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Author Topic: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar  (Read 476848 times)

Offline KathyinBama

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2006, 08:23:42 PM »
Ennis character is captured in the exchange below when he and Jack are watching the sheep on Brokeback. Much of the food was lost on the trail up the mountain when Ennis’ horse was spooked by a bear.

From the screenplay:

Jack: Well, we got to do somethin’ ‘bout this food situation. Maybe I’ll shoot one of the sheep.

Ennis: What if Aguirre finds out? We’re supposed to guard the sheep, not eat ‘em.

Jack: What’s the matter with you? There’s a thousand of ‘em.

Ennis: I’ll stick with beans.

Jack: Well, I won’t.

…………………
Why would Ennis object to killing one sheep?  Aguirre had said that almost 25% of the flock had been lost in the previous year, including 42 sheep (if you believe Jack’s story) that were killed by lightning.
Ennis has such a high sense of right and wrong. He doesn’t want to break the rules, even a little bit, especially if it could offend the boss.  What he gets from attempting to follow every rule to the letter all his life, is to end up with “beans” at the end.  Jack can see that the loss of one sheep is not so important. Of course he also hates Aguirre.

In the next scene however, Ennis shoots a deer, apparently a violation of the Game and Fish Warden’s rules. Ooooeee!


I thought the reason he was willing to shoot the elk and not the sheep is that he was not responsible for the elk.  Ennis is a man who takes his responsibilities seriously, even when they are onorous.  I thought he loved his daughters, but even when he was not good at expressing that love, he was always responsible in the way he thought a man was supposed to be responsible for his children. 

Offline peteinportland

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2006, 09:25:54 PM »
Ennis shots an Elk because Jack won't eat beans.

I love this quote about Ennis (from an article on msnbc):

"Ennis resonates because he reminds us of some part of us. Life has such possibilities, and from lack of courage or weariness or outright fear we allow it to shrink us into this small, sad space doing this small, sad thing. Don’t look at my face because you might see who I am. The film does what it’s supposed to do. It’s specific but it’s universal."

Such a succinct analysis of Ennis.

Offline ckahlich001

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #32 on: January 30, 2006, 10:34:45 PM »
here's a shocker:

the movie is laced with cowboy metaphors.  like for instance "you know the only travellin' i've done is around a coffee pot searchin for the handle"

ever heard "that's 10 miles of bad road"...have ya?

i feel ennis' mention of his parents situation as "43 miles with one turn and they miss it"  is like a hyperbole metaphor where he's mocking his parents helplessness w/ money, keeping the ranch, and therefore being able to support him.  so they have to sell the farm and shun him off to be raised between his sister and brother.

...makes more sense to me.  who was driving the car that killed myrtle....daisy or gatsby?....  i think his parents shunned him...not that they died...
that's how i'm arguing it.

Offline Island in the Sea

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #33 on: January 30, 2006, 11:25:03 PM »

I thought the reason he was willing to shoot the elk and not the sheep is that he was not responsible for the elk.  Ennis is a man who takes his responsibilities seriously, even when they are onerous. 

Ennis could have more easily killed a sheep than the deer, but he took his responsibilities for the sheep too seriously, as you said. 

One reason Ennis cannot find a way to live with Jack is that his sense of responsibility gets in the way.  The thoroughness with which he carries out orders or follows society's expectations is what imprisons him.  One might say that he lets his sense of responsibility for small things get him off the hook for taking responsibility for emotional challenges like being honest with his wife, controlling his temper, etc. Much of the tragedy of the story can be attributed to Ennis' limitations.

Offline alma

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2006, 04:44:19 AM »


i feel ennis' mention of his parents situation as "43 miles with one turn and they miss it"  is like a hyperbole metaphor where he's mocking his parents helplessness w/ money, keeping the ranch, and therefore being able to support him.  so they have to sell the farm and shun him off to be raised between his sister and brother.


They're dead in the short story so I took it literally. But in every story, every detail means more and one of the things aobut the parents' death here and how Ennis describes it is a bit of foreshadowing, I think. What does he do when the turn in the road occurs in his life? He misses it... and then keeps trying to repair the damage.

Offline valkyrie

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2006, 06:08:00 AM »
Strange thing about Ennis. He is so repressed and it seems like Jack is the one most often reach out to his partner. However, when I look closer at Ennis, I find 'his way' of reaching out heartbreaking. Because I will argue that he does 'reach out', in the only way he may know how to do. He probably doesn't know how to reach out in the most common sense, as Jack when Jack comforts him. Where could he have learned that? He has fended for himself since he was a small child.

The way Ennis does it, is to 'bare himself wide open'. When he enters the tent the second lovenight, my heart just hurt for him in his open vulnerability: so tentative, so yearning, not shying away. And when he starts sobbing in the lasso-scene before he 'grips' himself and punch Jack.

And in the last scene of them together, it is excruciating to see, as the barrier breaks down and he starts crying. He looks like a 3 year old child the way he moves his hand and finger up tp his eyes, protecting himself, -and words like: I am nothing ( I can't recall the exact wording) and as Jack is catching him stumble: 'I can't stand this anymore'. Jack is the only one he opens up like this, the only one that he shows himself truly as he is, and that is to me the strongest statement of Ennis reaching out to Jack. It is only Jack that knows him and whom he can open up to. And to mike Jack understands that. They are a 'we', a couple.

Offline Island in the Sea

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2006, 08:13:22 AM »
I feel Ennis' mention of his parents situation as "43 miles with one turn and they miss it"  is like a hyperbole metaphor.

Good insight.

I wondered if the story Ennis told about the gay-bashed rancher was also an exaggeration, made either deliberately or unconsciously.  Ennis' fear was larger than the dangers, perhaps.

Offline Bethie

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2006, 12:35:04 PM »
And I just noticed today the way the opening shot, of the truck coming along the blurred landscape, is echoed as Ennis drives back from Jack’s parents.  The light, the scenery everything is identical except the direction of the travel.  He has completed a journey.

I just feel like I was just punched in the stomach, holy sh8t is what I thought, and of course the damn tears have started again. I am at work!!! (should'nt be on the computer anyway) but what a post. I never thought to make that connection. He has completed a journey. Wow, that is powerful. Got to go and find me some Kleenex and try to explain to my co-workers why I am mess.  :P
ennis is the brave one for having taken his hand. gnash 

He lay his head down, 'n with a whisper light enough to be carried up to the heavens unaided said, “G'night, Bud. Love you.

Offline peteinportland

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2006, 08:15:31 PM »
And I just noticed today the way the opening shot, of the truck coming along the blurred landscape, is echoed as Ennis drives back from Jack’s parents.  The light, the scenery everything is identical except the direction of the travel.  He has completed a journey.

I just feel like I was just punched in the stomach, holy sh8t is what I thought, and of course the damn tears have started again. I am at work!!! (should'nt be on the computer anyway) but what a post. I never thought to make that connection. He has completed a journey. Wow, that is powerful. Got to go and find me some Kleenex and try to explain to my co-workers why I am mess.  :P

Read the first couple of pages of the First Scene thread for a bit more on the this topic.

Offline mwp2paris

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #39 on: January 31, 2006, 10:03:07 PM »
Having just returned from my third viewing, I just have to type out my feelings.

There are 3 scenes that I just can't get out of my mind this evening.

The scene just before the second night in the tent. I did not notice until tonight that you can see Jack in the tent and he is shirtless (in the short story he is naked but it appears as he rolls over he still has his jeans on in the movie). If we can see that, then Ennis could see it. With no dialog, we see the inner turmoil that Ennis is fighting. I can so identify with the emotions of that scene when you see that he so wants to go to the tent but it is his own self holding him back. He struggles, denies, justifies, and then his heart wins and he, almost defeated, walks toward the tent, knowing full well what will happen. Amazing, raw emotion.

The look of total love he gives Jack as they ride horses just after separating the sheep herds. He playfully scolds Jack and says "You'll run the sheep off again if you don't quiet down." but the look, and it is only a fleeting moment before the scene ends, is just so amazing. Ennis Del Mar has found peace and complete openness in what up to then has been a way more difficult life than any 19-year old should have. Balance that with the anguish he feels as Jack pulls away after they come down from BBM.

The apple pie scene. Ennis is just the embodiment of loneliness and Cassie captures all the desperation and hurt of the woman shunned. I just feel so sad during that scene, it overwhelms me with despair...as Annie says, all the weight of Brokeback Mountain floods over me at that point.

The other scene I think is so telling of Ennis is the playfulness between him and Alma Jr. outside of the trailer. He is feigning ignorance at who she is seeing and that, I can tell you from actual experience, is exactly what we fathers do because it causes our daughters to have to say more and we then learn stuff! We play dumb for a reason sometimes!!!

OK...that was 4 scenes. I'll stop there.
[...he is suffused with a sense of pleasure because Jack Twist was in his dream. ... If he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.  Annie Proulx

Offline RonitR

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #40 on: February 01, 2006, 04:48:29 AM »
Ennis's temper.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love this movie, and I LOVE Jack & Ennis.

But I was thinking about Ennis's temper.

One scene that really disturbed me is the confrontation between Alma and Ennis at Thanksgiving.  She confronts him about going on trips not actually for fishing, and he explodes and physically threatens her. And she is visibly pregnant at that time.
This really made me cringe. You just don't threaten a pregnant woman!

I think he did that because he felt threatened himself - fearing that if his secret was out, he will be dead before long. Still, she's a pregnant woman.

The second  is his last meeting with Jack, in which he tells him something along the lines that "If I knew what you do in Mexico, I would kill you".

Do you doubt he meant it ?
Somehow I don't. Especially in view of all that impotent rage pent up inside him (amazing performance by Heath btw).

It goes to show the depth of his feelings for Jack - that he can lose it if he thinks Jack was with another man (while he just laughs at the story about the other woman..).

But it somehow looks to me that Ennis can't deal with his emotions too well, which sometimes translates to physical violence.
But I guess his flaws are what makes him all the more compelling...

What do you think?

Offline Rockbern

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #41 on: February 01, 2006, 06:13:56 AM »
  Jack is the only one he opens up like this, the only one that he shows himself truly as he is, and that is to me the strongest statement of Ennis reaching out to Jack. It is only Jack that knows him and whom he can open up to. And to mike Jack understands that. They are a 'we', a couple.

I very much appreciate your comments.  How would you compare Ennis's "I swear ..." moment with the one you describe as his 'strongest statement of reaching out to Jack'?
Our fantasies keep us sane in an incomprehensible, indifferent universe - inevitably, we comprehend them as reality itself.

 
 

Offline Rockbern

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #42 on: February 01, 2006, 08:20:08 AM »
"Ennis resonates because he reminds us of some part of us. Life has such possibilities, and from lack of courage or weariness or outright fear we allow it to shrink us into this small, sad space doing this small, sad thing. Don’t look at my face because you might see who I am. The film does what it’s supposed to do. It’s specific but it’s universal."

I agree.  I very much identify with Ennis's lack of courage as I suspect we all do - to some degree. 

It is his character that I have the most sympathy and empathy for.  Perhaps it says something about me but his Stoicism and inability to express his feelings openly - even to Jack - I find somehow attractive yet tragic at the same time.  I feel I want to cuddle him as one would a child and say "There, there."  He needs a mother.  You want to ease his obvious pain.   Ennis's repressed, clenched personality serves as a contrasting foil to his few moments of tenderness and vulnerability - when he feels brave enough to face the world  - and heaven.  It is his fear that makes him so deserving of our love.  Unlike Jack, Ennis feels undeserving. 

I would trust Ennis more than I would Jack.  Ennis's word would be his bond.  If he told you something you'd believe it - though not if you were Alma.

Ennis's moments of openness and vulnerability appear to get less and less as time goes by.  We are unaware of any closeness that goes on inside or outside the tent as they age, apart from a shot of them both asleep, huddled together inside the tent, Ennis's arm slung over Jack.  The 'dosing on your feet like a horse' [?] scene seems to be a long time ago when they were much younger.  It appears to be a rather rare event, hence Jack's reverie of it.

Jack, on the otherhand, would tell you what he thought you wanted to hear, if he wanted you to like him.  It was very atypical of him to stand up to his father-in-law the way he did.  It shocked everyone present.  It pained him to do it.  Jack has a sense that his needs [including his feelings and emotions] must be met and does what he can to meet them - not always successfully. 

Given the above views of these two men, I find it impossible to understand how popular Jack Twist's character has become compared to Ennis.  Anyone care to explain?




Our fantasies keep us sane in an incomprehensible, indifferent universe - inevitably, we comprehend them as reality itself.

 
 

Offline westexer

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #43 on: February 01, 2006, 08:56:14 AM »
Ennis's temper.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love this movie, and I LOVE Jack & Ennis.

But I was thinking about Ennis's temper.

One scene that really disturbed me is the confrontation between Alma and Ennis at Thanksgiving.  She confronts him about going on trips not actually for fishing, and he explodes and physically threatens her. And she is visibly pregnant at that time.
This really made me cringe. You just don't threaten a pregnant woman!

I think he did that because he felt threatened himself - fearing that if his secret was out, he will be dead before long. Still, she's a pregnant woman.

The second  is his last meeting with Jack, in which he tells him something along the lines that "If I knew what you do in Mexico, I would kill you".

Do you doubt he meant it ?
Somehow I don't. Especially in view of all that impotent rage pent up inside him (amazing performance by Heath btw).

It goes to show the depth of his feelings for Jack - that he can lose it if he thinks Jack was with another man (while he just laughs at the story about the other woman..).

But it somehow looks to me that Ennis can't deal with his emotions too well, which sometimes translates to physical violence.
But I guess his flaws are what makes him all the more compelling...

What do you think?

For alotta men who aren't in touch with their feelings, their default emotion is anger.  For a man who's deeply suppressed in his feelings, that anger can often just totally explode at times and he really doesn't have much control over it.  Notice in that scene that Ennis doesn't hit Alma but instead goes off and puches out a stranger on tha street and gets beat bad cause of it.  If you've read tha story, there's a segment not in tha movie about how Ennis' father taught him ta blindside his brother with a punch when he least expected it ta make him listen and let him know who's boss - get control of tha situation.  That's what Ennis does ta Jack tha last day on tha mountain.  That life lesson from his father is taken and magnified all through Ennis' life, especially when he's frustrated and doesn't know what he's feelin.  It really is a good character study of tha masculine male.  I've known so many guys like that.  All bound up inside.

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Ennis Del Mar
« Reply #44 on: February 01, 2006, 08:57:22 AM »
I also found it rather puzzling why he has sex with Alma in a way which, we are told in the story, she hates. There is the obvious parallel between his relationship with Jack and that with Alma (and another reason for Alma to suspect the nature of his relationship with Jack), but it seemed rather out of character as, in general (the Thanksgiving scene apart) he seemed reasonably gentle with her . Perhaps he didn't realise she hated it?

I think he probably realised she didn't much care for it, after all the one time we see him turning her over she is trying to stop him.

But - he was in love with Jack, he missed him, missed the sex. I think he missed Jack as much as Jack missed him, and if there was a way he could try and recapture their relationship  then Alma's feelings wouldn't count for much.  Having said that I think if she'd been more assertive about hating it, and made him really appreciate her feelings, he wouldn't have done it.  But she didn't so he carried on.