn't want to take the kids: -

I agree about reality check with the note in the tackle box. 

And I will say front and forward that I dint believe Ennis was "cheating on her".  Rather, cheating on himself in a cheating culture that does not recognize m/m as "normal" - and punishes such behavior. 

I don't know about everyone else, but I have been married for nearly nine years to the only man I have ever loved, and the father of my two sons, and if I caught him screwing E.T. the extra terrestrial tomorrow, I would consider that cheating on me, even though our culture surely doesn't recognize alien/human relationships as "normal."  The fact is by any standard, when you take a vow, whether a religious one or not, to love, honor, and respect someone for the rest of your lives, "forsaking all others" then when you have sex with another person (and some would argue even if you don't have sex with another), you are breaking that vow and you are cheating on your spouse.  It happens every day, unfortunately, but Ennis was cheating on Alma.  Period.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 20, 2006, 12:15:10 PM
I guess it all depends on how much stock you put in monogamy.  Plus, this doesn't strike me as your average cheating.  I mean these two guys were desperately in love.  I know the women weren't treated right, but the whole shooting match was f***ed up.  And it was f***ed up because of things beyond any of these people's control.  Ennis was emotionally constipated but he wasn't an evil bastard.  He and Jack lived and acted in the only way they could.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on March 20, 2006, 12:58:06 PM
Hi, Desecra. I don't think he does know that she was him and Jack kissing. I can't see how that could be? It would make the whole Thanksgiving encounter really odd if she could have simply referred to the kissing knowing he knew.


This is one of the things I've changed my mind on over time.  I wondered why, in the kissing scene, Ennis looks around then pushes Jack out of view - but NOT out of view of Alma.  I thought he just misjudged it - he didn't know what could be seen from that window.  Over time, I've now wondered if it was because Alma didn't matter too much.  He wanted to hide Jack from the general public, but he knew his wife didn't have any power over him.   

This view was backed up by some parts in the book which hint that Ennis knew Alma had seen them:

'What could he say? ..... "Jack and me ain't seen each other in four years"  As if it were a reason.'  A reason for what?  Presumably a reason for their passionate reunion which she has witnessed.


Hi, Desecra. Good to see your post. I'm of the 'she didn't see it school'. 'As if it were a reason' I think refers to the fact that Ennis' 'chest was heaving. He could smell Jack'. Ennis is physically panting, shuddering with desire here. And he lamely says to Alma 'We haven't seen each other in fours years'. It's the disjunction between the apparent cause and the evident effect Annie P is noting, I think.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 20, 2006, 01:04:27 PM
Hi, Desecra. I don't think he does know that she was him and Jack kissing. I can't see how that could be? It would make the whole Thanksgiving encounter really odd if she could have simply referred to the kissing knowing he knew.


This is one of the things I've changed my mind on over time.  I wondered why, in the kissing scene, Ennis looks around then pushes Jack out of view - but NOT out of view of Alma.  I thought he just misjudged it - he didn't know what could be seen from that window.  Over time, I've now wondered if it was because Alma didn't matter too much.  He wanted to hide Jack from the general public, but he knew his wife didn't have any power over him.   

This view was backed up by some parts in the book which hint that Ennis knew Alma had seen them:

'What could he say? ..... "Jack and me ain't seen each other in four years"  As if it were a reason.'  A reason for what?  Presumably a reason for their passionate reunion which she has witnessed.


Hi, Desecra. Good to see your post. I'm of the 'she didn't see it school'. 'As if it were a reason' I think refers to the fact that Ennis' 'chest was heaving. He could smell Jack'. Ennis is physically panting, shuddering with desire here. And he lamely says to Alma 'We haven't seen each other in fours years'. It's the disjunction between the apparent cause and the evident effect Annie P is noting, I think.



I don't believe there is any malevolence involved.  I think he is just overwhelmed with seeing Jack.  He does realize she might have seen something.  Remember, in the story this scene takes place just outside the door on the upstairs landing.  "Jack took the stairs two and two."  He just doesn't know what to do.  "As if it were a reason." addresses what she might have seen as well as their agitated physical state.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 20, 2006, 02:00:30 PM
I guess it all depends on how much stock you put in monogamy.  Plus, this doesn't strike me as your average cheating.  I mean these two guys were desperately in love.  I know the women weren't treated right, but the whole shooting match was f***ed up.  And it was f***ed up because of things beyond any of these people's control.  Ennis was emotionally constipated but he wasn't an evil bastard.  He and Jack lived and acted in the only way they could.

I didn't mean to suggest that Ennis was an evil bastard.  Quite the contrary.  I think he acted the only way he knew how because of his homophobic upbringing.  I don't think he cheated on Alma with Jack to hurt Alma in any way, shape or form.  But, as the movie tag says, his love for Ennis was a force of nature, one he couldn't deny but society wouldn't let him recognize.  Alma, and the kids, (and Lureen and Bobby, too), were victims not only of their cheating spouses but of society's repression of homosexuals in general. 

P.S.  I'm also not saying Alma and Lureen are totally blameless for their dismal marriages.  I'm sure both women did their own share of contributing to the downfall of the marriages.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Lola on March 20, 2006, 02:03:57 PM
I don't know about Laureen (although I am not sure she ever stood a chance) but I can't see where Alma contributed to the downfall of her marriage at all.  Having said that though, this came from another thread and I think it is excellent.  Pardon me if it has already been posted.

Dan Savage, the sex columnist with a boyfriend and an adopted son, put it really well--he said in an op-ed piece to Christian "sanctity of marriage" arguers: Do you want your daughter marrying a Jack or Ennis? Why not just let the Jacks and Ennises of the world marry each other, so your daughter can pursue her own sanctified marriage without fear of betrayal?

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 20, 2006, 02:06:47 PM
I guess it all depends on how much stock you put in monogamy.  Plus, this doesn't strike me as your average cheating.  I mean these two guys were desperately in love.  I know the women weren't treated right, but the whole shooting match was f***ed up.  And it was f***ed up because of things beyond any of these people's control.  Ennis was emotionally constipated but he wasn't an evil bastard.  He and Jack lived and acted in the only way they could.

I didn't mean to suggest that Ennis was an evil bastard.  Quite the contrary.  I think he acted the only way he knew how because of his homophobic upbringing.  I don't think he cheated on Alma with Jack to hurt Alma in any way, shape or form.  But, as the movie tag says, his love for Ennis was a force of nature, one he couldn't deny but society wouldn't let him recognize.  Alma, and the kids, (and Lureen and Bobby, too), were victims not only of their cheating spouses but of society's repression of homosexuals in general. 

P.S.  I'm also not saying Alma and Lureen are totally blameless for their dismal marriages.  I'm sure both women did their own share of contributing to the downfall of the marriages.

Peace.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: bbmx4 on March 20, 2006, 02:23:27 PM
Quote
I wondered why, in the kissing scene, Ennis looks around then pushes Jack out of view - but NOT out of view of Alma.  I thought he just misjudged it - he didn't know what could be seen from that window.  Over time, I've now wondered if it was because Alma didn't matter too much.  He wanted to hide Jack from the general public, but he knew his wife didn't have any power over him.

wondered about that, too...  I don't think that Ennis knew she was watching or could be watching, in my view he was thinking of not much else than Jack at that moment... Not claiming to understand Alma but it seemed to me, too, that Alma did not have much power over her husband: Think about her silence, she knew for so long what was going on but never confronted Ennis with it (till the Thanksgiving scene), and when she saw that postcard from Jack she didn'y say anything... One could also argue she didn't know what she was seeing or what to think about it (she seemed so shocked when she saw them kissing), growing up in a rural (religious?) environment, and all that, it might have felt like something so forbidden and threatening her view of the world that she didn't dare to address it... Maybe that's why she didn't talk about the kisses she witnessed at Thanksgiving time either, but, more generally, the "fishing trips".
The Thanksgiving scene is pretty disturbing, imo. He tells her to shut up (because of Jack) and even raises his fist - disturbing, but I'm sure things like this happen.
As for the thought in another post on whether Jack was confronting Alma, staking out territory: He seems pretty relaxed as if Alma's no threat for him, he has a wife, too, and probably assumes Ennis has the same feelings for Alma Jack has for Lureen.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Lizandre on March 20, 2006, 02:26:45 PM
Lola, don't forget that Alma saw the lovers kissing. She knew but remained silent. As far as relationships go, communication is of some importance. She made some choices. Could she have made other choices, given her education and the time? But, could Ennis and Jack have made other choices too? Some members of my family have come through difficult divorces, cheating included. With of them, I can discuss the matter openly, and the woman, after some years, recognized that when things go awfully wrong, the blame is shared, most of the time.

Lack of communication, as far as relationships go, is deadly, sooner or later. And, in Signal, Wyoming, in 1967, Alma Del Mar saw her husband kissing his lover. She said nothing. It was her choice. She is not a victim, she played her role.

And, let's not forget that the story is told from the point of view of the boys. What if the aftershift hours of Alma had some recreational side to them? It's what I thought the first time I saw the movie. As we say in french, "elle lui rendait la monnaie de sa pièce", "she was giving him the change for his money".
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 20, 2006, 02:33:09 PM
"elle lui rendait la monnaie de sa pièce", "she was giving him the change for his money".

I like that saying.  I wish I could say it in French.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Lola on March 20, 2006, 02:49:23 PM
Lola, don't forget that Alma saw the lovers kissing. She knew but remained silent. As far as relationships go, communication is of some importance. She made some choices. Could she have made other choices, given her education and the time? But, could Ennis and Jack have made other choices too? Some members of my family have come through difficult divorces, cheating included. With of them, I can discuss the matter openly, and the woman, after some years, recognized that when things go awfully wrong, the blame is shared, most of the time.

Lack of communication, as far as relationships go, is deadly, sooner or later. And, in Signal, Wyoming, in 1967, Alma Del Mar saw her husband kissing his lover. She said nothing. It was her choice. She is not a victim, she played her role.

And, let's not forget that the story is told from the point of view of the boys. What if the aftershift hours of Alma had some recreational side to them? It's what I thought the first time I saw the movie. As we say in french, "elle lui rendait la monnaie de sa pièce", "she was giving him the change for his money".

Could she have made other choices, given her education and the time?  I am not sure she could have!  I mean this was before talk shows, before Jerry Springer and Montel and Maury................I think she was probably in absolute SHOCK!!  I would be in shock in 2006, I can't even imgaine her reaction as a young undeducated woman in the early to mid 1960's.

And they did divorce, and she moved on.  We have no reason to think she was cheating, I don't believe that for a minute, that is just speculation.  The only people cheating were Jack and Ennis...........and you know what that is fine, I know why they were doing it.

And that is why the women are such an important part of the story.  Because when you deny two people love (as society did Ennis and Jack) not only do they get hurt, but everyone gets hurt, spouses, kids etc..   We all pay the price and that is just not fair.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on March 20, 2006, 05:12:51 PM
I don't know about Laureen (although I am not sure she ever stood a chance) but I can't see where Alma contributed to the downfall of her marriage at all.  Having said that though, this came from another thread and I think it is excellent.  Pardon me if it has already been posted.

Dan Savage, the sex columnist with a boyfriend and an adopted son, put it really well--he said in an op-ed piece to Christian "sanctity of marriage" arguers: Do you want your daughter marrying a Jack or Ennis? Why not just let the Jacks and Ennises of the world marry each other, so your daughter can pursue her own sanctified marriage without fear of betrayal?



hear hear
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: gblady on March 20, 2006, 07:57:17 PM
I don't know if this has been talked about, but everytime I see the Alma looking out the screendoor scene, I am always amazed that Ennis and Jack didn't hear the door open and shut.....it seems so loud in the film, but they were probably beyond hearing anything at that point......even after many viewings, I half expect them to turn around at the noise of the door......
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 20, 2006, 08:53:00 PM
I don't know if this has been talked about, but everytime I see the Alma looking out the screendoor scene, I am always amazed that Ennis and Jack didn't hear the door open and shut.....it seems so loud in the film, but they were probably beyond hearing anything at that point......even after many viewings, I half expect them to turn around at the noise of the door......

I thought the same thing, too, on my first viewing.  That screen door sounded pretty loud.  But, I think Jack and Ennis were in the throws of reunion passion and a freight train could have run through the parking lot and they wouldn't have heard it.  The look on Jack's face when Ennis literally has to peel Jack off of him--the longing and the lust--and then Ennis gives him that little face nudge . . . I don't think those boys could have remembered their own names after that!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Marge_Innavera on March 20, 2006, 09:10:32 PM
I find the posts which characterise her as cruel or spiteful in the Thanksgiving scene really hard to handle. I think she had earned the right to that outburst and that Ennis practically asked for it with his thoughtless and insensitively perky 'once burned' remark.

I don't know if you are referring to any poster in particular; but my problem with Alma in the Thanksgiving scene is that she seems to be deliberately engineering a quarrel on a holiday in her and her husband's house, with her kids in the next room.  IMO, absent something in the realm of assault or sexual abuse, consideration of the children comes before any ex-spouse's grievances. And she has her own little moment of dishonesty - it isn't even clear if the "fishing tackle" story is true, as she's known all along.

That doesn't make Alma a bad person, and certainly not the author of the problems.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Marge_Innavera on March 20, 2006, 09:14:49 PM
A few comments: scene in grocery store when Alma doesnt want to take the girls: Ennis surely is threatening violence in the look he givees her in grocery store when she doesnt want to take the kids 

I've seen that look in my own household too often to agree it's any violent threat - it's more on the order of "I'm going to go ballistic and things will be very unpleasant."

Me, I have a history of standing up to that but then I didn't marry at 19.  If she's intimidated it's understandable but I wouldn't call it violent.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: DaveL on March 20, 2006, 09:19:58 PM
In the reunion scene, "this thing grabs hold" of E at least.  He pull or pushes J out of public view, as best he can.  I doubt he realizes A might have come to the door to look out.  They are too preoccupied, drawing blood and trembling in the book.

J does a better job at keeping the affair secret, at least in the book.   Even in the film, it appears L only connects the dots when E tells her they herded sheep together back in 1963.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Marge_Innavera on March 20, 2006, 09:20:12 PM
This view was backed up by some parts in the book which hint that Ennis knew Alma had seen them:

'What could he say? ..... "Jack and me ain't seen each other in four years"  As if it were a reason.'  A reason for what?  Presumably a reason for their passionate reunion which she has witnessed.

And later on, Ennis notices Alma taking money from her pocket and 'guessed she was going to ask him to get her a pack of cigarettes, bring him back sooner' at which point he rushes off.  It's subtle but he notices that she is jealous, and that she is doesn't want him to spend too much time with Jack - why would he think that if he didn't know she'd seen them?

Her seeing them is in the book, and it's unmistakeable. In the movie, it would be hard to believe Ennis ever took his eyes off Jack at that point.

Moreover, Ennis doesn't seem to be paying any attention to her reactions when they're getting ready to leave, which is certainly not out of character.  And anyone who lives with a smoker knows how routine a request "bring back some smokes" is.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 20, 2006, 09:32:19 PM
In the reunion scene, "this thing grabs hold" of E at least.  He pull or pushes J out of public view, as best he can.  I doubt he realizes A might have come to the door to look out.  They are too preoccupied, drawing blood and trembling in the book.

J does a better job at keeping the affair secret, at least in the book.   Even in the film, it appears L only connects the dots when E tells her they herded sheep together back in 1963.

I don't know if Jack was better at hiding the affair than Ennis (other than Ennis' one slip up at the reunion of showing open affection for Jack, Ennis seems to be fairly discrete). It may be that Lureen was just too disinterested in the marriage or distracted by her own ambitions in the business to really take note of her husband's affair (although, I think by the dance scene, she is at least questioning Jack's actions).  I can imagine if the scene had played out differently and Ennis had showed up on Jack's door step after four years, Jack probably would have jumped Ennis' bones in front of Lureen, L.D., and anyone else who happened to be there.   :o
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 21, 2006, 08:40:49 AM
I don't know if this has been talked about, but everytime I see the Alma looking out the screendoor scene, I am always amazed that Ennis and Jack didn't hear the door open and shut.....it seems so loud in the film, but they were probably beyond hearing anything at that point......even after many viewings, I half expect them to turn around at the noise of the door......

In the story, Ennis introduces Jack to Alma saying it's been 4 years since they have seen each other "As if it were a reason."  I read this as Ennis having, at the very least, an idea that Alma has seen the kiss and offers this line as some feeble excuse for what happened and to explain their obvious agitated physical state.  And remember, in the story the kiss takes place on the upstairs landing with the door only 2-3 feet away.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 21, 2006, 11:27:07 AM
Patroclus, you bring up an interesting point.  Why, during the Thanksgiving confrontation, didn't Alma just say to Ennis, "Know what?  I saw you kissing that Jack Nasty, so don't lie to me."   I was rather perplexed by that.  Did she think her mind was playing tricks on her and she didn't really see what she saw?  Was she too sexually backward or shy to bring it up?  I thought when the confrontation began that she would have hit him over the head with that fact, but she didn't.

Probably too shy. Kissing between men simply doesn't compute on Alma's simple data processor. Imagine what a blow

I wouldn't call her "sexually backward." After all, she was well acquainted with other forms of intercourse thanks to Ennis' prowess at giving her the ol' Jack Nasty. Givin' the ol Jack Nasty? That's brilliant, was that in the book? Probably not but hilarious anyway>>>>>>>>>>

Yes it was.

"he rolled her over, did quickly what she hated."    :o :o :o :o :o :o
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: blubird on March 21, 2006, 11:38:08 AM
Jack's love life began in a tent and continued under a canvas tent of another sort, that of the 65 t-bird convertible top. He also appears to be the bottom again. This time Lureen seems to be doing all the work. Does Jack seem momentarilly worried when Lureen seems to want to go all-the-way with Jack? It seemed that way with me. This "love scene" seems perhaps as rushed and unexpected as the first tent encounter. What is the signifcance of this?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 21, 2006, 01:58:37 PM
Patroclus, you bring up an interesting point.  Why, during the Thanksgiving confrontation, didn't Alma just say to Ennis, "Know what?  I saw you kissing that Jack Nasty, so don't lie to me."   I was rather perplexed by that.  Did she think her mind was playing tricks on her and she didn't really see what she saw?  Was she too sexually backward or shy to bring it up?  I thought when the confrontation began that she would have hit him over the head with that fact, but she didn't.

Probably too shy. Kissing between men simply doesn't compute on Alma's simple data processor. Imagine what a blow

I wouldn't call her "sexually backward." After all, she was well acquainted with other forms of intercourse thanks to Ennis' prowess at giving her the ol' Jack Nasty. Givin' the ol Jack Nasty? That's brilliant, was that in the book? Probably not but hilarious anyway>>>>>>>>>>

Yes it was.

"he rolled her over, did quickly what she hated."    :o :o :o :o :o :o

No wonder she hated it!  At least with Jack, Ennis used some spit.  I don't recall him using spit (or anything else) after flipping Alma over.  Okay, I can't believe I've thought about this movie that much to make THAT observation . . . Calling Brokeaholics Anonymous anyone?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 21, 2006, 02:11:52 PM
Jack's love life began in a tent and continued under a canvas tent of another sort, that of the 65 t-bird convertible top. He also appears to be the bottom again. This time Lureen seems to be doing all the work. Does Jack seem momentarilly worried when Lureen seems to want to go all-the-way with Jack? It seemed that way with me. This "love scene" seems perhaps as rushed and unexpected as the first tent encounter. What is the signifcance of this?

Interesting point.  Jack being on the bottom in both these scenes:  I suppose you could say that it may be symbolic of Jack being willing (or even liking to some degree) to be the submissive one in his relationships, always giving in, laying low and trying to ride things out, as he did waiting for Ennis for years.  I also got the impression that because Lureen controlled the purse strings, she had the upper hand in that relationship, too.  I, also, thought Jack looked a bit shocked and uneasy when Lureen rushed things their first time.  I'm not sure he thought he was going to be expected to perform so quickly.  I think in the FNIT, Ennis had to go on pure animal lust; he couldn't stop to think about what he was doing or he may not have followed through with it.  Likewise, in the car scene, Jack probably just has to "do it" and not think about it too much or he may have chickened out with Lureen.  Jack probably had to quickly conjure up an image of Ennis in his head and go for it!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 21, 2006, 02:20:53 PM
stacp,

Your points about Jack's submissive nature are right on target.  I think this is what the scenes when he shooots at and misses the coyote and when Ennis shoots and kills the elk are all about.  Somehow he must feel like he's not all that successful and need to hitch his wagon to another person's.  Also, remember the foreskin passage in the story, this must've set him up for life.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Cowboysnkisses on March 22, 2006, 11:41:22 AM
Patroclus, you bring up an interesting point.  Why, during the Thanksgiving confrontation, didn't Alma just say to Ennis, "Know what?  I saw you kissing that Jack Nasty, so don't lie to me."   I was rather perplexed by that.  Did she think her mind was playing tricks on her and she didn't really see what she saw?  Was she too sexually backward or shy to bring it up?  I thought when the confrontation began that she would have hit him over the head with that fact, but she didn't.

Probably too shy. Kissing between men simply doesn't compute on Alma's simple data processor. Imagine what a blow

I wouldn't call her "sexually backward." After all, she was well acquainted with other forms of intercourse thanks to Ennis' prowess at giving her the ol' Jack Nasty.

Huh?  Whatever can you mean here? Did you actually miss the scene where we see how Alma responds to seeing part of the Reunion kiss?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: cyoung on March 22, 2006, 09:35:57 PM
No wonder she hated it!  At least with Jack, Ennis used some spit.  I don't recall him using spit (or anything else) after flipping Alma over.  Okay, I can't believe I've thought about this movie that much to make THAT observation . . . Calling Brokeaholics Anonymous anyone?

Er.... well.... he was probably already a bit slick from having entered her vaginally first. I don't think lack of lubrication is why she didn't like it.

(I know. I'm in dire need of Brokeaholics Anonymous myself.)

Cara
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on March 23, 2006, 01:40:13 AM
"Desecra said "How would you feel, for instance, if your husband was spending your joint income on going on holidays with his lover, whilst you and the children couldn't afford to go on holiday?  How would you feel if you couldn't afford children and your husband refused to use contraception then blamed you for not having sex?  Alma has every right to feel aggrieved, and to tackle Ennis about it."

The film never shows Ennis and Alma on a holiday so I assume that they didn’t do more that day trips or simple things. His children seem to love him so I imagine that he did do things with them if not with Alma. The trips to BBM didn’t look like budget busters to me. They use Jack’s truck to drive to a wilderness area that means a lot to them and live off the land. It’s safe to assume what little money was spent, was spent by Jack. Would Alma have begrudged Ennis spending a weekend with another buddy where they actually did only fish?

I didn't answer your last post because I think we are destined to see these scenes in very different ways. :)  But I'll try to explain what I was saying here.  I think it's crucial to the plot that the family are poor.  In the book it's made more clear - they are poor partly due to Ennis's choice of jobs - he refuses to take well paid jobs, and goes for casual work that he can drop easily so he can see Jack.   So the depth of their poverty is due to Ennis and Jack's relationship.  I think you may be underestimating how deeply poverty affects people - personally I think it's a theme of the film. 

Would Alma have begrudged another fishing buddy - yes, she probably would.  Remember that all the time there are together there are NO family holidays, but Ennis gets a couple of holidays a year, however inexpensive, because he's seeing Jack.   The book mentions the things she resents:  'the embrace she had glimpsed, Ennis's fishing trips once or twice a year with Jack Twist and never a vacation with her and the girls, his disinclination to step out and have any fun, his yearning for low-paid, long-houred ranch work, his propensity to roll to the wall and sleep as soon as he hit the bed, his failure to look for a decent permanent job with the county or the power company'.

Quote
I saw Alma’s refusal to have sex with Ennis saying she would have his children if he would support them, as Alma having a tantrum because life with Ennis didn’t turn out the way she hoped. She knew what Ennis’ prospects were before she married him; she was a practical person. This was an unfair accusation and quite bold for Alma. What would have been a fair accusation at this point was to confront Ennis over Jack. She decided not to do this but to confront him over his lack of income and I think this is where she decides to get divorced.

She was aware of his prospects, but he didn't follow up on them.  He insisted on staying in low paid work which couldn't support a family.  It's not suggested that he wasn't capable of getting a better paying job if he'd wanted to, and it was fair of Alma to expect him to EITHER get better paid work or to use contraception.  I hope that you are agreeing that she did need to stop Ennis if they couldn't afford a baby.  She doesn't suddenly jump in with the remark about him supporting children - she first of all asks him to use contraception and he refuses.  Are you saying that she should continue to produce children to avoid hurting his feelings?  Or that confronting him about Jack during sex would be more appropriate?   I can't believe you that Ennis 'does what she hates' to stop her getting pregnant either - why not just use contraception?  Why even put that in the story or film?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: peteinportland on March 23, 2006, 02:06:33 AM
Very well put Desecra. I agree 100%. I do think people often gloss over the theme of poverty (especially rural poverty) and the effect it played in the relationships in this film. I think Alma may have forgiven Ennis his lover had he been a good provider. Maybe not. But I think ofttimes a man cheating in a marriage is a more forgivable sin than a man being poor in a marriage. It also goes back to the masculinity theme, IMO.

I also think Jack would have never married Lureen and definitely would not have stayed with her except for her ability to lift him out of poverty. Another interesting look at masculinity as in Ennis' marriage he is the main provider for the family (as he displays in the grocery store scene when he drops off the girls), and he continues to provide child support even after the divorce in spite of Alma and his daughters rise in financial status. In Jack's marriage, his wife is the main provider, and Jack never has to worry about being the financial support for his wife and child.

I also think the issue of poverty (and lack thereof) and the masculine roles each play with their traditional families plays a huge role in the final confrontation between Jack and Ennis.

Great discussion.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 23, 2006, 09:58:37 PM
No wonder she hated it!  At least with Jack, Ennis used some spit.  I don't recall him using spit (or anything else) after flipping Alma over.  Okay, I can't believe I've thought about this movie that much to make THAT observation . . . Calling Brokeaholics Anonymous anyone?

Er.... well.... he was probably already a bit slick from having entered her vaginally first. I don't think lack of lubrication is why she didn't like it.

(I know. I'm in dire need of Brokeaholics Anonymous myself.)

Cara

I will try to ask this as PG as possible (got my hand smacked in another thread for being too racy).  In the scene I was referring to, the one where Ennis flips Alma over (early on in the marriage before the reunion with Jack), I got the impression he only entered her one way, the way he enters Jack.  I didn't think anything happened before he flipped her over.  I thought I heard a moan from Ennis, and a look of pain on Alma's face, when he flipped her over. Michelle does a great job expressing Alma's desperation for some intimacy with Ennis (trying to get him to kiss her face to face and almost pleading "come here") then hurt and disgust (the look on her face is heartbreaking) when Ennis can't help but to turn her over (he's obviously fantasizing about Jack).  I think Alma didn't like it "that way"  because not only was it painful but also doing it "that way" held no intimacy for her.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: PetiteMiel on March 23, 2006, 10:15:33 PM
stacp that was my impression of that scene as well. The short story says that he used his hand to get her there so to speak and then he flipped her over so I don't think there was any other intercourse prior to her being flipped.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 23, 2006, 10:18:18 PM
stacp that was my impression of that scene as well. The short story says that he used his hand to get her there so to speak and then he flipped her over so I don't think there was any other intercourse prior to her being flipped.
Thanks for clearing that up!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 23, 2006, 10:27:59 PM
Very well put Desecra. I agree 100%. I do think people often gloss over the theme of poverty (especially rural poverty) and the effect it played in the relationships in this film. I think Alma may have forgiven Ennis his lover had he been a good provider. Maybe not. But I think ofttimes a man cheating in a marriage is a more forgivable sin than a man being poor in a marriage. It also goes back to the masculinity theme, IMO.

I also think Jack would have never married Lureen and definitely would not have stayed with her except for her ability to lift him out of poverty. Another interesting look at masculinity as in Ennis' marriage he is the main provider for the family (as he displays in the grocery store scene when he drops off the girls), and he continues to provide child support even after the divorce in spite of Alma and his daughters rise in financial status. In Jack's marriage, his wife is the main provider, and Jack never has to worry about being the financial support for his wife and child.

I also think the issue of poverty (and lack thereof) and the masculine roles each play with their traditional families plays a huge role in the final confrontation between Jack and Ennis.

Great discussion.

It's interesting how similar Jack and Ennis' backgrounds were:  both born into poverty; sons of ranch hands; abandoned (either literally or figuratively) by their fathers, and how their lots in life, so to speak, diverged after their time on BBM.  Ennis struggled with poverty while Jack found weatlh.  I think this definitely led to friction in their relationship and in Ennis' marriage as well.

Back to the topic at hand, I think it's interesting how Lureen never met Jack's parents.  Being the rich girl she was, maybe she thought she was too good for them.  Certainly, Lureen and Jack had the means to travel and visit the Twists as opposed to the Twists visiting them.  Or maybe Jack discouraged Lureen from visiting them so he could keep his old home sacred ground in which to keep his memories with Ennis.  Either way, I think the whole rural poverty thing plays into Jack's relationship with his dad (although, granted, Mr. Twist was a jerk before).  Mr. Twist makes a comment that Jack thought he was too special to be buried in the family plot.  Maybe Mr. Twist thought Jack got a rich wife, some fancy clothes, a nice house, and a cushy job and was too good for them.  I thought I saw a little jealousy there, but there I go getting off topic again.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on March 24, 2006, 02:22:15 AM
I haven’t figured out how yet how to get around this forum’s quotation thing, so please bear with me.  And where I wrote "IMO", I meant "in my opinion". I won't do that again.

Desecra said "How would you feel, for instance, if your husband was spending your joint income on going on holidays with his lover, whilst you and the achildren couldn't afford to go on holiday?  How would you feel if you couldn't afford children and your husband refused to use contraception then blamed you for not having sex?  Alma has every right to feel aggrieved, and to tackle Ennis about it."

I said “The film never shows Ennis and Alma on a holiday so I assume that they didn’t do more that day trips or simple things. His children seem to love him so I imagine that he did do things with them if not with Alma. The trips to BBM didn’t look like budget busters to me. They use Jack’s truck to drive to a wilderness area that means a lot to them and live off the land. It’s safe to assume what little money was spent, was spent by Jack. Would Alma have begrudged Ennis spending a weekend with another buddy where they actually did only fish?”
 
Desecra said “I didn't answer your last post because I think we are destined to see these scenes in very different ways. :)  But I'll try to explain what I was saying here.  I think it's crucial to the plot that the family are poor.  In the book it's made more clear - they are poor partly due to Ennis's choice of jobs - he refuses to take well paid jobs, and goes for casual work that he can drop easily so he can see Jack.   So the depth of their poverty is due to Ennis and Jack's relationship.  I think you may be underestimating how deeply poverty affects people - personally I think it's a theme of the film. 

Would Alma have begrudged another fishing buddy - yes, she probably would.  Remember that all the time there are together there are NO family holidays, but Ennis gets a couple of holidays a year, however inexpensive, because he's seeing Jack.   The book mentions the things she resents:  'the embrace she had glimpsed, Ennis's fishing trips once or twice a year with Jack Twist and never a vacation with her and the girls, his disinclination to step out and have any fun, his yearning for low-paid, long-houred ranch work, his propensity to roll to the wall and sleep as soon as he hit the bed, his failure to look for a decent permanent job with the county or the power company'.”

I must have seen the film too many times and forgot the short story. I went back to the story and noticed the subtle difference in the way Ennis and Alma are portrayed.  I agree that money and poverty are big issues in both film and story. But, I don't see Ennis in either as refusing to get well paying jobs just so he can see Jack although that's apparently Alma's point of view.. He got as far as freshman in high school, had poor eyesight so he couldn't and didn't read much, and he knew and loved horses and ranch work. Alma certainly knew this when she married him and there's nothing to suggest that they discussed his "prospects" before they married. Ennis mentions to Jack that he wanted a small ranch and we know that he had 2 fivers saved up for that with no help from his family. So I have to assume that it's Alma who wants to move to town although this is more explicit in the film. Ennis works weekends just to stable his horses so he's working all the time.

They have more expenses when the children are born, and Alma asks Ennis to try for a higher paying job at the electric company to which Ennis replies that he would probably get electrocuted. Maybe he could do something at the electric company like sweep the floors but not having an education I doubt he could do much more, and I doubt he would make much more sweeping floors. So it's Alma who has unrealistic expectations here. Again she could have talked with Ennis before she married him about this but they were both young and it wasn't her style to talk about what she wanted directly and immediately but to influence Ennis to change his ways indirectly and after it's too late. Why did she make Ennis pay so much in child support when she knew how little he made and how much Monroe made. Ennis didn't complain about the support because he loved his girls but it prevented him from seeing Jack any more than he could when he was married. This is another example of how mean-spirited Alma was.

Part of having low paying jobs is getting only a week off per year if lucky. This was the only time he had to see Jack and Alma knew it. Even when they divorced, Ennis can't get out of work more than a week or so to see Jack so it's not because Ennis is determined to keep Alma and himself in poverty. They were just poor and that's the life you get.

Ennis didn't take Alma and the girls on vacation, or take Alma out socially. If he treated me that way, I'd divorce him too! I think it was as much that he was with someone who Alma Knew he loved more than her, that rankled her maybe more than not getting a family vacation. The one scene with them going out when they had children was at the July 4th scene and Ennis seemed not to enjoy that episode much, and probably neither did Alma. The point is Jack was depressed in a time when men didn't admit they were depressed and didn't know what to do about it. Especially country men. When my mother was having trouble coping with 6 children and my father wouldn't use birth control ( they were Catholic), she was severely depressed and suicidal but my father refused to let her seek professional help or get a job outside of the home. Both were anathema at the time and I think Ennis may have the same opinion of his wife working in the store as my father. But I'm guessing that Alma enjoyed being out of the house and away from the children. She is never seen enjoying the children, even when they've grown.

Now I admit that Alma had a beef that Ennis never took her out socially or on vacation, and I don't blame her for that. Actually the only time that either parent is mentioned as doing anything fun with the girls is when Ennis promises Alma Jr. to be back from his time with Jack in time for some even that was important to her. The unspoken deal seems to have been Ennis would stay married with Alma and support her and their children as long as he could use his 5 days off a year to be with Jack. Not a great deal for either of them and certainly not the fault of either of them. Alma had the sense to see this and get a divorce. She didn't have the foresight to see that life with Ennis would probably be meager like a lot of young people when they get married but knew what to do when she figure it out. Ennis probably would have told Alma what to expect with him if she could pry more than 2 words out of him, but he was too depressed and grimly took his commitment to support Alma if not to love her. Here's a question for you: why didn't Ennis love Alma? I think he might have if Alma was a different person.

I said “I saw Alma’s refusal to have sex with Ennis saying she would have his children if he would support them, as Alma having a tantrum because life with Ennis didn’t turn out the way she hoped. She knew what Ennis’ prospects were before she married him; she was a practical person. This was an unfair accusation and quite bold for Alma. What would have been a fair accusation at this point was to confront Ennis over Jack. She decided not to do this but to confront him over his lack of income and I think this is where she decides to get divorced.”

Desecra said “She was aware of his prospects, but he didn't follow up on them.  He insisted on staying in low paid work, which couldn't support a family.  It's not suggested that he wasn't capable of getting a better paying job if he'd wanted to, and it was fair of Alma to expect him to EITHER get better paid work or to use contraception.  I hope that you are agreeing that she did need to stop Ennis if they couldn't afford a baby.  She doesn't suddenly jump in with the remark about him supporting children - she first of all asks him to use contraception and he refuses.  Are you saying that she should continue to produce children to avoid hurting his feelings?  Or that confronting him about Jack during sex would be more appropriate?   I can't believe you that Ennis 'does what she hates' to stop her getting pregnant either - why not just use contraception?  Why even put that in the story or film?”


I believe that she did hate anal sex and Ennis doesn't say why he prefers it. Even I as a gay man know that it's been used as a form of contraception since Adam and Eve. I don't know why he doesn't use condoms. Probably a man-thing. And certainly selfish if it's uncomfortable to Alma. My point is that he's aware of his limitations and doesn't want to bring any more children into the world that he can't support and that’s why he does anal sex. She doesn't stop Ennis because they can't afford another baby; she stops him because she's uncomfortable with that kind of sex. She chooses to do this by emasculating Ennis sexually and personally as a wage-earner. She had decided to divorce him and doesn't care what he does or thinks or feels. And I think Ennis is of the same mind by this point too or he would have used condoms. Who knows, maybe it's also a little secret sadism on Ennis' part. She had a perfectly good reason to tell Ennis that she was uncomfortable with anal sex, that it hurt her, even though she knows that she can’t have babies that way. She didn't have to link it to Ennis' masculinity and abilities; that was pure spite.

My point was that she had enough by this point and didn't care what she said to Ennis and knew that he wouldn't hit her and would continue to support his children. She never brings up Jack before the divorce even though she has all the rights to do so. I don't know why she doesn't but if she did, I would think this scene would have been an opportune time to bring it up. But she saves it until she's settled with Monroe and feels safe if not happy, and then surprises him at Thanksgiving dinner when it's too late to make a difference to them. She succeeds in emasculating Ennis even after their divorce. I was amazed that he agreed to go to Alma Jr's wedding knowing pissed off Alma would be there for more surprises perhaps. I guess he just loves his daughter too much to risk it.


I think both Ennis and Alma are reticent characters which usually doesn’t help in most relationships. Ennis is reticent by character and out of fear and depression. Alma uses other means to communicate what she wants. I think Proulx wrote Alma’s character only as a device to get Ennis from point A to B. Michelle Williams did a good job of fleshing the character out but I didn’t see much to sympathize in her. On the other hand, who could not feel sorry for someone who is caught up in that situation. I just don’t admire her at all.

I’m probably identifying with Ennis (and Jack) when I read the story and watch the film. I do identify with women characters at times; just not characters like Alma. On first viewing I admit I felt a great deal of sympathy for Alma as Williams portrayed her but after a 2nd viewing I changed my mind. I think you're right; we're destined to see things differently. That's what interests me.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 24, 2006, 05:56:12 AM
Great debate here, Desecra and richm.  You both are excellent at expressing your points of view.  I am not working off of a quote in an attempt to save space (and I haven't figured out the partial quote thing either--moderators could you explain?).  After reading the above by richm, I have a couple of comments.  Richm says he didn't think Ennis refused to get high paying jobs just to see Jack, this is just Alma's p.o.v., and Alma knew Ennis' job limitations when she married him.  This may be the case, but Ennis still had a responsibility to his family to get the best paying job possible to support his family.  It's fairly clear he's willing to settle for the low paying jobs so he can drop everything to be with Jack.  It's used as an example, I think, of how Ennis is willing to put his family's needs below that of his need to be with Jack and the friction and suffering it creates in his marriage to Alma.

Second, richm asked why Ennis didn't love Alma (and he might have if she was a different person)?  Ennis didn't love Alma because he loved Jack.  I don't think it had anything to do with Alma herself.  Now, I always thought it would be interesting to see a glimpse into the Alma/Ennis relationship prior to Ennis' meeting Jack.  But, it's clear from how quickly Alma was replaced by Jack in Ennis' heart that a deep love never existed between Ennis and Alma.  Although there were a couple of moments of affection between Ennis and Alma (the drive-in, the sled), we don't see any passion or love between them.  Alma, in my opinion, was portrayed as innocent, sweet and naive from the time we see her marrying Ennis at the church.  She doesn't appear to be demanding, and instead of whining about moving to town, she attempts to sweetly seduce him.  Of course she gets bitter over time after having witnessed her husband's secret affair, but I really can't blame her.  In short, I think Alma could have been the most perfect woman on earth and it wouldn't have mattered.  Ennis' heart belonged to Jack.

Finally, richm says Ennis probably preferred anal sex with Alma as a means of birth control.  I think it's clear in the final bedroom scene between Alma and Ennis when Ennis says "if you don't want any more of my kids I'll leave you alone" that he's okay with having more kids.  Honestly, I don't think birth control entered into Ennis' mind when he flips Alma over.  I think Ennis is re-creating his time with Jack when he does this.  Anyhow, great discussion.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on March 24, 2006, 11:16:57 AM
Anybody else get a kick out of the use of the word "honey" in the film?

Alma spots another post card from Jack, covers it with a newspaper grocery store ad for Honey and the very next word of dialog?

"Honey, have you seen my blue parka?" -Jack to Lureen.

Ennis IS bullying Alma in the grocery store scene and she is frightend to defy him. Btw, as some other posters have pointed out, this scene is intended to contrast with a future scene: the morning after the reunion when Ennis arrives home and tells Alma he and Jack are going away for a few days.

Speaking of the reunion (morning after the motel scene) I never fail to be struck by the sight Alma takes in as she peers out the window :  Jack nonchalantly leaning against his truck,( just like the opening scene!) with the appearance and air of a seductive, irrisistable devil/siren with the only thing missing a red suit, pitchfork, tail.

(Again, this brief scene of Jack perfectly echoes his first appearance in the film when he spots Ennis outside of Aguirre's trailer.)

Anyway, when Alma looks out the her window at Jack my heart aches for her MORE than when she sees the actual reunion kiss, heartbreaking as that is. Why? Throughout the night with Ennis gone with Jack, can you imagine what those hours must have been like for her? Mercifully, part of her is in shock because at least shock has the affect of numbness.

When will Ennis come home? Will that man be with him? Or, is he gone away? Well the answer is provided quickly upon Ennis arrival home to throw things together. That's why the brief look at Jack she gets out her window sears my heart.



 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on March 24, 2006, 12:13:50 PM
Speaking of the reunion (morning after the motel scene) I never fail to be struck by the sight Alma takes in as she peers out the window :  Jack nonchalantly leaning against his truck,( just like the opening scene!) with the appearance and air of a seductive, irrisistable devil/siren with the only thing missing a red suit, pitchfork, tail.

(Again, this brief scene of Jack perfectly echoes his first appearance in the film when he spots Ennis outside of Aguirre's trailer.)

Anyway, when Alma looks out the her window at Jack my heart aches for her MORE than when she sees the actual reunion kiss, heartbreaking as that is. Why? Throughout the night with Ennis gone with Jack, can you imagine what those hours must have been like for her? Mercifully, part of her is in shock because at least shock has the affect of numbness.

Upon wtaching the film for a third time, I realized that this was the most heartbreaking scene in the movie. Not my favorite or most moving, but the one in whch Lee cleverly indicts we the audience for our complicity in wanting Ennis and Jack to get together. It's as if Lee said, "You think that's so wonderful? Look what it's doing to poor Alma? Happy now?"
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on March 24, 2006, 12:19:09 PM
Speaking of the reunion (morning after the motel scene) I never fail to be struck by the sight Alma takes in as she peers out the window :  Jack nonchalantly leaning against his truck,( just like the opening scene!) with the appearance and air of a seductive, irrisistable devil/siren with the only thing missing a red suit, pitchfork, tail.

(Again, this brief scene of Jack perfectly echoes his first appearance in the film when he spots Ennis outside of Aguirre's trailer.)

Anyway, when Alma looks out the her window at Jack my heart aches for her MORE than when she sees the actual reunion kiss, heartbreaking as that is. Why? Throughout the night with Ennis gone with Jack, can you imagine what those hours must have been like for her? Mercifully, part of her is in shock because at least shock has the affect of numbness.

Upon wtaching the film for a third time, I realized that this was the most heartbreaking scene in the movie. Not my favorite or most moving, but the one in whch Lee cleverly indicts we the audience for our complicity in wanting Ennis and Jack to get together. It's as if Lee said, "You think that's so wonderful? Look what it's doing to poor Alma? Happy now?"

if that's how the audience reacts. Probably the more common reaction but we know for some the reunion kiss will be the unwelcome event and Alma's response the confirmation of it
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on March 24, 2006, 12:40:38 PM
"Upon wtaching the film for a third time, I realized that this was the most heartbreaking scene in the movie. Not my favorite or most moving, but the one in whch Lee cleverly indicts we the audience for our complicity in wanting Ennis and Jack to get together. It's as if Lee said, "You think that's so wonderful? Look what it's doing to poor Alma? Happy now?" "

Oh. My. God. Sotoalf, you've identified exactly why I feel even more heartache for Alma when she looks at Jack out of her window rather than at the reunion kiss.

As I said, at least throughout the night after she sees the reunion kiss she has her shock and questions to sustain her through her bewildred pain: Who is Jack? When will Ennis come home? When Ennis does come home will this Jack have gone away?

Ennis arrives home, she peers out the window and their's Jack, confidently, triumphantly smoking a cigarette waiting for Ennis and her questions are answered.

And then the pitiful words, "Can't your friend come in for a cup of coffee?"


 
 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on March 24, 2006, 12:45:57 PM
Well put. What a haunting image: Alma brooding over a cold cup of coffee, obviously without a wink's worth of sleep.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Lizandre on March 24, 2006, 12:49:50 PM
Alma married too young and married the wrong man. They didn't really know each other. Both of them did what was expected from them, at the time. Why do you think marriage was seen as prison by the feminists ? It really was, for a lot of straight men and women.

Ennis being gay (or whatever) is just more complication.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on March 24, 2006, 01:01:06 PM
I agree Lizandre.

I live in a rural community myself and even now in 2006 people tend to have children while they're young and to attempt long-term relationships with predictably disastrous results.

Even if Ennis was straight as a tape measure, these kids marraige was bound to fail.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on March 24, 2006, 01:45:34 PM

Ennis IS bullying Alma in the grocery store scene and she is frightend to defy him. Btw, as some other posters have pointed out, this scene is intended to contrast with a future scene: the morning after the reunion when Ennis arrives home and tells Alma he and Jack are going away for a few days.


As for Ennis bullying Alma in the grocery store scene, I have a somewhat different viewpoint.  I don’t see it as bullying, as much as they both seem aggravated with each other.  I don’t see Ennis as threatening, nor do I see Alma as fearful or cowering as much as really annoyed.  She stands up for herself, "what about my job" and looks him straight in the eye.  She isn't whining, or pleading, or meek.  In this battle of wills she does back down but it seems to me that it was more in exasperation than fear.  That "fine!" is said today and it isn't said in apprehension.

One must keep in mind the times that these characters lived, rather than view it from the 21st century concept of respect for a partner’s career.  (Not that I would call either of these characters as having a real career but you know what I am driving at.)  At the time these characters lived, it would have been at the very least emasculating, for a man to have a wife with small children work outside the home, economic need or not.  While Ennis, like many men, may have reconciled himself with the idea of “the little woman and her job”, in his mind and quite probably hers, his would take precedence. This conversation occurred around 1966/1967.  It was after all as late as 1963 that the Equal Pay Act prohibited discrimination in wages based on sex was passed. 

The conversation that Ennis and Alma had in the grocery store was taking place all over the country in the 60s and 70s.  For many couples this negotiation (warfare) of gender roles is still taking place.  One of the reasons Ennis and Jack displayed an easy domestic condition was they saw each other as equals, not so Ennis and Alma.  Both are products of their times and Alma’s disappointment in Ennis as a provider only adds to the acrimony in their marriage.

As for the contrast in Ennis' behavior in priorities when Jack comes into the picture.  Absolutely.  Ennis not only throws economic caution and financial responsibility to Alma to the wind to be with Jack, he doesn’t view himself as needing to take the traditional male role of economic “provider” in his relationship with Jack, regardless of the top/bottom aspect.  Unlike the rigid and fixed gender roles of Alma and Ennis, Jack and Ennis are true partners and easily trade off on responsibilities to each other and their relationship.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on March 24, 2006, 01:50:47 PM

As for Ennis bullying Alma in the grocery store scene, I have a somewhat different viewpoint.  I don’t see it as bullying, as much as they both seem aggravated with each other.  I don’t see Ennis as threatening, nor do I see Alma as fearful or cowering as much as really annoyed.  She stands up for herself, "what about my job" and looks him straight in the eye.  She isn't whining, or pleading, or meek.  In this battle of wills she does back down but it seems to me that it was more in exasperation than fear.  That "fine!" is said today and it isn't said in apprehension.

I agree. What's implied in Ennis' glare is the threat of violence. We know that he's capable of violence, but it takes considerably more than Alma being stubborn to rile him up: two roughnecks impugning his manhood; Alma, years later, with her "Jack Nasty" crack. In the scene you're analyzing, Jack Twist hasn't reentered Ennis' life. Both Alma and Ennis seem worn by hardship -- two children to feed, crappy jobs, no prospects -- and slightly exasperated by each other, but Ennis has no reason NOT to play the role of husband and father. Yet.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on March 24, 2006, 01:55:20 PM
Anybody else get a kick out of the use of the word "honey" in the film?

Alma spots another post card from Jack, covers it with a newspaper grocery store ad for Honey and the very next word of dialog?

"Honey, have you seen my blue parka?" -Jack to Lureen.
 

There are a number of examples where the same word or phrase takes on different meanings.  Perhaps, a time will come where we can watch this film are able to concentrate on all the “fun” little toys that Ang Lee scattered through the film.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on March 24, 2006, 02:16:09 PM
I'll have to disagree with the notion that Ennis is not bullying Alma during the grocery store scene.

What's pertinent to whether or not someone is being bullied is, of course, the effect of the bully's behavior on his victim.

As you probably know, most bullying behavior is displayed overtly. Here, Ennis engages in covert bullying behavior towards Alma. By looking at Alma with those cold, steely, angry eyes he wants to affect fear in Alma.

 It works. She sees his eyes, becomes fearful, and backs down. Why? She knows he is capable of violence. Even if he has not been violent to her, she doesn't want to take the chance that he won't be.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on March 25, 2006, 03:41:13 PM
I'll have to disagree with the notion that Ennis is not bullying Alma during the grocery store scene.

What's pertinent to whether or not someone is being bullied is, of course, the effect of the bully's behavior on his victim.

As you probably know, most bullying behavior is displayed overtly. Here, Ennis engages in covert bullying behavior towards Alma. By looking at Alma with those cold, steely, angry eyes he wants to affect fear in Alma.

 It works. She sees his eyes, becomes fearful, and backs down. Why? She knows he is capable of violence. Even if he has not been violent to her, she doesn't want to take the chance that he won't be.



I agree.  Strongly.  Marital violence and threat of violence is endemic in rural communtities.  One poster said, I have seen this look and have not backed down (or something similar)  I have seen this look and been aware the guy could have broken me in two and would be supported in this action by the community. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on March 25, 2006, 04:06:37 PM
Thanks Playitagain.

Not to turn this thread into a seminar on the conditioning and socialization of human beings when it comes to gender but I live in a rurual communtiy and my employment is related to law enforcement. It struck me one day how some community mothers, when their son is in legal jeopardy would coddle their sons. Otoh, if a daughter was in jeopardy she had to fend for herself.

I have to remind myself not to generalize, but it ties into domestic violence and the words "the guy could have broken me in two and would be supported in this action by the community."

As in Brokeback Mountain, tie in being on the down low as was Ennis and you've got the perfect storm of marital pathology.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Lizandre on March 25, 2006, 05:42:28 PM
On my 8th viewing today, I glimpsed the look of lureen observing the eye contact between Jack and Randall. At the beginning of the scene, very brief, and maybe a trick of my imagination. So, could she suspect or just start to notice little things?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on March 25, 2006, 05:58:22 PM
Absolutely,Lizandre.

 I don't know if she actually sees the eye cintact between Jack and Randall, but from reading the story and the from the film, it's obvious Lureen is aware of Jack's sexual orientation.

I love the Randall, Jack, Lashawn and Lureen scene, not the least for how the costume designer clothed Jack. I absolutely adore Jack's over-the-top black leather ensemble. If you notice Jack is the only person on screen wearing all black. LOVE THAT!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: PetiteMiel on March 25, 2006, 06:24:24 PM
Absolutely,Lizandre.

 I don't know if she actually sees the eye cintact between Jack and Randall, but from reading the story and the from the film, it's obvious Lureen is aware of Jack's sexual orientation.

I didn't see any eye contact that seemed all that revealing in that scene. The looks don't over linger between the two men IMO so I don't think she would have thought anything was strange in their behavior. I also don't see anything in the film or story to indicate that Lureen is aware of Jack's orientation. I can believe she might have thought he was having an affair just because their marrage has deteriorated so much at that point  but no reason she would have assumed it was with a man. Are there any other specifics you could point out to show Lureen knew Jack was gay?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on March 25, 2006, 06:32:21 PM
Based on the evidence presented by that dance scene, it's clear that Lureen suspects something's wrong with her Jack, but, like Alma, she lacks the vocabulary to wonder aloud or perhaps even to herself what the hell's bugging him, her street smarts notwithstanding. Remember her parched, heartbreaking whimper when Ennis reveals just what exactly Brokeback Mountain represented to him and Jack.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: downloaded1 on March 25, 2006, 06:34:06 PM
Based on the evidence presented by that dance scene, it's clear that Lureen suspects something's wrong with her Jack, but, like Alma, she lacks the vocabulary to wonder aloud or perhaps even to herself what the hell's bugging him, her street smarts notwithstanding. Remember her parched, heartbreaking whimper when Ennis reveals just what exactly Brokeback Mountain represented to him and Jack.

I dont think Lureen knew anything UNTIL she speaks with Ennis on that dreadful phone call.
Then she comes to the realization.
But she still loved Jack I believe.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Lizandre on March 25, 2006, 06:41:12 PM
If she comes to a realisation, she had to have doubts or questions about it beforehand. Are we going to do the opening scenes debate all over again ? There is a special kind of eye contact between Randall Malone and Jack Twist in this scene.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 25, 2006, 06:44:40 PM
I think there is room to believe that Lureen knows, at least something.  There is alot of eye contact going on at that table.  I have spoken to some people that Lureen and L.D. Newsome done Jack in.  The tone in the story indicates that her conversation was in a voice that was "as cold as snow."  BTW beautiful choice of words.  Not cold as ice, but snow.  Remember that snow was what brought their first summer to an end.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 25, 2006, 07:03:23 PM
Absolutely,Lizandre.

 I don't know if she actually sees the eye cintact between Jack and Randall, but from reading the story and the from the film, it's obvious Lureen is aware of Jack's sexual orientation.

I didn't see any eye contact that seemed all that revealing in that scene. The looks don't over linger between the two men IMO so I don't think she would have thought anything was strange in their behavior. I also don't see anything in the film or story to indicate that Lureen is aware of Jack's orientation. I can believe she might have thought he was having an affair just because their marrage has deteriorated so much at that point  but no reason she would have assumed it was with a man. Are there any other specifics you could point out to show Lureen knew Jack was gay?

I can't say for sure Lureen knew that Jack was gay, but I think there are examples in the movie that she at least has some inkling that he may be attracted to men:

1.  The "blue parka" scene, where Lureen is at her adding machine and Jack is about to go up to Wyoming to be with Ennis, Lureen comments about it not being fair that Jack goes up there "two or three times" a year, while the friend, Ennis, never comes down to Texas.  She is flippant about it, but the undertone in her attitude and voice makes me think that she at least has some reservations about this arrangement (although I don't think she in any way puts it together here).

2.  Her daddy, L.D., obviously is no fan of Jack, whom he can't even call by name, but instead belittles him by calling him "Rodeo" (which he obviously wasn't very good at).  L.D., at the Thanksgiving scene, calls into question Jack's manhood, by saying "boys should watch football" and "don't you want your son to grow up to be a man?"  I see this as L.D. telling Jack, and Lureen I'm sure takes note, that he doesn't think Jack is as manly (read straight) as he could be.

3.  At the dance with Randall and LaShawn, I think Lureen makes the most overt comment about her questions concerning Jack's sexuality.  She states "why is it that men never want to dance with their wives?"  and then nudges Jack for a response.  Now, whether she's seen the eye contact between Randall and Jack, I don't know, but I think she asks this question in part because Jack has lost all interest in her and maybe she has sensed he is attracted to men. 

4.  During the phone call, Lureen talks about Jack having other friends, whose phone numbers and names were in his head.  She says this with an air of both sarcasm and disgust in her voice.  Why is it that Jack never revealed these friends to his wife?  I think it's another sign that she has suspicions about Jack.  However, I do not think she puts it all together until she discovers BBM is a real place, and he and Ennis shared time there together when they were younger.  I think the pieces fall together, her suspicions are confirmed, and she realizes that Jack was indeed gay and Ennis was his real love.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: PetiteMiel on March 25, 2006, 07:20:28 PM
I'm certainly not saying there was no possibility that Lureen knew the truth. The film is full of abiguities so of course it's possible. I'm just saying that I don't think she knew before the phone call with Ennis. I think this is why she reacts the way she does during the call. Once she hears they were together on BBM,(Jack's most special place, the place he wanted his ashes scattered) she audibly whimpers and then tears up.

If she had suspected that he and Ennis were having an affair on those "fishing trips" I don't think it would have had that effect on her.



Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: TwistEnnis on March 25, 2006, 07:26:13 PM
Well I gotta add to this.  I think that Laureen knew about Jack BEFORE the phone call.  To me, it's obvious that Jack was killed because people found out he was gay.  And during the call from Ennis to Laureen....she is telling Ennis what happened to Jack almost as though she has it "rehearsed" and has been told what to say.  I think she knew before that phone call because I have to almost agree with a friend of mine...I now think that Laureens father may have had something to do with it.  Just my honest opinion.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: PetiteMiel on March 25, 2006, 07:44:59 PM
Jack had died a few months before that phone call according to the story so it's possible Lureen has had to repeat the circumstances of his death many times and that could account for the reason it appears scripted or she may do it in a matter of fact way to keep her own emotions at bay. The other possibility is that he was murdered and she is lying to preserve Jack's memory for her son's sake and her own. His being gay would probably have left her feeling humiliated and she might simply be trying to save face and save her son from the gossip that would result if people knew the truth.

I don't see anything to make me think that she or her father had Jack killed though. 

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on March 25, 2006, 07:45:19 PM
But there's zero evidence in either the story or film suggesting that L.D. Newsome was involved. Even Ossana and McMurty have dismissed this theory. We don't even know whether Jack was killed; what's important is that Ennis thinks he's killed: it confirms what he's always suspected what might happen if he acknowledges his same-sex lusts.

I don't deny that Lureen's monologue sounds rehearsed and stagy; I'll even acknowledge that she's lying. But watch again the moment when Ennis reveals what BBM means. It destroys her. This is not a woman who knew the full truth about her husband. When she finally infers the truth, it's a moment as devastating as Alma catching Ennis and Jack making out.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 25, 2006, 08:03:27 PM
I am in the camp that there is no evidence Jack was murdered.  It was all in Ennis' mind.  I only have one doubt.  If it was an accident it happened on a lonely back road.  Supposedly, Jack was filling a tire and the tire blew up.  That would take a heavy duty air pump like you might you find at a gas station.  Why would there be a heavy duty air pump on a lonely old road presumably with no gas station in sight.  What do you think about that?  As I said it is the only thing that could possibly sway me from my previously stated position.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Lizandre on March 26, 2006, 05:28:31 AM
Anne hathaway said in the oprah show that it was pretty obvious: it was pretty obvious that lureen was not telling the truth. She played the character, she should know.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on March 26, 2006, 06:27:30 AM
Thanks Playitagain.

Not to turn this thread into a seminar on the conditioning and socialization of human beings when it comes to gender but I live in a rurual communtiy and my employment is related to law enforcement. It struck me one day how some community mothers, when their son is in legal jeopardy would coddle their sons. Otoh, if a daughter was in jeopardy she had to fend for herself.

I have to remind myself not to generalize, but it ties into domestic violence and the words "the guy could have broken me in two and would be supported in this action by the community."

As in Brokeback Mountain, tie in being on the down low as was Ennis and you've got the perfect storm of marital pathology.

JHL11, yes, I've worked in several rural communities, also.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: PetiteMiel on March 26, 2006, 10:02:39 PM
Anne hathaway said in the oprah show that it was pretty obvious: it was pretty obvious that lureen was not telling the truth. She played the character, she should know.

In the Oprah interview Oprah was asking Ann Hathaway if Lureen knew Jack had had an affair with Ennis during that phone call not if she was lying about the way Jack died.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: deevah2 on March 28, 2006, 01:00:58 PM
According to jack's dad he was going to leave his wife.   I think Jack would have been honest with Lureen about why he wanted leave, told her about coming out on BBM. For someone Like Lureen that would be a hard pill to swallow , her family was one  of the bigwigs in thier town-she had an image to keep. (Maybe that's why she's quick to say Jack drank alot and why she thought BBM was a " pretend place where bluebirds sing and there's a whiskey spring.")

The verification of the existence of BBM along with the voice of a man she doesn't know saying he had spent time up there with Jack would have been a kick in the stomach for Lureen. Until the phone call even if Jack told her about his sexuality, she could keep the illusions she had about the "man" she married and bore a child with.  With the phone, everything Jack may have told her, fell in place. She had to face that Jack may have loved her but he had never been in love   with her.  Those trips, the number of trips, over 20 years and Jack never stopped wanting that man.
So yes she whimpered and teared up.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 28, 2006, 02:45:52 PM
I've been thinking about this for a while and found the spot to do it, finally.  When Jack gets the news of Ennis' divorce, he packs his trousseau (look it up, in a dictionary) and heads to Wyoming.  He is absolutely convinced this is it, finally.  Wouldn't it make sense that he told Lureen?  He wouldn't have just gone up without saying anything.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on March 28, 2006, 03:35:44 PM
Hey twisted, I never got the idea he packed his trousseau.  Can you tell me why you think that?  I think our boy Jack is pretty shrewd and would never burn his bridges like that.  Did he expect Ennis to be freed up?  Oh yeah.  And available.  And all Jack's.  But trousseau?

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on March 28, 2006, 03:38:22 PM
Well I gotta add to this.  I think that Laureen knew about Jack BEFORE the phone call.  To me, it's obvious that Jack was killed because people found out he was gay.  And during the call from Ennis to Laureen....she is telling Ennis what happened to Jack almost as though she has it "rehearsed" and has been told what to say.  I think she knew before that phone call because I have to almost agree with a friend of mine...I now think that Laureens father may have had something to do with it.  Just my honest opinion.


This is interesting because in the book, Lureen's father would have been dead by this time.  It is stated that he died, resulting in Jack getting a vague title in the business and access to more of the money.  This has been a puzzling fact to me because actually I feel we are supposed to believe Lureen knows about the reason Jack was attacked, but I have always wondered who told her.  It seems like that kind of info would only come into the family from a man, and without Lureen's father I wonder who that would have been?  Maybe a close friend...
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 28, 2006, 03:42:45 PM
Hey twisted, I never got the idea he packed his trousseau.  Can you tell me why you think that?  I think our boy Jack is pretty shrewd and would never burn his bridges like that.  Did he expect Ennis to be freed up?  Oh yeah.  And available.  And all Jack's.  But trousseau?



I just kinda thought that he came up fully thinking that finally he might stay.  Why else would he have driven all that way just to make that year's visit a little earlier.  I am not devoted to the idea, it was just a thought.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on March 28, 2006, 03:48:54 PM
Hey twisted, I never got the idea he packed his trousseau.  Can you tell me why you think that?  I think our boy Jack is pretty shrewd and would never burn his bridges like that.  Did he expect Ennis to be freed up?  Oh yeah.  And available.  And all Jack's.  But trousseau?



I just kinda thought that he came up fully thinking that finally he might stay.  Why else would he have driven all that way just to make that year's visit a little earlier.  I am not devoted to the idea, it was just a thought.

I think you're right that he came up expecting a full welcome from Ennis, the trousseau part threw me-- but maybe I'm being too literal, save me from that fate! LOL

He wouldn't have told Lureen I don't think.  She'd have thrown him out.  They still had that Thanksgiving scene to get through.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 28, 2006, 03:54:51 PM

I think you're right that he came up expecting a full welcome from Ennis, the trousseau part threw me-- but maybe I'm being too literal, save me from that fate! LOL

He wouldn't have told Lureen I don't think.  She'd have thrown him out.  They still had that Thanksgiving scene to get through.

I was just being cute.  I mean packed and ready to stay.  And I agree with you, in the movie and story it seems that no such communication to Lureen was made.  My point was that I think I would've said "fuck you bitch, I'm outta here" and suffered the consequences on the way back.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on March 28, 2006, 03:59:27 PM
Well I gotta add to this.  I think that Laureen knew about Jack BEFORE the phone call.  To me, it's obvious that Jack was killed because people found out he was gay.  And during the call from Ennis to Laureen....she is telling Ennis what happened to Jack almost as though she has it "rehearsed" and has been told what to say.  I think she knew before that phone call because I have to almost agree with a friend of mine...I now think that Laureens father may have had something to do with it.  Just my honest opinion.


This is interesting because in the book, Lureen's father would have been dead by this time.  It is stated that he died, resulting in Jack getting a vague title in the business and access to more of the money.  This has been a puzzling fact to me because actually I feel we are supposed to believe Lureen knows about the reason Jack was attacked, but I have always wondered who told her.  It seems like that kind of info would only come into the family from a man, and without Lureen's father I wonder who that would have been?  Maybe a close friend...


Well that was cute, and I realized it too late, what a refreshing change from the rest of my day!  What do you think of my question above?  Who told Lureen, if her father was dead?  Maybe she has a boyfriend?  Yeah, I like that...she deserves one.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 28, 2006, 04:10:37 PM
Well I gotta add to this.  I think that Laureen knew about Jack BEFORE the phone call.  To me, it's obvious that Jack was killed because people found out he was gay.  And during the call from Ennis to Laureen....she is telling Ennis what happened to Jack almost as though she has it "rehearsed" and has been told what to say.  I think she knew before that phone call because I have to almost agree with a friend of mine...I now think that Laureens father may have had something to do with it.  Just my honest opinion.


This is interesting because in the book, Lureen's father would have been dead by this time.  It is stated that he died, resulting in Jack getting a vague title in the business and access to more of the money.  This has been a puzzling fact to me because actually I feel we are supposed to believe Lureen knows about the reason Jack was attacked, but I have always wondered who told her.  It seems like that kind of info would only come into the family from a man, and without Lureen's father I wonder who that would have been?  Maybe a close friend...


Well that was cute, and I realized it too late, what a refreshing change from the rest of my day!  What do you think of my question above?  Who told Lureen, if her father was dead?  Maybe she has a boyfriend?  Yeah, I like that...she deserves one.

I was talking with a gay acquaintance and he was convinced that Lureen and her father conspired to do Jack in.  I don't buy it but it is an idea.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on March 28, 2006, 04:16:16 PM
Well I gotta add to this.  I think that Laureen knew about Jack BEFORE the phone call.  To me, it's obvious that Jack was killed because people found out he was gay.  And during the call from Ennis to Laureen....she is telling Ennis what happened to Jack almost as though she has it "rehearsed" and has been told what to say.  I think she knew before that phone call because I have to almost agree with a friend of mine...I now think that Laureens father may have had something to do with it.  Just my honest opinion.


This is interesting because in the book, Lureen's father would have been dead by this time.  It is stated that he died, resulting in Jack getting a vague title in the business and access to more of the money.  This has been a puzzling fact to me because actually I feel we are supposed to believe Lureen knows about the reason Jack was attacked, but I have always wondered who told her.  It seems like that kind of info would only come into the family from a man, and without Lureen's father I wonder who that would have been?  Maybe a close friend...


Well that was cute, and I realized it too late, what a refreshing change from the rest of my day!  What do you think of my question above?  Who told Lureen, if her father was dead?  Maybe she has a boyfriend?  Yeah, I like that...she deserves one.

I was talking with a gay acquaintance and he was convinced that Lureen and her father conspired to do Jack in.  I don't buy it but it is an idea.


I would definitely think he would be involved except I have to believe Lureen's father is dead, as stated in the book. That's where we are left with a bit of a gap in terms of Lureen needing a stud duck oops I mean a male figure close enough to the family to 'splain it to her.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on March 28, 2006, 04:19:43 PM
Well I gotta add to this.  I think that Laureen knew about Jack BEFORE the phone call.  To me, it's obvious that Jack was killed because people found out he was gay.  And during the call from Ennis to Laureen....she is telling Ennis what happened to Jack almost as though she has it "rehearsed" and has been told what to say.  I think she knew before that phone call because I have to almost agree with a friend of mine...I now think that Laureens father may have had something to do with it.  Just my honest opinion.


This is interesting because in the book, Lureen's father would have been dead by this time.  It is stated that he died, resulting in Jack getting a vague title in the business and access to more of the money.  This has been a puzzling fact to me because actually I feel we are supposed to believe Lureen knows about the reason Jack was attacked, but I have always wondered who told her.  It seems like that kind of info would only come into the family from a man, and without Lureen's father I wonder who that would have been?  Maybe a close friend...


Well that was cute, and I realized it too late, what a refreshing change from the rest of my day!  What do you think of my question above?  Who told Lureen, if her father was dead?  Maybe she has a boyfriend?  Yeah, I like that...she deserves one.

Since we can infer that Jack's body would have been left where he was beaten to death, and he was found either by law enforcement or a random passerby, it would still have been a crime scene.  They (the police) would show up to her door and she is likely to have had to id the body, I think that is true even when you do have your ID (driver's license) on you.  Lureen's pretty sharp.  She could have figured out this wasn't an accident, given what we think Lureen has figured out about her husband over the years.  The death wouldn't have made National news so she could tell pretty much any story she wanted, at least to people outside the area calling in.  I'm guessing that outside of Randal, Jack's other friends would be met while traveling to those shows.  Hard to say how much the small town police would investigate into this incident.  Could be either they knew something of Jack's sexual preferences and thought he "deserved it".  Or they were inept and/or had limited resources, or it was hushed up by Lureen.

Just one more opinion to toss in.

BTW, totally see Lureen getting herself a new man within a year or two.  I always wondered why she didn't get a thing herself with a ranch neighbor.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on March 28, 2006, 04:33:38 PM
Well I gotta add to this.  I think that Laureen knew about Jack BEFORE the phone call.  To me, it's obvious that Jack was killed because people found out he was gay.  And during the call from Ennis to Laureen....she is telling Ennis what happened to Jack almost as though she has it "rehearsed" and has been told what to say.  I think she knew before that phone call because I have to almost agree with a friend of mine...I now think that Laureens father may have had something to do with it.  Just my honest opinion.


This is interesting because in the book, Lureen's father would have been dead by this time.  It is stated that he died, resulting in Jack getting a vague title in the business and access to more of the money.  This has been a puzzling fact to me because actually I feel we are supposed to believe Lureen knows about the reason Jack was attacked, but I have always wondered who told her.  It seems like that kind of info would only come into the family from a man, and without Lureen's father I wonder who that would have been?  Maybe a close friend...


Well that was cute, and I realized it too late, what a refreshing change from the rest of my day!  What do you think of my question above?  Who told Lureen, if her father was dead?  Maybe she has a boyfriend?  Yeah, I like that...she deserves one.

Since we can infer that Jack's body would have been left where he was beaten to death, and he was found either by law enforcement or a random passerby, it would still have been a crime scene.  They (the police) would show up to her door and she is likely to have had to id the body, I think that is true even when you do have your ID (driver's license) on you.  Lureen's pretty sharp.  She could have figured out this wasn't an accident, given what we think Lureen has figured out about her husband over the years.  The death wouldn't have made National news so she could tell pretty much any story she wanted, at least to people outside the area calling in.  I'm guessing that outside of Randal, Jack's other friends would be met while traveling to those shows.  Hard to say how much the small town police would investigate into this incident.  Could be either they knew something of Jack's sexual preferences and thought he "deserved it".  Or they were inept and/or had limited resources, or it was hushed up by Lureen.

Just one more opinion to toss in.

BTW, totally see Lureen getting herself a new man within a year or two.  I always wondered why she didn't get a thing herself with a ranch neighbor.

Okay, that's plausible.  Sure, in Texas (oops I'm giving away my location, even though I wasn't raised here) I continue in Texas the police or rangers or whatever you get out in Childress have their own code.  That makes sense to me, they would not prosecute.  Probably Jack was left anyway, not clear who did it and yet clear enough.  Okay, I can fill that in.

Poor Lureen, got blonder and blonder all that time, just trying to get Jack's attention or by that time any man's attention!  She looked in the phone call scene like the mourning was OVER.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on March 28, 2006, 05:15:58 PM

Poor Lureen, got blonder and blonder all that time, just trying to get Jack's attention or by that time any man's attention!  She looked in the phone call scene like the mourning was OVER.

...and she was so adorable early on with her red and white cowgirl outfit.  Yeeeshh.  Was Lureen one of those women who can't stand getting older and goes to ridiculous links to look younger/glamorous?  (Says the women who has run out storage  in the bathroom because of skin care products)  Or, was it just about Jack's disinterest in her sexually?

Oh yeah, the mourning was so OVER.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on March 28, 2006, 05:19:15 PM
Wisful thinking perhaps, but there's NO evidence that Lureen and L.D. Newsome had Jack killed. None. Neither in the story nor the book.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 28, 2006, 05:23:04 PM

Poor Lureen, got blonder and blonder all that time, just trying to get Jack's attention or by that time any man's attention!  She looked in the phone call scene like the mourning was OVER.

...and she was so adorable early on with her red and white cowgirl outfit.  Yeeeshh.  Was Lureen one of those women who can't stand getting older and goes to ridiculous links to look younger/glamorous?  (Says the women who has run out storage  in the bathroom because of skin care products)  Or, was it just about Jack's disinterest in her sexually?

Oh yeah, the mourning was so OVER.

I am from Texas and blonde and big is in, certainly before 1983.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on March 28, 2006, 06:39:48 PM
Wisful thinking perhaps, but there's NO evidence that Lureen and L.D. Newsome had Jack killed. None. Neither in the story nor the book.


HI soto -- especially since poor LD (bless his heart, as we say in Texas) was dead by that time.  Yeah, I would say for Lureen she needed male attention BAD.  She went over board but she could have gone to Dallas to get her eyebrows dyed!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on March 28, 2006, 06:59:28 PM
And it couldn't have been worse than her her hair, tellyouwhat!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: desperadum on March 28, 2006, 07:09:08 PM
In more than one viewing of the film (in NYC), when Lureen appears with the biggest, blondest hair yet, there were audible gasps from the audience.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: moonbeam on March 28, 2006, 07:57:49 PM
In more than one viewing of the film (in NYC), when Lureen appears with the biggest, blondest hair yet, there were audible gasps from the audience.

Probably because they were like 'yeah.. now that is some fabulous hair"... the eighties was a decade defined by 2 things... big hair and power ballads.... (I realize that this comment has been pointless... sorry, to waste all of your time!  :))
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on March 28, 2006, 08:00:25 PM
In more than one viewing of the film (in NYC), when Lureen appears with the biggest, blondest hair yet, there were audible gasps from the audience.

Probably because they were like 'yeah.. now that is some fabulous hair"... the eighties was a decade defined by 2 things... big hair and power ballads.... (I realize that this comment has been pointless... sorry, to waste all of your time!  :))

Wasn't the hair from the Loni Anderson line of fabu dos?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on March 28, 2006, 08:04:14 PM
In more than one viewing of the film (in NYC), when Lureen appears with the biggest, blondest hair yet, there were audible gasps from the audience.


 Curious which was the biggest blondest?  The dance scene, or the phone call?  She was still pretty cute back at the Thanksgiving dinner.  Anyway, I don't mean to give the impression that I only bash Lureen.  I feel for her because she got her heart's desire, JACK, and who of us doesn't relate????  Who of us hetero females doesn't relate?? She got her man, and she married him against her daddy's wishes, and then she stood by him, basically,-- and then, he even walked the walk, somewhat, but -- oh gee, she must have asked herself, is it me?  I don't get you, Jack Twist, she must have said.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on March 28, 2006, 08:07:29 PM
Wisful thinking perhaps, but there's NO evidence that Lureen and L.D. Newsome had Jack killed. None. Neither in the story nor the book.


HI soto -- especially since poor LD (bless his heart, as we say in Texas) was dead by that time.  Yeah, I would say for Lureen she needed male attention BAD.  She went over board but she could have gone to Dallas to get her eyebrows dyed!

Ppphhhh, snort diet coke out here.  Bad girl  ;D
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on March 28, 2006, 08:41:28 PM
City Girl, see my last post, would you turn Jack down if he could marry you for money?  I'm a little bit on Lureen's side, despite the eyebrow bashing.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: dejavu on March 28, 2006, 09:04:45 PM
Absolutely,Lizandre.

 I don't know if she actually sees the eye cintact between Jack and Randall, but from reading the story and the from the film, it's obvious Lureen is aware of Jack's sexual orientation.

I didn't see any eye contact that seemed all that revealing in that scene. The looks don't over linger between the two men IMO so I don't think she would have thought anything was strange in their behavior.

I've heard so much about the eye contact between Jack and Randall (while sitting at the table, I assume you mean?) but even when I tried to look for it, I didn't see it.
The first time I noticed eye contact was when Jack asked LaShawn to dance and then quickly looked at Randall: "Do you mind?"  and then Randall shook his head and said "No" with a smile, like She's All Yours.  I guess I just thought it was a gallant gesture and a way of clearing up "No Trespassing Intended"/"No Jealousy Felt".
Of course, I did see the eye contact or lack of OUTSIDE on the bench, but that's another matter and another thread.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on March 28, 2006, 09:41:51 PM
City Girl, see my last post, would you turn Jack down if he could marry you for money?  I'm a little bit on Lureen's side, despite the eyebrow bashing.

I'm on Lureen's side too.  I feel bad for her.  She started out as this adorable, fun, popular, sexy gal beating men off who want to dance with her.  She spots this totally cute guy that she sees as a rodeo hot-shot, bags him, and thinks life is going to be peachy.  He's polite, backs her up with their smart-ass son, is pretty good at selling farm equipment.  Most guys would think they got a winning lottery ticket and she is thinking she is going to get treated as a cross between a queen and a sex goddess.  Instead, she ends up with a roommate wondering "why isn't he into me"? 

Would I turn Jack down?  It is funny you asked, I had a boyfriend in high school, great guy, lots of fun, cute, played his guitar and sang beautiful songs to me, liked to kiss but..., not much else... you know.  I was somewhat of a young Lureen, Cheerleader, sexually "interested"  ;), I thought of myself as "worldly" (what a joke) yet, I couldn't put my finger on what wasn't quite right about the situation.  Then, another boy became interested in me.  I mean really interested and bam! I saw the difference.  I ended the relationship with the boyfriend and a few years later found out that he came out. 

I had a friend from college who had a husband who came out 4 years and a 2 1/2 year old into the marriage, it was the mid '90s.  Suffice to say, she was devastated.  How could she not have known some asked.  She grew up pretty sheltered, a virgin Catholic girl when she got married so she didn't have as much of a frame of reference as the rest of us. Should Lureen have known something was up before marrying Jack given that she didn't seem all that sheltered?  I'm thinking yes. 
Now, I know there are those marriages where there is some sort of "understanding", seems Cole Porter and his wife had one and apparently they were very happy together.  I don't really get it but, there isn't only one pattern for what goes on between people in marriages and what would make them happy within one. 

Lureen, isn't going to be happy with a roommate.  The girl is young, healthy, and lusty so having a roommate isn't going to cut it, yet she stays in it.  Why?  She is thinking of the business?  With him in the marriage she benefits from his salary since it all goes into the same pot.  Hiring one outside the marriage will cost her.  Does she stay in it for appearances?  So long as his extra circular activies are kept quiet she manages.  I can see why she would become hard and no nonsense, she throws herself into the business because what else does she have?  She couldn't or wouldn't have turned into Alma.  Not bashing Alma either, its just a different coping mechanism.  I identify with Lureen, I could see myself turning into her in the right circumstances.  Would I have married Jack?  If he was straight and it was simply a difference in financial circumstance, I'd do it in a heartbeat.  If I thought that he was not only Gay but somehow knew that he was already in love with someone, NO!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on March 28, 2006, 09:53:48 PM
Absolutely,Lizandre.

 I don't know if she actually sees the eye contact between Jack and Randall, but from reading the story and the from the film, it's obvious Lureen is aware of Jack's sexual orientation.

I didn't see any eye contact that seemed all that revealing in that scene. The looks don't over linger between the two men IMO so I don't think she would have thought anything was strange in their behavior.

I've heard so much about the eye contact between Jack and Randall (while sitting at the table, I assume you mean?) but even when I tried to look for it, I didn't see it.
The first time I noticed eye contact was when Jack asked LaShawn to dance and then quickly looked at Randall: "Do you mind?"  and then Randall shook his head and said "No" with a smile, like She's All Yours.  I guess I just thought it was a gallant gesture and a way of clearing up "No Trespassing Intended"/"No Jealousy Felt".
Of course, I did see the eye contact or lack of OUTSIDE on the bench, but that's another matter and another thread.


Saw the film again last night.  Spent a whole lot of time watching for weird things like Adam's apples moving when swallowing, eyes looking down or away, that sort of thing.  Usually, in movies I end of concentrating on who ever is speaking but it is what is going on with the those not speaking that is so interesting in thsi film.  We hear LaShawn rattling on about something but the camera is on Randal's face and he is definitely looking right at Jack for way longer than the social standard between straight men.  Then you see Jack seeing it and he ends up dropping cigarette ashes on himself or something and brushing it off his right leg while Lureen's says her famous husbands not wanting to dance with their wives comment.  He doesn't take Lureen's bait and asks LaShawn to dance.  Perhaps for no other reason then to get away from both of them for a moment.  He knows all he has to do with LaShawn is nod his head and keep time to the music.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on March 29, 2006, 06:16:38 AM
City Girl, see my last post, would you turn Jack down if he could marry you for money?  I'm a little bit on Lureen's side, despite the eyebrow bashing.

I'm on Lureen's side too.  I feel bad for her.  She started out as this adorable, fun, popular, sexy gal beating men off who want to dance with her.  She spots this totally cute guy that she sees as a rodeo hot-shot, bags him, and thinks life is going to be peachy.  He's polite, backs her up with their smart-ass son, is pretty good at selling farm equipment.  Most guys would think they got a winning lottery ticket and she is thinking she is going to get treated as a cross between a queen and a sex goddess.  Instead, she ends up with a roommate wondering "why isn't he into me"? 

Would I turn Jack down?  It is funny you asked, I had a boyfriend in high school, great guy, lots of fun, cute, played his guitar and sang beautiful songs to me, liked to kiss but..., not much else... you know.  I was somewhat of a young Lureen, Cheerleader, sexually "interested"  ;), I thought of myself as "worldly" (what a joke) yet, I couldn't put my finger on what wasn't quite right about the situation.  Then, another boy became interested in me.  I mean really interested and bam! I saw the difference.  I ended the relationship with the boyfriend and a few years later found out that he came out. 

I had a friend from college who had a husband who came out 4 years and a 2 1/2 year old into the marriage, it was the mid '90s.  Suffice to say, she was devastated.  How could she not have known some asked.  She grew up pretty sheltered, a virgin Catholic girl when she got married so she didn't have as much of a frame of reference as the rest of us. Should Lureen have known something was up before marrying Jack given that she didn't seem all that sheltered?  I'm thinking yes. 
Now, I know there are those marriages where there is some sort of "understanding", seems Cole Porter and his wife had one and apparently they were very happy together.  I don't really get it but, there isn't only one pattern for what goes on between people in marriages and what would make them happy within one. 

Lureen, isn't going to be happy with a roommate.  The girl is young, healthy, and lusty so having a roommate isn't going to cut it, yet she stays in it.  Why?  She is thinking of the business?  With him in the marriage she benefits from his salary since it all goes into the same pot.  Hiring one outside the marriage will cost her.  Does she stay in it for appearances?  So long as his extra circular activies are kept quiet she manages.  I can see why she would become hard and no nonsense, she throws herself into the business because what else does she have?  She couldn't or wouldn't have turned into Alma.  Not bashing Alma either, its just a different coping mechanism.  I identify with Lureen, I could see myself turning into her in the right circumstances.  Would I have married Jack?  If he was straight and it was simply a difference in financial circumstance, I'd do it in a heartbeat.  If I thought that he was not only Gay but somehow knew that he was already in love with someone, NO!


Good thoughtful answer -- I think I meant, we know how easy it was for Lureen to be fooled, especially if early on Jack decided to fool her, because as a guy he was expected to have a woman and also he needed to marry for money.  HE is the one who hit the jackpot.  I suppose I imagine their marriage not quite in the roomate stages early on.  Just ...as you say, she had to do the heavy lifting.  Come on Jack, why aren't you interested?  I imagine lots of negligees that didn't quite have the impact she wanted.  sad.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on March 29, 2006, 07:24:25 AM

Lureen, isn't going to be happy with a roommate.  The girl is young, healthy, and lusty so having a roommate isn't going to cut it, yet she stays in it.  Why? 

Nobody thinking that Lureen has somebody on the side? 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on March 29, 2006, 08:02:08 AM

Lureen, isn't going to be happy with a roommate.  The girl is young, healthy, and lusty so having a roommate isn't going to cut it, yet she stays in it.  Why? 

Nobody thinking that Lureen has somebody on the side? 


Hi playitagain -- to me, I guess I romanticize Lureen a little, is it coming out that I can identify with her?  If I were in her place I would try and try and try and try again to make this Jack thing work, as long as he seemed to be trying, but yes she is desperate, desperate, desperate.  She lives in a small town so an affair would be hard to hide, I see her displays of blond hair, makeup, red nails, as a desperate reaching out, PLEASE SOME MAN NOTICE ME AND TELL ME I"M ATTRACTIVE.  She's looking and she's ready, and I hope she's got someone in the wings by the time Jack dies.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on March 29, 2006, 08:14:21 AM
Nobody thinking that Lureen has somebody on the side? 

I really do hope so :).  It would be nice if she had a happy ending.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: moonbeam on March 30, 2006, 05:00:48 PM
Nobody thinking that Lureen has somebody on the side? 

I really do hope so :).  It would be nice if she had a happy ending.

She certainly had the look the men were looking for in the 80's... I just bet she owned a pair of leg warmers and a acid washed jean jacket too!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 30, 2006, 07:35:16 PM
Nobody thinking that Lureen has somebody on the side? 

I really do hope so :).  It would be nice if she had a happy ending.

She certainly had the look the men were looking for in the 80's... I just bet she owned a pair of leg warmers and a acid washed jean jacket too!
Ah, the 80's.  Lureen probably used a can of Aquanet a day to keep that big hair at attention.  Lureen was the one character in the movie I wish we had seen more of.  I think she started out loving Jack, but became disillusioned quick.  The next time we see her after the hospital scene (or is it at the her and Jack's house), she is behind a desk listening to those two old farts diss Jack's rodeo ability.  You can tell she is a bit embarrassed, but says nothing.  She obviously has given up her rodeo days and is chained to the job.  It seems she has settled for a less than satisfactory life, too. Her hair is lighter, too, which I think shows the beginning of her disillusionment.  Why did she stay married to Jack even though the marriage went south?  I know people who stayed in bad marriages just because they don't want "divorce" behind their name.  They don't want the "stigma" or want to keep up appearances.  I think Lureen fell into this category.  I think of all the characters, she had the best chance for a happier life at the end.  Unlike Alma, who to me seems miserable with Monroe, Lureen is free from Jack and maybe now will find her own Ennis.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on March 30, 2006, 09:35:11 PM
Nobody thinking that Lureen has somebody on the side? 

I really do hope so :).  It would be nice if she had a happy ending.

She certainly had the look the men were looking for in the 80's... I just bet she owned a pair of leg warmers and a acid washed jean jacket too!
Ah, the 80's.  Lureen probably used a can of Aquanet a day to keep that big hair at attention.  Lureen was the one character in the movie I wish we had seen more of.  I think she started out loving Jack, but became disillusioned quick.  The next time we see her after the hospital scene (or is it at the her and Jack's house), she is behind a desk listening to those two old farts diss Jack's rodeo ability.  You can tell she is a bit embarrassed, but says nothing.  She obviously has given up her rodeo days and is chained to the job.  It seems she has settled for a less than satisfactory life, too. Her hair is lighter, too, which I think shows the beginning of her disillusionment.  Why did she stay married to Jack even though the marriage went south?  I know people who stayed in bad marriages just because they don't want "divorce" behind their name.  They don't want the "stigma" or want to keep up appearances.  I think Lureen fell into this category.  I think of all the characters, she had the best chance for a happier life at the end.  Unlike Alma, who to me seems miserable with Monroe, Lureen is free from Jack and maybe now will find her own Ennis.


Hi stacp, I've been thinking lots about Lureen, why quit now?  I wrote somewhere else -maybe in the character analysis of Jack Twist, or maybe here I can't remember - it's hard to make a marriage work, so I believe both she and Jack decided, in their own way, to stay in it. I believe Lureen never stopped loving Jack, but she had to make lots of accomidations to his seeming indifference to her.  She had to let him go on all those trips.  I think her blond hair was her way of showing her desperation to get a man's attention, which she must have been missing.  I think she would have kept trying with Jack as long as he "seemed" to be trying with her.  But - oh well, good thing she had the business to keep her busy, don't you think?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 31, 2006, 11:52:23 AM
Good point, tellyouwhat.  I also agree Lureen's hair dyes were also about trying to get Jack's attention.  They screamed "look at me, dammit.  I'm hot--other guys are dying to be with me, so why aren't you?"  Poor Lureen, though.  Those books sure didn't keep her warm at night. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on March 31, 2006, 12:20:02 PM
Good point, tellyouwhat.  I also agree Lureen's hair dyes were also about trying to get Jack's attention.  They screamed "look at me, dammit.  I'm hot--other guys are dying to be with me, so why aren't you?"  Poor Lureen, though.  Those books sure didn't keep her warm at night. 

Could you imagine if for all your youth you were the hottest little thing going with guys all over you and then you end up with a man that could care less how cute you are.  No wonder she went for the glamzilla.  She didn't know what else to do.

But, I gotta say, couldn't she have sprung for a $10 manicure?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on March 31, 2006, 12:30:07 PM
Good point, tellyouwhat.  I also agree Lureen's hair dyes were also about trying to get Jack's attention.  They screamed "look at me, dammit.  I'm hot--other guys are dying to be with me, so why aren't you?"  Poor Lureen, though.  Those books sure didn't keep her warm at night. 

Could you imagine if for all your youth you were the hottest little thing going with guys all over you and then you end up with a man that could care less how cute you are.  No wonder she went for the glamzilla.  She didn't know what else to do.

But, I gotta say, couldn't she have sprung for a $10 manicure?


Whoever did her hair and nails must have been very small town.  Like I said, she needed a spa day in Dallas. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Gonzo on March 31, 2006, 12:36:46 PM
Good point, tellyouwhat.  I also agree Lureen's hair dyes were also about trying to get Jack's attention.  They screamed "look at me, dammit.  I'm hot--other guys are dying to be with me, so why aren't you?"  Poor Lureen, though.  Those books sure didn't keep her warm at night. 

Could you imagine if for all your youth you were the hottest little thing going with guys all over you and then you end up with a man that could care less how cute you are.  No wonder she went for the glamzilla.  She didn't know what else to do.

But, I gotta say, couldn't she have sprung for a $10 manicure?

Glamzilla strikes the small farm community of Childress, TX.  Breathing fire and sporting talons of the most hideous red.

 ;D ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 31, 2006, 01:46:51 PM
Good point, tellyouwhat.  I also agree Lureen's hair dyes were also about trying to get Jack's attention.  They screamed "look at me, dammit.  I'm hot--other guys are dying to be with me, so why aren't you?"  Poor Lureen, though.  Those books sure didn't keep her warm at night. 

Could you imagine if for all your youth you were the hottest little thing going with guys all over you and then you end up with a man that could care less how cute you are.  No wonder she went for the glamzilla.  She didn't know what else to do.

But, I gotta say, couldn't she have sprung for a $10 manicure?

Glamzilla strikes the small farm community of Childress, TX.  Breathing fire and sporting talons of the most hideous red.

 ;D ;D ;D ;D

LOL!  Lureen looked to me like she was doing a heck of a Dolly Parton impersonation at the end.  Was it me, or did she also look like she'd had a boob job (could've been her choice of shirt)?  Poor girl, it was probably her last ditch effort to get Jack's attention.  Could you imagine a page out of Lureen's diary?  Dear Diary:   I've tried the following to get Jack's attention, but with no luck:

Dyed hair every shade of platinum under sun:  Check
Painted Nails fire engine red:  Check
Worn tight clothes showing off curves:  Check
Bought sexy lingere:  Check
Brought in stripper pole:  Check

I guess I'll try the boob job next.  If it doesn't work, maybe I'll start flirting with LaShawn's husband, Randall.  He's kinda cute . . .  ;D
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on March 31, 2006, 01:47:11 PM
Good point, tellyouwhat.  I also agree Lureen's hair dyes were also about trying to get Jack's attention.  They screamed "look at me, dammit.  I'm hot--other guys are dying to be with me, so why aren't you?"  Poor Lureen, though.  Those books sure didn't keep her warm at night. 

Could you imagine if for all your youth you were the hottest little thing going with guys all over you and then you end up with a man that could care less how cute you are.  No wonder she went for the glamzilla.  She didn't know what else to do.

But, I gotta say, couldn't she have sprung for a $10 manicure?

Glamzilla strikes the small farm community of Childress, TX.  Breathing fire and sporting talons of the most hideous red.

 ;D ;D ;D ;D

LOL.  I thought there at the end she was doing a hell of a Dolly Parton impersonation?  Was it me, or did it look like she had a boob job, too?   ;D  Maybe that was her last ditch effort to get Jack's attention.  Lureen's diary:


I KNEW IT!  Her tits did look bigger!  And god, don't get me started on that weird black/grey/beige(?) whirly stripe polyester, shrink wrapped blouse.  ICK!!!

But, I still think she was doing the Loni Anderson WKRP in Cincinnati thing with the hair.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on March 31, 2006, 02:12:55 PM
Good point, tellyouwhat.  I also agree Lureen's hair dyes were also about trying to get Jack's attention.  They screamed "look at me, dammit.  I'm hot--other guys are dying to be with me, so why aren't you?"  Poor Lureen, though.  Those books sure didn't keep her warm at night. 

Could you imagine if for all your youth you were the hottest little thing going with guys all over you and then you end up with a man that could care less how cute you are.  No wonder she went for the glamzilla.  She didn't know what else to do.

But, I gotta say, couldn't she have sprung for a $10 manicure?

Glamzilla strikes the small farm community of Childress, TX.  Breathing fire and sporting talons of the most hideous red.

 ;D ;D ;D ;D

...massive death and distruction feared.  Farm equipment of the manufacturer VERSATILE targeted.  Manufacturer's models were found smashed and left strewn about.  Local citizen found wandering near his broken down truck, the victim whose name has not been released sustained numerous cuts and lacerations most notably the mark of “G” etched deeply into his forehead.  Victim sustained permanent eyesight loss as both eyes were scratched out.  CSI conducting tests on red nail polish flakes left a scene.  Revlon's Fire and Ice color identified
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on March 31, 2006, 02:20:43 PM
I happened to spend a few days in Dallas in the mid-nineties. I noticed that most of the women seemed to wear their hair, make-up and clothes in an (well...how should i say it?) obvious manner.

Therefore, Lureen's look to me was no surprise nor did I read anything into it other than, "well, that's the way Texas women like to present themselves" and what a good job the costume designer did with his or her reseach.

Where in the world did that costume designer find that blouse? "My eyes, My eyes! Make it stop!"

Otoh, Jack's all black ensemble at the dance scene with LaShawn and Randall has just the right touch of corniness for a preener like Jack. That black leather sportscoat, shirt and black jeans are sublime.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on March 31, 2006, 02:33:10 PM

Where in the world did that costume designer find that blouse? "My eyes, My eyes! Make it stop!"

Otoh, Jack's all black ensemble at the dance scene with LaShawn and Randall has just the right touch of corniness for a preener like Jack. That black leather sportscoat, shirt and black jeans are sublime.


that blouse... hopefully it was burned after but somehow I think it would have been sort of like that ring of evil (whatever) from Lord of the Rings.  Has to go back to the original source of all ugly blouses to be destroyed.  I've heard it was somewhere between the 3rd and 4th circle of hell.

I kind of dug the all black look on Jack.  And I'm more of a Brooks Brothers/Armani kind of gal, I mean a black leather sportcoat!  On anyone else that would be the cheesiest thing ever but on him it is totally hot.  You know, that man could wear clothes that no one else could pull off in a million years... 

Wait a sec, that whole sentence is an oxymoron. 

Wat is OTOH?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on March 31, 2006, 02:36:13 PM
City Girl: OTOH = On The Other Hand


x patroclus
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on March 31, 2006, 02:39:44 PM
Otoh- on the other hand.

Oh, I totally agree that Jack looks hot in his black leather ensemble nevermind that it reeks of aspiring mid to upper middle class pretension.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on March 31, 2006, 02:45:20 PM
Otoh- on the other hand.

Oh, I totally agree that Jack looks hot in his black leather ensemble nevermind that it reeks of aspiring mid to upper middle class pretension.

Yup, you bet.  It absolutely does. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on March 31, 2006, 03:17:15 PM
I happened to spend a few days in Dallas in the mid-nineties. I noticed that most of the women seemed to wear their hair, make-up and clothes in an (well...how should i say it?) obvious manner.

Therefore, Lureen's look to me was no surprise nor did I read anything into it other than, "well, that's the way Texas women like to present themselves" and what a good job the costume designer did with his or her reseach.

Where in the world did that costume designer find that blouse? "My eyes, My eyes! Make it stop!"

Otoh, Jack's all black ensemble at the dance scene with LaShawn and Randall has just the right touch of corniness for a preener like Jack. That black leather sportscoat, shirt and black jeans are sublime.



Thank you for mentioning that blouse, it is the one thing I can't forgive Lureen for.  Last night was fascinated reading a thread -- will I ever find it again?  where we have the chance to think of things about the movie that bug us.  Very interesting, and naturally, what bugs one person, the other person loves.  I have to get through the pages to see if the blouse comes up.  I bet nobody defends it. OTOH--

Yes, JHL, you got it right about Jack and the subtle preening.  But I warn y'all, as somebody not from Texas but living here, beware making costume judgments from the outside looking in.  It's easier, I've found, to try and understand gay men than to understand certain fashion statements in Texas.

Except the blouse.  The blouse has no redeeming features, anyplace, anytime.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on March 31, 2006, 03:37:18 PM
Hey tellyouwhat-

We're talking about Brokeback threads at the "All other scenes" thread.  Drop in...
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on March 31, 2006, 06:14:08 PM

Thank you for mentioning that blouse, it is the one thing I can't forgive Lureen for.  Last night was fascinated reading a thread -- will I ever find it again?  where we have the chance to think of things about the movie that bug us.  Very interesting, and naturally, what bugs one person, the other person loves.  I have to get through the pages to see if the blouse comes up.  I bet nobody defends it. OTOH--

Yes, JHL, you got it right about Jack and the subtle preening.  But I warn y'all, as somebody not from Texas but living here, beware making costume judgments from the outside looking in.  It's easier, I've found, to try and understand gay men than to understand certain fashion statements in Texas.

Except the blouse.  The blouse has no redeeming features, anyplace, anytime.

I've got cousins outside of Dallas so I pop down every few years.  Fashion wise, it is always... illuminating.

As for that blouse, the redeeming feature would be its use as shelter to cockroaches after a nuclear winter.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on March 31, 2006, 06:54:08 PM
Good point, tellyouwhat.  I also agree Lureen's hair dyes were also about trying to get Jack's attention.  They screamed "look at me, dammit.  I'm hot--other guys are dying to be with me, so why aren't you?"  Poor Lureen, though.  Those books sure didn't keep her warm at night. 

Could you imagine if for all your youth you were the hottest little thing going with guys all over you and then you end up with a man that could care less how cute you are.  No wonder she went for the glamzilla.  She didn't know what else to do.

But, I gotta say, couldn't she have sprung for a $10 manicure?

Glamzilla strikes the small farm community of Childress, TX.  Breathing fire and sporting talons of the most hideous red.

 ;D ;D ;D ;D

...massive death and distruction feared.  Farm equipment of the manufacturer VERSATILE most notably seemed targeted as this particular manufacturer's models were found smashed and left strewn about.  A local citizen was found wandering near his broken down truck, the victim whose name has not been released sustained numerous cuts and lacerations most notably the mark of “G” etched deeply into his forehead.  He is expected to make recover but will not likely to recover his eyesight as both eyes were scratched out.

Another ROTFLMAO for you, City Girl! 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on April 01, 2006, 01:27:29 AM
Thanks for your thoughtful response, Stacp. Here’s my reaction.

Stacp said “Ennis still had a responsibility to his family to get the best paying job possible to support his family.  It's fairly clear he's willing to settle for the low paying jobs so he can drop everything to be with Jack.  It's used as an example, I think, of how Ennis is willing to put his family's needs below that of his need to be with Jack and the friction and suffering it creates in his marriage to Alma.”

In the following passage Proulx seems to write from Alma’s point of view that leads to the decision to divorce: “ Her resentment opened out a little every year: the embrace she had glimpsed, Ennis's fishing trips once or twice a year with Jack Twist and never a vacation with her and the girls, his disinclination to step out and have any fun, his yearning for low paid, long houred ranch work, his propensity to roll to the wall and sleep as soon as he hit the bed, his failure to look for a decent permanent job with the county or the power company, put her in a long, slow dive and when Alma Jr. was nine and Francine seven she said, what am I doin hangin around with him, divorced Ennis and married the Riverton grocer.”

Here Proulx portrays Alma’s taking stock of her life with Ennis, including her sense that Ennis had a “yearning for low paid, long houred ranch work… his failure to look for a decent permanent job with the county or the power company.” I think of the mid-west during this time as a farming and ranching community that was dispossessed by big agribusiness. Many farmers and ranchers were out of work because they weren’t needed and there wasn’t much other work either. That left the low-paying ranch jobs. What would Ennis be qualified to do at the county or electric company with a grade school education, inability to read, and competition from all the other out of work ranchers? Ennis knew and loved ranching, and probably thought himself lucky to find that kind of work. If Alma didn’t know this about him before they married, whose fault is that?

I think this passage is Alma’s unrealistic and unfulfilled expectations of Ennis that lead, along with the other problems, to her deciding to divorce him. She had plenty of cause for wanting a divorce but not because Ennis wasn’t working hard at the only thing he knew. This may have been an excuse she used to explain her divorce to her children and family. I also suspect she had a pretty good idea that Monroe would marry her because she had discussed this with him before the divorce. Alma wouldn’t impulsively or intentionally leave herself out in the cold.

I imagine that Ennis working “long houred ranch work” so that he could “roll to the wall and sleep as soon as he hit the bed,” was his way to avoid Alma as the tension grew between them. He was portrayed as someone who did not or dared not understand his feelings. So he limped along with Alma without much thought to the future because he had no future. Of course, Alma could see this situation more clearly than Ennis and went for financial security with Monroe.

Ennis says to Jack "Jack, I got a work. Them earlier days I used a quit the jobs. You got a wife with money, a good job. You forget how it is bein broke all the time.”

So Ennis does quit jobs to be with Jack, a fact which Alma must have resented because this meant he loved Jack and not her. I don’t know how much income he lost by changing jobs. Having worked a lot of low-paying jobs, I suspect there was not much difference in his pay from job to job. Maybe a small raise after 5 years or so. I can’t picture Ennis doing anything to hurt his daughters, no matter how much he loved Jack.

In the opening to the story Proulx writes “Again the ranch is on the market and they've shipped out the last of the horses, paid everybody off the day before, the owner saying, "Give em to the real estate shark, I'm out a here," dropping the keys in Ennis's hand. He might have to stay with his married daughter until he picks up another job, yet he is suffused with a sense of pleasure because Jack Twist was in his dream.”

So Ennis continues to move from job to job after Jack’s death. This is all he knows, his fate.

And continuing with Alma’s musings before the divorce “Alma asked Ennis to use rubbers because she dreaded another pregnancy. He said no to that, said he would be happy to leave her alone if she didn't want any more of his kids. Under her breath she said, "I'd have em if you'd support em." And under that, thought, anyway, what you like to do don't make too many babies.”

Alma understands that she won’t get pregnant again with Ennis if they “do what she hated”. Neither one wants another mouth to feed. But I’m guessing that she hated anal sex partly because it hurt her and gave her no pleasure, so she asks Ennis to use rubbers which he refuses. I see this as Ennis using Alma for his pleasure without risking pregnancy. Alma asks Ennis to use rubbers not so much for birth control (“anyway, what you like to do don't make too many babies“) but primarily for her gratification. Pregnancy was not an issue here.  Ennis refuses to use condoms not because he wanted more babies but for some other reason which he doesn’t give. He’s saying he doesn’t care if he doesn’t have sex with her again if it’s on her terms (vaginal sex with a condom). The film muddies this scene by having Ennis and Alma having sex facing each other for dramatic reasons but the story suggests that except for the childbearing years, they didn’t have vaginal sex.

Basically, this seems to be just another case of “irreconcilable differences” in their marriage. By saying “he would be happy to leave her alone if she didn't want any more of his kids” he wasn’t asking her to have another baby; he was saying he would be happy to leave her alone by this time. But Alma takes this opportunity to belittle him as a wage earner by turning his reference to kids against him, "I'd have em if you'd support em", even though she really doesn’t want another child. Typical dysfunctional marriage stuff.

Where you see Alma as “innocent” and “sweetly seducing” Ennis, I see her as a social climber who manipulates Ennis to get what she thinks she wants. Then when she has Monroe and his middleclass house, her daughter, clearly unhappy, wants to move out and live with her father. As I see it, Alma is hurt by Ennis’ love for Jack and not for her, and tries to hurt him at every turn, even after the divorce. Everything else springs from this.

I love Proulx’s compressed prose. She can say so much with just a few works.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 01, 2006, 02:11:24 AM
Here Proulx portrays Alma’s taking stock of her life with Ennis, including her sense that Ennis had a “yearning for low paid, long houred ranch work… his failure to look for a decent permanent job with the county or the power company.” I think of the mid-west during this time as a farming and ranching community that was dispossessed by big agribusiness. Many farmers and ranchers were out of work because they weren’t needed and there wasn’t much other work either. That left the low-paying ranch jobs. What would Ennis be qualified to do at the county or electric company with a grade school education, inability to read, and competition from all the other out of work ranchers? Ennis knew and loved ranching, and probably thought himself lucky to find that kind of work.


I just wanted to make a little point about this.  Of course, I don't know about conditions in the mid-west, but I've seen myself how things have changed in my part of the world.

Way back when I left school, we all left full-time education at age 16.  I only knew one person who stayed on - it was very much the exception.  Unemployment was rising rapidly when I left, but certainly in the years before it was quite possible to go into good jobs at the age of 16 without further qualifications.  Generally, if you were less well qualified it was a case of starting at the bottom and working up.

My parents generation, which is closer to Ennis and Jack's, left at 14. 

My point is that somebody who left school and didn't have formal qualifications wouldn't have been that unusual, and wouldn't necessarily find it difficult to get a decent job.  Ennis could read and write, as we know from the postcards. 

I think Annie Proulx is making it clear that better jobs were available, but that Ennis could have gone for them, but chose to stick with casual work.  It's tragic in its own way, as the resulting poverty makes it even more difficult to be with Jack - a vicious cycle.   Not to mention the effects on his wife and family.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on April 01, 2006, 03:49:31 AM
Here Proulx portrays Alma’s taking stock of her life with Ennis, including her sense that Ennis had a “yearning for low paid, long houred ranch work… his failure to look for a decent permanent job with the county or the power company.” I think of the mid-west during this time as a farming and ranching community that was dispossessed by big agribusiness. Many farmers and ranchers were out of work because they weren’t needed and there wasn’t much other work either. That left the low-paying ranch jobs. What would Ennis be qualified to do at the county or electric company with a grade school education, inability to read, and competition from all the other out of work ranchers? Ennis knew and loved ranching, and probably thought himself lucky to find that kind of work.


I just wanted to make a little point about this.  Of course, I don't know about conditions in the mid-west, but I've seen myself how things have changed in my part of the world.

Way back when I left school, we all left full-time education at age 16.  I only knew one person who stayed on - it was very much the exception.  Unemployment was rising rapidly when I left, but certainly in the years before it was quite possible to go into good jobs at the age of 16 without further qualifications.  Generally, if you were less well qualified it was a case of starting at the bottom and working up.

My parents generation, which is closer to Ennis and Jack's, left at 14. 

My point is that somebody who left school and didn't have formal qualifications wouldn't have been that unusual, and wouldn't necessarily find it difficult to get a decent job.  Ennis could read and write, as we know from the postcards. 

I think Annie Proulx is making it clear that better jobs were available, but that Ennis could have gone for them, but chose to stick with casual work.  It's tragic in its own way, as the resulting poverty makes it even more difficult to be with Jack - a vicious cycle.   Not to mention the effects on his wife and family.

 Hi Desecra,

I don’t know the situation is the Midwest first hand either but I’ve read that the small farms and ranches had been devastated. So a lot of people there are very angry about this and some have occupied themselves in militias, hate groups and survivalist groups in order to blame their troubles on something. This was going on in the ‘80’s. So there weren’t a lot of jobs there. While Proulx does say that Alma thinks there are a lot of better jobs available, she doesn’t say that there were such jobs and she should know the Midwest. She does say that Ennis can’t read without holding a book at arms length and so he doesn’t read much. Now I suppose he could have saved up to buy eyeglasses but Proulx doesn’t go there. She only describes Ennis as a hardworking man with low expectations and opportunities, not as neglectful (except in Alma’s eyes). None of those towns in the film looked very prosperous. The only “good” jobs shown were Monroe’s and Joe Aguirre’s. Why doesn’t Ennis go for better paying jobs? If he did, he could have probably taken more time off and had more money to go away with Jack.

I think you’re seeing the story too much from Alma’s point of view, as I’m inclined to see it from Ennis’. I don’t see Ennis as neglecting his family to be with Jack, at least in his eyes. Thanks for making me reread and review BBM to figure out how I came to my impressions of the characters. I don’t think we’re going to agree about this but that’s OK.

.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on April 01, 2006, 03:50:00 AM
Ennis always seems to PREFER the worst of two solutions:
poverty instead of being better off, a dreadful apartment/trailer compared to a nice one, living without Jack or Cassie instead of being together WITH them.

Both main characters give in all the time: Ennis seems happy with nothing at all, Jack accepts all "setback decisions" by Ennis (and by Lureen or by his own father).
It's always about acceptance in the whole movie, acceptance about the things one DOES NOT WANT,
it's never about standing up, aggressivity, trying to change things radically.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on April 01, 2006, 04:48:29 AM
I think you’re seeing the story too much from Alma’s point of view, as I’m inclined to see it from Ennis’. I don’t see Ennis as neglecting his family to be with Jack, at least in his eyes. Thanks for making me reread and review BBM to figure out how I came to my impressions of the characters. I don’t think we’re going to agree about this but that’s OK.


But richm, I think you have to factor in the existence of sexism in the relationship between Ennis and Alma. Ennis, as a traditional western guy probably didn't think he was neglecting his family. But that doesn't mean he wasn't. And he certainly was from Alma's point of view. As Annie P tells us, Ennis took off several times a year to be with his 'buddy' but never took Alma and the children away on holiday. His pleasure came first. No doubt he saw it as well earned. But guys aren't the best judges of when they're being sexist. Women are. We men just have to accept that. Just as heterosexuals aren't the best people at judging homophobia/heterosexism; white people at assessing racism. The film caught Ennis' unthinking sexism in the way he treated Alma brilliantly, I thought. His moody, fretful, self-absorbed mooching as he waited in for Jack quietly contrasted against Alma working away in the background keeping the engines of the family running evenly... For example, who do you suppose would have ironed his nice best shirt that he wears to greet his pal, Jack? See what I mean?

The whole deal Alma and Ennis would have been brought up to reproduce was that a woman would put her husband and children's needs before her own and in return for this subservience her husband would provide for them all and love her. And Alma delivers on her end of this deal. Imagine how it must have felt when she sees how badly she's been betrayed by Ennis when Jack strolls back into his life? Ennis lets her down.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 01, 2006, 05:07:28 AM
I think Annie Proulx is making it clear that better jobs were available, but that Ennis could have gone for them, but chose to stick with casual work.  It's tragic in its own way, as the resulting poverty makes it even more difficult to be with Jack - a vicious cycle.   Not to mention the effects on his wife and family.

I don’t know the situation is the Midwest first hand either but I’ve read that the small farms and ranches had been devastated. So a lot of people there are very angry about this and some have occupied themselves in militias, hate groups and survivalist groups in order to blame their troubles on something. This was going on in the ‘80’s

I hope it doesn't seem too picky, but I wanted to point out that the time we're talking about was the '60s and '70s.  I'm just mentioning it because there weren't the same unemployment problems then - the '80s were a different story, of course.

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So there weren’t a lot of jobs there. While Proulx does say that Alma thinks there are a lot of better jobs available, she doesn’t say that there were such jobs and she should know the Midwest.

But this doesn't make any sense to me?  Why make the point at all?  She says that Ennis has a 'yearning' for ranch work where he was 'free to drop things, quit if he had to, and go into the mountains at short notice'.  If she is also trying to say that there are no other jobs available, then why does she put it like that?   And why, for instance, are there only two applicants for the job at Brokeback?  I honestly don't think she's trying to say that Ennis can't get a better a job, she's saying that he doesn't want to, and explaining why.

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Why doesn’t Ennis go for better paying jobs? If he did, he could have probably taken more time off and had more money to go away with Jack.

Well, yes - I'd have thought he might be better off having a steady job with paid holiday time. But maybe the steady jobs had fixed holidays, or maybe he just didn't have the foresight to make that choice.
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I think you’re seeing the story too much from Alma’s point of view, as I’m inclined to see it from Ennis’. I don’t see Ennis as neglecting his family to be with Jack, at least in his eyes. Thanks for making me reread and review BBM to figure out how I came to my impressions of the characters. I don’t think we’re going to agree about this but that’s OK.

I can see Alma's point of view, but I don't honestly think I'm seeing it TOO much from her point of view.  I think that the book and the film SHOW her point of view.  And I think they portray her as a sympathetic character - you think they've shown her as unsympathetic.  You're probably not the only one - I know some reviewers have said that BBM was not fair to the women in the story.  Obviously, I don't agree :).
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: magicmountain on April 01, 2006, 05:46:03 AM
Ennis always seems to PREFER the worst of two solutions:
poverty instead of being better off, a dreadful apartment/trailer compared to a nice one, living without Jack or Cassie instead of being together WITH them.

Both main characters give in all the time: Ennis seems happy with nothing at all, Jack accepts all "setback decisions" by Ennis (and by Lureen or by his own father).
It's always about acceptance in the whole movie, acceptance about the things one DOES NOT WANT,
it's never about standing up, aggressivity, trying to change things radically.

These are middle class attitudes. Jack and Ennis were brought up  in the rural working class with lower expectations. You stoically accept your lot in life.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 01, 2006, 06:22:26 AM
Thanks for your thoughtful response, Stacp. Here’s my reaction.

Stacp said “Ennis still had a responsibility to his family to get the best paying job possible to support his family.  It's fairly clear he's willing to settle for the low paying jobs so he can drop everything to be with Jack.  It's used as an example, I think, of how Ennis is willing to put his family's needs below that of his need to be with Jack and the friction and suffering it creates in his marriage to Alma.”

In the following passage Proulx seems to write from Alma’s point of view that leads to the decision to divorce: “ Her resentment opened out a little every year: the embrace she had glimpsed, Ennis's fishing trips once or twice a year with Jack Twist and never a vacation with her and the girls, his disinclination to step out and have any fun, his yearning for low paid, long houred ranch work, his propensity to roll to the wall and sleep as soon as he hit the bed, his failure to look for a decent permanent job with the county or the power company, put her in a long, slow dive and when Alma Jr. was nine and Francine seven she said, what am I doin hangin around with him, divorced Ennis and married the Riverton grocer.”

Here Proulx portrays Alma’s taking stock of her life with Ennis, including her sense that Ennis had a “yearning for low paid, long houred ranch work… his failure to look for a decent permanent job with the county or the power company.” I think of the mid-west during this time as a farming and ranching community that was dispossessed by big agribusiness. Many farmers and ranchers were out of work because they weren’t needed and there wasn’t much other work either. That left the low-paying ranch jobs. What would Ennis be qualified to do at the county or electric company with a grade school education, inability to read, and competition from all the other out of work ranchers? Ennis knew and loved ranching, and probably thought himself lucky to find that kind of work. If Alma didn’t know this about him before they married, whose fault is that?

I think this passage is Alma’s unrealistic and unfulfilled expectations of Ennis that lead, along with the other problems, to her deciding to divorce him. She had plenty of cause for wanting a divorce but not because Ennis wasn’t working hard at the only thing he knew. This may have been an excuse she used to explain her divorce to her children and family. I also suspect she had a pretty good idea that Monroe would marry her because she had discussed this with him before the divorce. Alma wouldn’t impulsively or intentionally leave herself out in the cold.

I imagine that Ennis working “long houred ranch work” so that he could “roll to the wall and sleep as soon as he hit the bed,” was his way to avoid Alma as the tension grew between them. He was portrayed as someone who did not or dared not understand his feelings. So he limped along with Alma without much thought to the future because he had no future. Of course, Alma could see this situation more clearly than Ennis and went for financial security with Monroe.

Ennis says to Jack "Jack, I got a work. Them earlier days I used a quit the jobs. You got a wife with money, a good job. You forget how it is bein broke all the time.”

So Ennis does quit jobs to be with Jack, a fact which Alma must have resented because this meant he loved Jack and not her. I don’t know how much income he lost by changing jobs. Having worked a lot of low-paying jobs, I suspect there was not much difference in his pay from job to job. Maybe a small raise after 5 years or so. I can’t picture Ennis doing anything to hurt his daughters, no matter how much he loved Jack.

In the opening to the story Proulx writes “Again the ranch is on the market and they've shipped out the last of the horses, paid everybody off the day before, the owner saying, "Give em to the real estate shark, I'm out a here," dropping the keys in Ennis's hand. He might have to stay with his married daughter until he picks up another job, yet he is suffused with a sense of pleasure because Jack Twist was in his dream.”

So Ennis continues to move from job to job after Jack’s death. This is all he knows, his fate.

And continuing with Alma’s musings before the divorce “Alma asked Ennis to use rubbers because she dreaded another pregnancy. He said no to that, said he would be happy to leave her alone if she didn't want any more of his kids. Under her breath she said, "I'd have em if you'd support em." And under that, thought, anyway, what you like to do don't make too many babies.”

Alma understands that she won’t get pregnant again with Ennis if they “do what she hated”. Neither one wants another mouth to feed. But I’m guessing that she hated anal sex partly because it hurt her and gave her no pleasure, so she asks Ennis to use rubbers which he refuses. I see this as Ennis using Alma for his pleasure without risking pregnancy. Alma asks Ennis to use rubbers not so much for birth control (“anyway, what you like to do don't make too many babies“) but primarily for her gratification. Pregnancy was not an issue here.  Ennis refuses to use condoms not because he wanted more babies but for some other reason which he doesn’t give. He’s saying he doesn’t care if he doesn’t have sex with her again if it’s on her terms (vaginal sex with a condom). The film muddies this scene by having Ennis and Alma having sex facing each other for dramatic reasons but the story suggests that except for the childbearing years, they didn’t have vaginal sex.

Basically, this seems to be just another case of “irreconcilable differences” in their marriage. By saying “he would be happy to leave her alone if she didn't want any more of his kids” he wasn’t asking her to have another baby; he was saying he would be happy to leave her alone by this time. But Alma takes this opportunity to belittle him as a wage earner by turning his reference to kids against him, "I'd have em if you'd support em", even though she really doesn’t want another child. Typical dysfunctional marriage stuff.

Where you see Alma as “innocent” and “sweetly seducing” Ennis, I see her as a social climber who manipulates Ennis to get what she thinks she wants. Then when she has Monroe and his middleclass house, her daughter, clearly unhappy, wants to move out and live with her father. As I see it, Alma is hurt by Ennis’ love for Jack and not for her, and tries to hurt him at every turn, even after the divorce. Everything else springs from this.

I love Proulx’s compressed prose. She can say so much with just a few works.


I totally typed out a big response to your post but somehow lost it!   >:( So, I'm going to be brief here (fingers are tired).  Nice to hear from you again Richm.  I agree with Desecra about how Ennis could have gotten a higher paying job if he would have wanted to; I'm sure there were jobs at the power company that didn't require much education.  Ennis just chose not to take them to drop everything to be with Jack.  Sometimes, for our children, we do things we don't want to do, like taking a job that pays more despite the fact we'd rather be ranching.  Ennis was not willing to do this.

As for Alma asking Ennis to use rubbers not because of pregnancy, but for her gratification, I don't understand.  Are you saying she preferred sex with condoms or she did this to belittle Ennis?  I think she had every right to ask Ennis to use rubbers; they were poor, probably couldn't afford the pill, and still having sex (probably some straight sex).  Under those circumstances, she knew they couldn't afford another baby, and besides, the marriage was not exactly stable. 

Finally, I don't see Alma as a social climber.  Lureen or LaShawn maybe, but not Alma.  She didn't exactly marry Ennis for his money or prestige in the community and she stuck it out a long time.  Sure, she moved on to more established Monroe, but the guy seemed to care about her. I don't see her trying to hurt Ennis at every turn either.  Before the divorce, about the only harsh comment I hear her say to him is the "have 'em if you'd support 'em" comment.  The marriage had been disintegrating for a long time at that point, and if this is the worse thing she ever said to him, than she's a better wife than most.  Anyway, went on longer than I should have.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: moonbeam on April 01, 2006, 06:25:29 AM
These are middle class attitudes. Jack and Ennis were brought up  in the rural working class with lower expectations. You stoically accept your lot in life.

Which is actually a strength in some ways. Maybe it is not as applicable in the case of BBM, but most 'lower class' people find happiness with their lives, no matter how hard or seemingly dismal.. maybe we are looking at this from the wrong perspective. Not only did Jack and Ennis come from a different time period, but  also a different class and a different culture. I would bet that they did not percieve their situation as as much of a tragedy or social injustice as we do. They had their health, food on the table, a roof over their heads, the ability to provide (to some degree) for their families, and three weeks out of the year, they had each other. I bet that a 'real' Jack and Ennis would have thought 'you can't ask for more than that'... however, for this movie, there had to be some kind of conflict.. hence Jack's unhappiness with the situation... Maybe I am way off base here.. I don't know.  :-\
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 01, 2006, 06:53:26 AM
These are middle class attitudes. Jack and Ennis were brought up  in the rural working class with lower expectations. You stoically accept your lot in life.

Which is actually a strength in some ways. Maybe it is not as applicable in the case of BBM, but most 'lower class' people find happiness with their lives, no matter how hard or seemingly dismal.. maybe we are looking at this from the wrong perspective. Not only did Jack and Ennis come from a different time period, but  also a different class and a different culture. I would bet that they did not percieve their situation as as much of a tragedy or social injustice as we do. They had their health, food on the table, a roof over their heads, the ability to provide (to some degree) for their families, and three weeks out of the year, they had each other. I bet that a 'real' Jack and Ennis would have thought 'you can't ask for more than that'... however, for this movie, there had to be some kind of conflict.. hence Jack's unhappiness with the situation... Maybe I am way off base here.. I don't know.  :-\

Hi moonbeam, my only comment is that I think the struggle is always there.  Annie showed a way of life that is a stark reality for a lot of people, although most of us on this board feel like we could not imagine living Ennis' life or Alma's either.  During the sixties lots of people - like Jack - were able to raise their standard of living and they really wanted to do that.  IMO it was a real difference between Jack and Ennis - Jack could do the ranch hand work, but he didn't care for it, and he was willing to try rodeo, which is an abysmal way of life, to take a risk on changing the situation.  And he did.  Can you just see Ennis smiling and selling farm equipment?  I know you can't, neither can I.  Ennis probably never gave his work or lot in life very much thought, it seems he learned how to live that way and wasn't comfortable with change anyway.  But most during that time in history, including Alma, wanted to better their economic situation.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 01, 2006, 12:00:53 PM
Great points, Moonbeam and tellyouwhat.  I would only add that I believe Jack, the dreamer, optimist, etc. wanted to improve his lot in life and that's why he married Lureen.  After all, it gave him the means to make all his trips to visit Ennis.  Ennis, I do believe, was more content to live the rancher's life, maybe even used it as an excuse not to meet Jack more often (gotta work, being broke).
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on April 01, 2006, 02:07:08 PM
These are middle class attitudes. Jack and Ennis were brought up  in the rural working class with lower expectations. You stoically accept your lot in life.

Which is actually a strength in some ways. Maybe it is not as applicable in the case of BBM, but most 'lower class' people find happiness with their lives, no matter how hard or seemingly dismal.. maybe we are looking at this from the wrong perspective. Not only did Jack and Ennis come from a different time period, but  also a different class and a different culture. I would bet that they did not percieve their situation as as much of a tragedy or social injustice as we do. They had their health, food on the table, a roof over their heads, the ability to provide (to some degree) for their families, and three weeks out of the year, they had each other. I bet that a 'real' Jack and Ennis would have thought 'you can't ask for more than that'... however, for this movie, there had to be some kind of conflict.. hence Jack's unhappiness with the situation... Maybe I am way off base here.. I don't know.  :-\

Hi moonbeam, my only comment is that I think the struggle is always there.  Annie showed a way of life that is a stark reality for a lot of people, although most of us on this board feel like we could not imagine living Ennis' life or Alma's either.  During the sixties lots of people - like Jack - were able to raise their standard of living and they really wanted to do that.  IMO it was a real difference between Jack and Ennis - Jack could do the ranch hand work, but he didn't care for it, and he was willing to try rodeo, which is an abysmal way of life, to take a risk on changing the situation.  And he did.  Can you just see Ennis smiling and selling farm equipment?  I know you can't, neither can I.  Ennis probably never gave his work or lot in life very much thought, it seems he learned how to live that way and wasn't comfortable with change anyway.  But most during that time in history, including Alma, wanted to better their economic situation.


One of the more interesting aspects of this film, to me, was the underlying economic tensions that exist throughout this story.    Funny how they start out economically, culturally, educationally the same.  “both high school dropout country boys with no prospects, brought up to hard work and privation, both rough mannered, rough-spoken, inured to the stoic life.   There was a time in this country that a boy with a 10th grade education could support a family.  Ennis doesn’t even have that, thus the allure of being a sophomore.  It carried some distinction. 

We don’t’ know where Jack dropped out but it was somewhere.  Jack moves up the economic and social scale, and you could say he used Lureen to do so but he isn’t the first man to marry up.  Yet, I think there was more to it than latching on to Lureen.  I think Jack would have looked for other ways to do better.  As his father said, “he thought he was too goddamn special…”  There are still a lot of places that it is looked down upon to have aspirations of a “better” life than the one you were born into.  I have a friend from the Midwest who got a ration of sh*t from his friends and neighbors when he got an academic scholarship to Duke.  A whole lot of “so I guess you think you are now better than us” crap.  To a lot of people “aspirations” are somehow wrong.   There is flexibility within Jack’s psyche that allows him to transition within social classes that Ennis will never have.  I mean, can you for a minute picture Ennis sitting at that table with Randall and LaShawn and making small talk?  Even something as simple as learning to dance, Jack was able to waltz with Lureen at 21/22ish.  Where in the world would he have learned that unless he made a special effort to somehow pick up this skill.  Can’t imagine a whole lot of dancing in the Sr. Twist household.  Where with Ennis, he can’t  do much more than hold on to Cassie and move in a circle at 37ish.

Ennis’ psyche was to accept the cards as dealt, to accept that things are the way they are and that some things could never be fixed.  Jack was always looking to fix it. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 01, 2006, 07:03:34 PM
This is an awesome post City Girl. Spot On.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 01, 2006, 10:29:03 PM

One of the more interesting aspects of this film, to me, was the underlying economic tensions that exist throughout this story.    Funny how they start out economically, culturally, educationally the same.  “both high school dropout country boys with no prospects, brought up to hard work and privation, both rough mannered, rough-spoken, inured to the stoic life.   There was a time in this country that a boy with a 10th grade education could support a family.  Ennis doesn’t even have that, thus the allure of being a sophomore.  It carried some distinction. 

We don’t’ know where Jack dropped out but it was somewhere.  Jack moves up the economic and social scale, and you could say he used Lureen to do so but he isn’t the first man to marry up.  Yet, I think there was more to it than latching on to Lureen.  I think Jack would have looked for other ways to do better.  As his father said, “he thought he was too goddamn special…”  There are still a lot of places that it is looked down upon to have aspirations of a “better” life than the one you were born into.  I have a friend from the Midwest who got a ration of sh*t from his friends and neighbors when he got an academic scholarship to Duke.  A whole lot of “so I guess you think you are now better than us” crap.  To a lot of people “aspirations” are somehow wrong.   There is flexibility within Jack’s psyche that allows him to transition within social classes that Ennis will never have.  I mean, can you for a minute picture Ennis sitting at that table with Randall and LaShawn and making small talk?  Even something as simple as learning to dance, Jack was able to waltz with Lureen at 21/22ish.  Where in the world would he have learned that unless he made a special effort to somehow pick up this skill.  Can’t imagine a whole lot of dancing in the Sr. Twist household.  Where with Ennis, he can’t  do much more than hold on to Cassie and move in a circle at 37ish.

Ennis’ psyche was to accept the cards as dealt, to accept that things are the way they are and that some things could never be fixed.  Jack was always looking to fix it. 



All great points, to me the thing we don't think about very much is how far apart Ennis' and Jack's lives moved in the four years before the Reunion.  Both made an honest effort to go on, even Jack did not expect Ennis to have a future impact on him, despite his attachment, despite holding onto the shirt.  Ennis married Alma because he was on that path, without ever realizing how he was supposed to feel, without realizing that he wasn't going to get over Jack.  Jack came back to Brokeback, no sign of Ennis so he went on to make his own life, and figured he'd do well marrying Lureen.  Within that short span of time both had their kids, so there was no turning back, especially in Ennis' minds.

I have to respond to your dancing comments, City Girl.  I imagine Jack probably liked to dance, and had more chances to learn in the bars we see him unwinding in after rodeo.  Ennis looks to me like he just didn't like it.  He looks like he's in pain trying to dance with Cassie, or some junior high kid who is afraid he doesn't look cool.  Jack had social skills because he enjoyed it, Ennis really didn't. 

Wife swap, anyone?  What would Ennis and Lureen talk about????
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on April 01, 2006, 10:39:05 PM

All great points, to me the thing we don't think about very much is how far apart Ennis' and Jack's lives moved in the four years before the Reunion.  Both made an honest effort to go on, even Jack did not expect Ennis to have a future impact on him, despite his attachment, despite holding onto the shirt.  Ennis married Alma because he was on that path, without ever realizing how he was supposed to feel, without realizing that he wasn't going to get over Jack.  Jack came back to Brokeback, no sign of Ennis so he went on to make his own life, and figured he'd do well marrying Lureen.  Within that short span of time both had their kids, so there was no turning back, especially in Ennis' minds.

I have to respond to your dancing comments, City Girl.  I imagine Jack probably liked to dance, and had more chances to learn in the bars we see him unwinding in after rodeo.  Ennis looks to me like he just didn't like it.  He looks like he's in pain trying to dance with Cassie, or some junior high kid who is afraid he doesn't look cool.  Jack had social skills because he enjoyed it, Ennis really didn't. 

Wife swap, anyone?  What would Ennis and Lureen talk about????

I can't begin to imagine they could talk about anything at all.  Now how about Jack and Alma (I mean before she gets her eyes burned out at the Reunion)?  I'd think she would love to be asked to dance.  Jack would ask about her day at the supermarket.  She could talk about stacking peanuts.  Jack would smile and nod.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 01, 2006, 10:44:01 PM

All great points, to me the thing we don't think about very much is how far apart Ennis' and Jack's lives moved in the four years before the Reunion.  Both made an honest effort to go on, even Jack did not expect Ennis to have a future impact on him, despite his attachment, despite holding onto the shirt.  Ennis married Alma because he was on that path, without ever realizing how he was supposed to feel, without realizing that he wasn't going to get over Jack.  Jack came back to Brokeback, no sign of Ennis so he went on to make his own life, and figured he'd do well marrying Lureen.  Within that short span of time both had their kids, so there was no turning back, especially in Ennis' minds.

I have to respond to your dancing comments, City Girl.  I imagine Jack probably liked to dance, and had more chances to learn in the bars we see him unwinding in after rodeo.  Ennis looks to me like he just didn't like it.  He looks like he's in pain trying to dance with Cassie, or some junior high kid who is afraid he doesn't look cool.  Jack had social skills because he enjoyed it, Ennis really didn't. 

Wife swap, anyone?  What would Ennis and Lureen talk about????

I can't begin to imagine they could talk about anything at all.  Now how about Jack and Alma (I mean before she gets her eyes burned out at the Reunion)?  I'd think she would love to be asked to dance.  Jack would ask about her day at the supermarket.  She could talk about stacking peanuts.  Jack would smile and nod.

Jack and Alma could have had a conversation -- you're right, before he was scalded into her brain as Jack Nasty, she probably would have found him a pleasant fellow.  My god, she must have been amazed at the difference, don't you think?  Especially the depiction in the film, here is this talkative, jumpy guy dressed in RED, what the hell does he have in common with my husband Ennis?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on April 01, 2006, 11:13:48 PM

I have to respond to your dancing comments, City Girl.  I imagine Jack probably liked to dance, and had more chances to learn in the bars we see him unwinding in after rodeo.  Ennis looks to me like he just didn't like it.  He looks like he's in pain trying to dance with Cassie, or some junior high kid who is afraid he doesn't look cool.  Jack had social skills because he enjoyed it, Ennis really didn't. 

Wife swap, anyone?  What would Ennis and Lureen talk about????

I can't begin to imagine they could talk about anything at all.  Now how about Jack and Alma (I mean before she gets her eyes burned out at the Reunion)?  I'd think she would love to be asked to dance.  Jack would ask about her day at the supermarket.  She could talk about stacking peanuts.  Jack would smile and nod.

Jack and Alma could have had a conversation -- you're right, before he was scalded into her brain as Jack Nasty, she probably would have found him a pleasant fellow.  My god, she must have been amazed at the difference, don't you think?  Especially the depiction in the film, here is this talkative, jumpy guy dressed in RED, what the hell does he have in common with my husband Ennis?

Oh I know.  In some sort of altenative reality, like one where Ennis and Jack really are just friends who liked to fish.  In comes this sort of flashy yet polite guy who makes conversation, asks about the kids, smiles, get Ennis to talk also, could drag Ennis out to eat.  I'm sure she would have thought wow! and how in the world did they ever become friends. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 01, 2006, 11:32:37 PM

Jack and Alma could have had a conversation -- you're right, before he was scalded into her brain as Jack Nasty, she probably would have found him a pleasant fellow.  My god, she must have been amazed at the difference, don't you think?  Especially the depiction in the film, here is this talkative, jumpy guy dressed in RED, what the hell does he have in common with my husband Ennis?

Yes, it must have been odd.  Especially as in other circumstances you would have thought that Alma was more Ennis's 'type'.  She must have felt quiet and dowdy next to this glamorous male 'other woman'.  Of course, Alma couldn't compete with Jack cause he's a man, but I wonder if it occurred to her that she couldn't compete in other ways too.  Seeing Ennis light up when he sees him - she must have never seen him like that.

Alma and Jack might have managed to make conversation, but I don't think they'd have got on particularly well.  I think Jack was rather dismissive of her.  After working his way up a little, I don't think he thought much of this frumpy woman and her kids - might even have thought she was a bit beneath him - I don't know.  Mind you, he didn't have much nice to say about Lureen either.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on April 02, 2006, 01:10:12 AM

Jack and Alma could have had a conversation -- you're right, before he was scalded into her brain as Jack Nasty, she probably would have found him a pleasant fellow.  My god, she must have been amazed at the difference, don't you think?  Especially the depiction in the film, here is this talkative, jumpy guy dressed in RED, what the hell does he have in common with my husband Ennis?

Yes, it must have been odd.  Especially as in other circumstances you would have thought that Alma was more Ennis's 'type'.  She must have felt quiet and dowdy next to this glamorous male 'other woman'.  Of course, Alma couldn't compete with Jack cause he's a man, but I wonder if it occurred to her that she couldn't compete in other ways too.  Seeing Ennis light up when he sees him - she must have never seen him like that.

Alma and Jack might have managed to make conversation, but I don't think they'd have got on particularly well.  I think Jack was rather dismissive of her.   After working his way up a little, I don't think he thought much of this frumpy woman and her kids - might even have thought she was a bit beneath him - I don't know.  Mind you, he didn't have much nice to say about Lureen either.

Well yes but, it is sort of a natural reaction if you were just told by the love of your life how he has built up "a life" and there is little to no room for you.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 02, 2006, 07:31:23 AM

Jack and Alma could have had a conversation -- you're right, before he was scalded into her brain as Jack Nasty, she probably would have found him a pleasant fellow.  My god, she must have been amazed at the difference, don't you think?  Especially the depiction in the film, here is this talkative, jumpy guy dressed in RED, what the hell does he have in common with my husband Ennis?

Yes, it must have been odd.  Especially as in other circumstances you would have thought that Alma was more Ennis's 'type'.  She must have felt quiet and dowdy next to this glamorous male 'other woman'.  Of course, Alma couldn't compete with Jack cause he's a man, but I wonder if it occurred to her that she couldn't compete in other ways too.  Seeing Ennis light up when he sees him - she must have never seen him like that.

Alma and Jack might have managed to make conversation, but I don't think they'd have got on particularly well.  I think Jack was rather dismissive of her.   After working his way up a little, I don't think he thought much of this frumpy woman and her kids - might even have thought she was a bit beneath him - I don't know.  Mind you, he didn't have much nice to say about Lureen either.

Well yes but, it is sort of a natural reaction if you were just told by the love of your life how he has built up "a life" and there is little to no room for you.


I think Jack truly did look down on Alma.  Probably he thought, why marry somebody who can't do something for you?  Poor Alma, by that time she had been created in Ennis' image, no money to spend on herself (I wrote somewhere before, her main fashion statement was bobby pins) and thinking that frugality was the best way to impress her husband.  Probably, it was.  She didn't have a chance.  Lureen went in one direction (hyper hair) Alma went the other. --

PS she was actually doing laundry on a washboard early on, and that must have been 1965 or 66.  Way to go, Ennis.  No wonder she wanted to move over the laundramat.  I HOPE those weren't diapers, but I'm afraid they must have been.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 02, 2006, 02:09:39 PM
PS she was actually doing laundry on a washboard early on, and that must have been 1965 or 66.  Way to go, Ennis.  No wonder she wanted to move over the laundramat.  I HOPE those weren't diapers, but I'm afraid they must have been.

Oh what a depressing glimpse into Alma's life that is.  I know that for women of my mother's generation [unless they were wealthy] washing was a bit of an ordeal - time consuming physical work which ruined your skin.  No wonder women of that generation aged more quickly than now - it was sheer tiredness I think.  And no wonder Alma didn't want any more babies.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 02, 2006, 02:19:30 PM
PS she was actually doing laundry on a washboard early on, and that must have been 1965 or 66.  Way to go, Ennis.  No wonder she wanted to move over the laundramat.  I HOPE those weren't diapers, but I'm afraid they must have been.

Oh what a depressing glimpse into Alma's life that is.  I know that for women of my mother's generation [unless they were wealthy] washing was a bit of an ordeal - time consuming physical work which ruined your skin.  No wonder women of that generation aged more quickly than now - it was sheer tiredness I think.  And no wonder Alma didn't want any more babies.


Right -- and it was such hard work, really the hardest household job, that almost anybody would go to great lengths to avoid it.  That washboard is one thing that doesn't ring true to me except - with cloth diapers and two babies, she would have needed to keep them clean all through the week.  They probably went into town to do the rest of the laundry.  Before focusing on this bit I remember thinking that wash board in the mid-sixties was a bit unrealistic.  After thinking about it I think it may have been a screenwriter/Ang Lee touch that corresponds with the move over the laundramat.  Many of us would hate living over a laundramat but that would be heaven for Alma.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 02, 2006, 10:00:50 PM
Here's something that's been bugging me since I first saw the movie:  Why do you think Ennis had tears in his eyes during the divorce scene, when he and Alma were in court?  At first I thought, "well he must have actually loved her."  They had been together for over 10 years, so even on a friendship level, there must have been a sense of loss.  But its so out of character for Ennis to cry in public like that.  Or, maybe it was more than that, perhaps mourning the loss of his "cover" of being married and straight?  Any thoughts?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: downloaded1 on April 02, 2006, 10:04:52 PM
Here's something that's been bugging me since I first saw the movie:  Why do you think Ennis had tears in his eyes during the divorce scene, when he and Alma were in court?  At first I thought, "well he must have actually loved her."  They had been together for over 10 years, so even on a friendship level, there must have been a sense of loss.  But its so out of character for Ennis to cry in public like that.  Or, maybe it was more than that, perhaps mourning the loss of his "cover" of being married and straight?  Any thoughts?

I think he was hurt by seeming a failure in his marriage.
Such a failure that Alma wanted out.
And I do believe he loved Alma when they first married.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 02, 2006, 10:10:40 PM
Here's something that's been bugging me since I first saw the movie:  Why do you think Ennis had tears in his eyes during the divorce scene, when he and Alma were in court?  At first I thought, "well he must have actually loved her."  They had been together for over 10 years, so even on a friendship level, there must have been a sense of loss.  But its so out of character for Ennis to cry in public like that.  Or, maybe it was more than that, perhaps mourning the loss of his "cover" of being married and straight?  Any thoughts?


I agree with downloaded, also, Ennis has invested a lot (in his own way) into the marriage.  He went through with it at an early age, became a young father without really knowing how hard that would be, stood by Alma, he thought, would never have left her, did not consider sex with Jack being unfaithful to her (although I'm sure she had another view), figured he owned her and could count on her, totally sexist yet but she was his security, and the divorce meant an even lonelier life for him away from his kids. 

In the book, his behavior at the Thanksgiving dinner is described as trying not to look like a "sad daddy" but he is.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: PetiteMiel on April 03, 2006, 12:02:35 AM
I agree in that I think Ennis saw the divorce as a failure on his part. I think some part of him felt he had let down Alma and his daughters. I think when he married Alma he did care for her and may have loved her in his own way, although I personally don't believe he was in love with her.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 03, 2006, 12:28:58 AM
He says earlier 'I built up a life in those years.  Love my little girls'.  He hasn't achieved much in terms of jobs, happiness, etc. - the life with Alma and the kids is all he's got, even if it doesn't give much satisfaction.  [I know he has Jack, but he doesn't see it that way].  I think he's mourning the loss of that life, and the kids, perhaps.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on April 03, 2006, 03:32:48 AM
Hi Desecra,

I think the trend of agribusiness' takover of small farms and ranches in the midwest took place over decades.

As I read the story, the passage that begins "She was working at a grocery store clerk job, saw she'd always have to work to keep ahead of the bills on what Ennis made..." up to "what am I doin hangin around with him, divorced Ennis and married the Riverton grocer",  reflects Alma's point of view and not necessarily Proulx's. This is Alma's thought processes that led her to the decision to divorce. So when Alma says "his yearning for low paid, long-houred ranch work, his propensity to roll to the wall and sleep as soon as he hit the bed, his failure to look for a decent permanent job with the county or the power company", this is the way Alma, not Proulx, sees the situation.

Likewise, the next passage that begins "Ennis went back to ranch work, hired on here and there, not getting much ahead but glad enough to be around stock again, free to drop things, quit if he had to, and go into the mountains at short notice", reflects Ennis point of view AFTERTHE DIVORCE.

My point is that the book and film do show things from different characters'points of view but the viewer/reader needs to understand the difference between the characters'views, the author/director's and their own.

I take the story as it is written. Ennis is Ennis, and if Proulx wanted us to know that Ennis thought that "maybe the steady jobs had fixed holidays, or maybe he just didn't have the foresight to make that choice", she would have said so.





I hope it doesn't seem too picky, but I wanted to point out that the time we're talking about was the '60s and '70s.  I'm just mentioning it because there weren't the same unemployment problems then - the '80s were a different story, of course.

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So there weren’t a lot of jobs there. While Proulx does say that Alma thinks there are a lot of better jobs available, she doesn’t say that there were such jobs and she should know the Midwest.

But this doesn't make any sense to me?  Why make the point at all?  She says that Ennis has a 'yearning' for ranch work where he was 'free to drop things, quit if he had to, and go into the mountains at short notice'.  If she is also trying to say that there are no other jobs available, then why does she put it like that?   And why, for instance, are there only two applicants for the job at Brokeback?  I honestly don't think she's trying to say that Ennis can't get a better a job, she's saying that he doesn't want to, and explaining why.

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Why doesn’t Ennis go for better paying jobs? If he did, he could have probably taken more time off and had more money to go away with Jack.

Well, yes - I'd have thought he might be better off having a steady job with paid holiday time. But maybe the steady jobs had fixed holidays, or maybe he just didn't have the foresight to make that choice.
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I think you’re seeing the story too much from Alma’s point of view, as I’m inclined to see it from Ennis’. I don’t see Ennis as neglecting his family to be with Jack, at least in his eyes. Thanks for making me reread and review BBM to figure out how I came to my impressions of the characters. I don’t think we’re going to agree about this but that’s OK.

I can see Alma's point of view, but I don't honestly think I'm seeing it TOO much from her point of view.  I think that the book and the film SHOW her point of view.  And I think they portray her as a sympathetic character - you think they've shown her as unsympathetic.  You're probably not the only one - I know some reviewers have said that BBM was not fair to the women in the story.  Obviously, I don't agree :).

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on April 03, 2006, 03:51:56 AM
Hi Stacp,

See my reply to Desecra about point of view in writing. Ennis works in low-paying jobs from before he marries Alma to after he's divorced and Jack is dead. Maybe he could have applied for a job with the county or electric company, bought eyeglasses so he could read his job description, and made a little more as a floor sweeper and hated it. Maybe, mayve, maybe.

I agree with Tellyouwhat, "Ennis’ psyche was to accept the cards as dealt, to accept that things are the way they are and that some things could never be fixed." Ennis accepted his limitations in his job prospects as well as in his realtionship with Jack. We may disagree with his fatalism, or have the opinion that all men should try to improve their lot for their family's sake, but that's not the way the character was written.

Also, I'm saying that Alma preferred sex with condoms AND she was trying to belittle Ennis with her remark. And of course, I think she had every right to ask Ennis to use condoms. The scene is a little subtle and so is my description in the last post.



I totally typed out a big response to your post but somehow lost it!   >:( So, I'm going to be brief here (fingers are tired).  Nice to hear from you again Richm.  I agree with Desecra about how Ennis could have gotten a higher paying job if he would have wanted to; I'm sure there were jobs at the power company that didn't require much education.  Ennis just chose not to take them to drop everything to be with Jack.  Sometimes, for our children, we do things we don't want to do, like taking a job that pays more despite the fact we'd rather be ranching.  Ennis was not willing to do this.

As for Alma asking Ennis to use rubbers not because of pregnancy, but for her gratification, I don't understand.  Are you saying she preferred sex with condoms or she did this to belittle Ennis?  I think she had every right to ask Ennis to use rubbers; they were poor, probably couldn't afford the pill, and still having sex (probably some straight sex).  Under those circumstances, she knew they couldn't afford another baby, and besides, the marriage was not exactly stable. 

Finally, I don't see Alma as a social climber.  Lureen or LaShawn maybe, but not Alma.  She didn't exactly marry Ennis for his money or prestige in the community and she stuck it out a long time.  Sure, she moved on to more established Monroe, but the guy seemed to care about her. I don't see her trying to hurt Ennis at every turn either.  Before the divorce, about the only harsh comment I hear her say to him is the "have 'em if you'd support 'em" comment.  The marriage had been disintegrating for a long time at that point, and if this is the worse thing she ever said to him, than she's a better wife than most.  Anyway, went on longer than I should have.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on April 03, 2006, 04:08:52 AM
Hi patroclus,
Of course Ennis is sexist. He's a man. This is clear in the market scene when he expects Alma to call her babysitter to take the kids so he could go to work. I think there was something else going on when "His moody, fretful, self-absorbed mooching as he waited in for Jack". This was the 1st time in 4 years that he was going to see the love of his life who he had given up on ever seeing again. Sure Alma is working in the background, but Ennis is shown working around the house or in his job in every other scene. Ennis is sexist but this is not an example of it. As for not taking his family on vacations or taking Alma out for an evening, I think this is just Ennis being socially ackward and being limited by his time off from his job. He does put his time with Jack before his family for one week out of the year, but he grimly does his duty as he sees it by staying with and supporting his family for the rest of the year. Remeber the scene after the divorce in the bar with the young woman who was pursuing him? He went through the motions of socializing even up to introducing her to his daughter, but obviously could not be more detached from the situation, and finally realized that his daughter was right, he wasn't the marrying kind. So I think Ennis is sexist but not in the examples you give.


I think you’re seeing the story too much from Alma’s point of view, as I’m inclined to see it from Ennis’. I don’t see Ennis as neglecting his family to be with Jack, at least in his eyes. Thanks for making me reread and review BBM to figure out how I came to my impressions of the characters. I don’t think we’re going to agree about this but that’s OK.


But richm, I think you have to factor in the existence of sexism in the relationship between Ennis and Alma. Ennis, as a traditional western guy probably didn't think he was neglecting his family. But that doesn't mean he wasn't. And he certainly was from Alma's point of view. As Annie P tells us, Ennis took off several times a year to be with his 'buddy' but never took Alma and the children away on holiday. His pleasure came first. No doubt he saw it as well earned. But guys aren't the best judges of when they're being sexist. Women are. We men just have to accept that. Just as heterosexuals aren't the best people at judging homophobia/heterosexism; white people at assessing racism. The film caught Ennis' unthinking sexism in the way he treated Alma brilliantly, I thought. His moody, fretful, self-absorbed mooching as he waited in for Jack quietly contrasted against Alma working away in the background keeping the engines of the family running evenly... For example, who do you suppose would have ironed his nice best shirt that he wears to greet his pal, Jack? See what I mean?

The whole deal Alma and Ennis would have been brought up to reproduce was that a woman would put her husband and children's needs before her own and in return for this subservience her husband would provide for them all and love her. And Alma delivers on her end of this deal. Imagine how it must have felt when she sees how badly she's been betrayed by Ennis when Jack strolls back into his life? Ennis lets her down.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 03, 2006, 04:43:10 AM

As I read the story, the passage that begins "She was working at a grocery store clerk job, saw she'd always have to work to keep ahead of the bills on what Ennis made..." up to "what am I doin hangin around with him, divorced Ennis and married the Riverton grocer",  reflects Alma's point of view and not necessarily Proulx's. This is Alma's thought processes that led her to the decision to divorce. So when Alma says "his yearning for low paid, long-houred ranch work, his propensity to roll to the wall and sleep as soon as he hit the bed, his failure to look for a decent permanent job with the county or the power company", this is the way Alma, not Proulx, sees the situation.

It IS showing Alma's point of view.  However, nothing that is said there is not true, so why would we assume that this one particular aspect [the yearning for ranch work, the failure to apply for permanent jobs] is not true?  Why throw that one untruth in and expect us to pick up on it, when there's no reason for it?  If we are expected to believe this is an untruth, then what IS the truth?  That Ennis HAS applied for jobs with the council but has been turned down, and hasn't told Alma?  Why do you think she is thinking like that if there is no evidence for it?

The section you mention also says that 'Alma asked Ennis to use rubbers because she dreaded another pregnancy'.  If that's her point of view, why do you say that she asks him to use them for her gratification rather than for birth control?  I honestly don't understand you AT ALL on that one. 

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Likewise, the next passage that begins "Ennis went back to ranch work, hired on here and there, not getting much ahead but glad enough to be around stock again, free to drop things, quit if he had to, and go into the mountains at short notice", reflects Ennis point of view AFTERTHE DIVORCE.

Yes, this is Ennis's point of view.  I believe that this shows something about his character and his choices rather than the economic climate.  It's similar to the part earlier in the book when Alma asks if they can move to the town so their asthmatic child can be near a clinic: 'They stayed in the little apartment which he favored because it could be left at any time'.  I think this provides an interesting view of his character and his relationship with his wife and family, particularly coming where it does in the story. 

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I take the story as it is written. Ennis is Ennis, and if Proulx wanted us to know that Ennis thought that "maybe the steady jobs had fixed holidays, or maybe he just didn't have the foresight to make that choice", she would have said so.

The comments about the holidays, etc. were just my speculation.  What I'm saying is that if Proulx had wanted us to think that Ennis would have gone for these jobs but they weren't available, why does she never mention this, but instead implies more than once that he prefers low paid work.  Do you see what I mean?

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on April 04, 2006, 12:52:46 AM
Tell me if anyone sees this.  Just after Ennis has dropped the kids off to Alma at the Super Market and Monroe has told it is "okay".  She turns and takes the kids away.  Did anyone else notice that on top of the beyond frumpy work smock that she has a big runner in her hose on her back calf.  I thought I saw a round white circle, like she was wearing the color "Suntan" and her much lighter skin color was showing. 

I may be losing my mind but can you imagine on top of everything else she has runs in her panty hose.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on April 04, 2006, 01:54:16 AM

My point is not that Alma's impressions of her marriage to Ennis are true or untrue; it is that they are Alma's impressions as written and must be viewed as relative to Alma, not as absolutely true. Alma's impression could indeed be true or they could be slanted, but what is important is rather that Alma believes them and decides to divorce Ennis based on them. The reader is free to make their own judgements based on what is written from various points of view and on the reader's experiences.

"What is the truth?" That age-old question. The truth as close as I can state it is that both Alma's truth, "his failure to look for a DECENT permanent job with the county or the power company", and Ennis' truth, that he was working as hard as he could, all the time, in the only kind of work he knew; are BOTH true at the same time. The narrator doesn't take a hard position favoring either character in my opinion, just observes her characters' judgements, feelings and decisions.

You seem to be taking Alma's point of view as your own. I'm trying to see both of them as Proulx imagined them.

Alma is asking Ennis to use rubbers because she wants to have vaginal sex with him and not get pregnant because she doesn't like anal sex. She admits that she won't get pregnant with Ennis having anal sex but is uncomfortable with that. So the only conclusion I get from that is that she wants to enjoy sex with Ennis. Nothing wrong with that but pregnancy is not the major issue. Don't you see that?

"I believe that this shows something about his character and his choices rather than the economic climate". Can't both be true?

"'They stayed in the little apartment which he favored because it could be left at any time'. I think this provides an interesting view of his character and his relationship with his wife and family, particularly coming where it does in the story." You seem to assume that this passage proves some point or other. What is it? I read this as the attitude of a practical working class man who's thinking about his family, and worried about their survival. I admit that Proulx doesn't give us much to go on here as is her style through the whole story.

Does anyone else see what I've been saying in these posts about Alma? I feel like I'm not well understood in this forum judging by the responces I've been getting.





As I read the story, the passage that begins "She was working at a grocery store clerk job, saw she'd always have to work to keep ahead of the bills on what Ennis made..." up to "what am I doin hangin around with him, divorced Ennis and married the Riverton grocer",  reflects Alma's point of view and not necessarily Proulx's. This is Alma's thought processes that led her to the decision to divorce. So when Alma says "his yearning for low paid, long-houred ranch work, his propensity to roll to the wall and sleep as soon as he hit the bed, his failure to look for a decent permanent job with the county or the power company", this is the way Alma, not Proulx, sees the situation.

It IS showing Alma's point of view.  However, nothing that is said there is not true, so why would we assume that this one particular aspect [the yearning for ranch work, the failure to apply for permanent jobs] is not true?  Why throw that one untruth in and expect us to pick up on it, when there's no reason for it?  If we are expected to believe this is an untruth, then what IS the truth?  That Ennis HAS applied for jobs with the council but has been turned down, and hasn't told Alma?  Why do you think she is thinking like that if there is no evidence for it?

The section you mention also says that 'Alma asked Ennis to use rubbers because she dreaded another pregnancy'.  If that's her point of view, why do you say that she asks him to use them for her gratification rather than for birth control?  I honestly don't understand you AT ALL on that one. 

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Likewise, the next passage that begins "Ennis went back to ranch work, hired on here and there, not getting much ahead but glad enough to be around stock again, free to drop things, quit if he had to, and go into the mountains at short notice", reflects Ennis point of view AFTERTHE DIVORCE.

Yes, this is Ennis's point of view.  I believe that this shows something about his character and his choices rather than the economic climate.  It's similar to the part earlier in the book when Alma asks if they can move to the town so their asthmatic child can be near a clinic: 'They stayed in the little apartment which he favored because it could be left at any time'.  I think this provides an interesting view of his character and his relationship with his wife and family, particularly coming where it does in the story. 

Quote
I take the story as it is written. Ennis is Ennis, and if Proulx wanted us to know that Ennis thought that "maybe the steady jobs had fixed holidays, or maybe he just didn't have the foresight to make that choice", she would have said so.

The comments about the holidays, etc. were just my speculation.  What I'm saying is that if Proulx had wanted us to think that Ennis would have gone for these jobs but they weren't available, why does she never mention this, but instead implies more than once that he prefers low paid work.  Do you see what I mean?


Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 04, 2006, 03:03:19 AM
Thank you for your reply.  As I said, I think we are destined to see things differently, but as your replies are so polite and well thought out, I can't resist replying!

I've been doing some thinking about this, and I think I've nailed the major difference in our views.  I could be wrong, but ... I think I see what Ennis does as being internally driven [his homophobia, his early experiences, his general character and attitude to life], whereas you see it as being externally driven [the economic climate, a demanding wife, etc.].  So in 'your' story, his fate is thrust upon him, whereas in 'my' story he plays a part in his own fate [which is different from saying it's his fault, of course]. 

You seem to be taking Alma's point of view as your own. I'm trying to see both of them as Proulx imagined them.

You have mentioned this before.  I don't honestly think I'm taking her point of view as my own - being able to see her point of view, is different thing.  The information that I got is from the book.  What I said is that Proulx mentions twice that Ennis prefers low paid work - one time shows Alma's point of view [but as I've explained, we've no reason to believe it's not true] and the other shows Ennis's point of view.  She doesn't mention the unavailability of jobs.  So why are you rejecting the reason she gives twice, while proposing another reason that she doesn't mention?  And if I accept the reasons Proulx gives, why does this mean that Alma's point of view  is my own?

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Alma is asking Ennis to use rubbers because she wants to have vaginal sex with him and not get pregnant because she doesn't like anal sex. She admits that she won't get pregnant with Ennis having anal sex but is uncomfortable with that. So the only conclusion I get from that is that she wants to enjoy sex with Ennis. Nothing wrong with that but pregnancy is not the major issue. Don't you see that?

No, I don't see it.  The book says 'Alma asked Ennis to use rubbers because she dreaded another pregnancy'.  Again, I don't understand why you reject the reason the Proulx mentions, and come up with another reason which she doesn't mention. 

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"I believe that this shows something about his character and his choices rather than the economic climate". Can't both be true?

They can be, but as the book doesn't mention the economic climate in that sense, I take it that we're meant to consider the first option. 

Quote
You seem to assume that this passage proves some point or other. What is it? I read this as the attitude of a practical working class man who's thinking about his family, and worried about their survival. I admit that Proulx doesn't give us much to go on here as is her style through the whole story.

I agree that we don't have much to go on!  But I felt it was saying something about his character - that he only wants to think in the short-term, whether it's about jobs or accommodation.  He seems to want to be alone and free, not recognising that the freedom he wants isn't worth having.  It's almost like he shuts things/people out, runs away from them - he even hides under his hat all the time. I'm having diffciulty articulating this, because this sentence gave me a picture of him, but I can't quite explain what I'm seeing!  Maybe I'm identifyiing too much with Ennis here :).  I'm not sure how that passage shows ['because it could be left at any time'] that he's thinking about his family.

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Does anyone else see what I've been saying in these posts about Alma? I feel like I'm not well understood in this forum judging by the responces I've been getting.

I honestly have tried, but I can't see what you're saying.  You think the book/film aren't sympathetic to Alma - I think they are, and to make her any nicer would have been to make her a caricature.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: desperadum on April 04, 2006, 05:05:09 AM
Thank you both for exchanging your views with such articulation and civility.

Desperadum
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: dejavu on April 04, 2006, 10:18:18 AM
Desecra and Richm, I think you have both made your points well.
I just wanted to add a thought on this one, don't know if it clarifies anything or not:

I've been doing some thinking about this, and I think I've nailed the major difference in our views.  I could be wrong, but ... I think I see what Ennis does as being internally driven [his homophobia, his early experiences, his general character and attitude to life], whereas you see it as being externally driven [the economic climate, a demanding wife, etc.].  So in 'your' story, his fate is thrust upon him, whereas in 'my' story he plays a part in his own fate [which is different from saying it's his fault, of course].
 

dejavu agrees: I think this makes sense as the difference between your views, as far as the job situtation goes.

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Alma is asking Ennis to use rubbers because she wants to have vaginal sex with him and not get pregnant because she doesn't like anal sex. She admits that she won't get pregnant with Ennis having anal sex but is uncomfortable with that. So the only conclusion I get from that is that she wants to enjoy sex with Ennis. Nothing wrong with that but pregnancy is not the major issue. Don't you see that?

No, I don't see it.  The book says 'Alma asked Ennis to use rubbers because she dreaded another pregnancy'.  Again, I don't understand why you reject the reason the Proulx mentions, and come up with another reason which she doesn't mention.

dejavu thinks: I think you have to put both of your reasons together, and you will have it.  As richm says, Alma wants
to have vaginal sex with Ennis (for her own enjoyment/and because we see in the film that she's unhappy when Ennis
flips her over for anal sex and it probably hurts).  Therefore, she wants him to use a condom in order enjoy vaginal
sex if he is going to continue that way.  I realize these are two separate sex scenes (the flip, and the "use protection") but the ideas seem to make sense when taken together that she (a) wants vaginal sex, not the other and (b) wants to use protection.

 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: dejavu on April 04, 2006, 07:53:31 PM
One other note about the last sex scene with Alma & Ennis:
Even the first time I saw the film, before I knew that the divorce was going to follow in the next scene,
I took Alma's "I'd have 'em if you'd support 'em" in a strange way.  It really struck me, and others in the theater gasped so maybe they thought the same thing, but I don't recall it being discussed here yet.  Her tone was so cold then, it sounded almost as though she was saying she'd agree to have another kid for him (more as a surrogate than as a wife) if he'd support them, meaning, child support.  Not that she'd be willing for them as a couple to have more children if he would be a better provider.  I just sensed that she was on the verge of divorce and was thinking that if he wanted more kids, he darn well better be prepared for bigger child support payments.  Then, sure enough, next scene: the marriage is dissolved, and child support payments are set.  Did anyone else sense "divorce soon to follow" in her words?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: magicmountain on April 04, 2006, 10:19:20 PM
I think you’re seeing the story too much from Alma’s point of view, as I’m inclined to see it from Ennis’. I don’t see Ennis as neglecting his family to be with Jack, at least in his eyes. Thanks for making me reread and review BBM to figure out how I came to my impressions of the characters. I don’t think we’re going to agree about this but that’s OK.


But richm, I think you have to factor in the existence of sexism in the relationship between Ennis and Alma. Ennis, as a traditional western guy probably didn't think he was neglecting his family. But that doesn't mean he wasn't. And he certainly was from Alma's point of view. As Annie P tells us, Ennis took off several times a year to be with his 'buddy' but never took Alma and the children away on holiday. His pleasure came first. No doubt he saw it as well earned. But guys aren't the best judges of when they're being sexist. Women are. We men just have to accept that. Just as heterosexuals aren't the best people at judging homophobia/heterosexism; white people at assessing racism. The film caught Ennis' unthinking sexism in the way he treated Alma brilliantly, I thought. His moody, fretful, self-absorbed mooching as he waited in for Jack quietly contrasted against Alma working away in the background keeping the engines of the family running evenly...   For example, who do you suppose would have ironed his nice best shirt that he wears to greet his pal, Jack? See what I mean?


Gone AWOL up the mountain

Sometimes it just feels that we've all jumped into the back of Jack's truck and accompanied them both up the mountain whre we remain moody and mooching. In the meantime those around us who are unaffected by this whole thing are, like Alma, working away in the background keeping the engines of the family running. I know it's like that at our house!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 05, 2006, 12:55:18 AM
One other note about the last sex scene with Alma & Ennis:
Even the first time I saw the film, before I knew that the divorce was going to follow in the next scene,
I took Alma's "I'd have 'em if you'd support 'em" in a strange way.  It really struck me, and others in the theater gasped so maybe they thought the same thing, but I don't recall it being discussed here yet.  Her tone was so cold then, it sounded almost as though she was saying she'd agree to have another kid for him (more as a surrogate than as a wife) if he'd support them, meaning, child support.  Not that she'd be willing for them as a couple to have more children if he would be a better provider.  I just sensed that she was on the verge of divorce and was thinking that if he wanted more kids, he darn well better be prepared for bigger child support payments.  Then, sure enough, next scene: the marriage is dissolved, and child support payments are set.  Did anyone else sense "divorce soon to follow" in her words?

I didn't take 'support' to mean child support.  This is one point where the book and film diverge slightly, because in the book it's clear that she doesn't intend Ennis to hear it.  I don't think she would have considered having more children if she knew they were going to divorce - it was the fear of having more children while they were poor that prompted her to say it.  But I do think that it they stopped having sex after that, and that along with the other things led to divorce*.  Personally, I feel that's enough reason to divorce somebody on its own!

*editted to add: 'that' meaning the refusal to use contraception, rather than the lack of sex
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 05, 2006, 08:23:27 AM
One other note about the last sex scene with Alma & Ennis:
Even the first time I saw the film, before I knew that the divorce was going to follow in the next scene,
I took Alma's "I'd have 'em if you'd support 'em" in a strange way.  It really struck me, and others in the theater gasped so maybe they thought the same thing, but I don't recall it being discussed here yet.  Her tone was so cold then, it sounded almost as though she was saying she'd agree to have another kid for him (more as a surrogate than as a wife) if he'd support them, meaning, child support.  Not that she'd be willing for them as a couple to have more children if he would be a better provider.  I just sensed that she was on the verge of divorce and was thinking that if he wanted more kids, he darn well better be prepared for bigger child support payments.  Then, sure enough, next scene: the marriage is dissolved, and child support payments are set.  Did anyone else sense "divorce soon to follow" in her words?

I didn't take 'support' to mean child support.  This is one point where the book and film diverge slightly, because in the book it's clear that she doesn't intend Ennis to hear it.  I don't think she would have considered having more children if she knew they were going to divorce - it was the fear of having more children while they were poor that prompted her to say it.  But I do think that it they stopped having sex after that, and that along with the other things led to divorce.  Personally, I feel that's enough reason to divorce somebody on its own!


Both these points are interesting - I also gasped at that line, even though I had read it in the story.  In the story I didn't imagine either comment (Ennis' or Alma's) taking place during sex, but upon reflection I think it was a good choice of the film makers to ratchet up the conflict.  It might make more sense for Alma to ask about the rubbers before they were well into it, for example - but I don't argue with the scene in the film.  No matter where he says it, telling Alma he'd be "happy to leave her alone" is a cruel statement, seems uncalled for just because she asked him to use rubbers.  It's not completely clear that she would not want Ennis to hear her response in the story, which describes it as "under her breath" -- I can see how they chose to make it a direct statement to him in the film, because his comment provoked her to bring up her biggest complaint against Ennis, that he was never serious about making money -- (but then she thought privately, her secret biggest complaint was that he preferred men anyway.)  She couldn't voice this, which is why she emphasized the financial.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on April 06, 2006, 12:45:55 AM

Desecra said “What I said is that Proulx mentions twice that Ennis prefers low paid work - one time shows Alma's point of view [but as I've explained, we've no reason to believe it's not true] and the other shows Ennis's point of view.  She doesn't mention the unavailability of jobs.  So why are you rejecting the reason she gives twice, while proposing another reason that she doesn't mention? “

Proulx sets all the Close Range stories against the backdrop of poverty and desolation that was Wyoming. The film depicts this poverty vividly in every scene. The only glimpse of civilization is the poor town where Ennis and Alma settle. The reason for this poverty was in great part the takeover of small farms and ranches by agribusiness followed by population dislocation, unemployment and suicide. You don’t have to know the history of the region or have Proulx spell it out, to see the extreme poverty in every scene.

Proulx doesn’t twice mention Ennis’ preference for low paying work. She has Alma mull over this thought for which we have no reason for believing it IS true. It’s not so important what a character’s point of view may be, as the decisions, feelings, consequences that she takes from that point of view.

We’re told that Ennis “went back to ranch work” after the divorce because he was “glad enough to be around stock again”; not that he preferred it because it was low paying.

So we have one reference to Ennis preferring low paid work said from Alma’s point of view, and the entire backdrop of the story depicting poverty and desolation. At least that was my take on it.

Desecra said “The book says 'Alma asked Ennis to use rubbers because she dreaded another pregnancy'.  Again, I don't understand why you reject the reason the Proulx mentions, and come up with another reason which she doesn't mention.”

Elementary. There are 2 people here with their own sexual preferences, neither of whom wants another child. Ennis’ preference precludes a pregnancy but Alma “hates it.” I’m guessing that she hates it because it’s uncomfortable and/or humiliating and/or just too weird; take your pick. Alma would prefer vaginal sex with rubbers to preclude pregnancy. Either way there is no pregnancy. So I deduct that what Alma is saying she wants is to enjoy sex with Ennis since there’s no question of pregnancy either way. What I think is confusing you is that Alma muddies the matter with her gratuitous "I'd have em if you'd support em," and then Lee depicts them having sex face-to-face (which is not in the book). Alma does ask “Ennis to use rubbers because she dreaded another pregnancy” but what I think she means is that she wants vaginal sex with protection so she can enjoy sex, not that she wants anal sex with condoms, “what you like to do don't make too many babies.” Not many alternatives here. A small point but it’s the only way that this passage makes sense to me.

The point I was originally trying to make around this passage, is that Alma gratuitously throws Ennis’ low earnings in his face using sex as an excuse, rather than bringing up his cheating on her with Jack. I think she has already made up her mind at this point to leave Ennis, may have discussed the situation with Monroe so she’s not left in the cold, and doesn’t care what she says to him.

Desecra said “But I felt it was saying something about his character - that he only wants to think in the short-term, whether it's about jobs or accommodation… I'm not sure how that passage shows ['because it could be left at any time'] that he's thinking about his family.”

My guess is that like many working class people, he was always aware of the possibility of financial trouble and the need to bend with the wind. The story starts with his employer selling the ranch, forcing Ennis to look for work and stay with his daughter. This possibility looms over him through the entire story. It may mean something else, though I don’t think it signifies short-term thinking because he is supporting his family at this point. What do you mean by “short-term thinking” in this regard? And what do you think this means for his family?

Later, after the divorce he chooses to be “free to drop things, quit if he had to, and go into the mountains at short notice.” This doesn’t necessarily mean he’s thinking in the short-term nor does it mean that this was his pattern before the divorce. Actually, it suggests just the opposite.

Desecra says “You think the book/film aren't sympathetic to Alma - I think they are, and to make her any nicer would have been to make her a caricature.”

You get me wrong. I think Alma is a very interesting character in her limited supporting role to Ennis. It’s exactly her flaws and quirks that make her interesting if not infuriating to me. The picture of Alma I’m getting from you and some of the other posters here, is precisely a caricature of a noble and blameless victim. I think there ARE things she could have done to make her and Ennis’ situation turn out better but because of her limitations, did not do so. But that would be another story.



Thank you for your reply.  As I said, I think we are destined to see things differently, but as your replies are so polite and well thought out, I can't resist replying!

I've been doing some thinking about this, and I think I've nailed the major difference in our views.  I could be wrong, but ... I think I see what Ennis does as being internally driven [his homophobia, his early experiences, his general character and attitude to life], whereas you see it as being externally driven [the economic climate, a demanding wife, etc.].  So in 'your' story, his fate is thrust upon him, whereas in 'my' story he plays a part in his own fate [which is different from saying it's his fault, of course]. 

You seem to be taking Alma's point of view as your own. I'm trying to see both of them as Proulx imagined them.

You have mentioned this before.  I don't honestly think I'm taking her point of view as my own - being able to see her point of view, is different thing.  The information that I got is from the book.  What I said is that Proulx mentions twice that Ennis prefers low paid work - one time shows Alma's point of view [but as I've explained, we've no reason to believe it's not true] and the other shows Ennis's point of view.  She doesn't mention the unavailability of jobs.  So why are you rejecting the reason she gives twice, while proposing another reason that she doesn't mention?  And if I accept the reasons Proulx gives, why does this mean that Alma's point of view  is my own?

Quote
Alma is asking Ennis to use rubbers because she wants to have vaginal sex with him and not get pregnant because she doesn't like anal sex. She admits that she won't get pregnant with Ennis having anal sex but is uncomfortable with that. So the only conclusion I get from that is that she wants to enjoy sex with Ennis. Nothing wrong with that but pregnancy is not the major issue. Don't you see that?

No, I don't see it.  The book says 'Alma asked Ennis to use rubbers because she dreaded another pregnancy'.  Again, I don't understand why you reject the reason the Proulx mentions, and come up with another reason which she doesn't mention. 

Quote
"I believe that this shows something about his character and his choices rather than the economic climate". Can't both be true?

They can be, but as the book doesn't mention the economic climate in that sense, I take it that we're meant to consider the first option. 

Quote
You seem to assume that this passage proves some point or other. What is it? I read this as the attitude of a practical working class man who's thinking about his family, and worried about their survival. I admit that Proulx doesn't give us much to go on here as is her style through the whole story.

I agree that we don't have much to go on!  But I felt it was saying something about his character - that he only wants to think in the short-term, whether it's about jobs or accommodation.  He seems to want to be alone and free, not recognising that the freedom he wants isn't worth having.  It's almost like he shuts things/people out, runs away from them - he even hides under his hat all the time. I'm having diffciulty articulating this, because this sentence gave me a picture of him, but I can't quite explain what I'm seeing!  Maybe I'm identifyiing too much with Ennis here :).  I'm not sure how that passage shows ['because it could be left at any time'] that he's thinking about his family.

Quote
Does anyone else see what I've been saying in these posts about Alma? I feel like I'm not well understood in this forum judging by the responces I've been getting.

I honestly have tried, but I can't see what you're saying.  You think the book/film aren't sympathetic to Alma - I think they are, and to make her any nicer would have been to make her a caricature.


Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 06, 2006, 06:24:11 AM
Richm, what I don't understand is that I have given you two examples of Alma thinking something [about Ennis's work preferences, and about her fear of pregnancy] and in both cases you say that she is somehow lying TO HERSELF. 

Quote
The point I was originally trying to make around this passage, is that Alma gratuitously throws Ennis’ low earnings in his face using sex as an excuse, rather than bringing up his cheating on her with Jack.

It's not gratuitous - they can't afford another chlid. She doesn't use sex as an excuse.  He uses her need for contraception as an excuse to not have sex. 

She can't bring up the cheating with Jack because he would be likely to get violent.  She doesn't feel safe to do that until later.

Quote
I think she has already made up her mind at this point to leave Ennis, may have discussed the situation with Monroe so she’s not left in the cold, and doesn’t care what she says to him.

I don't think so - the book describes her decision to leave as a process taking place over a few years, following on from that point.  I think it's interesting that Jack is only one reason - she's actually fairly tolerant of him seeing Jack, I suppose. 

Quote
My guess is that like many working class people, he was always aware of the possibility of financial trouble and the need to bend with the wind. The story starts with his employer selling the ranch, forcing Ennis to look for work and stay with his daughter. This possibility looms over him through the entire story. It may mean something else, though I don’t think it signifies short-term thinking because he is supporting his family at this point. What do you mean by “short-term thinking” in this regard? And what do you think this means for his family?

You may be right, I don't know, but that's not how what I got from those parts.  I tried to explain it earlier, and I admit that I did not do it very well at all - I'm finding it difficult to articulate.  It's more a feeling I get, rather than something I can write down.  It's probably best if  gracefully back out, but I'll try to answer your question first.  I think there is probably more to his choices in this way than just a wish to support his family.   What does his way of thinking mean to his family  - well, that they are shut out in the ways that you see.   Another example of his thinking affecting his family is when he doesn't try to see his daughters and waits for them to come to him [later in the story].   

Quote
The picture of Alma I’m getting from you and some of the other posters here, is precisely a caricature of a noble and blameless victim. I think there ARE things she could have done to make her and Ennis’ situation turn out better but because of her limitations, did not do so
.

I don't see her as noble, and she does have her limitations.  However, she is pretty much blameless.  We can hardly blame her for not guessing Ennis is gay.  I'm not sure what else she could have done to make their situation better - she got a job, she avoided having more children - she did her best really.  She also tolerated Ennis's behaviour for quite a long time before getting a divorce.  Even divorcing him earlier wouldn't have helped him, as it was his own  homophobia, for want of a better word, which stopped him being happy.  Staying married to him wouldn't have helped either.  There was no way for her to make him happy.

I don't think she's in the story to be the scheming wife from hell, or to be a saint.  I think she's shown mainly as another victim of what has been done to Ennis, by his father and the people of that time and place.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 06, 2006, 09:43:21 AM
  In the story I didn't imagine either comment (Ennis' or Alma's) taking place during sex, but upon reflection I think it was a good choice of the film makers to ratchet up the conflict.  It might make more sense for Alma to ask about the rubbers before they were well into it, for example - but I don't argue with the scene in the film.

Yes, I agree - it wasn't during sex in the book, but it worked well in the film for a number of reasons -  having the sex to accompany that scene really put the point home.

I agree with the rest of your post too.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 06, 2006, 10:05:05 AM
Richm, I left out another small point I wanted to make as I was trying to keep my post brief - I've decided to add it in again.

You mentioned that we are expected to look at the other stories in Close Range, to understand the economic situation.  Now I agree with you that poverty is a theme of these stories and of this story in particular - no argument about that.  But about the specific question about whether Ennis didn't go for a job at the electric company because jobs weren't available or because he chose not to, I had another look at 'Job History' which does give some information on the job situation at the time of the story [or at least, Annie Proulx's interpretation of it]. 

At the time we are talking about [1960s], she doesn't mention unemployment.  She does mention men going into the army [something Ennis and Jack brought up themselves].  The first time she mentions it is much later in the story, and in time [probably roughly equivelant to the end of the Brokeback story]: 'The economy takes a dive.  The news is full of talk about recession and unemployment'.  She brings it up at that point as if it's something new, which makes me think that this is why she doesn't mention it in BBM - it doesn't really hit until the early '80s.  Men are going into the army, women aren't yet working outside the home as a matter of course - there are stil jobs for young men.  [It occurred to me that perhaps people were moving to the cities too, although that's not mentioned].

I just think that if Ennis had been struggling to get better jobs and hadn't managed, that would be another tragedy and would have been mentioned.  Instead it's implied that he chooses not to apply for them.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on April 06, 2006, 03:31:45 PM
I may be the only one who thinks this way, but I did not like Alma and had less pity for her than Ennis or Jack.  She made such cruel comments, before and after they were married.  When (judging by the age of the kids from one scene to another), she would have had to literally run into the arms of Monroe (who she may have been confiding with anyway) after leaving Ennis. She wanted to live in town, and pushed him into a situation that was too expensive and he didn't want.  Monroe had money already and a nice house.  Think about it.  For her to be so pregnant so soon after the divorce, she must have married Monroe right away.
-- Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 06, 2006, 04:45:20 PM
I may be the only one who thinks this way, but I did not like Alma and had less pity for her than Ennis or Jack.  She made such cruel comments, before and after they were married.  When (judging by the age of the kids from one scene to another), she would have had to literally run into the arms of Monroe (who she may have been confiding with anyway) after leaving Ennis. She wanted to live in town, and pushed him into a situation that was too expensive and he didn't want.  Monroe had money already and a nice house.  Think about it.  For her to be so pregnant so soon after the divorce, she must have married Monroe right away.
-- Pooh

I don't remember the cruel coments before they married - what were they?  I don't remember that part of the film very well - it didn't make a big impression. 

I don't know the timescale with the divorce, but I guess that Ennis and Alma were going through a separation process before the divorce became final, so maybe that accounts for the discrepancy.  I'm not sure if she'd have moved in with Monroe by then, but it's quite possible that they'd started a relationship by then.

The reason for living in town is clearer in the book 'The second child was born and Alma wanted to stay in town near the clinic because the chlid had an asthmatic wheeze'.  The accomodation was Ennis's choice 'They stayed in the little apartment which he favored because it could be left at any time'.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 06, 2006, 05:22:46 PM
I may be the only one who thinks this way, but I did not like Alma and had less pity for her than Ennis or Jack.  She made such cruel comments, before and after they were married.  When (judging by the age of the kids from one scene to another), she would have had to literally run into the arms of Monroe (who she may have been confiding with anyway) after leaving Ennis. She wanted to live in town, and pushed him into a situation that was too expensive and he didn't want.  Monroe had money already and a nice house.  Think about it.  For her to be so pregnant so soon after the divorce, she must have married Monroe right away.
-- Pooh

I really can't blame Alma for turning to Monroe.  Let's face it, we all love Ennis but he wasn't exactly emotionally available to Alma (not to mention the finances).  Monroe came across as a caring individual toward Alma; I don't know too many bosses that would have been that kind to one of his employees when, while she's on the job, her kid, who's not supposed to be there,  knocks over half the stock of peanuts (is that what it was?).   I imagine Monroe was more attentive to Alma and her needs than Ennis.  Plus, you know what they say:  First time you marry for love, next time for money.  Monroe did offer financial security to Alma, and I'm sure that was a relief for her not to worry about being behind on the bills any more.  I also always thought Alma got pregnant so quickly because she was able to afford another kid with Monroe.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on April 06, 2006, 07:39:27 PM
I don't remember the cruel coments before they married - what were they?  I don't remember that part of the film very well - it didn't make a big impression. 

I'm sorry. I must be tired. I meant to write before and after the divorce.  I wonder why she married Ennis in the first place, since it seemed to me that she needed to be with someone more sociable.  If Ennis' words on Brokeback that he had not spoken that much in a year are true, then it could not have been much of an engagement.  In any case, being married to someone with heavy burdens/severe problems, I can't see how she could have been so non supportive. Surely she knew he was conflicted, and it was just plain mean to confront him on Thanksgiving, after they were divorced. What she said then should have been said years before.

-- Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: downloaded1 on April 06, 2006, 07:41:46 PM
Quote
Surely she knew he was conflicted, and it was just plain mean to confront him on Thanksgiving, after they were divorced. What she said then should have been said years before.


How would she know he was conflicted?
And didnt Ennis provoke by saying "Once burned"?
How did Alma burn him?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 06, 2006, 09:06:41 PM
Quote
Surely she knew he was conflicted, and it was just plain mean to confront him on Thanksgiving, after they were divorced. What she said then should have been said years before.


How would she know he was conflicted?
And didnt Ennis provoke by saying "Once burned"?
How did Alma burn him?


Hi downloaded, Alma burned Ennis by having kids with him and then divorcing him and getting custody ofthe kids, and also a judgment of child support.  Ennis, it says in the story, is left with a vague feeling of getting a bad deal (somebody moved my book away from the computer, can't quote directly!)  Anyway the thought of another marriage doesn't hold a lot of attraction for him, especially financially. 

Isn't that a strange way for her to open the conversation anyway, she asks him why he doesn't get married again?  She knows he shouldn't.  She is the one provoking him.  Not overtly, but she wants to know his ideas about marriage.  He doesn't elaborate.  Her next immediate question is about the fishing trips with Jack Twist.  It only makes sense to me that she asked him about getting married to lead into the question about Jack.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: downloaded1 on April 06, 2006, 09:09:34 PM
Quote
Surely she knew he was conflicted, and it was just plain mean to confront him on Thanksgiving, after they were divorced. What she said then should have been said years before.


How would she know he was conflicted?
And didnt Ennis provoke by saying "Once burned"?
How did Alma burn him?


Hi downloaded, Alma burned Ennis by having kids with him and then divorcing him and getting custody ofthe kids, and also a judgment of child support.  Ennis, it says in the story, is left with a vague feeling of getting a bad deal (somebody moved my book away from the computer, can't quote directly!)  Anyway the thought of another marriage doesn't hold a lot of attraction for him, especially financially. 

Isn't that a strange way for her to open the conversation anyway, she asks him why he doesn't get married again?  She knows he shouldn't.  She is the one provoking him.  Not overtly, but she wants to know his ideas about marriage.  He doesn't elaborate.  Her next immediate question is about the fishing trips with Jack Twist.  It only makes sense to me that she asked him about getting married to lead into the question about Jack.

You have a biased view there it seems.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 06, 2006, 09:11:03 PM
I don't remember the cruel coments before they married - what were they?  I don't remember that part of the film very well - it didn't make a big impression. 

I'm sorry. I must be tired. I meant to write before and after the divorce.  I wonder why she married Ennis in the first place, since it seemed to me that she needed to be with someone more sociable.  If Ennis' words on Brokeback that he had not spoken that much in a year are true, then it could not have been much of an engagement.  In any case, being married to someone with heavy burdens/severe problems, I can't see how she could have been so non supportive. Surely she knew he was conflicted, and it was just plain mean to confront him on Thanksgiving, after they were divorced. What she said then should have been said years before.

-- Pooh

I have also wondered what exactly brought Ennis and Alma together.  It would have been interesting to see--was it arranged?  Did they meet at a church social or something?  I agree it couldn't have been much of a courtship or engagement with Ennis' lack of communication.  Alma was probably raised to expect that from men, you know, the strong, silent type that will bring home the bacon while she stays at home and raises the kids and takes care of the house.  I also think this "traditional" upbringing and value system probably prevented her from saying anything to Ennis earlier about his relationship to Jack.  She was probably raised that the man is the head of the household and his word goes.  She also seemed to be a church goer; probably took her vow seriously and tried to stick it out as long as possible.  As for her not being supportive, I don't hear a lot of negativity coming out of Alma.  She tries to encourage him to get a better job (the power company) and have a social life with she and the girls (going to the church social).  I agree that Thanksgiving was an awkward time to confront Ennis, and I think the way the girls are fawning all over Ennis sets her off.  Maybe it was her intention never to confront him, but those pregnancy hormones sent her over the edge.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 06, 2006, 09:22:17 PM
Quote
Surely she knew he was conflicted, and it was just plain mean to confront him on Thanksgiving, after they were divorced. What she said then should have been said years before.


How would she know he was conflicted?
And didnt Ennis provoke by saying "Once burned"?
How did Alma burn him?


Hi downloaded, Alma burned Ennis by having kids with him and then divorcing him and getting custody ofthe kids, and also a judgment of child support.  Ennis, it says in the story, is left with a vague feeling of getting a bad deal (somebody moved my book away from the computer, can't quote directly!)  Anyway the thought of another marriage doesn't hold a lot of attraction for him, especially financially. 

Isn't that a strange way for her to open the conversation anyway, she asks him why he doesn't get married again?  She knows he shouldn't.  She is the one provoking him.  Not overtly, but she wants to know his ideas about marriage.  He doesn't elaborate.  Her next immediate question is about the fishing trips with Jack Twist.  It only makes sense to me that she asked him about getting married to lead into the question about Jack.

You have a biased view there it seems.

downloaded, do you think I have a biased view against Alma?  From Ennis' point of view, I do understand why he would say "once burned."  On the other hand, I definitely understand why Alma divoced him.  But I sure don't understand why she tells him he should get married again in that conversation at Thanksgiving.

As to your first question which I didn't comment on before -- you asked how does Alma know Ennis is conflicted.  Do you think she doesn't know that?  You don't think seeing the kiss, and her leaving the note on the end of Ennis' line, her knowledge of what Jack was to Ennis - she doesn't know he's conflicted?  Maybe she doesn't see it as conflict - to her he was unfaithful.  Is that what you mean?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: downloaded1 on April 06, 2006, 09:28:30 PM
 do you think I have a biased view against Alma?  From Ennis' point of view, I do understand why he would say "once burned."  On the other hand, I definitely understand why Alma divoced him.  But I sure don't understand why she tells him he should get married again in that conversation at Thanksgiving.

As to your first question which I didn't comment on before -- you asked how does Alma know Ennis is conflicted.  Do you think she doesn't know that?  You don't think seeing the kiss, and her leaving the note on the end of Ennis' line, her knowledge of what Jack was to Ennis - she doesn't know he's conflicted?  Maybe she doesn't see it as conflict - to her he was unfaithful to him.  Is that what you mean?
Quote

She mentions he should get married again because like she says her and the girls worry about him being alone.
It wasnt meant to provoke him. And wasnt her readying for the kill with the Jack Nasty spiel.
Ennis provoked that by implying he was burned by her in marriage..."Once burned"

I dont see her realizing him being 'conflicted' either.
To her, he probably looked as if he knew just what he was doing.....at home and elsewhere.....
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 06, 2006, 11:58:38 PM
Why did they get married?  There are so many things we don't know in that film. :)

When I was younger a lot of my contemporaries married at that age.  Often it was their first proper boyfriend.  Often they met at at young age, dated, and it was expected that they move on to marriage.  I'm being very unfair to them here, and I'm not saying they didn't love each other, but I can see how easy it could be to hook up at a young age and carry on to marriage without any real analysis of the costs and benefits, any comparism of this partner to other possible partners, etc.

I imagine Ennis came across as quite gentlemanly in a way - he would strike Alma initially as a good, moral person I think.  Quiet, but she wasn't a live wire either.  He didn't pressure her to have sex before marriage - he probably came across as one of the good guys.  I don't think they really knew each other that well until after they got married.

We also don't know her background.  It may just not have been put into the film, but she appears to have no family - you don't see any friends popping round or anything either.  It's possible they were both orphans and had that in common.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on April 07, 2006, 01:26:51 AM
I agree with you Desecra.  I'm sure you are right than with a couple of young kids like Ennis and Alma there would be some sort of expectation that they marry young, both societal and personally.  They weren't exactly college bound and Ennis had been out of school and working for about 5 years (he got pitched into Ranch work at 14). 

I always thougth Ennis question to Alma Jr. "this Kurt fella, does he love you?" was so interesting for many reasons but one to me was, what would Ennis' (or even her mother's) answer would have been if the question had been asked about the other prior to them getting married.   
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 07, 2006, 06:05:35 AM
I agree with you Desecra.  I'm sure you are right than with a couple of young kids like Ennis and Alma there would be some sort of expectation that they marry young, both societal and personally.  They weren't exactly college bound and Ennis had been out of school and working for about 5 years (he got pitched into Ranch work at 14). 

I always thought Ennis question to Alma Jr. "this Kurt fella, does he love you?" was so interesting for many reasons but one to me was, what would Ennis' (or even her mother's) answer would have been if the question had been asked about the other prior to them getting married.   

I agree, Desecra and City Girl.  Back then, women were expected to graduate from high school and head straight to marriage (I'm sure college didn't even cross Alma's mind for many reasons).  My mother got married when she was 18 (in the late 1960's) and had 3 kids by the time she was 24.  It was the way it was for most women back then.   

I've been thinking about Ennis' "this Kurt fella, does he love you?"  line at the end.  Isn't that the first time in the movie Ennis ever says the word love?  For that matter, isn't it the first time we even hear the word "love" in this movie?  He was so thinking of Jack when he said that:  He waits for Jr.'s response and then turns away with tears in his eyes.  I think this is a big step for Ennis; acknowledging the importance of love.  Did Ennis love Alma?  Maybe as a friend, but as a passionate lover, no.  I really don't even know if he ever told her he loved her. I do believe Alma loved Ennis, though.  IMO, she wouldn't have been that pissed at Thanksgiving (after the divorce) if she didn't love Ennis and feel absolutely betrayed.  She would have just been like "whatever, I'm done with him anyway."  But there's a fine line between love and hate.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 07, 2006, 08:59:28 AM
Ennis and Alma got together at such a young age, had children together and went through a lot of hard times together - as much as we know their marriage didn't work out, Alma is probably the 2nd closest person in the world to Ennis.  Not exactly brother and sister, but that's the closest thing to it.  They once saw themselves as family.  It is hard not to be wrapped up in the person you married at such a young age, and to have regrets at how that person influenced your life, for better or worse.  Alma and Ennis in the kitchen, in a sense re-creating a domestic scene - wow that's got to dredge up lots of powerful emotions and we all know the result.

As for the point that Ennis didn't push Alma for sex before marriage - I guess we have a little clue on that now, don't we? ;)

PS I meant to comment on Ennis' question about whether Kurt loves Alma Jr.  For some reason when I first heard that line I was thinking Ennis was equating Alma Jr. with her mother at that time, not knowing what she might be getting into marrying at such a young age.  But I agree that it's the first time LOVE is mentioned in the movie, at least by Ennis, and he is thinking of Jack at this time.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on April 07, 2006, 09:12:06 AM
Ennis could've been straight as a tape measure and that marraige was still bound to fail for all of the reasons some of you have pointed out.

Ennis was not husband material, to say the least. Throw in the fact that he was a closeted gay man and you have the perfect storm of marital pathology.

My pity goes out to both characters, caught up in a situation that even Dr. Phil couldn't rescue if he were on of them.

The "Once burned" remark is just what a closeted man would say because it serves two purposes: it reinforces the false notion that you aren't gay although Alma knows better and 2. It provokes Alma.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on April 07, 2006, 09:16:25 AM
Let me clarify "It provokes Alma".

You don't need to be a closeted gay man to want to provoke an ex-spouse. That's the nature of ex-spouses. They know how to push buttons so the closeted gay man remark only applies reinforcing the straght aspect.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 07, 2006, 10:00:03 AM
Let me clarify "It provokes Alma".

You don't need to be a closeted gay man to want to provoke an ex-spouse. That's the nature of ex-spouses. They know how to push buttons so the closeted gay man remark only applies reinforcing the straght aspect.


JHL, I thought your take on "once burned" as a subtle reinforcement of Ennis' straightness was right-on.  Ennis is doing a lot with that comment.  It allows him to pretend he'd get married again if not for being "once burned" by the woman standingin front of him.  I still say they are both provoking each other.  Am I the only one who thinks Alma asking Ennis why he doesn't get married again is kind of mean?  First of all, she rejected him as a husband.  Second, why would she wish him on any other poor girl?  I still see her question as a lead-in to the Jack Nasty revelation.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on April 07, 2006, 11:00:42 AM
"I still see her question as a lead-in to the Jack Nasty revelation."

Oh, absolutely. And throw in the fact that, unlike the story where Ennis is aware that Alma saw Jack and him kissing, the film takes a different turn. At least to me it's not established that in the film Ennis is aware that Alma saw them.

This unawareness by Ennis of Alma seeing him and Jack is the perfect set-up for Alma's "Why don't you get married" rhetoric. I guess Ennnis isn't the only one who can throw a sucker punch. Don't get me wrong, I sympathize with and understand Alma, but still.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 07, 2006, 11:47:12 AM
Am I the only one who thinks Alma asking Ennis why he doesn't get married again is kind of mean? 

I think Alma was definitely throwing out the line and seeing if Ennis will take the bait.  She is well aware of why he hasn't gotten married again.  I think by this point, she has reached her threshhold for tolerance with Ennis' charade (probably brought on by the girls' worshipping of Ennis during dinner--she looked lilke she was going to puke IMO) and has much bottled up resentment and anger toward him.  Sometimes, we just got to let it out, and I think Alma finally did.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on April 07, 2006, 12:07:00 PM
"I still see her question as a lead-in to the Jack Nasty revelation."

Oh, absolutely. And throw in the fact that, unlike the story where Ennis is aware that Alma saw Jack and him kissing, the film takes a different turn. At least to me it's not established that in the film Ennis is aware that Alma saw them.

This unawareness by Ennis of Alma seeing him and Jack is the perfect set-up for Alma's "Why don't you get married" rhetoric. I guess Ennnis isn't the only one who can throw a sucker punch. Don't get me wrong, I sympathize with and understand Alma, but still.

JHL11 - I don't see why you would say so confidently that Ennis is aware Alma saw him and Jack kissing in the story? I don't think that is true.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on April 07, 2006, 12:13:06 PM
Patroclus-

The words in the story "what could he say?", his words to Alma "...me and Jack haven't seen each other in four years". As if that were a reason."

Those words, to me anyway, strongly imply that Ennis believed that Alma saw them.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on April 07, 2006, 12:31:30 PM
Ok, a possible reading. But the reasons why I don't see it that way are as follows:

'...Jack's big teeth bringing blood, his hat falling to the floor, stubble rasping, wet saliva welling, and the door opening and Alma looking out for a few seconds at Ennis's straining shoulders and shutting the door again and still they clinched, pressing chest and groin and thigh and leg together, treading on each other's toes until they pulled apart to breathe and Ennis, not big on endearments, said what he said to his horses and daughters, little darlin.

The door opened again a few inches and Alma stood in the narrow light. What could he say?......His chest was heaving. .... 'Alma,' he said, 'Jack and me ain't seen each other in four years.' As if it were a reason.'

Firstly, they are - ahem - very engrossed in each other when Alma opens the door and sees them kissing. I don't think they noticed that at all or they would have pulled apart. Then it clearly says they pulled apart to breathe - and then the door opened and Alma was in the doorway and they acknowledged her presence. They'd already pulled apart at that time.

They are both in a right state. Ennis's chest is heaving. Later we're told they are trembling. We can only imagine what their faces and whole presence must have looked like. They would have been intensely aware of their panting. That's what I think draws the sardonic aside from the narrator 'as if it were a reason'.

If Ennis had known she was watching them kissing and just carried on regardless and then brazenly faced her out in the way you suggest it would alter my view of him considerably. He would have been treating her in an extremely callous, cold and blatantly uncaring way to do that to her and I don't think that is his character as I understood it.

What do you think?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on April 07, 2006, 12:50:16 PM
"What do you think?"

I think your post has persuaded me to re-examine my conclusion that Ennis knew Alma saw them.

I was concentrating on the fact that Alma saw Ennis "straining shoulders" but I then, how could extrapolate from that the conclusion that Ennis KNEW Alma saw them? Perhaps because I  think that particular passage in the story, comprehended as a whole, implies that Ennis may have known Alma saw them...

Oh dear. I think my head's gonna explode.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on April 07, 2006, 12:58:54 PM
no head exploding, please! Someone a few weeks ago made a similar point and it made my head spin, too and I thought I'd got it all wrong in the story. It's my opinion based on reading this passage in the order I've set out. But it's also about Ennis's character. I just can't imagine him not caring if another person, especially his wife, seeing him kissing Jack like that. I think he'd be totally panicked, a in the Thanksgiving scene.


nice to exchange thoughts with you.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on April 07, 2006, 09:07:04 PM
During my last viewing of the DVD, I noticed that even after years, by the Thanksgiving dinner scene, Jack and Lureen still seemed to be supportive and a bit affectionate with each other.  He stroked her shoulder on the way back from turning the TV off. She smiled slyly and warmly when he called her father an old son of a bitch.   I never believed he wasn't kind to Lureen. I don't think he had a nasty bone is his whole body.  It wasn't in him to ignore someone who cared for him.  Heck, he even helped his none too nice father through the winter.

-- Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 07, 2006, 10:54:48 PM
Pooh, I totally agree with you.  Thank you for that observation, especially about Thanksgiving.

To Patroclus, I ask you -- what if Ennis had an inkling Alma saw?  What would he have done?  He had no option but to go on with Jack, hell or high water.  That's what I think.  What do you think?

I think "As if it were a reason" shows he's on shaky ground but he's got to do what he's got to do.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on April 08, 2006, 12:36:09 PM
Patroclus-

The words in the story "what could he say?", his words to Alma "...me and Jack haven't seen each other in four years". As if that were a reason."

Those words, to me anyway, strongly imply that Ennis believed that Alma saw them.

Yes it seems to me its clear in the story that E knew Alma saw them - and also that Ennis is so around-the-bend that he's thinking with his groin -
oh, yeah, "we havenet seen each other for four years" - as if that is a reason.

in the story also: the likewise totally off-the-wall response to A's invite up for coffee:  "he's from Texas."

he knows and he doesnt know.  same with Alma. 

At this point I dont think he CARES whether or not Alma has seen them.  He's living in an alternate universe.  & he's gonna set up housekeeping there.







Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 08, 2006, 01:27:44 PM

Yes it seems to me its clear in the story that E knew Alma saw them - and also that Ennis is so around-the-bend that he's thinking with his groin -
oh, yeah, "we havenet seen each other for four years" - as if that is a reason.

in the story also: the likewise totally off-the-wall response to A's invite up for coffee:  "he's from Texas."

he knows and he doesnt know.  same with Alma. 

At this point I dont think he CARES whether or not Alma has seen them.  He's living in an alternate universe.  & he's gonna set up housekeeping there.



Well said, playitagain.  And he knows Alma well enough to expect she will not challenge him at this point.  More than that -- it is simply not an option.  He is really signalling to her, it's got to be this way, and to challenge him would have been a big mistake.  Not in Alma's repertoire at that time.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on April 08, 2006, 01:32:28 PM


And he knows Alma well enough to expect she will not challenge him at this point.  More than that -- it is simply not an option.  He is really signalling to her, it's got to be this way, and to challenge him would have been a big mistake.  Not in Alma's repertoire at that time.

Absolutely - somebody - screenwriters? - actors? - Ang? - all of them? - "got it". 

Of course, Annie got it right.



Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on April 09, 2006, 02:09:45 AM
Patroclus-

The words in the story "what could he say?", his words to Alma "...me and Jack haven't seen each other in four years". As if that were a reason."

Those words, to me anyway, strongly imply that Ennis believed that Alma saw them.

Yes it seems to me its clear in the story that E knew Alma saw them - and also that Ennis is so around-the-bend that he's thinking with his groin -

no, it isn't clear to me for the reasons in my original posting. I'm not convinced by either of you: it makes no sense of Alma putting the note in the creel basket later if they both knew they'd seen/been seen in the reunion kissing. But it also suggests a level of established menace between Ennis and Alma and coercion in their relationship which I don't think is there either. And of sheer bravado by Ennis in the face of exposure which runs counter to my sense of him. You haven't answered the points in my reading of the text at all yet. I feel you need to argue from a reading of the text if you want to persuade me not just simply asserting another interpretation. Why is it clear to you - with quotes to back it up, please.

thanks
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 09, 2006, 07:14:44 AM
If Ennis had known she was watching them kissing and just carried on regardless and then brazenly faced her out in the way you suggest it would alter my view of him considerably. He would have been treating her in an extremely callous, cold and blatantly uncaring way to do that to her and I don't think that is his character as I understood it.

I think I mentioned earlier my reasons for leaning toward Ennis knowing that Alma knows [although perhaps it wasn't in this thread - I'll happily post again if anybody wants, but don't want to bore you :)].  I still haven't quite made my mind up.

I'll say a little bit about how I reconcile that with his character.  I don't think he thinks it through.  I think he's driven by feelings rather than thoughts, which often lead him in the wrong direction.  I don't think he always thinks rationally, and I don't think he's terribly analytical.  I'm not talking about lack of intelligence here.  What I mean is that I don't think he goes through a process of thinking about Alma seeing them and what that means and how he should deal with it.  I think he has an awareness of Alma seeing them, and like many other things that come into his head, he doesn't let himself think about it too much.  He also has an awareness that she's not a threat to him.

He's used to dealing with animals.  He probably likes them better than people a lot of the time.  I think he has a way of using animal instinct rather than thought at these times.  I mentioned something like this in connection to the divorce scene - he feels fear and manages to force out some words to justify it.  In the reunion scene, he doesn't feel fear - so no words needed, no thinking needed.

I think there are other times when he doesn't seem to see things from Alma's point of view.  I don't think it's necessarily callousness, but maybe more a difficulty in identifying with her.  I think that some of what she feels is quite foreign to him.  I don't think he sees the meetings with Jack as infidelity either, and hence doesn't see how Alma would feel about them.  He's not seeing Jack in the way two lovers would see each other - it's just 'this thing'.  It's not Alma's business.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on April 09, 2006, 08:23:44 AM
Patroclus-

The words in the story "what could he say?", his words to Alma "...me and Jack haven't seen each other in four years". As if that were a reason."

Those words, to me anyway, strongly imply that Ennis believed that Alma saw them.

Yes it seems to me its clear in the story that E knew Alma saw them - and also that Ennis is so around-the-bend that he's thinking with his groin -

no, it isn't clear to me for the reasons in my original posting. I'm not convinced by either of you: it makes no sense of Alma putting the note in the creel basket later if they both knew they'd seen/been seen in the reunion kissing. But it also suggests a level of established menace between Ennis and Alma and coercion in their relationship which I don't think is there either. And of sheer bravado by Ennis in the face of exposure which runs counter to my sense of him. You haven't answered the points in my reading of the text at all yet. I feel you need to argue from a reading of the text if you want to persuade me not just simply asserting another interpretation. Why is it clear to you - with quotes to back it up, please.

thanks

Watched this scene again last night, Patroclus, several times.  What a great scene!  I dont know if I can argue from "the text" - the text being story,
screen play, interpretation, and my own experience of gender, love, family and etc. 

In the story, it is clear that Ennis knows Alma has seen them. 

"The door opened again a few inches, and Alma stood in the narrow light.  What could he say?"

The story also says "she had seen what she had seen" - in other words, what she saw had registered. 

From the bare bone story we see that she does not confront Ennis until she is safely enfolded in a new marriage, and pregnant and even then, I suspect, she would not have done this if she wasnt provoked by the daugthers adoration of their deadbeat (to her mind) father and his crack about being "once burned" - (WHO got effing burned you sob she must'uv thot)

In other words, as far as what she had seen - and understood - on some level - "if you cant fix it you gotta stand it"  - 

Tellyouwht said Ennis understood Alma well enuff to know she would.   They were part of the same culture.  And rural culture in the USA anyway maintains male perrogative.  I dont think this undermines the basic decency of Ennis' character and his love for his family.  There is within the bounds of the culture itself a certain menace and coercian.  Witness high incidence of rural domestic violence.  Much of it considered "displinary", as with animals. 

As for Alma's creel case verification test, to me this is like looking for bottles when you're living with an alcoholic.  no matter what she has seen and what she knows and what she knows she's living with, she's gotta justify leaving him, to herself, although not to others, for she also needs to protect reputation, children, and also I believe Ennis.  And I would bet she's got a good idea that life with Monroe is a possibility before she takes this step.

For me, the film follows the same trajectory of knowing/not knowing as far as Alma is concerned.  As far as Ennis is concerned, I believe the norms of male perrogative and capacity for violence ride right longside of his tenderness and dignity and decency.  Entering in, also, as far as his relationship with Alma is concerned, is his overriding love and passion for Jack -

I had a deeper understanding of this last night, seeing this scene in slow motion:  in Alma's presence, the two men could not keep their eyes off each other.  Alma was a woman was frantic with fear, and it didnt mean diddlysquat to either one of them.  She was as if invisible.  Ennis having no idea what she was seeing and feeling, even introducing Jack to her with delight! and pride! the two of them panting and trembling and twinkling at one another.  And then rousing himself to kiss his daughter and, on second thought, also, his wife, goodbye, saying :see you Sunday, ladies:   

And each time he packs up his gear and leaves "on one a his fishin' trips" - this is not I think "bravado" in the face of A's knowing, but obsession/passion/love
that's driving him - he doesnt see nor does he have the ability to care - what she is feeling.

My view, I suippose, rather than an :arugment: - FWIW













And Ennis "carries on" in the face of Alma's "knowing" - not with "bravado" - in fact he confides to Jack that "it scares the piss out of him" -




















Not so in the film.  However, I believe it doesnt matter.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 09, 2006, 09:23:23 AM

And Ennis "carries on" in the face of Alma's "knowing" - not with "bravado" - in fact he confides to Jack that "it scares the piss out of him" -

Not so in the film.  However, I believe it doesnt matter.

IMO this is the essence of what we're discussing.  This is reunion time, and Ennis can only do one thing - go off with Jack.  I asked Patroclus (maybe didn't see my question?) what do you believe Ennis would have done different, in the movie, if he thought Alma knew?  I believe he'd have done nothing different.  He can't risk a fight now with Alma or anybody.  He just leaves, and doesn't even give her anything fight against.

Which is part of her confusion - she's a woman, her husband is in love with a man, she has no footing whatsoever to fight it.  And she's never had to think about this possibility before, also I suspect she is fairly ignorant of all it might mean.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: River girl on April 09, 2006, 09:48:44 AM
I have always felt that the story and the film differ on this subject. In the story, it is clear that Ennis is aware that Alma sees them, but in the film reunion scene it is just as clear to me that neither Ennis nor Jack notice Alma looking out of the window - they are completely engrossed in each other.

And what difference does it make? To me the Thanksgiving conversation between Alma and Ennis, when he realizes she knows, is one of the pivotal moments in his slow disintegration, and his paranoia erupts afterwards. I think it was a conscious decision on Ang's part that this scene should be where Ennis learns that he was not fooling Alma.

It seems to me that Jack and Ennis very quickly develop a 'code of conduct' during the reunion scene with Alma in which each of them stress that they are married, they have kids, they are just normal guys. Is it just to make sure that their wives do not suspect, or does it have to do with the respect they both have for their wives? I truly think it is a little of both, we humans are complex creatures.

I would add that I think what annoys Jack during the dinner with Lureen, Lashawn and Randall is precisely that Randall isn't respecting this 'code of conduct' that he had with Ennis. He is being embarrasingly blatant, and Jack reacts.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: River girl on April 09, 2006, 11:11:53 AM
Just wanted to add a PS to that post:  :)

One part of the scene in the apartment that tears at my heart is where Jack is saying he has a son,married the cutest little girl in Childress, and you can just see the relief and delight on Ennis' face as he says, "Yeah?" and looks from Jack to Alma. It's so clear that he's thinking: "Wow, Jack's married, he has a kid - boy, have we got her fooled" - but little does he know...  :-[

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on April 09, 2006, 11:29:38 AM
Just wanted to add a PS to that post:  :)

One part of the scene in the apartment that tears at my heart is where Jack is saying he has a son,married the cutest little girl in Childress, and you can just see the relief and delight on Ennis' face as he says, "Yeah?" and looks from Jack to Alma. It's so clear that he's thinking: "Wow, Jack's married, he has a kid - boy, have we got her fooled" - but little does he know...  :-[



Rivergirl, my take on this expression (pause to feel awe at Heath and Jack's acting)!) - of yes relief and delight has all to do with getting Jack back in his arms - and that's all that's his mind.  dont think he gives a fig about what Alma is thinking.  relief!  happiness!  on his face, in the motel bed, and later, by the campfire, looking up at the sky sending up a prayer of thanks. 


Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: River girl on April 09, 2006, 12:01:52 PM
Playitagain, I know what you mean, no doubt that's the main thing going on.

But - while pausing to feel awe at Heath and Jake's acting - don't you think that fooling Alma could be a part of that quick happy look he gives her and Jack at this point. If anything, it means he's sure they'll be out of there really fast.  ;D
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 09, 2006, 12:20:58 PM
One part of the scene in the apartment that tears at my heart is where Jack is saying he has a son,married the cutest little girl in Childress, and you can just see the relief and delight on Ennis' face as he says, "Yeah?" and looks from Jack to Alma. It's so clear that he's thinking: "Wow, Jack's married, he has a kid - boy, have we got her fooled" - but little does he know...  :-[

Could be, maybe a bit of relief at the confirmation that Jack's not queer too.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on April 09, 2006, 12:44:07 PM
Playitagain, I know what you mean, no doubt that's the main thing going on.

But - while pausing to feel awe at Heath and Jake's acting - don't you think that fooling Alma could be a part of that quick happy look he gives her and Jack at this point. If anything, it means he's sure they'll be out of there really fast.  ;D


Well yes, they want out of there really fast.  Any cockamanie excuse will do.

"I aint queer."  "Neither am I"

"Two little girls!" 

"I gotta boy!"

"I mean, we've both got wives kids, right?"

"We haven'et seen each other for four years!"

"Jack's from Texas!"

Still, I dont know about fooling Alma; but yeah, when in doubt, punt?  and get the hell outta there.

Two guys crazy in love. 








Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on April 09, 2006, 12:55:09 PM
It seems to me that Jack and Ennis very quickly develop a 'code of conduct' during the reunion scene with Alma in which each of them stress that they are married, they have kids, they are just normal guys. Is it just to make sure that their wives do not suspect, or does it have to do with the respect they both have for their wives? I truly think it is a little of both, we humans are complex creatures.

I agree. It's an extension of Ennis' insistence that he's not queer. Since Jack has a wife and kid, he must be "normal" too.

Quote
I would add that I think what annoys Jack during the dinner with Lureen, Lashawn and Randall is precisely that Randall isn't respecting this 'code of conduct' that he had with Ennis. He is being embarrasingly blatant, and Jack reacts.

Hmm. Interesting. Never thought of it that way.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 09, 2006, 12:59:56 PM
Regarding the Jack Nasty scene, I don't disagree with you River Girl that it was set up as you describe in the movie, and that it is different from the book.  But as one who read the book first, I remember very well the first time reading that scene with Ennis and Alma in the kitchen and it had the same wallop for me even though in the book it is suggested Ennis knows she may have seen something at the Reunion.  To me (and I think to Ennis) the impact comes from the fact that Alma is now challenging him, she is daring to cross the line and bring up the unspeakable.

Lots of relationships and families have taboo, unspeakable subjects, and very rarely does anyone cross that line.  By the time Alma brings this up, she has matured, she has figured some things out, she has crystallized her resentment against Ennis and she feels the need to give him the Jack Nasty speech.  It affected me deeply when I read it, by the time I saw the film I was prepared for it, but I think the actors handled it very well.

So I don't mean that to contradict your point, I'm just saying Jack Nasty got me anyway, and Annie P thought it would get Ennis the same way in the story.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 09, 2006, 01:02:32 PM
You are right.  I've noticed other places where that assertion and response comes up, and this fits in too.

'not queer' 'me neither'

'like doing it with women/ you been with other guys?' 'shit, no'

'putting the blocks to a woman' 'rancher's wife'

and now we have 'my wife Alma ... two little girls'  'got a boy... married a cute little old Texas girl'
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 09, 2006, 01:07:57 PM

Quote
I would add that I think what annoys Jack during the dinner with Lureen, Lashawn and Randall is precisely that Randall isn't respecting this 'code of conduct' that he had with Ennis. He is being embarrasingly blatant, and Jack reacts.

Hmm. Interesting. Never thought of it that way.

I have stayed out of the Jack/Randall discussions so far because I am frustrated I don't really see much going on there beyond the surface.  I see that Jack is annoyed but it seems he's annoyed at Lureen.  If Randall is making eyes at Jack (yes I see that) I don't see it as obvious or in anyway indicating something to the women, who are more interested in naming their sororities.  I see a competition between Lureen and LaShawn, because poor Lureen can't even get a word in with LaShawn blabbing, except when she does she chooses her words to subtly put down LaShawn, and then to goad Jack about the dancing.

It doesn't look like a fun table so Jack stirs things up by asking LaShawn to dance, and he doesn't seem to care about her motor mouth one way or the other, he can laugh at it.

And even after reading multiple posts on this, I have somehow retained my innocence about the pickup scene on the bench.  I don't see Jack encouraging Randall very much at all, to the point I almost feel sorry for Randall. 

So tell me I'm crazy.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on April 09, 2006, 01:21:32 PM

Quote
I would add that I think what annoys Jack during the dinner with Lureen, Lashawn and Randall is precisely that Randall isn't respecting this 'code of conduct' that he had with Ennis. He is being embarrasingly blatant, and Jack reacts.

Hmm. Interesting. Never thought of it that way.

I have stayed out of the Jack/Randall discussions so far because I am frustrated I don't really see much going on there beyond the surface.  I see that Jack is annoyed but it seems he's annoyed at Lureen.  If Randall is making eyes at Jack (yes I see that) I don't see it as obvious or in anyway indicating something to the women, who are more interested in naming their sororities.  I see a competition between Lureen and LaShawn, because poor Lureen can't even get a word in with LaShawn blabbing, except when she does she chooses her words to subtly put down LaShawn, and then to goad Jack about the dancing.

It doesn't look like a fun table so Jack stirs things up by asking LaShawn to dance, and he doesn't seem to care about her motor mouth one way or the other, he can laugh at it.

And even after reading multiple posts on this, I have somehow retained my innocence about the pickup scene on the bench.  I don't see Jack encouraging Randall very much at all, to the point I almost feel sorry for Randall. 

So tell me I'm crazy.

In the scene on the bench - Jack seem to me to responds to Randalls approach with a painful silence - and then, when the women are coming down the stairs, chattering, before he looks at them, takes a quick look at Randall - assessment? - what does he see? - we don't know - but we do need Jack cant get by on a few high altitude fucks a year.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 09, 2006, 01:26:58 PM

In the scene on the bench - Jack seem to me to responds to Randalls approach with a painful silence - and then, when the women are coming down the stairs, chattering, before he looks at them, takes a quick look at Randall - assessment? - what does he see? - we don't know - but we do need Jack cant get by on a few high altitude fucks a year.


Right, I agree with that, that's my understanding of Jack.  It doesn't surprise me that he would go for Randall and I believe he does.  I just don't see all the other business happening-- I don't see Randall being obvious at the table, I don't see Jack even responding to him much less going to a second level of annoyance that their flirting is so obvious he signals to Randall to shut it down.  And so on.

My guess is that once Randall hinted at the possibilities, maybe Jack had to make the next move at some later time.  And I would never put that past our Jack.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on April 09, 2006, 01:37:08 PM
Just wanted to add a PS to that post:  :)

One part of the scene in the apartment that tears at my heart is where Jack is saying he has a son,married the cutest little girl in Childress, and you can just see the relief and delight on Ennis' face as he says, "Yeah?" and looks from Jack to Alma. It's so clear that he's thinking: "Wow, Jack's married, he has a kid - boy, have we got her fooled" - but little does he know...  :-[

The very least Alma could have done would be to accept that Jack had a wife and kids too, so he wasn't likely to draw her husband away.  I wonder if Ennis told her the story about the gay bashing that he told Jack.  In any case, I don't see Ennis and Alma as close confidants like Ennis and Jack are.

-- Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 09, 2006, 01:52:49 PM
I wonder if Ennis told her the story about the gay bashing that he told Jack.  In any case, I don't see Ennis and Alma as close confidants like Ennis and Jack are.

-- Pooh

Interesting question.  My guess is 'no', because implicit in the story is why it affected him so much, and what it means to him.  Alma doesn't seem to know much about Jack and yet you would have expected them to talk about the summer on Brokeback, because they were engaged then.  I'd guess Ennis says as little as possible about anything related to his sexuality.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on April 09, 2006, 02:46:58 PM
The very least Alma could have done would be to accept that Jack had a wife and kids too, so he wasn't likely to draw her husband away.  I wonder if Ennis told her the story about the gay bashing that he told Jack.  In any case, I don't see Ennis and Alma as close confidants like Ennis and Jack are.

-- Pooh

Nothing in Alma's upbringing suggests that she has the words to assess what has happened to her husband, and so it seems a stretch to imagine that she -- or, hell, anyone -- would give a damn about whether Jack had a wife and kids.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: River girl on April 09, 2006, 02:58:38 PM

In the scene on the bench - Jack seem to me to responds to Randalls approach with a painful silence - and then, when the women are coming down the stairs, chattering, before he looks at them, takes a quick look at Randall - assessment? - what does he see? - we don't know - but we do need Jack cant get by on a few high altitude fucks a year.


Right, I agree with that, that's my understanding of Jack.  It doesn't surprise me that he would go for Randall and I believe he does.  I just don't see all the other business happening-- I don't see Randall being obvious at the table, I don't see Jack even responding to him much less going to a second level of annoyance that their flirting is so obvious he signals to Randall to shut it down.  And so on.

My guess is that once Randall hinted at the possibilities, maybe Jack had to make the next move at some later time.  And I would never put that past our Jack.

I think a lot of what is going on can only be inferred, which means we're on thin ice.

We've already discussed the dancing with Lashawn, so I won't go into that. But one other detail that I've thought about is that Jack has spilt something while at the table and is drying/wiping his shirt - could it be he is creating a diversion from what is going on between him and Randall, worried that L&L will notice Randall giving him the eye?

Just thought of this -  spilling something on his shirt - the shirts up at Lightning Flats. Any connection there, you think?

Anyway, I agree that Randall is hinting at the possibilities, and that our Jack with the 'cheatin' loins' as City Girl calls them took him up on it at a later date.


Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 09, 2006, 04:25:56 PM
River Girl, I will watch this scene again on DVD - the spill might have been a diversion, but to me Jack's body language seems to highlight his disinterest in Lureen's question about dancing.  I am considering all your thoughts.

Even without the subtext, when I say I don't see beyond the surface in this scene, the surface is pretty choppy!  Marital discord-- seething, sexually frustrated women-- both competing for their husbands' attention-- apparently both married to gay men-- wife-swapping (in a dance) and cross-gender extramarital flirtation.  It's enough to keep me busy!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 09, 2006, 04:42:33 PM
River Girl, I will watch this scene again on DVD - the spill might have been a diversion, but to me Jack's body language seems to highlight his disinterest in Lureen's question about dancing.  I am considering all your thoughts.

Even without the subtext, when I say I don't see beyond the surface in this scene, the surface is pretty choppy!  Marital discord-- seething, sexually frustrated women-- both competing for their husbands' attention-- apparently both married to gay men-- wife-swapping (in a dance) and cross-gender extramarital flirtation.  It's enough to keep me busy!

This is a loaded scene indeed.  I thought Jack was wiping off cigarette ashes off his shirt?  I think by looking down and wiping his shirt, he was definitely trying to diffuse the situation after Lureen made her wife dancing comment.   Do you think either of the wives saw or sensed the look b/w Randall and Jack?  I think Lureen sensed it (hence her dancing w/ their wives comment), but yappy LaShawn was clueless.  LaShawn was probably the type of woman that if Randall had "do me Jack" written on his forehead, she would think it meant Randall was just trying to meet Jack for lunch or something.   ;D
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on April 09, 2006, 05:03:31 PM
River Girl, I will watch this scene again on DVD - the spill might have been a diversion, but to me Jack's body language seems to highlight his disinterest in Lureen's question about dancing.  I am considering all your thoughts.

Even without the subtext, when I say I don't see beyond the surface in this scene, the surface is pretty choppy!  Marital discord-- seething, sexually frustrated women-- both competing for their husbands' attention-- apparently both married to gay men-- wife-swapping (in a dance) and cross-gender extramarital flirtation.  It's enough to keep me busy!

I guess my Sunday night is cut out for me.  I'll look at this scene again.

Thinking about my response to the spilling ash or a drink in this scene, how I read it:  I read it as Jack's responding to Lureen's crack about husbands not dancing with their wives as being poked - he spills something - and then quickly - how quick Jack is, always, in his recovery - "gets back at her" = by askig LaShawn to dance. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 09, 2006, 05:07:18 PM
River Girl, I will watch this scene again on DVD - the spill might have been a diversion, but to me Jack's body language seems to highlight his disinterest in Lureen's question about dancing.  I am considering all your thoughts.

Even without the subtext, when I say I don't see beyond the surface in this scene, the surface is pretty choppy!  Marital discord-- seething, sexually frustrated women-- both competing for their husbands' attention-- apparently both married to gay men-- wife-swapping (in a dance) and same/cross-gender extramarital flirtation.  It's enough to keep me busy!

This is a loaded scene indeed.  I thought Jack was wiping off cigarette ashes off his shirt?  I think by looking down and wiping his shirt, he was definitely trying to diffuse the situation after Lureen made her wife dancing comment.   Do you think either of the wives saw or sensed the look b/w Randall and Jack?  I think Lureen sensed it (hence her dancing w/ their wives comment), but yappy LaShawn was clueless.  LaShawn was probably the type of woman that if Randall had "do me Jack" written on his forehead, she would think it meant Randall was just trying to meet Jack for lunch or something.   ;D

I think you're right about the cigarette ashes, stacp, which is a little less likely that Jack somehow did it on purpose.  Sometimes I wonder if these things happen but the actors go on and it turns out to be a good take anyway.  (Like when Jack has trouble opening the can of beans up on Brokeback)

Your comment that Lureen might sense the look between Randall and Jack is very plausible.  Also I think your take on LaShawn is correct!  But think about what she says -- "then I met old Randall here"  Wonder what their dating was like!  Maybe Randall needed a wife to help him look straight.  Maybe he's the only one who could tolerate La Shawn, what with his extraordinary powers of tuning her out!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on April 09, 2006, 05:15:28 PM
In the story, it is clear that Ennis knows Alma has seen them. 

"The door opened again a few inches, and Alma stood in the narrow light.  What could he say?"

The story also says "she had seen what she had seen" - in other words, what she saw had registered. 


Hi, playitagain. I don't think the story supports the interpretation that Ennis knew Alma had seen them kissing. See my reply to JHL. It supports that Ennis was aware he and Jack were in a state after they'd pulled apart from kissing and Alma opened the door at that point. Ennis was aware she was there and could see their agitated state. That is exactly as the story describes it. See the quote from above. Of course, 'she had seen what she had seen' - there's no question that she had seen them kissing. That's not the same as Ennis being aware she saw the kissing.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 09, 2006, 05:16:25 PM

I guess my Sunday night is cut out for me.  I'll look at this scene again.

Thinking about my response to the spilling ash or a drink in this scene, how I read it:  I read it as Jack's responding to Lureen's crack about husbands not dancing with their wives as being poked - he spills something - and then quickly - how quick Jack is, always, in his recovery - "gets back at her" = by askig LaShawn to dance. 


Yes, he is quick!  And nimble with language, especially swearing!  I agree, he's getting back at her.  That's so different thatn the Thanksgiving scene.  And sad.

No kidding about Sunday night cut out for us ---
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on April 09, 2006, 05:30:40 PM
Pooh, I totally agree with you.  Thank you for that observation, especially about Thanksgiving.

To Patroclus, I ask you -- what if Ennis had an inkling Alma saw?  What would he have done?  He had no option but to go on with Jack, hell or high water.  That's what I think.  What do you think?

I think "As if it were a reason" shows he's on shaky ground but he's got to do what he's got to do.

Tellyouwhat: catching up here, not ignoring your question: If Ennis had realised that Alma had opened the door that first time when they were kissing I think he'd have pulled a part in total panic and been up the stairs trying to deny/explain/obliterate this witnessing of his 'queerness'. Ennis could only maintain his unique view of the 'thing' he and Jack had if it stayed between them. I'd imagine the moment he has to consider how it looks through another pair of eyes he's forced to face up to the fact it's homosexual. And he can't reconcile both together. I don't for one second feel he'd be able to kiss Jack like that with another person watching - even Alma.

Please read my reply to JHL11. It includes the actual lines from the story and makes it crystal clear that Ennis and Jack had pulled apart by the time Alma opened the door the second time and Ennis is aware of her at the top of the stairs. The 'as if it were a reason' relates to their agitation, not to the actual kissing
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 09, 2006, 05:34:42 PM
Your comment that Lureen might sense the look between Randall and Jack is very plausible.  Also I think your take on LaShawn is correct!  But think about what she says -- "then I met old Randall here"  Wonder what their dating was like!  Maybe Randall needed a wife to help him look straight.  Maybe he's the only one who could tolerate La Shawn, what with his extraordinary powers of tuning her out!

Randall had to be deaf in at least one ear and had a 25 percent hearing loss in the other to put up with LaShawn's nails on a chalkboard chattering.  IMO, only a man desperately trying to look straight could put up with that!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 09, 2006, 08:28:28 PM

To Patroclus, I ask you -- what if Ennis had an inkling Alma saw?  What would he have done?  He had no option but to go on with Jack, hell or high water.  That's what I think.  What do you think?

I think "As if it were a reason" shows he's on shaky ground but he's got to do what he's got to do.

Tellyouwhat: catching up here, not ignoring your question: If Ennis had realised that Alma had opened the door that first time when they were kissing I think he'd have pulled a part in total panic and been up the stairs trying to deny/explain/obliterate this witnessing of his 'queerness'. Ennis could only maintain his unique view of the 'thing' he and Jack had if it stayed between them. I'd imagine the moment he has to consider how it looks through another pair of eyes he's forced to face up to the fact it's homosexual. And he can't reconcile both together. I don't for one second feel he'd be able to kiss Jack like that with another person watching - even Alma.

Please read my reply to JHL11. It includes the actual lines from the story and makes it crystal clear that Ennis and Jack had pulled apart by the time Alma opened the door the second time and Ennis is aware of her at the top of the stairs. The 'as if it were a reason' relates to their agitation, not to the actual kissing

Hi Patroclus -- thanks for your answer.  I have been following this discussion and I remember your original post to JHL plus others who have felt Ennis would react differently if he knew Alma knew.  I have thought about this quite a bit -- maybe you can see the quote from the story is in my signature line? -- it is one of my favorite dilemmas in the story.  For me the idea that Ennis, our homophobic Ennis, is caught in this terrible dilemma, where he finds himself committing actions outside of his control, is the essence of the story.  Whether or not Alma knows, he's outta there.  His only option at that moment is to stonewall the situation with Alma. 

I think the closest we can come to agreement is that he TELLS HIMSELF Alma doesn't know, she can't know.  And Alma's response to "Jack and me ain't seen each other in four years" is this automatic phrase -- "sure enough."  IMO that is the most brilliant piece of writing I have ever seen.  A writer could sit in front of a computer for days and never think of something like that unless she had either grown up in Wyoming or spent a lot of time listening to people.  The "sure enough" is Alma's way of trying to normalize the situation that can't be normal.  She is in shock so she responds with a phrase that sounds friendly and reassuring but really inside she is in turmoil.  Ennis is dealing with his own turmoil and he really can't relate to her at all in that moment.

I respect your response that Ennis would have been pulled apart in total panic, but IMO he only had room for one reaction during this Reunion.  He had to follow through with the reunion with Jack.  The "thing" that came upon him was still upon him and he had to get out of there pronto.  Within twenty minutes to the motel, no interruptions not even for a panic attack. 

So I agree with something playitagain said earlier, that it makes no difference in this scene -- Ennis would have followed through with the Reunion.

It's all right, it's all right, it's all right - you can disagree with me!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: downloaded1 on April 09, 2006, 08:34:31 PM
Alma says "sure enough' to his comment about leaving with Jack...NOT about them "not seeing each other for four years"
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 09, 2006, 08:47:26 PM
Alma says "sure enough' to his comment about leaving with Jack...NOT about them "not seeing each other for four years"

Hi downloaded - in the movie Alma says "sure enough" only once, but in the story she says it twice. ;)

To quote directly "...As if it were a reason.  He was glad the light was dim on the landing but did not turn away from her.

"Sure enough," said Alma in a low voice.  She had seen what she had seen.  ..." and so on.

In fact, I love it that she says "sure enough" twice.  It only reinforces how much she is in shock.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: downloaded1 on April 09, 2006, 08:51:05 PM
I thought we were talking of the film.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on April 09, 2006, 11:39:59 PM
Desecra,

I didn’t say we are expected to read the other stories in Close Range to understand the economic situation. I did say that all the stories in the anthology portray the poverty and desolation that Wyoming became and that is the ever-present backdrop to BBM. You were saying that Proulx nowhere mentions the economic/job situation in the story and I pointed out that she does this through the setting. I brought up the economic situation to try to understand in part Ennis’ preference for low paying ranch work. Other factors are his lack of education, working class background, difficulty reading, inexperience with anything but ranch work, and his love of horses.

I don’t doubt that there may have been jobs with the county or the electric company, nor that Ennis didn’t apply for them as Alma was asking him to. I just doubt that even if he had applied for these jobs, he would be hired above someone with experience, who could read, and who had the temperament for that kind of work. I think Ennis despite his low expectations, really knew enough about himself to realize that he couldn’t succeed in the kind of jobs that Alma was talking about. If they had discussed this before getting married, maybe they could have understood the realities they would be facing with each other BUT THEY DIDN'T which seems to me to be the point. It’s fine to blame Ennis, along with Alma, for not making enough money, but it ignores the reality of their situation and the finally tragic inevitability that led to their divorce. I’m glad that you have admitted that this complaint is said from Alma’s point of view and not from the narrator’s. Maybe he should have taken the time to apply for these jobs but he certainly wasn’t qualified for them, unless we’re talking about unskilled janitor work at the county court house.

As for Job History, the news items that you cite seem to me to obviously be NATIONAL, not LOCAL news items; the war and draft, the economy and unemployment, etc. Proulx uses news items that her readers would be familiar with, i.e. national news, to set the scene. Job History chronicles the pathetic striving of a couple to make ends meet in Wyoming in the decades from the ‘60’s with snippets of news in the background to set the scene. They have some advantages, a little family money, some education, contacts and plenty of ideas and spunk, and they still can’t make it.  This is another good illustration of Proulx’s use of and importance of setting.



Richm, I left out another small point I wanted to make as I was trying to keep my post brief - I've decided to add it in again.

You mentioned that we are expected to look at the other stories in Close Range, to understand the economic situation.  Now I agree with you that poverty is a theme of these stories and of this story in particular - no argument about that.  But about the specific question about whether Ennis didn't go for a job at the electric company because jobs weren't available or because he chose not to, I had another look at 'Job History' which does give some information on the job situation at the time of the story [or at least, Annie Proulx's interpretation of it]. 

At the time we are talking about [1960s], she doesn't mention unemployment.  She does mention men going into the army [something Ennis and Jack brought up themselves].  The first time she mentions it is much later in the story, and in time [probably roughly equivelant to the end of the Brokeback story]: 'The economy takes a dive.  The news is full of talk about recession and unemployment'.  She brings it up at that point as if it's something new, which makes me think that this is why she doesn't mention it in BBM - it doesn't really hit until the early '80s.  Men are going into the army, women aren't yet working outside the home as a matter of course - there are stil jobs for young men.  [It occurred to me that perhaps people were moving to the cities too, although that's not mentioned].

I just think that if Ennis had been struggling to get better jobs and hadn't managed, that would be another tragedy and would have been mentioned.  Instead it's implied that he chooses not to apply for them.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 10, 2006, 12:39:19 AM
Well, I suppose we'll have to disagree over the job thing.   You're still not giving me any evidence from the book that convinces me.  If it's not in the book, I think it's a failing on the part of the writer, because the average reader would infer that Ennis prefers ranch work [and infer reasons for that].

I still think it might come down to us differing over the balance of internal and external influences on Ennis.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on April 10, 2006, 01:35:51 AM
Hi again, Desecra,

You said “I have given you two examples of Alma thinking.” Thanks for admitting that this is Alma’s thought, not the narrator’s. However, where do I say that Alma is lying to herself? I said “Alma does ask Ennis to use rubbers because she dreaded another pregnancy, but what I think she means is that she wants vaginal sex with protection so she can enjoy sex.” Can we agree that Alma is not enjoying sex? Can we also agree that either way they have sex, Ennis’ way or Alma’s way (vaginal sex with condoms), there is no pregnancy? Haven’t I acknowledged that neither Alma nor Ennis wants another child? So preventing pregnancy is not what they are talking about here when Alma asks Ennis to use condoms. Really, this is a small point in itself, but points to how each of them uses the issue of pregnancy to take shots at the other. “Alma asked Ennis to use rubbers because she dreaded another pregnancy” is Alma framing her request for more pleasureable sex, as wanting to prevent another pregnancy. She knows that she won’t get pregnant the way that Ennis’ prefers sex. I think she may just be too shy to ask her husband to do something for her sexually that would give her pleasure.

When Ennis says “he would be happy to leave her alone if she didn't want any more of his kids”, he’s not talking about her getting pregnant either but is stating his preference at this point and using the threat of another child as an excuse. Alma knows exactly what she’s talking about when she says "I'd have em if you'd support em" and it’s not pregnancy. This is a return shot to Ennis for his “leave her alone” shot. I think this is all I want to say and can say about the sex exchange.

As for Ennis preference for low paying jobs and the economy, see my previous reply.

You have to be kidding saying that “she's actually fairly tolerant of him seeing Jack". This is the unstated reason for her divorcing him. “A slow corrosion worked between Ennis and Alma, no real trouble, just widening water” says to me that there was no final confrontation BEFORE the divorce. Straws just kept dropping on the camel’s back until Alma decides to sue for divorce and child support. “The embrace she had glimpsed” is mentioned first and was the first straw and the pivotal one. She never forgets that Jack is Ennis’ first love and that eats at her and makes everything that much worse. To deny this is to completely misunderstand Alma, their divorce and the story.

You say, “She can't bring up the cheating with Jack because he would be likely to get violent.  She doesn't feel safe to do that until later.” Do you mean when big, bad Monroe is there to defend her? I don’t know why she doesn’t bring up “the embrace she had glimpsed” and the fishing note until after the divorce, but I doubt it was because she didn’t feel safe. As I’ve pointed out in earlier posts, Ennis is never physically violent or verbally abusive towards her, even defending her to Jack. The supermarket glare is not a threat of violence; it is Ennis’ stock expression when he doesn’t want to argue about something (especially in public) AND Alma takes it as such since she doesn’t look afraid. Ennis uses that look with Jack for the same reasons. All Ennis’ fighting is with men.

You say about Alma “I'm not sure what else she could have done to make their situation better” and “There was no way for her to make him happy.” In my experience it takes two people to make or break a relationship. Here we have 2 people who are not good at talking to each other and saying exactly what they mean and asking for what they want. Each in their own way fails to communicate with the other. The elephant in the divorce court was Alma’s failure to talk to Ennis about his relationship with Jack BEFORE the divorce. This was the first major problem in their marriage, and its unresolved memory made every problem that much worse. I don’t know exactly why Alma doesn’t bring it up but if she had it could not have made the situation any worse and would probably have eventually cleared the air enough to split up civilly. Alma would not have to confide in her friends and relatives about Ennis’ affair. As I said she didn’t refrain from talking to Ennis about the affair because she was afraid although I’m sure she did feel uncomfortable talking about sex with him and probably wasn’t sure what his reaction would be. I imagine he would be pretty upset but not in the same way that he was upset at Thanksgiving. Maybe it wouldn’t have helped at all, but Alma’s not trying to find out just made everything worse. I do blame her for setting him up at thanksgiving to stage her little scene in earshot of the girls. Screaming wife from hell, indeed.

Of course it’s likely that nothing that Alma did would make Ennis happy. Why do you keep putting words in my mouth? You’ve done that with ”Alma lying to herself” in this post, with the confusion around point of view in previous posts. Let me make my own misstatements. I don’t need any help there.






Richm, what I don't understand is that I have given you two examples of Alma thinking something [about Ennis's work preferences, and about her fear of pregnancy] and in both cases you say that she is somehow lying TO HERSELF. 

Quote
The point I was originally trying to make around this passage, is that Alma gratuitously throws Ennis’ low earnings in his face using sex as an excuse, rather than bringing up his cheating on her with Jack.

It's not gratuitous - they can't afford another chlid. She doesn't use sex as an excuse.  He uses her need for contraception as an excuse to not have sex. 

She can't bring up the cheating with Jack because he would be likely to get violent.  She doesn't feel safe to do that until later.

Quote
I think she has already made up her mind at this point to leave Ennis, may have discussed the situation with Monroe so she’s not left in the cold, and doesn’t care what she says to him.

I don't think so - the book describes her decision to leave as a process taking place over a few years, following on from that point.  I think it's interesting that Jack is only one reason - she's actually fairly tolerant of him seeing Jack, I suppose. 

….

Quote
The picture of Alma I’m getting from you and some of the other posters here, is precisely a caricature of a noble and blameless victim. I think there ARE things she could have done to make her and Ennis’ situation turn out better but because of her limitations, did not do so
.

I don't see her as noble, and she does have her limitations.  However, she is pretty much blameless.  We can hardly blame her for not guessing Ennis is gay.  I'm not sure what else she could have done to make their situation better - she got a job, she avoided having more children - she did her best really.  She also tolerated Ennis's behaviour for quite a long time before getting a divorce.  Even divorcing him earlier wouldn't have helped him, as it was his own  homophobia, for want of a better word, which stopped him being happy.  Staying married to him wouldn't have helped either.  There was no way for her to make him happy.

I don't think she's in the story to be the scheming wife from hell, or to be a saint.  I think she's shown mainly as another victim of what has been done to Ennis, by his father and the people of that time and place.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on April 10, 2006, 01:51:51 AM
So your argument is that no matter what I say, if it isn’t written in so many words in the story, then “the average reader” can’t infer anything about the characters. I think I’ve given a pretty full characterization of Ennis that takes account of internal and external influences. I don’t know why you keep saying that. I think Proulx wrote exactly the words she meant to write and she did an awesome job.

Let’s just leave it at that.

Well, I suppose we'll have to disagree over the job thing.   You're still not giving me any evidence from the book that convinces me.  If it's not in the book, I think it's a failing on the part of the writer, because the average reader would infer that Ennis prefers ranch work [and infer reasons for that].

I still think it might come down to us differing over the balance of internal and external influences on Ennis.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 10, 2006, 02:20:29 AM
Let’s just leave it at that.


Well, sadly, I think we're going to have to leave it at that, as I won't have time to reply fully for a while :).

About the condoms scene though - this has been discussed at length on other threads [I think 'Were they gay' is one].  You might want to take a look around the board to get some opinions [other than mine] on what this scene means.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: River girl on April 10, 2006, 02:42:44 AM
I have been reading the latest posts on the 'did Ennis know Alma knew' debate.

I think it is important to look at the way this is treated in the short story and in the film separately. They are each works of art in their own right, and while the story obviously informs the film, there are significant differences not least concerning this issue. 

The scene in the story is as follows: Ennis sees Jack getting out of his truck, he goes out of the apartment closing the door behind him, Jack runs up the stairs, and they meet on the landing outside Ennis' and Alma's apartment and grab on to each other:

"...and the door opening and Alma looking out for a few seconds at Ennis's straining shoulders and shutting the door again and still they clinched..."

To me the 'still they clinched' is the central part, with Annie as usual managing to make it ambiguous, leaving it up to us to interpret if this means they were oblivious to Alma's gaze or if they ignored her gaze. I think you can argue both ways.

In the film, the scene is different. Ennis sees Jack's truck roll in, leaves the apartment and runs down the stairs. They meet and hug outside the building and then in the stairway, still outside. Alma looks out the window from the second floor apartment, she sees Ennis and Jack engrossed in their embrace, and there is no indication whatsoever that Ennis notices her looking at them. So in the film, I do not see any basis for the argument that Ennis could have known that Alma knew prior to the Thanksgiving dinner, unless someone has seen something I've missed.  ;)

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 10, 2006, 02:43:52 AM
I'm sorry, I don't have time to answer your points in any depth, but here's a quick clarification of some things you asked about :

You said “I have given you two examples of Alma thinking.” Thanks for admitting that this is Alma’s thought, not the narrator’s. However, where do I say that Alma is lying to herself? I said “Alma does ask Ennis to use rubbers because she dreaded another pregnancy, but what I think she means is that she wants vaginal sex with protection so she can enjoy sex.”

It seemed to me that you thought Alma was lying to herself - for instance, I meant that if what she wants is satisfying sex, then why is she is lying to herself that dreading another pregnancy is the reason for asking for protection?  I just don't see evidence that she is lying to herself about the reason.   

Quote
You have to be kidding saying that “she's actually fairly tolerant of him seeing Jack". This is the unstated reason for her divorcing him.

After finding out that her Ennis is seeing Jack, Alma makes no attempt to prevent it, and doesn't divorce him till years later.  I think that's fairly tolerant.  She doesn't even give it as the sole reason for divorce.
Quote
You say about Alma “I'm not sure what else she could have done to make their situation better” and “There was no way for her to make him happy.” In my experience it takes two people to make or break a relationship.

She was married to a gay man who was in love with someone else.  All things that a person might do to make a marriage work, would not make this marriage work.  Talking about it wouldn't have helped as Ennis didn't WANT to talk about it.  And even if he'd talked about it, he would still be a gay man who should have been with his true love, not Alma.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 10, 2006, 05:56:23 AM
I have been reading the latest posts on the 'did Ennis know Alma knew' debate.

I think it is important to look at the way this is treated in the short story and in the film separately. They are each works of art in their own right, and while the story obviously informs the film, there are significant differences not least concerning this issue. 



No debate with your interpretation of film and story River Girl -- what some of us say (at least, I will speak for myself) is that I accept the reaction of Ennis and Alma to be the same, whether or not he knew.  I think he had no other choice of action in that moment but to go with Jack, the same as in the story, and the same as in the film.  Either way, they act the same, but it seems realistic to me (reasons stated in previous posts.)

Others say they think Ennis would have reacted differently if he knew.  (and IMO, it wasn't possible for him at Reunion time)

Still others say he clearly didn't know even in the story.  In that case - everyone is entitled to their opinion, but for me those characters acted in the way their education and experience and passion led them to act, inevitably, as Annie wrote it and as Ang Lee filmed it (including the differences) and I have no quarrel with either.

Anyway as I said to Patroclus it's really okay with me that people see this differently.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Lizandre on April 10, 2006, 06:15:21 AM
You have to take into account something about Alma and Ennis: they are unable to articulate the complexity of their emotions. Ennis don't understand "this thing" that possess him when Jack is near, and doesn't want to, because he is afraid of being queer. Alma has no context to "compute" what she saw, she doesn't understand better than Ennis what is happening.

Both of them are completely at a loss to face what they are confronted to.

They have no words to speak about it, but insults and derogatory words and dirty names.

Having no words to think about it, and having no words to speak about it, they just have to live with it, in pain and silence, with a growing bitterness. That was Alma's fate, and Ennis' too.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on April 10, 2006, 07:29:35 AM
You have to take into account something about Alma and Ennis: they are unable to articulate the complexity of their emotions. Ennis don't understand "this thing" that possess him when Jack is near, and doesn't want to, because he is afraid of being queer. Alma has no context to "compute" what she saw, she doesn't understand better than Ennis what is happening.

Both of them are completely at a loss to face what they are confronted to.

They have no words to speak about it, but insults and derogatory words and dirty names.

Having no words to think about it, and having no words to speak about it, they just have to live with it, in pain and silence, with a growing bitterness. That was Alma's fate, and Ennis' too.

Well said, Lizandre.   The tragic bottom line of this story, perhaps.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on April 10, 2006, 05:18:50 PM
They have no words to speak about it, but insults and derogatory words and dirty names.

Having no words to think about it, and having no words to speak about it, they just have to live with it, in pain and silence, with a growing bitterness. That was Alma's fate, and Ennis' too.

I don't remember Ennis saying anything insulting or derogatory to Alma.  He even defended her, "You leave Alma alone. This isn't her fault."  I think her confrontation with him in the kitchen on Thanksgiving was mean spirited and uncalled for.

-- Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: downloaded1 on April 10, 2006, 05:20:25 PM
  I think her confrontation with him in the kitchen on Thanksgiving was mean spirited and uncalled for.

-- Pooh
Quote


You must be joking. 8)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 11, 2006, 11:33:53 AM
  I think her confrontation with him in the kitchen on Thanksgiving was mean spirited and uncalled for.

-- Pooh
Quote

You must be joking. 8)

Well, that shut down the conversation!  Actually, it's worth exploring.  Perhaps what downloaded means (and I'm sure he can speak for himself) is that Alma's confrontation with Ennis is inevitable based on the course they are set on by Annie P.  That, despite the fact it is painful for both Ennis and Alma, and also for us, it is a confrontation Alma has kept bottled up for years and must inevitably happen.

But I don't think Pooh would joke about the Thanksgiving scene. :-\
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: louisev on April 11, 2006, 12:04:52 PM
If that is the only thing Alma said for the entire marriage about her husband going off and having trysts with his male lover several times a year, then Ennis got off extremely lightly.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on April 11, 2006, 01:22:20 PM
You have to take into account something about Alma and Ennis: they are unable to articulate the complexity of their emotions. Ennis don't understand "this thing" that possess him when Jack is near, and doesn't want to, because he is afraid of being queer. Alma has no context to "compute" what she saw, she doesn't understand better than Ennis what is happening.

Both of them are completely at a loss to face what they are confronted to.

They have no words to speak about it, but insults and derogatory words and dirty names.

Having no words to think about it, and having no words to speak about it, they just have to live with it, in pain and silence, with a growing bitterness. That was Alma's fate, and Ennis' too.


This is exactly what BBM is saying and what Proulx intended. She says it took her more than 4 years to write, more than any other story by far and more than a typical novel to write. This amounts to about 7 words written per day! So she has packed a lot of meaning and associations into each word and between the words. This richness is what I see missing in some of the posts here and the reason I originally started writing here.

Ennis' conflict is largely unconscious or suppressed, and his task is to uncover this part of himself and come to terms with it if possible. The reader does not know whether or how he will accomplish this, nor did Proulx know until she finished, I imagine. Alma is not conscious either of what is going on in Ennis but has some inkling after the sight from the screen door. What she does with that image and how she conducts herself thereafter, is mostly within her control. We're each responsible for how we respond to our situation in life, Proulx seems to be saying. Alma has no unconscious conflict to deal with, just a conscious conflict with what she does about Ennis and her marriage. In a sense she has more freedom to act than Ennis. Ennis is trapped in an endless loop of unconscious urges. She is encumbered only with her situation (married to Ennis and with children), her conditioning of which we know little, and the prevailing sexism in the society around her at that time. How she and Ennis acquit themselves given their respective conflicts, is what makes the story interesting to me.

As a relative free agent (at least compared to Ennis), Alma makes certain choices that show her character. There were more than one way for her to deal with her situation, and what interests me are the paths she didn't choose, what that says about her, and the possible consequences from those choices. I think Proulx also thought about this. She didn't choose to confront Ennis about Jack in all the years she was married to him. Why? The prevalent answer here seems to be that she was afraid of his reaction. Maybe,  but I see no indication in her character that she is not afraid of going for what she wants if it's important to her. I think the answer is deeper and more complex than that. However, having made her choice to not confront Ennis before the divorce, why does she choose to confront him at Thanksgiving after the divorce, settled in her favor with large (for him) child support payments from Ennis. Her choice and Proulx's, tells me a lot about Alma's character. The Thanksgiving scene is clearly set up by Alma both in the story and the film. Ennis' reaction is predictable. Monroe and especially the daughters are the intended audience; Alma could have staged this scene anywhere but it occurred in their earshot. What did Alma intend to achieve by staging this scene at this time, and why did she wait until this point? I can only imagine what would have happened if she chose to bring up the fishing creel note after Ennis returned from BBM but I think it’s probable that he would have reacted much like he reacted at Thanksgiving, with nothing more than a threat of violence, a “burning bracelet”, and an exit to cool off. So Alma had nothing to fear after all but she should have known this about Ennis from her years of living with him. So what is the real reason that she chose to wait for this scene and what would have happened if she had chosen differently? But that is not what happened or how Proulx wrote the character. And Proulx wrote Alma’s character deliberately and carefully to be the choices that she made.

What does this say about Alma’s character? After the Thanksgiving scene, Ennis “didn't try to see his girls for a long time, figuring they would look him up when they got the sense and years to move out from Alma.” And they did have the sense, at least to see what their parent’s respective characters were. Alma Jr., the older daughter, does want to live with her father as Ennis predicted. Ennis knows his daughters and they have understood their parents well, and not rejected their father. This tells me something about how the daughters viewed their parents and the choices that their parents both made.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on April 11, 2006, 02:42:02 PM
I don't think that Alma 'staged' the confrontation at Thanksgiving. Or certainly not in a conscious way. When do most rows in families happen? At holidays like Christmas - and domestic violence too. I think she was trying to make the whole thing pass off ok and making a pretty conventional stab at conversation and Ennis's 'Once burned' comment was provocative and unthinking of him - again, not deliberately so I felt but said in the confidence that Alma didn't know about him and Jack and so he wouldn't know that she was holding that as a grievance against him.

And so the trigger was flipped and out came the anger just below the surface.

I don't think it's fair to apply these separate criteria to them: Ennis can get away with anything because he doesn't process what's going on consciously but Alma must be held to account for everything she does as a deliberately worked out strategy. Alma is allowed her unconscious motivations and behaviours too, surely? And Ennis has to be held responsible for his behaviour and responses. He is a grown man, after all.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on April 11, 2006, 02:56:45 PM
Agree, Patroclus.

I too, don't believe that Alma can fairly be characterized as "staging" the Thanksgiving scene. That eruptive confrontation was always in the cards for those two, a day of reckoning. Proulx wanted Alma to have her say and decided to make it on Thanksgiving.

Again, I believe the "once burned" comment by Ennis served two purposes for him: 2. It allows him to reinforce the false notion that he is straight and Alma the female broke his heart and 2. Ir provokes Alma, as ex-spouses are wont to do with each other.

I also appreciate your point about some here wanting to overlook the faults of both Jack and Ennis. I prefer to comprehend them as the full human beings they are with character assets AND flaws.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on April 11, 2006, 04:15:22 PM
Hi patroclus,
Of course Ennis is sexist. He's a man. This is clear in the market scene when he expects Alma to call her babysitter to take the kids so he could go to work. I think there was something else going on when "His moody, fretful, self-absorbed mooching as he waited in for Jack". This was the 1st time in 4 years that he was going to see the love of his life who he had given up on ever seeing again. Sure Alma is working in the background, but Ennis is shown working around the house or in his job in every other scene. Ennis is sexist but this is not an example of it.

Picking this up from a while back, richm. You see, for me this is an example of the invisibility of sexism. Imagine if the situation were reversed. If Alma was meeting up with an old friend. Imagine if she'd spent the whole day in her best clothes, ignoring Ennis, the children and just fretting, drinking and smoking. Then leapt up and cleared off with her friend (let's not even throw in the kissing), be back some time - you sort out the children, whatever... Then rolled up the next morning declaring she's taking off for a few days, no time to talk - see you!

See what I mean? It becomes almost unimaginable. That's the sexism inherent in the whole thing. Ennis is cashing in his privileges as a man over her as a woman, his wife. I'm not saying he's a monster just that the scene as played in the film for me caught the unspoken sexism and revealed it really deftly and subtly, while retaining the viewers sympathy for Ennis's single minded focus on seeing Jack, his anxiety he'd not turn up. Holding all these balls in the air. That's what I enjoyed about it and what made it so real.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: dsmom on April 11, 2006, 04:19:33 PM
Add to the fact that Alma had herself dressed up and was expecting to go out with them...
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on April 11, 2006, 04:28:57 PM
absolutely, dsmom, good point. It's pretty painful watching her trying to fit this guy into their shared life and being very firmly cut out and left holding the babies.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on April 11, 2006, 04:37:05 PM
Add to the fact that Alma had herself dressed up and was expecting to go out with them...

Exactly! It's yet another detail which makes Alma so sympathetic. Think of the morning after: Ennis returns, she plans on confronting him in her tightlipped manner....only to find out that he's leaving for two days with the guy she saw kissing him. To add insult to injury, he quite literally hands off one of the babies to Alma, as if to say, "Take care of what you're good at."

And then people wonder why she was so "mean" when she let Ennis have it 10 years later.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: dsmom on April 11, 2006, 04:40:51 PM
and about the Thanksgiving scene; every family has the White Elephant....something everyone 'knows' but you don't discuss...Uncle Ed's alcoholism...cousin Donna's illigitimate child...I think Jack was Ennis and Alma' white elephant...you can not be married to someone that long and not sense a problem...and Ennis never tried real hard to hide it...a few trout here and there would have gone a long way...

So I think she WAS just trying to have a 'normal' pass the time conversation...and because of whatever reason took the comment about 'once burned' the wrong way...
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on April 11, 2006, 04:41:24 PM
Yep, sotoalf, it's such a relief to hear other people standing up for Alma and her right to be angry with Ennis

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: dsmom on April 11, 2006, 04:47:34 PM
And while I'm on the subject....I know I'd be incredibly irritable if I was that pregnant had just cooked a huge Thanksgiving dinner, invited my ex(for my daughters sake) and had to clean up by myself while my husband sat his behind down and smoked a cigar...(and why those girls weren't helping I don't know) Yeah, I'd be testy...
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: dsmom on April 11, 2006, 04:56:31 PM
Uh oh, I think I killed this thread, too...that's me wreaking havic everywhere I go...
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: bluehorse on April 11, 2006, 05:05:41 PM
And then I come in and bust up the party.  :) I don't know why I have so little sympathy for Alma. I just don't connect with her pain or heartbreak. Never have in all the times I've seen the film. It's strange. I sort of feel like a tornado, want to just sweep through e & j's lives and suck up all obstacles to their love. Not a very encompassing or compassionate position, but it's how I feel when watching. I do see that the screenwriters/filmmakers have gone to great lengths to show the fall-out on the other characters and Michelle W. is amazing, but it's almost like my heart is full to bursting with e & J and has no room left for Alma. Or my identification with Ennis is so overwhelming that it blinds me to her. Or their love itself blinds me to her. I don't know.



Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on April 11, 2006, 05:20:50 PM
"I don't know why I have so little sympathy for Alma."

Bluehorse- Your frankness about your lack of sympathy for Alma is to your credit.

I, otoh, feel the most sympathy for her than Jack and Ennis who have their repationship to sustain them or Lureen who has her toughness to sustain her.

During the morning of Ennis arrival home, mere minutes after he and Jack have had a sex-saturated blissful reunion, she peers out her window. Their Jack stands, nonchalantly wiped out with that neon " I just got laid all night" air about him. That scene of Alma as she takes in the sight of Jack sears me more than when she sees the actual reunion kiss.

Post-kiss she has her shock, with its numbing effect to give her some blissful relief. Then, Ennis arrives home with Jack. Nope, he wasn't no dream. He's a reality, standing right out her window.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on April 11, 2006, 05:21:19 PM
so open your eyes with me and dsmom, bluehorse. You're a smart man, you can do it! It's not that I don't want Ennis and Jack to be together, I want that totally and am cheering them on in the Reunion kiss. It's just that I really appreciate the bittersweet twist that we're pulled back from the romantic fulfilment by being made to see Alma's pain and hurt and confusion and how undeserved it is. Can't you feel how that might be for someone?: you've tried your best and you're just pushed aside and treated as if you're nothing... and you realise you're not in a partnership at all, you're on your own.

I find her situation incredibly poignant and will defend her to the death! And I'm rooting for Ennis but he really is a git too, how he treats her. I think it makes sense to feel for all of them, not just the guys.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: dsmom on April 11, 2006, 05:38:08 PM
YEAH, come on our hearts are big enough for everyone...and  the only bad guy in this film is Randy!!!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: dsmom on April 11, 2006, 05:39:30 PM
OOOPS sorry, MR. AQUIRRE
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on April 11, 2006, 05:40:51 PM
I, otoh, feel the most sympathy for her than Jack and Ennis who have their repationship to sustain them or Lureen who has her toughness to sustain her.

During the morning of Ennis arrival home, mere minutes after he and Jack have had a sex-saturated blissful reunion, she peers out her window. Their Jack stands, nonchalantly wiped out with that neon " I just got laid all night" air about him. That scene of Alma as she takes in the sight of Jack sears me more than when she sees the actual reunion kiss.

He isn't just standing: he's leaning against the truck, smoking a cigarette as if he owned the place. She's perfectly right to think it rude that Ennis won't invite him.

This scene is yet another example of Ang Lee's fairness. We see the toll on Alma.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: bluehorse on April 11, 2006, 05:49:55 PM
Hi Patroclus, I'm a woman, actually.  ;) It's not that I don't intellectually appreciate the heartbreak of her situation. And I do see how genius it is that we are pulled from the most skyrocketing passion to her shock, confusion and devastation. But still, oddly, I feel a coldness toward her. It's very unlike me, too, to not be pervasively compassionate, so I'm not sure what it is. It's not that I can't imagine how it feels for her, I can, but it's almost like Ennis and Jack have grown into giants in my mind, busting through the roofs of their houses, their domestic lives, each one towering as high as brokeback itself, and so, I don't focus emotionally on her, she's too diminutive in comparison (in my mind). That was kind of a loopy way to describe it. I will think about it some more, and get back to you guys a little later (I'm off for a moment). . .
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on April 11, 2006, 06:15:57 PM
I don't think that Alma 'staged' the confrontation at Thanksgiving. Or certainly not in a conscious way. When do most rows in families happen? At holidays like Christmas - and domestic violence too. I think she was trying to make the whole thing pass off ok and making a pretty conventional stab at conversation and Ennis's 'Once burned' comment was provocative and unthinking of him - again, not deliberately so I felt but said in the confidence that Alma didn't know about him and Jack and so he wouldn't know that she was holding that as a grievance against him.

And so the trigger was flipped and out came the anger just below the surface.

I don't think it's fair to apply these separate criteria to them: Ennis can get away with anything because he doesn't process what's going on consciously but Alma must be held to account for everything she does as a deliberately worked out strategy. Alma is allowed her unconscious motivations and behaviours too, surely? And Ennis has to be held responsible for his behaviour and responses. He is a grown man, after all.



Hi patroclus,

Did I say that Alma is not “allowed her unconscious motivations and behaviors” or that “Ennis can get away with anything because he doesn’t process what’s going on consciously”? What I said was “In a sense she has more freedom to act than Ennis. Ennis is trapped in an endless loop of unconscious urges. She is encumbered only with her situation (married to Ennis and with children), her conditioning of which we know little, and the prevailing sexism in the society around her at that time.” What unconscious motivations are you referring to? Ennis’ are apparent but Alma’s are not so apparent and must be guessed at from her actions and thoughts. I never said that Ennis gets a free pass for anything he does; just that much of what he does is effected by his inarticulateness and unconsciousness of his sexuality and his love for Jack. He does not have the vocabulary to understand what’s going on inside of himself. I know from personal experience it’s a full time job avoiding putting 2 and 2 together about what these unconscious urges mean, and this distorts everything one does.  I said “We're each responsible for how we respond to our situation in life” which means Ennis too. And we see what the consequences of Ennis’ decisions are at the end of the story when he says “Jack, I swear...” Ennis’ unawareness of his conflicted sexuality doesn’t give him a free pass from the consequences of his actions and neither does Alma escape the consequences of her actions. I’m not applying separate criterion for them; that’s called a straw man argument.

As for thanksgiving, Alma is visibly uncomfortable from the start of dinner when I would think Ennis would be the uncomfortable one, coming to dinner with his ex-wife and new husband. What does she have to be uncomfortable about here unless she is considering confronting Ennis? The story says that she asks Ennis to help her with the dishes, and then the first thing she says is to ask him is when is he getting remarried. Knowing what she knows about Ennis’ sexuality, this is a deliberate provocation. Then when he says “once burned” (a phrase that is ambiguous at best and not said unkindly), she calmly relates the story of the fishing creel. She is not visibly angry until she calls Jack, Jack Nasty. It’s certainly very possible that she deliberately set up this confrontation, and if it is, it very nasty indeed.

I know your and almost everyone else’s take on Alma well from this echo chamber so don’t need another restatement of your take on Alma’s motivation. And no more straw man arguments please.


Hi patroclus,
Of course Ennis is sexist. He's a man. This is clear in the market scene when he expects Alma to call her babysitter to take the kids so he could go to work. I think there was something else going on when "His moody, fretful, self-absorbed mooching as he waited in for Jack". This was the 1st time in 4 years that he was going to see the love of his life who he had given up on ever seeing again. Sure Alma is working in the background, but Ennis is shown working around the house or in his job in every other scene. Ennis is sexist but this is not an example of it.

Picking this up from a while back, richm. You see, for me this is an example of the invisibility of sexism. Imagine if the situation were reversed. If Alma was meeting up with an old friend. Imagine if she'd spent the whole day in her best clothes, ignoring Ennis, the children and just fretting, drinking and smoking. Then leapt up and cleared off with her friend (let's not even throw in the kissing), be back some time - you sort out the children, whatever... Then rolled up the next morning declaring she's taking off for a few days, no time to talk - see you!

See what I mean? It becomes almost unimaginable. That's the sexism inherent in the whole thing. Ennis is cashing in his privileges as a man over her as a woman, his wife. I'm not saying he's a monster just that the scene as played in the film for me caught the unspoken sexism and revealed it really deftly and subtly, while retaining the viewers sympathy for Ennis's single minded focus on seeing Jack, his anxiety he'd not turn up. Holding all these balls in the air. That's what I enjoyed about it and what made it so real.

This is the only scene at home that doesn’t show Ennis working alongside Alma (or relaxing with her). She may have been miffed or more likely, perplexed by Ennis’ nervous waiting while she went about her work around the house. She may have expected to go out with them after dinner since she dressed for it. Ennis may even had planned for them all to go out. Ennis admits he is surprised at his reaction to seeing Jack again, and Jack is visibly surprised at Ennis. So there was a change of plans. This happens, even in more innocent occasions. And the next day, he gets away as fast as he can so there will be no questions. If Ennis was in the habit of lounging around while alma worked, I would call that sexism. I was upset along with alma, watching the scene from the screen door, and at the same time, sharing in ennis and Jack's rapturous reunion kiss.

I think this was your take on this scene; can you see why I took it differently, even as I admit Ennis’ sexism in other scenes. Why is it important to you to paint this scene as sexist when there are other, obvious examples that we can both agree on?

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Just_a_Twist on April 11, 2006, 08:00:15 PM
I, otoh, feel the most sympathy for her than Jack and Ennis who have their repationship to sustain them or Lureen who has her toughness to sustain her.

During the morning of Ennis arrival home, mere minutes after he and Jack have had a sex-saturated blissful reunion, she peers out her window. Their Jack stands, nonchalantly wiped out with that neon " I just got laid all night" air about him. That scene of Alma as she takes in the sight of Jack sears me more than when she sees the actual reunion kiss.

He isn't just standing: he's leaning against the truck, smoking a cigarette as if he owned the place. She's perfectly right to think it rude that Ennis won't invite him.

This scene is yet another example of Ang Lee's fairness. We see the toll on Alma.

Oh, yeah, this is so true, Ennis and Jack are very sexist in their treatment of Alma.  They are part of their culture, and they share their culture's attitude at that time about women.  They treat her like they expect her to be a total doormat.  Sure, Ennis gives that goodbye kiss, he's feeling guilty, but it's still shabby behavior.  And Alma, a woman of her day, takes ten years ever to say anything about it!  Amazing.

Poor Alma, that look she has when she suggests taking Ennis' friend out to The Knife and Fork.  She's glad he's having a friend over, looking forward to it.  And that is what she gets!  Ugh, I feel very bad for her too.  Her life seemed to hold promise too when she was sledding down that hill with Ennis.

It's one of the things that makes me so mad at conservatives who say this is a propaganda film.  Bull!  I've never seen a  film so exquisitely balanced, a film that refuses to make heroes are villains out of anyone.  These people are humans, born to make mistakes, and that's the tragedy.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on April 12, 2006, 01:28:17 AM
Hi Patroclus, I'm a woman, actually.  ;)

Sorry, bluehorse. Bit of an assumption there
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 12, 2006, 08:00:07 AM

During the morning of Ennis arrival home, mere minutes after he and Jack have had a sex-saturated blissful reunion, she peers out her window. Their Jack stands, nonchalantly wiped out with that neon " I just got laid all night" air about him. That scene of Alma as she takes in the sight of Jack sears me more than when she sees the actual reunion kiss.

He isn't just standing: he's leaning against the truck, smoking a cigarette as if he owned the place. She's perfectly right to think it rude that Ennis won't invite him.



Hi sotoalf, do you mean rude to Jack or rude to Alma?  I think I know what you mean, just want to make sure.  Conventionally, it's rude to Jack, but this time convention is turned on its head.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on April 12, 2006, 08:09:20 AM
It was rude of Ennis. I understand his (unspoken) reason – he wants to avoid another tense scene between the three, especially now, when their fucky expressions would have given the game away – but it sure didn't help his case any.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: bluehorse on April 12, 2006, 08:51:44 AM
Patroclus, dsmom, JHL11 and all you compassionate souls. Here's the heartless truth of it. I've been thinking about this all evening. Since BBM came out, much talk has been of how balanced the film is, how we get to see the tragic toll e & j's love (their inability to embrace that love) has on Alma, Lureen, the kids. This is clear in the care and precision of the filmmaking, the writing, the acting, the editing, all of it. However, since early talk of this, I've always shook my head in agreement, because it's true, but really, as I wrote earlier, my heart remains indifferent to Alma and her situation. This is quite antithetical to my nature, too. So, this is what I've come up with:
 
Here is love as force of nature and like hurricane, earthquake, tidal wave, this kind of love doesn't consider us, doesn't care about consequence. It is a blind, wild, raging mess. It doesn't care about society, homophobia, the institution of marriage, Ennis's childhood trauma, and on and on. Love doesn't consider. It is that thunderous river, the sun burning into the sea, the breeze slipping through trees. It is gorgeous, terrible, perfect, and harrowing if unpermitted. We see Ennis try to stuff this love into his fists, Jack try to quit it. We see Lureen calcify, Alma embitter. But despite all this, I am left awestruck and breathless at love's unconcerned and riotous beauty. Ennis and Jack have it. And so, as much as I intellectually can relate to Alma's heartbreak and pain, at the deepest soul level, like love itself, I don't care; all consequence: inconsequential.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 12, 2006, 09:05:25 AM

Here is love as force of nature and like hurricane, earthquake, tidal wave, this kind of love doesn't consider us, doesn't care about consequence. It is a blind, wild, raging mess. It doesn't care about society, homophobia, the institution of marriage, Ennis's childhood trauma, and on and on. Love doesn't consider. It is that thunderous river, the sun burning into the sea, the breeze slipping through trees. It is gorgeous, terrible, perfect, and harrowing if unpermitted. We see Ennis try to stuff this love into his fists, Jack try to quit it. We see Lureen calcify, Alma embitter. But despite all this, I am left awestruck and breathless at love's unconcerned and riotous beauty. Ennis and Jack have it. And so, as much as I intellectually can relate to Alma's heartbreak and pain, at the deepest soul level, like love itself, I don't care; all consequence: inconsequential.


bluehorse, you are right, and beyond that, the impact of the story is how this touches our lives.  Ennis and Jack have this love, but they might never have acted on it, if Jack hadn't initiated the Reunion.  Most of us, man and woman, (that is, if we have lived long enough) know the terrible pain of being forced to move on from a love like that.  In fact, it seems to me most often that kind of love occurs but is not mutual.  Well, at least that has happened to me!  And more tragic if it is mutual but due to timing or circumstances one of the people decides not to pursue it (as when Ennis left Jack and married Alma).  IMO part of the universal appeal of this story is that we see Jack and Ennis begin on the conventional track of trying to move on from their love, then the Reunion changes that for the rest of their lives.

Alma is the other side of that coin.  She loves Ennis and she's supposed to have him, as his wife.  But at this point in time (the Reunion) she gets a seismic shift in her reality, the realization the love of her life isn't hers and hasn't been since before the wedding. 

Most days that is where I find myself with you, in J & E's point of view on this, sheep be damned, Alma be damned, Lureen be damned. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Lizandre on April 12, 2006, 09:31:59 AM
Oh no, exuberant lyricism has stroke again!

As much as I understand the need to connect to our boys in a "Romeo & Juliet" fashion, I think the reality of their story is a bit grimer and so much more mudane.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: bluehorse on April 12, 2006, 09:48:18 AM
Nice, Lizandre. Read back, I was trying to explain my indifference to Alma, love as a force apart from our boys, that blasts unconcerned through our lives, my personal take, I am not really inside the story here. . .
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: bluehorse on April 12, 2006, 10:49:23 AM
. . . sheep be damned. . . 

Exactly.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 12, 2006, 02:02:23 PM
Most days that is where I find myself with you, in J & E's point of view on this, sheep be damned, Alma be damned, Lureen be damned. 

I'm glad I'm not the only one.  While I sympathize with Alma and Lureen, it took me a while to get there.  I was so invested in the love between Jack and Ennis, on the first couple of viewings, I felt like Alma and Lureen were intruding on this powerful force that is their love.  I wanted so desperately for Jack and Ennis to be on BBM forever.  But life is not that idealistic and neither is love.  There are obstacles, heartaches, and sacrifices.  After subsequent viewings (and after I knew how it would end), I was able to sympathize more with these women.  Alma and Lureen loved their husbands IMO and that love wasn't returned (at least not in the way it should have been).  These women did not even have the power to satisfy their husbands, and as Ennis says about Alma, "it ain't her fault."  Alma and Lureen were utterly powerless in the face of Jack and Ennis' love.  I thought of how I would feel in that situation, and I would be devastated.  Having said that, I still root for Ennis and Jack with all my heart---can't help it.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Just_a_Twist on April 12, 2006, 02:09:48 PM
What's sad about it all is that in a lot of ways Ennis and Alma and Lureen and Jack are well-suited for each other.  Am I the only one who thinks Lureen and Jack could have made a dynamite couple, if he had been straight?  But tragically for Alma and Lureen, Ennis and Jack just can not give to a marrige with a woman what it needs. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: patroclus on April 12, 2006, 02:25:32 PM

I know your and almost everyone else’s take on Alma well from this echo chamber so don’t need another restatement of your take on Alma’s motivation. And no more straw man arguments please.

I think this was your take on this scene; can you see why I took it differently, even as I admit Ennis’ sexism in other scenes. Why is it important to you to paint this scene as sexist when there are other, obvious examples that we can both agree on?



richm: I feel like I'd like to continue exploring this with you and did have some further points but to be honest I feel offended and hurt by the aggressive, dismissive tone of a lot of your response to me. I don't think I deserve this. I looked back to see if I'd been aggressive to you and I don't overall think I was. If it felt that way I apologise.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 12, 2006, 02:31:17 PM
What's sad about it all is that in a lot of ways Ennis and Alma and Lureen and Jack are well-suited for each other.  Am I the only one who thinks Lureen and Jack could have made a dynamite couple, if he had been straight?  But tragically for Alma and Lureen, Ennis and Jack just can not give to a marrige with a woman what it needs. 


No you're not alone!  At times I can sure identify with Lureen, I know why she picked Jack!  And that's why I think she kept hoping it would get better, year after year. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on April 12, 2006, 04:19:14 PM
I still don't like Alma.  In fact, I have a strong feeling she was prepared to marry Monroe at the time of her divorce.  Look at the ages of the kids between the last time with Ennis and Thanksgiving.  Not much difference, perhaps a year?

She had to know he was a silent loner before he went up on Brokeback. He said he hadn't spoken that much in a year. Where was he that year? Probably with Alma. She didn't win his heart and trust then, and wasn't likely to do so after they were married.  It's pretty clear from the beginning that Ennis wanted to live on a ranch.  She wanted him to make more money. She wanted him to move to town. She wanted him to take a job at the Electric Company.  She wanted to work outside the home (which was unusual back then). She wanted to go to church socials.  She wants, she wants, she wants.  No wonder he couldn't make it work.  Poor Ennis.  He found one person to whom he could bare his soul, and lost him.  That's what kills me most about Brokeback. 

-- Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on April 12, 2006, 05:29:48 PM
What's sad about it all is that in a lot of ways Ennis and Alma and Lureen and Jack are well-suited for each other.  Am I the only one who thinks Lureen and Jack could have made a dynamite couple, if he had been straight?  But tragically for Alma and Lureen, Ennis and Jack just can not give to a marrige with a woman what it needs. 

One of the film's many bitter ironies is that Jack -- of the two the one most comfortable with his sexuality, who could have built a life in San Francisco, Miami, or the East Village -- gets along with Lureen better than Ennis -- the ostensibly 'straighter' one, least likely to set off alarms -- and Alma.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Just_a_Twist on April 12, 2006, 05:40:12 PM
I love the way Lureen smiles when Jack finally tells off her Daddy.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on April 12, 2006, 05:41:52 PM
Poohbunn-

for crying out loud, Alma was cought in a marital situation that the combined talents of Dr. Phil, the Pope, and Oprah Winfrey could not  have solved.

Ennis could've been straight as a tape measure and that marraige was bound to fail. They were simply too young to be married. Add in the fact that Ennis was a closeted gay man and you have the perfect storm of marital pathology.

Gay, straight, bi, animal ,mineral or vegetable Ennis was poor husband material.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: RByrd on April 12, 2006, 05:45:04 PM
If that is the only thing Alma said for the entire marriage about her husband going off and having trysts with his male lover several times a year, then Ennis got off extremely lightly.

Exactly!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Just_a_Twist on April 12, 2006, 06:22:23 PM
Poohbunn-

for crying out loud, Alma was cought in a marital situation that the combined talents of Dr. Phil, the Pope, and Oprah Winfrey could not  have solved.

Ennis could've been straight as a tape measure and that marraige was bound to fail. They were simply too young to be married. Add in the fact that Ennis was a closeted gay man and you have the perfect storm of marital pathology.

Gay, straight, bi, animal ,mineral or vegetable Ennis was poor husband material.

LOL, testify, sister!

That's true though.  Ennis is tough to handle, he has a low startle point. ;)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 12, 2006, 07:04:43 PM

One of the film's many bitter ironies is that Jack -- of the two the one most comfortable with his sexuality, who could have built a life in San Francisco, Miami, or the East Village -- gets along with Lureen better than Ennis -- the ostensibly 'straighter' one, least likely to set off alarms -- and Alma.

Jack got along with almost anyone better than Ennis would have.

I agree with JHL, Ennis and Alma were WAY too young to get married.  At that age you don't know yourself, much less who you are marrying.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: magicmountain on April 12, 2006, 07:48:36 PM
Oh no, exuberant lyricism has stroke again!

As much as I understand the need to connect to our boys in a "Romeo & Juliet" fashion, I think the reality of their story is a bit grimer and so much more mudane.

This film totally blurs the boundary between the observer and the observed. The interior lives of these men, from the inner sanctum of the tent to the abandoned trailer of the plains, form a psychological landscape which we inhabit. We experience every grim step of their hard scrabble and alienated lives on the plains. How can we not also exult in the poetry of their grand passion on the mountain?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 12, 2006, 08:57:14 PM

One of the film's many bitter ironies is that Jack -- of the two the one most comfortable with his sexuality, who could have built a life in San Francisco, Miami, or the East Village -- gets along with Lureen better than Ennis -- the ostensibly 'straighter' one, least likely to set off alarms -- and Alma.

Jack got along with almost anyone better than Ennis would have.

I agree with JHL, Ennis and Alma were WAY too young to get married.  At that age you don't know yourself, much less who you are marrying.

Maybe age had something to do with the failure of the Del Mar marriage, but I think getting married at 18 or 19 was common back then (and divorce much more rare).  Especially so in rural communities where women had no prospect outside of high school but getting married and having babies.  Life expectancy back then probably was in the 60's for men and women, so 18 would be like getting married at 28 today.   Alma certainly went into this marriage on the young and naive side, though.  She may not have realized what to expect out of a marriage, emotionally, financially or sexually.  But even if she had been 10 years older, this marriage was doomed from the start. 

P.S.  My mom got married at 18 and she and my dad are about to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 12, 2006, 09:20:31 PM

Maybe age had something to do with the failure of the Del Mar marriage, but I think getting married at 18 or 19 was common back then (and divorce much more rare).  Especially so in rural communities where women had no prospect outside of high school but getting married and having babies.  Life expectancy back then probably was in the 60's for men and women, so 18 would be like getting married at 28 today.   Alma certainly went into this marriage on the young and naive side, though.  She may not have realized what to expect out of a marriage, emotionally, financially or sexually.  But even if she had been 10 years older, this marriage was doomed from the start. 

P.S.  My mom got married at 18 and she and my dad are about to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. 



All good points (I'm curious where your mother is from, where your parents got married).

You're right about Ennis and Alma specifically, but do you think it's possible that if they had been older - mid to late twenties - they might have been able to recognize some of those things Pooh was thinking Alma should have known -- like, Ennis was a loner, she was more social, she wanted him to look for high-paying work, he wasn't suited to that, etc.?

IMO, at the age of 19 or twenty, even if they had talked this out they couldn't have known what they were in for.  Gay or straight.  But Ennis' orientation was the deciding factor (IMHO)

You are right divorce was more rare then - in fact, had the story been set in the fifties, Alma probably would not have divorced Ennis.  In the sixties, it was more accepted.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: downloaded1 on April 12, 2006, 09:21:24 PM
They divorced 1975.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on April 12, 2006, 11:16:05 PM
Hi Patroclus,

Sorry you think I’m being aggressive. I didn’t mean to be and don't think I was. I’m just frustrated by some of the posts I’m been getting from you and some others here that PARAPHASE my very nuanced thorough impressions into a few lines, and then argue against your characterization of what I said. I think I’ve pointed this technique out to you and to others a few times already so just go back to see what I mean. I always quote what you said and then make my response to that, not to some words that I’ve put in your mouth. That’s what I mean by a “straw man” argument. Why do you think this is being aggressive?

I tried to give you an example of this in my last post to you. Didn’t you get what I meant? Here’s another example. You characterized what I said about Ennis’ and Alma’s psyches as “I don't think it's fair to apply these separate criteria to them: Ennis can get away with anything because he doesn't process what's going on consciously but Alma must be held to account for everything she does as a deliberately worked out strategy. Alma is allowed her unconscious motivations and behaviours too, surely? And Ennis has to be held responsible for his behaviour and responses. He is a grown man, after all.” I don’t think this is a fair characterization of what I was saying. If you think that it is, then I can’t have a discussion with you. If you are asking if this is what I’m saying, then I can discuss. I’m trying to be fair with everyone here and only ask the same in return.

Then you insist on seeing sexism in the scene with Ennis waiting for Jack even though I’ve put out my reasoning twice about that in detail. You ignore my argument “Sure Alma is working in the background, but Ennis is shown working around the house or in his job in every other scene. Ennis is sexist but this is not an example of it” and “This is the only scene at home that doesn’t show Ennis working alongside Alma (or relaxing with her)” as if I didn’t say anything to back up my opinion or was denying Ennis sexism. I get the impression you think I’m sexist and are trying to teach me about this. I really don’t need this lesson but would appreciate being respected as an equal in an honest discussion about this film/story.

Actually I do think you and some others have been a little aggressive with putting out your opinions as gospel just because everyone else here seems to agree with you at least about Alma. Some others have argued that an “average reader” in this forum thinks the same way about BBM that they do and that’s their response to me. How do I argue against that? For a while I seemed to be ganged up against here for putting out a different opinion than one you would like to hear, even though I don’t think I’m that far away from most people’s ideas of BBM here if people would engage with each other without resorting to straw men arguments.

I’ve put out several posts now that are very lengthy and contain some complex ideas, and what I’ve seen in response is often ignoring the valid and novel points of ¾ of the post, restating your difference of opinion with mine, and arguing against what you say I wrote and not what I wrote. You’re not the only one doing this, so I’m sorry you’re getting the brunt of my frustration.

What I have been saying is that I originally posted here because there was no discussion of what I see as Alma’s darker side, wanted to put that out as a valid impression and to engage in a discussion to clarify my own thinking and generate debate. I’ve made some mistakes in my reading/viewing of the material and don’t mind being corrected if it’s a valid point. Sometimes I’ve changed my opinion because of what is said here, something I didn’t think of, etc. I don’t see the same process going on with some of the people here. No matter what evidence is given, their opinion is always the same.

I’m glad we’re finally getting some diverse opinions in this forum. All I was hearing was everyone agreeing with everyone else. That’s what I mean by the echo chamber.  I know I joined this group only recently so maybe I missed some controversy previously. I happen to know that some people here have been intimidated by the united front of the opinions of some of the “experienced” posters here and that has silenced discussion. I think that would be a shame if allowed to continue. Isn’t there a moderator here?

I'm glad to continue discussing anything with you and hope that others will not continue to be intimidated to join the discussion too. Just allow me point out where I think someone is being unfair with me and not say that this hurts you. That may be a good way to get sympathy but doesn't make for an open discussion.

regards,
Rich Mesek


I know your and almost everyone else’s take on Alma well from this echo chamber so don’t need another restatement of your take on Alma’s motivation. And no more straw man arguments please.

I think this was your take on this scene; can you see why I took it differently, even as I admit Ennis’ sexism in other scenes. Why is it important to you to paint this scene as sexist when there are other, obvious examples that we can both agree on?



richm: I feel like I'd like to continue exploring this with you and did have some further points but to be honest I feel offended and hurt by the aggressive, dismissive tone of a lot of your response to me. I don't think I deserve this. I looked back to see if I'd been aggressive to you and I don't overall think I was. If it felt that way I apologise.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Just_a_Twist on April 13, 2006, 12:12:26 AM
The thing about Alma and Ennis is Alma is a very conventional woman, while Ennis has these seeds of rebellion in him.  Look at the differing reactions to going to the church social:

Ennis: "That fire and brimstone crowd?"
Alma: "I think it would be nice."

At least Alma can be sure that boring Monroe will take her to the church social.

Ennis seemed more willing to do these things earlier, but I think his own frustration at being kept from Jack embitters him against Alma, despite his earlier declaration, "it ain't her fault."

But surely we can't blame Alma for wanting a better standard of living for herself and the girls.  She worls hard too, it's not as if she's sitting on the couch eating chocolates and watching Oprah, to recall the Peg Bundy stereotype. Maybe the best thing she could have done for herself and for Ennis is to have confronted him immediately over the kiss, but she herself doesn't understand this.  What had Alma herself ever heard about homosexuality in 1967, in that part of the country?  I mean, look how meek Julianne Moor's character in Far From Heaven was about it, and she was a Connecticut fifties sophisticate.  And look how Ennis reacts when she finally does.  He comes very close to actual battery, though he does hold himself back and take out his anger on a stranger.  Ennis is not an easy guy to live with.  Only Jack can really ride him.  And his girls seem to love him throughout it all too.  But it's very hard for Alma, I can see why she's bitter.

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: lauren on April 13, 2006, 08:03:46 AM
Hi Patroclus, I'm a woman, actually.  ;) It's not that I don't intellectually appreciate the heartbreak of her situation. And I do see how genius it is that we are pulled from the most skyrocketing passion to her shock, confusion and devastation. But still, oddly, I feel a coldness toward her. It's very unlike me, too, to not be pervasively compassionate, so I'm not sure what it is. It's not that I can't imagine how it feels for her, I can, but it's almost like Ennis and Jack have grown into giants in my mind, busting through the roofs of their houses, their domestic lives, each one towering as high as brokeback itself, and so, I don't focus emotionally on her, she's too diminutive in comparison (in my mind). That was kind of a loopy way to describe it. I will think about it some more, and get back to you guys a little later (I'm off for a moment). . .

I also have little sympathy for Alma for all the same reasons you mention. It's not like me either but it's not that I feel uncaring towards here, just an antipathy. I'm just too swept up in wanting the two great lovers who should be together to be together and I resent the impediments they face.  But, I feel that Alma and Lureen) are as much victims of homophobia as Ennis and Jack.

Because of homophobia and intolerance (internal and external), Ennis marries Alma when he never should have married her, when he should have made a life with the person he truly loves. Jack marries Lureen because, like Ennis, it's what many "queer" men did at that time (and still do) -- they married because they didn't fully accept who they were, it was expected of a man to marry, and it provided a cover for their true natures. Alma and Lureen's lives could not have turned out differently because the men they married were "queer" and in love with each other. The only chance Alma and Lureen had at fulfillment was to have never married them, or to divorce them and move on.  Ennis' and Jack's hearts would always be with one another.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 13, 2006, 08:19:47 AM
All good points (I'm curious where your mother is from, where your parents got married).

You're right about Ennis and Alma specifically, but do you think it's possible that if they had been older - mid to late twenties - they might have been able to recognize some of those things Pooh was thinking Alma should have known -- like, Ennis was a loner, she was more social, she wanted him to look for high-paying work, he wasn't suited to that, etc.?

IMO, at the age of 19 or twenty, even if they had talked this out they couldn't have known what they were in for.  Gay or straight.  But Ennis' orientation was the deciding factor (IMHO)

You are right divorce was more rare then - in fact, had the story been set in the fifties, Alma probably would not have divorced Ennis.  In the sixties, it was more accepted.

I honestly don't believe it would have made a difference if Alma would have been ten years older when she married Ennis.  She was a rural, Christian girl.  Homosexuality probably wasn't even on her radar other than a mention in passing at Church of one of the things that will get you a one-way ticket to Hell.   Ennis, IMO, probably seemed like great husband material; the strong silent type, who was willing to work hard and be a good family man.  She, herself, probably wasn't raised to expect more. 

P.S.  My parents and I are from West Virginia, a very rural state (although we are in the biggest city in WV).  My mom came from a middle class to upper middle class background.  She liked BBM (so did my dad).  Thought both Jake and Heath were brilliant.  They're cool parents.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Marta on April 13, 2006, 09:47:52 AM
Poohbunn-

for crying out loud, Alma was cought in a marital situation that the combined talents of Dr. Phil, the Pope, and Oprah Winfrey could not  have solved.

Ennis could've been straight as a tape measure and that marraige was bound to fail. They were simply too young to be married. Add in the fact that Ennis was a closeted gay man and you have the perfect storm of marital pathology.

Gay, straight, bi, animal ,mineral or vegetable Ennis was poor husband material.

LOL, testify, sister!

That's true though.  Ennis is tough to handle, he has a low startle point. ;)


It always seemed to me that Ennis and Alma looked happy enough before the reunion. It's not what most of us would consider a perfect relation, it is clear that Ennis is the head of the house and the one that has all the authority. But I don't think that's a problem for Alma, I don't think she expected anything different. And Ennis is not an abusive husband as some of the post seem to depict him, on the contrary, he looks really sweet when he arrives home and after kissing Alma goes straight to take care of the girls. Alma is accepting Ennis' authority when she pleads to convince him to move to town and she finally does it again in the supermarket scene.

Actually it seems to me that she is quite in love with him, even with the fact that he doesn't talk much, Ennis is somehow the image of the perfect cowboy.

Watching the thanksgiving scene I always thought that Alma was still a bit in love with Ennis (I mean, the contrast between Ennis and Monroe !!) and that that's part of her bitterness. At the same time, I think that seeing the kiss at the reunion broke the image Alma had of Ennis. She despises homosexuality as Ennis does himself and from that moment on, we see that Alma doesn't respect him anymore. Combined with the fact that Ennis becomes more and more closed and has other priorities in life, leads straight to the divorce.

I still think that if there had not been the reunion, Alma and Ennis would had never separate. Ennis loves being a daddy. Ennis would have got better jobs and they would had kept on being happy enough for the rest of their lives.

Marta
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on April 13, 2006, 11:48:36 AM
Ennis, IMO, probably seemed like great husband material; the strong silent type, who was willing to work hard and be a good family man.  She, herself, probably wasn't raised to expect more. 

Ohhhh, I don't know... 

As far as Ennis' husband material, I mean.

I agree that Alma wasn't raised to expect much more than a man that would work to support a family and not beat her.  But, I can't say that I would consider that alone to be good husband material.  But, then I don't see Alma as good wife material.  Now, don't throw rocks at me yet...  What I am trying to say, is I don't really see them as good for each other regardless of whether Jack had re-entered Ennis' life.  They were a couple of kids that got married because they thought that is "what you are suppose to do".  Real love, understanding your partner, knowing and accepting your partner's work aspirations, real conversations of any kind didn't (at least to me) seem to be apparent. 

It didn't seem to me that either made an effort to emotionally connect to each other, the way that Ennis and Jack could and did.  We see affection between Ennis and Alma sure, but never a real connection even before Jack dropped like a bomb into their marriage.  I think they may have ended up, like a lot of couples in the 70s divorced even without Jack.  Other than the children what do these 2 really have together?

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Willhoite on April 13, 2006, 12:16:58 PM
I honestly don't believe it would have made a difference if Alma would have been ten years older when she married Ennis.  She was a rural, Christian girl.  Homosexuality probably wasn't even on her radar other than a mention in passing at Church of one of the things that will get you a one-way ticket to Hell.   Ennis, IMO, probably seemed like great husband material; the strong silent type, who was willing to work hard and be a good family man.  She, herself, probably wasn't raised to expect more. 

Annie Proulx never mentioned how Alma Beers was raised. She only makes one reference to religion and that is connected with Jack's mother.

But . . . , in the movie, they have Alma Beers Del Mar being an almost regular church goer. Ennis mentions the people at the church social would be of the fire and brimstone crowd. Must be either Baptist or some kind of Pentecostal church implied in that line.

Alma might not have been a regular church attendee until after they moved to Riverton. And, that might have been because some people had invited her to come and bring the girls to Sunday School.

We, as the audience and the book readers, can also read into the story lines of both, just like the screenplay writers and the director read things into the original story, too.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Just_a_Twist on April 13, 2006, 12:27:32 PM
I don't see how Ennis can be said really to be "happy" in the marriage when he reacts like he does when Jack visits.  Anyone really satisfied with their marriage would not behave like that, in my view.  This probably does give us some clue as to why Gene Shalit considered Jack a "sexual predator", however.  If you see Ennis as emotionally and sexually satisfied with Alma four years into the marriage, doesn't that indeed make Jack a villainous interloper?

Personally, I think Ennis might have "got by" with Alma, but I would not call him really happy in the marriage.  "I'm stuck with what I got."  Doesn't he say something like that to Jack in bed?  "Making a living's about all I got time for."  Doesn't sound like happiness, sounds like resignation.  Of course, that's what a lot of marriages are like, and people do "stand it."
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 13, 2006, 02:59:06 PM
I agree that Alma wasn't raised to expect much more than a man that would work to support a family and not beat her.  But, I can't say that I would consider that alone to be good husband material.  But, then I don't see Alma as good wife material.  Now, don't throw rocks at me yet...  What I am trying to say, is I don't really see them as good for each other regardless of whether Jack had re-entered Ennis' life.  They were a couple of kids that got married because they thought that is "what you are suppose to do".  Real love, understanding your partner, knowing and accepting your partner's work aspirations, real conversations of any kind didn't (at least to me) seem to be apparent. 
.

I'll agree that Ennis and Alma got married because that's what was expected.  I got the feeling, and I could be wrong, that courtships back then didn't consist of a lot of getting to know you, your ideals, feelings, dreams and goals.  Sort of like, find you a partner and your off to the chapel.  That's the way it was for a lot of people.  I don't see either Alma or Ennis as necessarily bad husband/wife material from the outside looking in (and not putting Jack in the loop here for a minute).  Both come, I suspect, from similar backgrounds, both socially and economically.  Both seemed to be hard workers and good parents.  They did do things together (the drive in) and as a family (4th of July, etc.)  Seems to me like maybe if Ennis had never met Jack maybe they could have made it work.  But after Ennis met Jack, all bets were off.  Ennis knew what real love was after Jack and, unfortunately, Alma would never compare
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Just_a_Twist on April 13, 2006, 03:04:12 PM
I think of the women Cassie was a better match for Ennis than Alma, she was more like Jack.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 13, 2006, 03:17:11 PM
I think of the women Cassie was a better match for Ennis than Alma, she was more like Jack.

Whoa, that is an interesting point, just as I was trying to meditate on whether Ennis and Alma would have stayed together if there had been no Reunion. 

But somehow my gut reaction is against this.  Cassie was so vivacious, she wanted to be a nurse - she brought a breath of fresh air -- no a gust of wind -- into Ennis' life but in the end I think he correctly assessed he couldn't do for her what she did for him.  IMO she was attracted to him (after all he looks like Heath) and also to the idea that she could bring him around, change him, give him what he was missing, and all of that -- there is something very attractive about saving someone who appears to be an underdog -- he "needs" her.

But, she so does not need him.  She just doesn't realize she's better off without him.

During their courtship, Ennis puts aside his true nature (that is, he hates dancing, she clearly loves it) but I don't think he would have kept it up for even five minutes after the ceremony.

That night when Alma asked Ennis to go out to the church social and he refused - he'd rather sit home, drink beer and smoke, watch TV (no conversation with the wife) oh dear that's what Cassie would have run into.  IMO!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Just_a_Twist on April 13, 2006, 04:27:40 PM
OMG!  Cassie would have turned into Alma!  Run, Cassie, run!!  ;D

Oh, I go so back and forth on Ennis.  In that last scene with Cassie, I'm wanting them actually to work it out, because things with Jack seem at such a hopless impasse, but I know people are right, it wouldn't work.  Ennis knows it too, so he does the right thing and lets her go.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on April 13, 2006, 04:44:48 PM
OMG!  Cassie would have turned into Alma!  Run, Cassie, run!!  ;D

Oh, I go so back and forth on Ennis.  In that last scene with Cassie, I'm wanting them actually to work it out, because things with Jack seem at such a hopless impasse, but I know people are right, it wouldn't work.  Ennis knows it too, so he does the right thing and lets her go.

I think Cassie was more open minded. As a waitress in a bar, she's probably heard it all.  She might have been able to make a life with Ennis. I know I could.  Hell, I'd live with both Jack and Ennis.  Let them be themselves and be a cover for them too. Woo hoo.  They wouldn't even have to sleep with me. I've been celibate for 10 years plus, so I know I could handle it. 

That's my fantasy, and I'm sticking to it.

Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 13, 2006, 07:05:20 PM
OMG!  Cassie would have turned into Alma!  Run, Cassie, run!!  ;D

Oh, I go so back and forth on Ennis.  In that last scene with Cassie, I'm wanting them actually to work it out, because things with Jack seem at such a hopless impasse, but I know people are right, it wouldn't work.  Ennis knows it too, so he does the right thing and lets her go.

I think Cassie was more open minded. As a waitress in a bar, she's probably heard it all.  She might have been able to make a life with Ennis. I know I could.  Hell, I'd live with both Jack and Ennis.  Let them be themselves and be a cover for them too. Woo hoo.  They wouldn't even have to sleep with me. I've been celibate for 10 years plus, so I know I could handle it. 

That's my fantasy, and I'm sticking to it.

Pooh

Pooh, I'd be their cover, too (just as long as they let me watch a time or two  ;D).  I do think Cassie was more like Jack than Alma was like Jack; more outgoing, friendly, and willing to sweep Ennis off of his feet so to speak.  But, let's face it, once you go Jack you never go back!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on April 13, 2006, 07:47:34 PM
But, let's face it, once you go Jack you never go back!

Tell me about it. Since I've seen Brokeback Mountain, every guy I see is a step back from Jack (or Jake either).

Pooh, now there's a fantasy I'd love to stick with.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 13, 2006, 09:24:04 PM

Pooh, I'd be their cover, too (just as long as they let me watch a time or two  ;D).  I do think Cassie was more like Jack than Alma was like Jack; more outgoing, friendly, and willing to sweep Ennis off of his feet so to speak.  But, let's face it, once you go Jack you never go back!

OMG do you think of these things in the middle of the night and wait for the best opening?!!! ;D
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 13, 2006, 09:48:35 PM

Pooh, I'd be their cover, too (just as long as they let me watch a time or two  ;D).  I do think Cassie was more like Jack than Alma was like Jack; more outgoing, friendly, and willing to sweep Ennis off of his feet so to speak.  But, let's face it, once you go Jack you never go back!

OMG do you think of these things in the middle of the night and wait for the best opening?!!! ;D

I blame it all on the overwhelming, ridiculous hotness of Jake G. and Heath L.   They inspire me (in a bad/good sort of way).  ;D
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: magicmountain on April 13, 2006, 10:10:14 PM
But, let's face it, once you go Jack you never go back!

Tell me about it. Since I've seen Brokeback Mountain, every guy I see is a step back from Jack (or Jake either).

Pooh, now there's a fantasy I'd love to stick with.

Maybe Ennis considered himself a Jackosexual.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on April 14, 2006, 08:18:08 PM
Having spent a great number of years in a marriage that is often without love (hubby drinks), I can honestly say that neither Jack or Ennis could really match the soul mate connection they had with each other in their relationships with their wives.  I keep hearing about their tortured lives, but these women also had choices.  I think Alma left Ennis for Monroe.  I think Jack was nice enough to Lureen that she wouldn't throw him out.  He did seem to like her, even if he couldn't truly love her.

Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: downloaded1 on April 14, 2006, 08:19:09 PM
If they were true soulmates,
then nothing could or would keep them separated.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on April 14, 2006, 09:45:10 PM
But, let's face it, once you go Jack you never go back!

Maybe Ennis considered himself a Jackosexual.

LOL, Very Good.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 14, 2006, 09:51:29 PM
But, let's face it, once you go Jack you never go back!

Maybe Ennis considered himself a Jackosexual.

LOL, Very Good.

Yes, and after a day of pondering the meaning of this, I'm sure you're right.  Just one guy he EVER wanted to do it with.  Very deep.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: City Girl on April 14, 2006, 10:17:07 PM
"They got it I can get you a hundred.  I got a order some more cards anyway."

"One's enough," said Ennis.


For Ennis, one was enough so long as that one was Jack.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Just_a_Twist on April 14, 2006, 10:54:22 PM
Well, and remember Ennis wrang it out thinking of Jack, right?  I really wish they had included that line, but maybe they didn't wany to push the masturbation image, I don't know.  ;)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 14, 2006, 11:00:55 PM
Well, and remember Ennis wrang it out thinking of Jack, right?  I really wish they had included that line, but maybe they didn't wany to push the masturbation image, I don't know.  ;)

Oh, the lines we miss!  Thanks to Annie, we all know what they are, and Ennis said them, even if Heath didn't!  Little darlin and sure seem in one piece to me and wrang it out a hundert times, and etc.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 15, 2006, 02:09:01 AM
But, let's face it, once you go Jack you never go back!

Maybe Ennis considered himself a Jackosexual.

LOL, Very Good.

Yes, and after a day of pondering the meaning of this, I'm sure you're right.  Just one guy he EVER wanted to do it with.  Very deep.

My view is that Ennis considered himself a straight man who had a 'thing' going with his friend [I don't think he'd call himself 'Jackosexual', but if you mean that he considered that he would only have this 'thing' with one person, you're probably right].  I don't agree with him - I think he was a gay man who fell for a man.  I think he was so much in denial and lied so much to himself that the fact that he didn't seem to be attracted to other men is no proof that he couldn't be.  I don't think it could only have been Jack out of all the millions of people in the world.  Jack was the right sort of person in the right sort of circumstances.  These circumstances don't occur before or after Brokeback, and Ennis has a close enough rein on his feelings to suppress any random attractions.

I'm not saying that Ennis would have slept around if he'd been less in denial.  But the reasons that prevented him going with other guys also prevented him being with Jack.  If he'd been able to let himself go with other guys, then probably he'd have been able to be with Jack, and it wouldn't have happened.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 15, 2006, 07:35:14 AM
I am catching up with posts, and I noticed that a few pages back you were discussing why Alma didn't confront Ennis earlier.

Someone [I'm sorry, I can't find the post] mentioned that Ennis and Jack's affair was a 'white elephant' of the kind that many people have in the family - it's obvious but it's never talked about.  I think that is very true, and I don't think it's that unusual for this to happen in families.  In fact, I don't think that Ennis and Alma talked about much other than practical things.  The same goes for the anal sex thing to some extent - they were both aware she didn't like it, but I don't imagine they have long discussions about it.  The same goes for Jack and Ennis's relationship on the mountain, for that matter - apart from the 'I'm not no queer' 'Neither am I' exchange, there is a silent agreement not to talk about it.

I DO think Alma was scared of Ennis too - I'm talking about film Alma here [interestingly, I 'read' Alma's 'Jack Nasty' quite differently in the book and it was a revelation to see Michelle acting it].   In the film we see Ennis's reaction at the firework display when his masculinity is questioned.  In the background, Alma looks terrified - and after that point I think she knows at some level what he is capable of and what sets him off.  Then there's the grocery scene, with Ennis dropping the kids off.  Alma starts to protest, but when she catches the threatening look in Ennis's eye she looks afraid, and backs down.  I don't think it's a specific fear about what he would do to her, but a general fear of his aggression.  I think he looks quite scary in that scene - and I think the physical difference between Heath and tiny Michelle is emphasised [is she really so small?  She looks very delicate next to Heath in thefilm].   At the final confrontation, we see that she was right to be scared.

Apart from her fear - was there anything to be gained by bringing it up earlier?  Would it have helped their marriage in any way?  The chances are that Ennis would have acted in the same way as he did at the Thanksgiving scene - and nothing would have been resolved.  The only possible benefit I can see is that they might have got divorced earlier, but even that might not have happened. 

One thing bothers me too - there seems to be a feeling that it's Alma's responsibility to bring the matter up.  What about Ennis?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: desperadum on April 15, 2006, 07:44:46 AM
One thing bothers me too - there seems to be a feeling that it's Alma's responsibility to bring the matter up.  What about Ennis?

By the time she brings it up, as far as their marriage is concerned, it's a moot point. There is really no reason or necessity for either of them to bring it up by that point. I don't think either of them had a responsibility to bring it up, per se. As you state, it wouldn't have done anyone any good even if one of them had been able to articulate it.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 15, 2006, 07:52:31 AM
I agree, desperadum, and also Desecra you have a point that Alma was afraid of confronting Ennis on this volatile issue.  Also, I think she did the calculation that if she had said something like - choose between your fishing trips with Jack Twist or me - he would ignore her ultimatum.  She sensed she had no power on that one.  Which must have been very painful.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Just_a_Twist on April 15, 2006, 12:12:28 PM
I also think it was hard for Alma even to conceptualize the whole thing.  He's doing what with another man?  Even after seeing that kiss, it's just hard for her to put any of it into words.  That's the way a man behaves with a woman!  This stuff that was not being talked about in her part of the country, even in 1967.  About ten years later, Alma could have turned on "Donahue" to learn about it.  In fact, her confrontation with him in 1977 may reflect a little bit of empowerment and modern consciousness on her part.  But she was still afriad of Ennis, you bet.  She saw what happened with those bikers when they challenged his masculinity.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Willhoite on April 15, 2006, 01:09:53 PM
I also think it was hard for Alma even to conceptualize the whole thing.  He's doing what with another man?  Even after seeing that kiss, it's just hard for her to put any of it into words.  That's the way a man behaves with a woman!  This stuff that was not being talked about in her part of the country, even in 1967.  About ten years later, Alma could have turned on "Donahue" to learn about it.  In fact, her confrontation with him in 1977 may reflect a little bit of empowerment and modern consciousness on her part.  But she was still afriad of Ennis, you bet.  She saw what happened with those bikers when they challenged his masculinity.

In the original short story, Alma does see the embrace of Jack by Ennis; but, nothing is mentioned about the kiss. [In the movie, Alma is going to church, too; and she might have been a regular church attendee while growing up as implied by the movie.] So  . . . , using both sources, Alma seeing Ennis hug Jack had nothing to do with sexuality. In those "fire and brimstone crowd" churches, men do hug each other without kissing.

I think that since Ennis was not a church goer, according to the movie (his church affiliation is not in the book), I think that Alma's "Jack Twist? Jack Nasty. You and him---" refers to her guessing that they both were having sex with other women instead. It would be the same as Alma accusing Ennis of having heterosexual adultery when they were supposed to have been fishing.

Alma could have even assumed that the reason that Ennis did not come home the night of the 4-year reunion was that they went home somewhere with women instead. If Alma's phone had had "Caller-ID" back in 1967, the name of the Siesta Motel would have been seen by her.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 15, 2006, 01:13:41 PM
This stuff that was not being talked about in her part of the country, even in 1967.  About ten years later, Alma could have turned on "Donahue" to learn about it.  In fact, her confrontation with him in 1977 may reflect a little bit of empowerment and modern consciousness on her part.  But she was still afriad of Ennis, you bet.  She saw what happened with those bikers when they challenged his masculinity.

Thank you for that - I hadn't thought much about how the world had changed around Alma whlie she'd been sorting things out - there was TV and everything!  So maybe, there was a bit of empowerment and modern consciousness going on too.

I wonder how little women in rural areas really did know about homosexuality though.  Surely, most people would be aware of it?  Ennis mentions Rich and Earl living together and being a local 'joke' - it seems most people were aware of what was going on [and that it was tolerated to some extent].    I don't think it was unheard of back then, although applying what was heard to your husband might be difficult.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on April 15, 2006, 03:49:53 PM
One thing bothers me too - there seems to be a feeling that it's Alma's responsibility to bring the matter up.  What about Ennis?

Considering when she brought it up, after they were divorced and she was carrying another man's child, I think it was cruel and heartless of her. And it was certainly, at that point, none of her GD business.

Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 15, 2006, 03:58:09 PM


Alma could have even assumed that the reason that Ennis did not come home the night of the 4-year reunion was that they went home somewhere with women instead. If Alma's phone had had "Caller-ID" back in 1967, the name of the Siesta Motel would have been seen by her.

You just hit on one very good reason (on top of all the others) for everyone to have his own cell phone! ::) nowadays, I mean.  Not that I'm condoning cheating.  But there is an aspect of 'big brother' in caller ID.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 15, 2006, 05:16:52 PM
One thing bothers me too - there seems to be a feeling that it's Alma's responsibility to bring the matter up.  What about Ennis?

Considering when she brought it up, after they were divorced and she was carrying another man's child, I think it was cruel and heartless of her. And it was certainly, at that point, none of her GD business.

Pooh

She had been married to the guy and it was one of the reasons for the divorce, so it was her business.  Even after the divorce, an apology, explanation or even acknowledgement would have been nice.

Ennis bringing it up was a bit of a rhetorical question.  Of course he should have, but he wouldn't, and it's clear why he wouldn't/couldn't.  But what I'm asking is why it some people think that the wronged party has the responsibility for bringing up the subject?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 15, 2006, 05:19:14 PM
Alma seeing Ennis hug Jack had nothing to do with sexuality. In those "fire and brimstone crowd" churches, men do hug each other without kissing.

Why does it bother her if it's just a friendly hug though?  'She had seen what she had seen' and cites it as one of the reasons for divorcing Ennis. 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Willhoite on April 15, 2006, 06:58:26 PM
Alma seeing Ennis hug Jack had nothing to do with sexuality. In those "fire and brimstone crowd" churches, men do hug each other without kissing.

Why does it bother her if it's just a friendly hug though?  'She had seen what she had seen' and cites it as one of the reasons for divorcing Ennis. 

This line comes from the reunion when the door was opened the 2nd time after Ennis says they had had not seen each other in 4 years.

Quote
"Sure enough," said Alma in a low voice. She had seen what she had seen.


I would say that Alma's response of "Sure enough" was because of how she had seen them hugging as one would a long lost famiy member or a good buddy whom they had not seen in 4 years. She didn't have to read anything sexually into what she saw.

I have been given a gentle quick friendly hug by a person I had just seen a short time before; but, I have been given a bear hug and returned it, too, with a friend whom I had not seen in several months or years.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: RByrd on April 15, 2006, 07:39:57 PM
One thing bothers me too - there seems to be a feeling that it's Alma's responsibility to bring the matter up.  What about Ennis?

Considering when she brought it up, after they were divorced and she was carrying another man's child, I think it was cruel and heartless of her. And it was certainly, at that point, none of her GD business.

Pooh

Your antipathy toward and twisted view of Alma continues to amaze me.... Did it ever occur to you that it was "cruel and heartless" of Ennis to cheat on her throughout their marriage, rarely or never take her out or the family on vacation, etc., expect her to hold down the fort while he goes off on his idyllic mountaintop visits with his lover, etc.? How do you THINK she should have handled it? By being a complete martyr and doormat, putting all of her own needs and feelings aside? Are "good" women supposed to be masochistic?

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: downloaded1 on April 15, 2006, 07:46:18 PM
Alma was treated poorly by Ennis.
Lied to and decieved repeatedly.
How can you not see that?

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: downloaded1 on April 15, 2006, 07:48:39 PM
Quote

Considering when she brought it up, after they were divorced and she was carrying another man's child, I think it was cruel and heartless of her.

Quote

Oh you must be joking!
How cruel and heartless of you to see it THAT way.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 15, 2006, 11:33:16 PM

Quote from: tellyouwhat
"Sure enough," said Alma in a low voice. She had seen what she had seen.


I would say that Alma's response of "Sure enough" was because of how she had seen them hugging as one would a long lost famiy member or a good buddy whom they had not seen in 4 years. She didn't have to read anything sexually into what she saw.

I have been given a gentle quick friendly hug by a person I had just seen a short time before; but, I have been given a bear hug and returned it, too, with a friend whom I had not seen in several months or years.


Willhoite, in this case I think Alma really did see something beyond a friendly hug.  Even in the story it says "Ennis shoulders were straining..." this is no man to man hello, it is passion, and she saw it.  To me the brilliance of the line "sure enough" is that it shows how much in shock Alma is.  She is in an abnormal situation and she answers as if it were normal, with words that indicate understanding and acceptance, the opposite of what she is feeling.

Oh, but she says it after Ennis' feeble explanation- "Jack and me ain't seen each other in four years" As if it were a reason.  He knows it's not a reason.

And in the film, she says "sure enough" after Ennis announces they probably won't be back that night, they get drinking and talking.  Like, what sense does that make?  Bars close.  She doesn't know what to say so she falls back on her friendly little standby phrase, "sure enough."  It is brilliant writing.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 16, 2006, 01:44:31 AM
How do you THINK she should have handled it? By being a complete martyr and doormat, putting all of her own needs and feelings aside?


Thank you for this question, RByrd.  It's one that has been bothering me when reading some of the posts here.  Some people seem to see Alma as cruel and manipulative - something I didn't get at all.  In the book, I think she's maybe more stoic, and the film more fragile, but in both cases she seems a pretty ordinary woman dealing with circumstances beyond her control.   

What some people seem to be saying is things went wrong [in the marriage and for Ennis generally] because of Alma's actions or failure to act.  What I want to know is what exactly these actions were?  What COULD she have done?  I read people saying things along the lines that she should have offerred to act as a 'cover' for Ennis and Jack. Well ... she was actually doing just that - providing a cover, and keeping their secret along with continuing to keep their home running, etc.  All this bearing in mind that Ennis was NOT open to talking to about it all.  What else do you think she did wrong? 

I'm also interested in why some people feel a need to find fault with Alma.  She has been criticised for all sorts of things which wouldn't be considered faults in anyone else  - for seeking work when her husband won't earn enough to support the family, for wanting to be near a clinic for her asthmatic child, for divorcing, for finding someone else, etc. etc etc.  If Ennis or Jack had done these things they would have been seen as caring fathers, so why do you single out Alma for blame?  What does she mean to you, and what role do you think she is playing in the story? 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: magicmountain on April 16, 2006, 07:40:00 AM
Perhaps the negative responses to Alma by some posters is the result of emotionally identifiying strongly with either Jack or Ennis or both and responding through their eyes. It's difficult to step back from visceral responses to characters in this film. Fortunately those who maintain a rational grip are able to remind us of the facts!

I must say that reading these posts makes me realise that I have fallen victim to this when viewing the film. I have felt irritated and at times repelled by Alma. But I also felt very sorry and protective of her when she was left in tears literally holding the baby. That's more stuff to work through. Will I ever get to read a newpaper again? 

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 16, 2006, 08:09:31 AM
Remember that Ennis did not want to divorce Alma.  He was left with a vague feeling of being "shortchanged" so says the book.  Hmm that right there gives a clue to the value he placed on his marriage - that is, in a strange way he just expected to take it for granted.  He thought it was enough that he was "standing it" - but actually he counted on the security and Alma's hard work so he could operate the way he wanted to.  Sad she had to get a judgment of child support in order to get his attention.  This is not meant to be Ennis bashing either, but IMO he would have continued on in this unsatisfactory way even after the terrible words "I'll be happy to leave you alone."  Happy???
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on April 17, 2006, 11:38:26 AM
I stand by my comments on Alma.  I was brought up to believe it was ill mannered to confront someone with a deeply personal matter in the company of other people.  Alma had plenty of opportunities to confront Ennis about his fishing trips. She didn't need to do it on a major holiday when their kids were around.

I understand how hurt she was, but according to Lureen's comments, Jack only went up there two or three times a year.  Jack eluded to even less frequent visits (one or two).  So he wasn't leaving her to hold the fort down for more than a couple of weeks a year.  Military wives and wives of businessmen put up with more time alone than that.

My basic problem, and my clear bias on this issue stems from my opinion that a need for the company of another man should not be such a big deal.  If it were me, I'd have invited Jack to live with us. But that's just me.  Nothing about me is ordinary.

Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 17, 2006, 11:44:49 AM
Perhaps the negative responses to Alma by some posters is the result of emotionally identifiying strongly with either Jack or Ennis or both and responding through their eyes. It's difficult to step back from visceral responses to characters in this film. Fortunately those who maintain a rational grip are able to remind us of the facts!


Yes, I think that could be some of it.  I know when watching the film it almost seemed as if Alma got in the way!  You feel anxious for the film to return to Ennis and Jack together.  And maybe it's easier for me to be more neutral on Alma because I don't strongly identify with Ennis or Jack.  But I still think I'm sometimes seeing more here - a need to see Alma as a 'baddie', if you like.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 17, 2006, 12:05:25 PM
I understand how hurt she was, but according to Lureen's comments, Jack only went up there two or three times a year.  Jack eluded to even less frequent visits (one or two).  So he wasn't leaving her to hold the fort down for more than a couple of weeks a year.  Military wives and wives of businessmen put up with more time alone than that.


This is an example of what I'm talking about [and it's not just you - you were just the one who answered - thanks :)].  .  Here's my view:

We know that Alma resents the fishing trips.  I think she has every right to resent them, even if you exclude the infidelity - the reason she gives for resenting them is not that she spends time alone, but that it means that they don't have family holidays.  It's not just her that's being let down, it's the kids.  Despite all this, she doesn't interfere with the fishing trips, or even complain by the looks of it.

So on this one issue, we have a woman who is clearly being wronged, her children are being let down, and yet she still allows her husband to have his way.

And yet, you seem to be saying that she is at fault for even feeling the resentment - is that right?  That this should be a trivial issue to her, and is comparable to being married to someone who goes on business trips?  [I don't see how it is].

Quote
My basic problem, and my clear bias on this issue stems from my opinion that a need for the company of another man should not be such a big deal.  If it were me, I'd have invited Jack to live with us. But that's just me.  Nothing about me is ordinary.
Quote

I'm sure you're not at all ordinary, and there's nothing at all wrong about your suggestion for yourself and your own situation.  But how can you fault Alma for not inviting Jack?  How could she if she couldn't even talk to Ennis about it without fear of violence?  How could she if Ennis wouldn't admit he was gay, admit he was in love with Jack, or comtemplate living with a man?  Do you think Jack would have wanted her around?  I'm serious with these questions - I just don't see how this subject could have been even broached.

And why is it only Ennis [and Jack] who you feel should have the right to fulfilment?  Doesn't Alma have the right to love and be loved and all the rest of it too?

It's interesting that you say that you don't think it should be such a big deal - in fact it doesn't seem to BE as big a deal for Alma as it would be for some people.   Some people might have left after the reunion scene - Alma tolerates the situation for several years until other resentments build up and it's clear there's no way she can improve things.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: deevah2 on April 17, 2006, 01:01:18 PM
One thing bothers me too - there seems to be a feeling that it's Alma's responsibility to bring the matter up.  What about Ennis?

Considering when she brought it up, after they were divorced and she was carrying another man's child, I think it was cruel and heartless of her. And it was certainly, at that point, none of her GD business.

Pooh

She had been married to the guy and it was one of the reasons for the divorce, so it was her business.  Even after the divorce, an apology, explanation or even acknowledgement would have been nice.

Ennis bringing it up was a bit of a rhetorical question.  Of course he should have, but he wouldn't, and it's clear why he wouldn't/couldn't.  But what I'm asking is why it some people think that the wronged party has the responsibility for bringing up the subject?

I think Alama used poor judgement to bring this at a holiday dinner but she needed something to "hurt" Ennis because its clear that his children clearly adore him. She still has not gotten over the real reason their divorce ( she has kept that secret to herself) and she probably is still in love with Ennis. A feeling she knows that Ennis never really had for her.  She saw the passion Ennis had for Jack in their reunion embrace. She knew who he was in love with.  Her self esteem probably plummeted in that moment-then over the years,while they were married she watched Ennis jump up at a moment's notice, quit a job and run off to be with Jack. Ennis never remarries.....   The pregnant Alma still feels the need to  be validated as a woman so she took her best shot.
She questioned his sexuality
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: sotoalf on April 17, 2006, 01:06:29 PM
My basic problem, and my clear bias on this issue stems from my opinion that a need for the company of another man should not be such a big deal.  If it were me, I'd have invited Jack to live with us. But that's just me.  Nothing about me is ordinary.

Pooh

Yes, but the difference is that in the film Alma catches them kissing. She would've been perfectly justified in running downstairs and clobbering Jack with a frying pan – and I'm a gay man!

Had Alma been more of a swinger or born a little late, she might have partaken of the air of sexual liberation. If Jack and Ennis asked me to move in with them now I'm pretty sure I'd agree to the offer - as long as i don't have to watch no damn sheep.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on April 17, 2006, 01:15:53 PM
"Had Alma been more of a swinger or born a little late, she might have partaken of the air of sexual liberation.."

Alma in a 3-way with Ennis and Jack only would've resulted in some here resenting Alma even more. Alma will NEVER win over some of the posters here.

Nope. Not even if she would've opened the door on the reunion kiss and shouted, "For crying out loud, get a room!"
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 17, 2006, 01:38:37 PM

Nope. Not even if she would've opened the door on the reunion kiss and shouted, "For crying out loud, get a room!"

JHL now THAT made me LAUGH!!!!!  REALLY out loud.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on April 17, 2006, 01:51:37 PM
tellyouwhat- Thanks for laughing. Still, I mean it.

In fact, I have the most sympathy for Alma. Moreso than I have for Jack and Ennis who have their relationship to sustain them. Moreso than for Lureen who has her toughness to sustain her.

And what does Alma have? She buries her head into the head and neck of a 3 year old and weeps.

Damn straight Alma should've divorced Ennis and married Monroe. He was probably better in bed than Ennis, to boot.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 17, 2006, 01:57:29 PM
I have the most sympathy for Alma. Moreso than I have for Jack and Ennis who have their relationship to sustain them. Moreso than for Lureen who has her toughness to sustain her.

And what does Alma have? She buries her head into the head and neck of a 3 year old and weeps.

Damn straight Alma should've divorced Ennis and married Monroe. He was probably better in bed than Ennis, to boot.

JHL I agree with what you're saying - but we can take some consolation to know that she came out of it better than the others.  We are devastated for Ennis, we can't get over losing Jack, and poor Lureen is past her prime on the singles market in a small town.  As Jack might say - sheeit, that's hard!

Alma does have Monroe, a comfortable life (for Riverton) and at least one more baby that we know about.  She did it.  Monroe better in bed than Ennis?  Yes, I'll go along with that, better for Alma.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on April 17, 2006, 02:00:37 PM
"Yes, I'll go along with that, better for Alma."

Oh, absolutely.

As an avid reader of the "Jack and Ennis Sex Life" thread I know that Ennis with Jack is a whole nuther story...
 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 17, 2006, 02:12:16 PM
Had Alma been more of a swinger or born a little late, she might have partaken of the air of sexual liberation. If Jack and Ennis asked me to move in with them now I'm pretty sure I'd agree to the offer - as long as i don't have to watch no damn sheep.

I couldn't stand to have them living with me - there'd never be any sleep those two jouncing beds all night.  Not to mention the smoking.

Seriously though, I don't know why this idea keeps coming up.  Alma couldn't have asked Jack to move in - it could never have happened.  We might just as well criticise Ennis for not asking Monroe to move in.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on April 17, 2006, 03:44:35 PM
And why is it only Ennis [and Jack] who you feel should have the right to fulfilment?  Doesn't Alma have the right to love and be loved and all the rest of it too?

The problem is that Ennis and Jack didn't have the right to fulfillment. Ennis' father made sure of that when Ennis was nine, setting him up for a lifetime of fear and self doubt.  Alma did find fulfillment with Monroe. In the end, she was probably the only one who was happy.

Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: deevah2 on April 18, 2006, 05:09:16 AM
I don't know that I would say Alma was happy-her kitchen confrontation with Ennis shows she isn't. whether she was able to move forward emotionally after the confrontation is up in the air.

I will say by marrying Monroe she got the life she was taught she was supposed to have. -Maybe that was good enough for her.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: magicmountain on April 18, 2006, 05:39:31 AM
I get the impression that Jack’s marriage to Lureen isn’t quite a miserable as he makes out to Ennis. They are cushioned by money which can take a lot of stress out of married life (compared to Alma and Ennis). They seem to have a fairly active social life. Their interactions reflect a kind of friendly familiarity developed over years of being together. Through her facial expressions you can see she gets exasperated with her father’s treatment of Jack. They kiss when he leaves for the trip, unlike Alma and Ennis.

She doesn’t think its fair he has to drive such long distances every year. He pats her on the back in a gesture of solidarity when insisting the son eat the dinner his momma spent hours preparing. At the beginning she seems more sexy, interesting and lively than Alma. And, of course, Jack stays married to Lureen so it can’t be that unbearable being with her.

Overshadowing this is the possibility she is lying about the circumstances of Jack’s during the phone call. Even if that were true, it does not mean she was implicated in any way. I think she does show genuine grief (“He was only 39”.)

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 18, 2006, 10:56:51 AM
And why is it only Ennis [and Jack] who you feel should have the right to fulfilment?  Doesn't Alma have the right to love and be loved and all the rest of it too?

The problem is that Ennis and Jack didn't have the right to fulfillment. Ennis' father made sure of that when Ennis was nine, setting him up for a lifetime of fear and self doubt.  Alma did find fulfillment with Monroe. In the end, she was probably the only one who was happy.

Pooh

I wasn't talking about what they GOT in the end, but what we feel they have the right to.  I think we all feel that  Ennis and Jack should have had a right to be together, to be in a loving, sexual fulfilling relationship, etc. etc.  What I'm wondering is why some people don't think Alma should have the same rights [for instance, she is expected to forgo the chance of love and sexual fulfilment to support her husband's relationship with someone else].

You're right that she was the happiest of the lot of them at the end though!  I like it that meek little Alma went and sorted her life out and got her man :). 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 18, 2006, 11:06:36 AM
I get the impression that Jack’s marriage to Lureen isn’t quite a miserable as he makes out to Ennis. They are cushioned by money which can take a lot of stress out of married life (compared to Alma and Ennis). They seem to have a fairly active social life. Their interactions reflect a kind of friendly familiarity developed over years of being together. Through her facial expressions you can see she gets exasperated with her father’s treatment of Jack. They kiss when he leaves for the trip, unlike Alma and Ennis.

She doesn’t think its fair he has to drive such long distances every year. He pats her on the back in a gesture of solidarity when insisting the son eat the dinner his momma spent hours preparing. At the beginning she seems more sexy, interesting and lively than Alma. And, of course, Jack stays married to Lureen so it can’t be that unbearable being with her.

Overshadowing this is the possibility she is lying about the circumstances of Jack’s during the phone call. Even if that were true, it does not mean she was implicated in any way. I think she does show genuine grief (“He was only 39”.)

I think Lureen was a pretty good catch for Jack.  She was beautiful, bright, successful, fairly wealthy and also had the hots for him.  I think he was flattered, and I wonder if as time went on, he was still a little proud of her.  She certainly didn't let herself go -quite the opposite - she looked like a trophy wife, but one who was on the ball and could run a business well.  And of course even when the marriage could be done over the phone she didn't divorce him.  I initially thought there wasn't much between them, but I've gradually changed my view.  I was influenced a lot by Jack's comments to Ennis - the rather flippant way he talked about her ... but then, of course he did.  He would have loved to have a reason to leave her. 

I think both the wives were fairly good catches for different reasons, and weren't too bad matches for their husbands either.  If Jack hadn't been gay - who knows?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: RByrd on April 18, 2006, 11:10:44 AM
And what does Alma have? She buries her head into the head and neck of a 3 year old and weeps.

That scene made me weep. Catching one's partner in infidelity is a devastating thing.

Quote
Damn straight Alma should've divorced Ennis and married Monroe. He was probably better in bed than Ennis, to boot.

 :D Yep, probably much more attentive to her needs!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 18, 2006, 11:12:53 AM
You're right that she was the happiest of the lot of them at the end though!  I like it that meek little Alma went and sorted her life out and got her man :). 

This is the kind of thing that modern psychologists, dare I invoke Dr. Phil, might love.  Alma had the truth to work with.  She had seen the Reunion kiss.  As painful as it was, she knew the truth.  Also, she put in 15 years of labor keeping the apartment over the laundramat "fixed up," plus working at the grocery store. 

Because she had the truth longer than Lureen, she was able to influence a better outcome.  Lureen, who didn't have the truth (at least, not until much later) ended up a widow with a teenage boy to raise on her own.

So, the truth may hurt, but it's best to face it.  (Alma did, although it took her a good long while)
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: RByrd on April 18, 2006, 11:14:02 AM
You're right that she was the happiest of the lot of them at the end though!  I like it that meek little Alma went and sorted her life out and got her man :). 

I really don't see this "happy ending" for Alma. She seemed stuck in a role that was written centuries before she was born and had to "settle" because she had (or perceived that she had) limited options.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 18, 2006, 11:17:48 AM

I really don't see this "happy ending" for Alma. She seemed stuck in a role that was written centuries before she was born and had to "settle" because she had (or perceived that she had) limited options.

speaking as a woman who has been a single mom - believe me, once you have kids with a man, your options are limited!  Probably even before she married Ennis, Alma's options were limited.  Jack's and Ennis' options were limited as well, but Jack could get out of the geographic situation by rodeon.  That option would not have been available to a girl.

Without a strong mentor to point Alma in another direction (not to mention funds) what options were there?

Once she had her children, she needed to support them, that is non-negotiable.  IMO her constraints were real.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Willhoite on April 18, 2006, 11:44:46 AM
I get the impression that Jack’s marriage to Lureen isn’t quite a miserable as he makes out to Ennis. They are cushioned by money which can take a lot of stress out of married life (compared to Alma and Ennis). They seem to have a fairly active social life. Their interactions reflect a kind of friendly familiarity developed over years of being together. Through her facial expressions you can see she gets exasperated with her father’s treatment of Jack. They kiss when he leaves for the trip, unlike Alma and Ennis.

She doesn’t think its fair he has to drive such long distances every year. He pats her on the back in a gesture of solidarity when insisting the son eat the dinner his momma spent hours preparing. At the beginning she seems more sexy, interesting and lively than Alma. And, of course, Jack stays married to Lureen so it can’t be that unbearable being with her.

Overshadowing this is the possibility she is lying about the circumstances of Jack’s during the phone call. Even if that were true, it does not mean she was implicated in any way. I think she does show genuine grief (“He was only 39”.)

In the book, Jack is still dirt-poor until after Lureen inherits her deceased father's company and that happens quite a few years after Ennis is divorced. It was those who were connected with making the movie who padded the story with Jack and Lureen benefitting from her father's company. Jack was certainly getting no money from her old man in 1967. And, when Jack drove up in Riverton that year, he was still driving the same old green pickup that he owned in 1963.

[Aside note here: A forum member in Australia referred to the vehicles that Jack and Ennis drove as 'utes,' as in "utility vehicles." While a pickup truck can be utilized for other things than farm/ranch work, some of use here in the NE corner of the South-Western USA (that's Oklahoma) call vehicles sold as "utility vehicles," utility vehicles;" but, we call call the smaller pickup trucks, "pickups" and the larger pickup trucks, "trucks." Oh, on the subject of trucks and vehicles, Ennis never put his horses in the bed of his truck in the final "together" scene, he put them in a horse trailer attached to his truck by a trailer hitch.]
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 18, 2006, 11:48:10 AM
I get the impression that Jack’s marriage to Lureen isn’t quite a miserable as he makes out to Ennis. They are cushioned by money which can take a lot of stress out of married life (compared to Alma and Ennis). They seem to have a fairly active social life. Their interactions reflect a kind of friendly familiarity developed over years of being together. Through her facial expressions you can see she gets exasperated with her father’s treatment of Jack. They kiss when he leaves for the trip, unlike Alma and Ennis.

She doesn’t think its fair he has to drive such long distances every year. He pats her on the back in a gesture of solidarity when insisting the son eat the dinner his momma spent hours preparing. At the beginning she seems more sexy, interesting and lively than Alma. And, of course, Jack stays married to Lureen so it can’t be that unbearable being with her.

Overshadowing this is the possibility she is lying about the circumstances of Jack’s during the phone call. Even if that were true, it does not mean she was implicated in any way. I think she does show genuine grief (“He was only 39”.)



Maybe miserable is too strong a word, but I'll bet Lureen sure was unfulfilled in her marriage to Jack.  The woman dyed her hair every shade of blond under the sun, arguably showing her discontent in the marriage or in an attempt to attract Jack's attention.  Those two old farts in her office make fun of her husband, but all she can do is be embarrassed (can't even take up for her husband).  She sounds a little miffed to me that Jack is driving up to Wyoming two to three time a year.  I think she says it doesn't seem fair, and she's right.  Finally, I think it's clear by the dance scene she does not have a sex life with Jack anymore, and she was only in her 30's.  Yikes!  Plus, Jack says they could do their marriage "over the phone," which to me says their intimacy is non-existant.  This to me isn't the stuff even a passable marriage is made out of; money can only take you so far, but you know what they say, it won't keep you warm at night.  Why did they stay together?  Maybe for their son or because divorce just wasn't as common back then, especially to a Southern lady.  You stuck it out, come hell or high water.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: RByrd on April 18, 2006, 11:51:05 AM
Does anyone else wonder how the story might have been different if Alma had confronted Ennis right then & there, after seeing the kiss? If she had said, "I just saw that and I don't know what the hell's goin' on, but you're not walking out of here without me, or until you explain to me the meaing of what I just saw"?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 18, 2006, 11:56:58 AM
Does anyone else wonder how the story might have been different if Alma had confronted Ennis right then & there, after seeing the kiss? If she had said, "I just saw that and I don't know what the hell's goin' on, but you're not walking out of here without me, or until you explain to me the meaing of what I just saw"?

Most definitely!  I must say on my first viewing of the movie, I just waited for Alma to say something when Jack and Ennis stood there in that doorway (I read the book after I saw the movie).  I thought "oh boy, here it comes" and then nothing.  I think Ennis would have denied it and tried to cover it up.  I also have a feeling it would have made things more difficult, if not near impossible, for Ennis to sneak away with Jack.  Would Alma have divorced Ennis then?  Probably not.  Would have tried to work it out for her girls' sake.  But, something tells me that wild horses couldn't have kept Jack and Ennis apart that night, even if Alma had confronted them.   Hell, Ennis probably would have done Jack in his and Alma's bedroom with her banging on the door if he had to have!  "This thing" had grabbed a hold of them for sure!  ;D

P.S. RByrd--are you a Mountaineer by any chance?
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 18, 2006, 12:02:58 PM
Does anyone else wonder how the story might have been different if Alma had confronted Ennis right then & there, after seeing the kiss? If she had said, "I just saw that and I don't know what the hell's goin' on, but you're not walking out of here without me, or until you explain to me the meaing of what I just saw"?

That's a tough one, RByrd.  It just didn't seem to be in her character at that time, based on her relationship with Ennis.  Still, I will go out on a limb and say that at Reunion time, when Ennis could barely think straight much less talk straight, she might have got very little satisfaction other than "he's from Texas," or, "Jack and me ain't seen each other in four years" (as in the story).

IMO Ennis had to take care of his Reunion business and didn't have any energy to deal with Alma then.  Deal with her later, yes.  I think she was afraid of him, waited for years to finally confront him after their divorce.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 18, 2006, 12:07:23 PM
Does anyone else wonder how the story might have been different if Alma had confronted Ennis right then & there, after seeing the kiss? If she had said, "I just saw that and I don't know what the hell's goin' on, but you're not walking out of here without me, or until you explain to me the meaing of what I just saw"?

Honestly - I think he would have said 'Mind your own business - you don't know nothing about it', then walked out with Jack and not talked about it afterwards.  I don't think it would have changed a thing.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on April 18, 2006, 04:04:37 PM
I really don't see this "happy ending" for Alma. She seemed stuck in a role that was written centuries before she was born and had to "settle" because she had (or perceived that she had) limited options.

Maybe she should have gone to Woodstock.  1964 was a pretty good time to be a woman and an activist.

Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on April 18, 2006, 04:44:33 PM
I really don't see this "happy ending" for Alma. She seemed stuck in a role that was written centuries before she was born and had to "settle" because she had (or perceived that she had) limited options.

Maybe she should have gone to Woodstock.  1964 was a pretty good time to be a woman and an activist.

Pooh

Some did - go to Woodstock    I was midwife to a young woman who did -   Did you? 
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: RByrd on April 18, 2006, 07:04:18 PM
I really don't see this "happy ending" for Alma. She seemed stuck in a role that was written centuries before she was born and had to "settle" because she had (or perceived that she had) limited options.

Maybe she should have gone to Woodstock.  1964 was a pretty good time to be a woman and an activist.

Pooh

In that neck of the woods, with her background? I don't think so. I also don't think that 1964 was necessarily an especially good time to be a woman. Guess it would depend on the particular woman and her particular circumstances.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 18, 2006, 09:29:01 PM
I really don't see this "happy ending" for Alma. She seemed stuck in a role that was written centuries before she was born and had to "settle" because she had (or perceived that she had) limited options.

Maybe she should have gone to Woodstock.  1964 was a pretty good time to be a woman and an activist.
In that neck of the woods, with her background? I don't think so. I also don't think that 1964 was necessarily an especially good time to be a woman. Guess it would depend on the particular woman and her particular circumstances.
And not to be too picky, but of course Woodstock was no where near happening in 1964, it was more '68 or '69, right?  A world of difference for Alma, who already had little girls to take care of.  That's why in those days they used to WARN us girls not to get married early, have kids too early.  That is, us girls in the big city.  Girls like Alma didn't have much else going for them.

 - and hmm, I sure never saw Alma as an activist!  She tried to be the good little woman.  Anyone who would wash diapers on a washboard is, IMO, going above and beyond that subserviant role!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Just_a_Twist on April 18, 2006, 09:43:43 PM
I think a fascinating thing about this film is it shows how far removed the world of Stonewall and Woodstock was from places like this.  These progressive social trends often took decades or more to touch the whole country.  Even as a teenager in the suburban South in the eighties, I felt pretty removed from what's considered "gay culture," and I must have been like light years ahead of Wyoming and Childress, Texas in the sixties.  Just think about it, in a lot of the South they were only really just desegregating in the schools at the time.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 18, 2006, 09:52:36 PM
Just a Twist, I agree, and also think about what we heard Alma listening to on the radio-- sort of banter, maybe mainstream music, but not rock and roll, not the Beatles or the Doors or the Lovin Spoonful or Buffalo Springfield -- who all was at Woodstock?  Anyway, that aspect of the culture was not depicted in Ang Lee's film.  They played country music on the juke boxes.

Alma seemed a traditionalist, not an activist. 

On Jack and Ennis' last camping trip, they did share a joint.  Never thought about it before, but which one of them brought that, do you think???  I suppose I know the answer, but Ennis didn't look like any newcomer to it.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Just_a_Twist on April 18, 2006, 10:06:47 PM
Yeah, good point--though I've had people tell me that that was no joint, they were just shivery cold!  Well, Jobeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson smoked a joint in Poltergeist in 1982 and they were that age, though they were also California suburbanites.  But joints definitely made their way to all parts of the country by the seventies, despite the fact that conservative America disdained hippies.

Maybe they got it from the hippes they rescued in the cut scene?  ???  :D

Don't we first hear rock music on the truck of that guy who beats Ennis up on Thanksgiving, 1977.  Then as Alma, Jr. drives up in Kurt's TransAm (lol), she's got what sounds like some generic eighties heavy metal band playing.  So I guess there were a few signs of change there.  I mean, by this time Elton John had announced he was gay, Freddie Mercury and Queen had been cavorting about for a few years and Culture Club had just hit.  This stuff was getting pretty hard to ignore!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 18, 2006, 10:14:05 PM
VERY observant on the music!  You're right, it would be very strange if we never heard any rock at all.

As for the joint, I am one of those naive souls who would never figure it was a joint unless someone pointed it out to me, in this case Annie Proulx in the story.  So although they didn't make a big deal out of it in the movie, in Annie's vision they had made that leap!
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: stacp on April 19, 2006, 08:41:07 AM
I think a fascinating thing about this film is it shows how far removed the world of Stonewall and Woodstock was from places like this.  These progressive social trends often took decades or more to touch the whole country.  Even as a teenager in the suburban South in the eighties, I felt pretty removed from what's considered "gay culture," and I must have been like light years ahead of Wyoming and Childress, Texas in the sixties.  Just think about it, in a lot of the South they were only really just desegregating in the schools at the time.

Maybe all the social and cultural upheaval going on in the world at the time was left out to show how isolated Ennis felt and, in actuality, really was.  He never travelled; his only world was Wyoming.  In Ennis' world, there were no options for he and Jack to be together.  In his world, everyone was homophobic, and no one would accept a man loving another man.  Ennis lived in, literally and figuratively, in this homophobic box, detached from the outside world of possibilities.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Poohbunn on April 19, 2006, 12:26:55 PM
I didn't go to Woodstock. My parents would have shot me.

I didn't literally mean Alma could have gone to Woodstock.  I meant if she was that miserable, she could have made other choices.  Unless your very life is threatened (as Jack's and Ennis' would have been), it is up to the individual to make choices and live with the consequences.  I know I'm seeing this through my own eyes, but people need to take responsibility for their lives and choices.  I think Alma had her eye on Monroe for a while before they married, and they had at least two kids together, so I don't think of her as being trapped.

Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Just_a_Twist on April 19, 2006, 12:54:17 PM
I think Monroe represetns bland, nice "normality" for Alam (after all, he is really nice about the little accident at the grocert store).  Ennis absolutely never should have married Alma, but he was convinced that he was "not queer."  Marrying a nice girl was just something you did.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 19, 2006, 02:43:32 PM
I think Monroe represetns bland, nice "normality" for Alam (after all, he is really nice about the little accident at the grocert store).  Ennis absolutely never should have married Alma, but he was convinced that he was "not queer."  Marrying a nice girl was just something you did.

Agree, but Monroe represents even more - he can provide.  With Monroe, she can live in a house.  After renting all those years (especially above the laundramat) this would have been a dream come true for Alma.  I can relate to that, coming from a place where owning, or even renting a house seems impossible (Los Angeles) and plotting and scheming for years how to ever do it, and a house means -- room for your own washer and dryer!  No more saving up the quarters, even if you had quarters to save!  Oh, yes, I understand Alma and Monroe.  I am not saying she was a gold digger but it would be a natural reaction after her life with Ennis.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: deevah2 on April 19, 2006, 02:54:45 PM
Monroe was nice to Alma because Monroe was interested in Alma-Most workers would have had $$$ taken from the next check to pay for the product loss and probably would have been fired-especially since the kids were dropped off like that.

Monroe did complete the" Leave it to Beaver life" Alma was taught to expect.
It always kills me when I watch the Thanksgiving scene with Monroe using the electric knife to cut the turkey-Too weird for me-I don't know why. I guess, for me anyways the way the camera focuses on it like it is a symbol of " moving up"  in the world for Alma. 

Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Desecra on April 19, 2006, 03:27:08 PM
Monroe was nice to Alma because Monroe was interested in Alma-Most workers would have had $$$ taken from the next check to pay for the product loss and probably would have been fired-especially since the kids were dropped off like that.

I agree that Monroe was interested in Alma, but I think he also felt compassion for her, and I got the impression that he was probably nice to everyone!  Of course, we don't see enough of him to know either way.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on April 19, 2006, 04:34:07 PM
"Uh, ketchup" , to me anyway, is the funniest line in the film. Swiftly, Monroe grasps that the word "condiments" has at least one syllable too many for Ennis.

It's during this scene that I dislike Ennis. He clearly is bullying Alma. She knows his propensity for violence. Although he has not harmed her physically, she doesn't want to take the chance. When he looks at her, eyes hard and cold as steel, she immediately backs down.

 And there's Monroe, waiting in the wings...
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: richm on April 20, 2006, 03:53:48 AM

Does anyone else wonder how the story might have been different if Alma had confronted Ennis right then & there, after seeing the kiss? If she had said, "I just saw that and I don't know what the hell's goin' on, but you're not walking out of here without me, or until you explain to me the meaing of what I just saw"?

Yes, I’ve wondered that for some time. I imagine she was too shocked to understand what she had seen or what to do about it at that point. I’m more curious about why, after years of thinking about it and testing it out with the note in the kreel case and through a divorce, she still didn’t say anything about it. Some here have said that she was afraid of Ennis because of his violent behavior at times. I don’t see it. Ennis only fights with other men. He never even threatens Alma even verbally. Some point to the scene in Monroe’s market when Ennis gives her the hairy eyeball when she balks at taking the children. Alma returns his look with one of her own that is every bit as defiant even if she does take the children.

If she had brought up the kiss sometime before the divorce, Ennis probably would have reacted differently than how he reacted at Thanksgiving with his daughters listening and his ex-wife looking disgusted and angry.. Then he tried to shut her up, denied it, and threatened her with physical force to keep her quiet. If she had brought up the kiss at some earlier time when they were still married and struggling, and she had tried to find out what the kiss meant to him in a non-threatening way, I imagine he would have tried to deny it and may have run off to cool off, but he would not be able to run away from it completely like he did at Thanksgiving. He would have been forced to deal with it in some way if only by knowing that Alma knew. He may or may not have come to terms with his sexuality then, probably not with all his fears. I know, it took me years of hiding from myself before I could deal with it. But it may have cleared the air somewhat between Alma and him, may have calmed down his fears in time, and may have brought the divorce earlier.

But the Alma character was not written this way.





I think Alama used poor judgement to bring this at a holiday dinner but she needed something to "hurt" Ennis because its clear that his children clearly adore him. She still has not gotten over the real reason their divorce ( she has kept that secret to herself) and she probably is still in love with Ennis. A feeling she knows that Ennis never really had for her.  She saw the passion Ennis had for Jack in their reunion embrace. She knew who he was in love with.  Her self esteem probably plummeted in that moment-then over the years,while they were married she watched Ennis jump up at a moment's notice, quit a job and run off to be with Jack. Ennis never remarries.....   The pregnant Alma still feels the need to  be validated as a woman so she took her best shot.
She questioned his sexuality

Thank you. It’s clearly an act of revenge that Alma has in mind from the moment that Ennis comes to dinner. Alma wears the same nervous, angry expression through the meal and when Ennis comes into the kitchen to help her with the cleanup, she calmly and deliberately asks Ennis why he doesn’t marry even though she knows the answer. So when he replies with his throw-away “once burnt”, she lays into him with a crescendo of hate and disgust that shocked me.

I read the short story first and didn’t have a vivid reaction to Alma from that, even at the Thanksgiving scene. Proulx writes her as a secondary character that serves to reflect Ennis’ character and decisions. It was only in the film that I noticed the Alma character. The screenwriters said that they amplified the short story to feature film length by fleshing out the secondary characters. I had a great deal of sympathy for her when she was holding her child and looking at Ennis and Jack through the window, and continued to have sympathy for her until the Thanksgiving dinner. I expected her to confront Ennis in this scene, knowing the story, but was shocked at her pettiness and vindictiveness. My opinion of Alma changed from that point.

Some here have said that Alma had the RIGHT to lay into Ennis at Thanksgiving, and that it was just a spontaneous outpouring of suppressed emotion, almost involuntary. Interesting how she suppressed those feeling through many years of marriage and divorce but couldn’t help herself when it didn’t matter for her anymore. Whether she had the right or not is irrelevant; she thought she had the right, as Proulx wrote her. And the only suppressed emotion I saw in Alma at Thanksgiving was her nervousness as if she was considering humiliating Ennis in front of his daughters, and righteous indignation at his love for someone else and a man at that!



One thing bothers me too - there seems to be a feeling that it's Alma's responsibility to bring the matter up.  What about Ennis?

By the time she brings it up, as far as their marriage is concerned, it's a moot point. There is really no reason or necessity for either of them to bring it up by that point. I don't think either of them had a responsibility to bring it up, per se. As you state, it wouldn't have done anyone any good even if one of them had been able to articulate it.


Thanks you for putting some perspective on this point. Who has said that it's Alma's responsibility to bring up Ennis' sexuality? No one. Why does the writer put this out as fact with the caveat that "there seems to be a feeling..."? Alma is portrayed as making certain choices which effect her and her family. It's not a question of being her responsibility, but of her decisions. Ennis and Alma have to live with the consequences of their decisions, as do we all. But it's Ennis who pays the most for his decision, and he knows it at the end.


Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on April 20, 2006, 08:12:33 AM
"It’s clearly an act of revenge that Alma has in mind from the moment that Ennis comes to dinner. Alma wears the same nervous, angry expression through the meal and when Ennis comes into the kitchen to help her with the cleanup, she calmly and deliberately asks Ennis why he doesn’t marry even though she knows the answer. So when he replies with his throw-away “once burnt”, she lays into him with a crescendo of hate and disgust that shocked me."

Really? "...hate and disgust that shocked you"?  Please.

Admittedly, I have mixed reactions to Ennis. I find him less easy to love than the character of Jack, so therefore, I''m prone to finding fault with him. That being said, their has ALWAYS been a day of reckoning on the horizon for those two, Ennis and Alma.

"Bitter. Party of one. Your table is ready"- Yes, Alma is bitter. For crying out loud, though, who can blame her? So she didn't confront Ennis according to Parlamentary Rules of Debate. Big deal. Ex-spouses rarely do. That's the nature of ex-spouses. Who among us is in control 24/7? Alma lost control at that Thanksgiving dinner. Tough Toenails, Ennis.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: Lola on April 20, 2006, 08:22:08 AM
Hey JHL, I agree with you!  ;)

Just happend to stumble across this post and have to say I thought Alma showed amazing restraint.

Had it been me I would have shot him! How is that for hate during Thanksgiving?  :P

I do have sympathy with Ennis, he was faced with answering something that he couldn't admit to himself let alone anyone else.

But heck put yourself in her shoes for just a minute!   Yes the situation had to be confronted and it was long over due.  Given the circumstances, Alma was more than fair and more than calm.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: JHL11 on April 20, 2006, 08:37:24 AM
Hey Lola.

I've always been bewildered at the varied reactions here to Alma. It's as though if you have any sympathy for her, it takes something away from the Love Story of Jack and Ennis. Poppycock, I say.

 I don't fault some here for having idealized notions of what is the nature of these characters. I prefer, however, to view all of them (Exception-Jimbo the Clown!), as the full human beings they are: Characters who have human appetites, flaws, weaknesses and strengths.
Title: Re: Scene: Ennis and Alma & Jack and Lureen
Post by: playitagain on April 20, 2006, 09:32:29 AM
"It’s clearly an act of revenge that Alma has in mind from the moment that Ennis comes to dinner. Alma wears the same nervous, angry expression through the meal and when Ennis comes into the kitchen to help her with the cleanup, she calmly and deliberately asks Ennis why he doesn’t marry even though she knows the answer. So when he replies with his throw-away “once burnt”, she lays into him with a crescendo of hate and disgust that shocked me."

Really? "...hate and disgust that shocked you"?  Please.

Admittedly, I have mixed reactions to Ennis. I find him less easy to lo