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Author Topic: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II  (Read 326026 times)

Offline Desecra

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #45 on: January 16, 2008, 10:31:27 AM »
Another minor point - I think that we would expect some restrictions.    That would be normal, I think - for Ennis, at least, it's his first experience with a man, they've both grown up in that homophobic society - even before we know the whole story, you would expect some doubt, some hesitiation, some awkwardness, some self-examination even.   And you might well expect some restrictions on what they did -  - for instance, they might not do things that were overly romantic or 'feminine'.    In fact the idea that, given their backgrounds, there were absolutely no restrictions at all on what they did seems less likely than the idea that there were some restrictions.

But in the end, we do know there were some restrictions, however much we disagree over the details.     I can't agree that 19 year olds wouldn't talk about sex - quite the opposite in my experience - they're usually obsessed with it!  But whatever other 19 year olds do (and I'd suggest that 19 year olds who will have a sexual relationship without ever acknowledging it verbally are showing some sort of repression or restriction, like Ennis) we're still being told that these two didn't - that that restriction was there - that Brokeback did not give them free rein to do whatever they liked.   
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline Desecra

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #46 on: January 16, 2008, 10:36:10 AM »
Boys are about three years behind girls in this though. Fifteen year old girls are horrible. Eighteen / nineteen year old boys can still be pretty immature and monosyllabic.
They will talk about how their motor bike etc is running, but they do not discuss feelings, especially forbidden ones. Of course some men are like this for their whole lives.
Just saying,,,,,,,

But the story doesn't say that Jack and Ennis don't discuss feelings.   Quite the opposite - they do discuss feelings, in a male sort of way.   They imagine what it must have been like for the crew of the Thresher, they talk about their dogs, Jack talks about his relationship with his father.   They talk, talk, talk.   The one thing they absolutely don't talk about is sex, not even a little bit, not a goddamn word.   

So we're not being told that they can't hold a conversation with each other and that's why they can't talk about the sex much.   We're told that they talk very well together, but they don't mention sex at all. 
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline janjo

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #47 on: January 16, 2008, 11:43:54 AM »
Boys are about three years behind girls in this though. Fifteen year old girls are horrible. Eighteen / nineteen year old boys can still be pretty immature and monosyllabic.
They will talk about how their motor bike etc is running, but they do not discuss feelings, especially forbidden ones. Of course some men are like this for their whole lives.
Just saying,,,,,,,

But the story doesn't say that Jack and Ennis don't discuss feelings.   Quite the opposite - they do discuss feelings, in a male sort of way.   They imagine what it must have been like for the crew of the Thresher, they talk about their dogs, Jack talks about his relationship with his father.   They talk, talk, talk.   The one thing they absolutely don't talk about is sex, not even a little bit, not a goddamn word.   

So we're not being told that they can't hold a conversation with each other and that's why they can't talk about the sex much.   We're told that they talk very well together, but they don't mention sex at all. 

I don't disagree with you at all. They can discuss everything except the "elephant in the room" and to me with boys that age that is really quite normal.
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Offline Desecra

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #48 on: January 16, 2008, 12:19:07 PM »
I know you believe that, but why do you think we're told it?   There are two points I'm trying to make:

- we're told about it, so we must need to know it.   It's part of the plot.   If we're just being shown what 19 year olds do, it's of no consequence.   Why are we being shown something that's of no consequence?

- and no matter how common it is for 19 year olds not to be able to mention sex, we're being told that these two didn't.  It's a restriction.   Which kind of puts paid to the idea that they could do absolutely anything on Brokeback because it was an idyll.   One thing that they didn't do was talk about the sex, whether you believe that was because of their age or their homophobia.    (There are other things they didn't do as well, but that's one obvious one).
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline garyd

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #49 on: January 16, 2008, 12:27:03 PM »
One of the elements of the story that I found, immediately upon reading, was the masterful way in which AP relates the story of the boys on the mountain.
It all seemed so natural and entirely in character for the people she is writing about.
She does a great job of indicating that they became close friends before they became sexually involved.
They talked about all sorts of things,(Ennis, perhaps for the first time in his life).
They discovered a "friend,where none was expected".
They actually listened to one another and "respected' the thoughts and opinions of one another.

That they didn't talk about the sex seems perfectly natural to me. "I ain't queer. Me neither. Nobody's business but our own". How perfect!  Awkward, slightly embarrassed, baffled for sure, and of course, to the reader, the first hint that these two are dangerously in denial.
AP, of course, is just as frustrated as we.  The comment, "not one god damned word" is certainly an editorial comment from the author.  "Geez", she seems to be saying, "if they had only had the skills, the guts, the SOMETHING, to discuss the situation honestly, perhaps, despite all the odds against them, they might have been able to work something out". 
One of the tragic elements is that neither of them really were "equipped" to discuss the relationship and when they finally did, four years later in the motel, Ennis had already rationalized and "compartmentalized" it with his ethos of "if you can't fix it..." 
And so it went, this is how Ennis tried to survive.

Jack, on the other hand was in total frustration and we only learn, much later in the story, how he coped (besides "not rolling his own", 'Mexico" and "finding ways to spend his money on buying trips) ...the DE, that one   moment of "perceived"  'artless, sexless"  no artifice, no bull shit, god I love being with you, me too, vapor of a memory. 

Stunning writing, indeed.

Offline Desecra

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2008, 12:56:00 PM »
First hint of their denial, indeed.    I agree about the slow revealing of Jack's frustration, and about it being 'too late' by the time they were able to talk about the sex (and therefore the relationship) - yes, Ennis did all the working through of it on his own and presented a 'fait accompli'.   They never did get the chance to really talk about it together.   The next time they ever get close to talking about is it 16 years later.     So I suppose the not talking about on the mountain is a heavy hint of what's to come. 
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline garyd

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #51 on: January 16, 2008, 01:09:24 PM »
Yes, I think so.
And, 16 or so years later, when it surfaced again, Ennis by that point had stuffed(to use a pop psych term) so many feeling, hurts, desires, fears,
that in his desperate attempt to keep them stuffed he just about literally imploded. Jack somehow, we don't know exactly what was said, had to
try and cram some of it back in, patch him up, and watch him, wounded but walking, drive away.
Nothing new.
Nothing changed.
The whole thing somehow torqued back together.
See ya in November.
Yeah, November.....I guess.

Offline o2binla

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #52 on: January 16, 2008, 02:50:23 PM »
See ya in November.
Yeah, November.....I guess.

I'd say the look on Jack's face as Ennis drives off incorporates this, as well as the "let be" part of the DE, presumably.  Jack is still very upset, but Ennis doesn't see it. 
"curiouser and curiouser"

Offline janjo

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #53 on: January 16, 2008, 03:49:10 PM »
Well! I have had to go out on important family business, but I see garyd has answered the point for me. We have to be told that Jack and Ennis couldn't talk about their feelings because we can't be shown, the avoiding eye contact, hiding under their hats behaviour that we see on screen. It is not an imposed restriction but the normal behaviour that one sees in teenage boys.
I don't know enough gay young men to generalise, although I do know some, but certainly unless a boy is a very forward type, if he really fancies a girl he is much more likely to hit her or tease her to show affection rather than to actually say so.
Jack and Ennis have to be like this, not speaking of their love for one another, if they weren't there would be no story.
Reason enough for ya!
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Offline garyd

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #54 on: January 16, 2008, 04:08:12 PM »
Jack and Ennis have to be like this, not speaking of their love for one another, if they weren't there would be no story.
Reason enough for ya!

LOL, I love , it love it.  So true, so true.

If only Othello had not been the jealous type.
If only Scarlett had told Rhett how she really felt before he no longer gave a damn.
If only Antigone had known that Creon relented.
If only Hamlet had not been.......NUTS!

We would be without some great stories.


Offline Ministering angel

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #55 on: January 16, 2008, 04:25:20 PM »
Well, of course they can't talk about it, because that's a major part of the story. They can't be straight either.

What is of significance to me is the typical AP loop-closing. We are told at the beginning that they didn't talk about it; we are told at the end that they didn't talk about it. In a normal relationship you'd hope that EVENTUALLY they'd get around to discussing the important things, but no, this pair never did. NEVER. And it virtually destroys them when they finally do.

So why didn't they develop a dialogue? Because Ennis would not allow it to happen. Right from the word go the restriction was there, and Jack knew it just as well as he knew that there would be no turning around for him in the Dozy Embrace. These were the groundrules set down by Ennis.

This lack of talking is a critical feature of the story, not just a throwaway line to tell us they were typical teenage horndogs. Even t.t.h. grow up and learn to communicate after a fashion; these two never did. It is a telling part of the story because it highlights the way Ennis could not come face to face with the truth. And that is the tragic fact  on which the story is built. It can't be dismissed lightly.

Why, as Jack falls silent after his outburst, are we told "Like vast clouds of steam from thermal pools in winter, the years of things unsaid and now unsayable rose around them"?  That's all we are told about "cause" at this most awful moment. The rest is "effect". The cause was the revealing of truth at last. This has to be related straight back to their earliest behaviour when they said not one goddamn word.

Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #56 on: January 16, 2008, 05:25:19 PM »
I'm wondering why the no -talking is being debated;;Is it the hundredth thing that shines the light on Ennis's denial, maybe?

I think it is critical to his character development..and gary, I kind of think, 'not a gd word' could as likely be Jack's thought as AP's..after all, at the Reunion, and I beg to differ, mini, they do talk there-Jack goes, 'we gotta talk about this.' The mouth cherry has been popped  ;) by Jack's big teeth, and it brings blood-Ennis's heart comes out, he speaks as much as he can about how he feels.
But alas, he sees the result: He sees the impact on Jack, how it could be, and remembers what could happen-and also what it means about him, if he follows thru, I think.

Offline garyd

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #57 on: January 16, 2008, 05:46:54 PM »
I'm wondering why the no -talking is being debated;;Is it the hundredth thing that shines the light on Ennis's denial, maybe?

I think it is critical to his character development..and gary, I kind of think, 'not a gd word' could as likely be Jack's thought as AP's..after all, at the Reunion, and I beg to differ, mini, they do talk there-Jack goes, 'we gotta talk about this.' The mouth cherry has been popped  ;) by Jack's big teeth, and it brings blood-Ennis's heart comes out, he speaks as much as he can about how he feels.
But alas, he sees the result: He sees the impact on Jack, how it could be, and remembers what could happen-and also what it means about him, if he follows thru, I think.

Yup, I have little doubt that the thought has crossed Jack's mind as well (not a gd word).  It is basically a cry of frustration from him, AP and all of us, I think.
And, yeah, they do talk at the motel and Ennis  appears to be pretty damn open.  But, it is really him simply vocalizing his rationalization of the situation.  He, I think, pretty much sets the rules for the next 16 years, with "whoa that ain't the way it 's gonna be". 
Whether he knows it or not, it's the only way he can live with it.  Any other scenario is simply not part of his "world view".  He's married, Jack's married, they got responsibilities, people really can't live like that anyway (and survive) so, yeah "it's a bitch of a situation" but nothing they can do about it now....if ever.

Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #58 on: January 16, 2008, 05:53:46 PM »
I don't think it is necessary to be dismissive of a post if the person wants to discuss the absence of conversation on the mountain. 

Furthermore, I am not sure I understand your post.  First you scream that they NEVER talk about the "important things" and then you say it "virtually" destroys them when they finally do.   ???
I, of course, never bought into the whole "loop" and "bookend' and "key" and "opening of locks" theory so I am naturally at a loss to understand how "vast clouds of steam" translates into some kind of heart to heart about love and homosexuality and Ennis trying to keep the reins on this one, there at the trail head.. I honestly don't see any "revealing of truth" at last.
Ennis recovers, probably decides he cant' fix it, drives off, and I think fully expects to see Jack in November. 

 To me the steam metaphor is a simple but exquisite word picture for the fact that all of the unsaid, now un-sayable things are just that...vapor.  It's too late.  They have lived the lie for too long.  We hear the catalytic 'you been to Mexico", "and I wish i knew how to quit you", but we do not hear what is actually said after Ennis implodes.  We are told that somehow the relationship was torqued back into place. 
And from what we now know of the two, it seems likely that it is Jack who does the torquing.
Gary, who  are you talking to?   ;D  I can't tell.....

Offline garyd

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #59 on: January 16, 2008, 06:48:43 PM »
Sorry, I was responding to MIni's post.  And, of course, I shouldn't have.