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Author Topic: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II  (Read 326027 times)

Offline royandronnie

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #60 on: January 16, 2008, 07:37:13 PM »
Just a general comment on the 'restrictions'.   
I also disagree that all quick and rough, etc. is the norm for men this age.   I most of us will at some point (even if it was a while ago) have had lovers that age, or inexperienced lovers - given time (which Jack and Ennis) and lack of inhibitions, they are usually eager and keen to explore. 

The thing is, and I think this is important--neither Ennis nor Jack was female. There are some guys who are naturally tender--I've known a few. But I don't think it would be all that general between two guys. They might have been totally different with girls, but with each other… I think that makes a BIG difference. It's not that they wouldn't have behaved tenderly. It's that they didn't behave with each other, at least not enough that we are told about it. If Ennis was trying not to be queer, and Jack was trying not to reveal himself as queer, sex that always had a rough-housing element to it gave them a decent level of deniability.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2008, 08:06:24 PM by royandronnie »
"…in the family homestead of his dead lover, the shirts they wore while cowboying together long before: shabby denim and weary cotton, wrapped in each other's arms." Like this. Always.

He either fears his fate too much
Or his deserts are small
Who dares not put it to the touch
To win or lose it all

Offline royandronnie

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #61 on: January 16, 2008, 07:43:37 PM »

7. Ennis comes to an acceptance of his homosexuality after Jack dies.

Bolded is VERY intriguing...... ;D

I'm not sure why you pick this one out--I'm only using your own argument about the peeing in the sink representing Ennis no longer caring about society=has come to accept who he really is! I am extrapolating somewhat here, except that the continued presence of the Shirts in his life, and his pleasure at Jack being in his dream, suggest he has at least reached an accommodation with the issue. The sad part is this isn't really such a big step, though we usually imply or even say it is. After all, what does it cost Ennis to acknowledge his love in some silent way? As we have noted repeatedly, Jack is dead at this point, and loving him can no longer put Ennis under pressure or in danger. So, he accepts it.
"…in the family homestead of his dead lover, the shirts they wore while cowboying together long before: shabby denim and weary cotton, wrapped in each other's arms." Like this. Always.

He either fears his fate too much
Or his deserts are small
Who dares not put it to the touch
To win or lose it all

Offline royandronnie

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #62 on: January 16, 2008, 08:00:13 PM »

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.   

Yes, either CSI or MinAngel brought out the brilliant point that they talked about lots of things--but NOT girls. I think that almost from the get-go there was a sexual tension between them and they instinctively understood the subject was dangerous. Perhaps--who knows--they played along with other guys, swapping lies and talking dirty about girls they knew, but I think with each other, all alone, they steered clear of a natural subject.

It cannot be argued that story Ennis and Jack did not speak during sex or about sex. I think it's interesting to consider that at the time, maybe Jack didn't want to either. We ASSUME he did--but why? Because of Jake's performance? Maybe given his druthers, he would have preferred to talk, but with "I ain't no queer," he knows for sure if he wants the sex to continue, he'd better leave it alone.  But really, one of the other really important things we never know is how Jack felt about being gay. We don't KNOW that he was cool with it, we only KNOW that he didn't let it get in the way of having gay experiences other than Ennis, so we make that assumption, and I think that's a pretty safe one. But how did he feel at 19, having his first sexual experience with another man, certainly his first full-on sex? (Most agree, even if they believe he'd had some M/M experience, that he was a virgin.) I would say a combination of exhilarated and scared. Wouldn't he have had to be scared? He didn't have an Earl in his past, but he'd sure heard plenty of derogatory remarks about queers by that time, heard other boys call each other queer as an insult, maybe been called that because he was small, if for no other reason. He wanted to get it right, but here he was doing something else wrong. So maybe he was perfectly happy to go along with the silence thing as long as he hadn't sorted out his own feelings yet.

PS. All right, this is a little unlikely, I admit--but for the sake of discussion: this is Ennis' story, is it not? Except for the DE and the two revelations about Jack having sex w/other men, we agree that it can be read essentially as him remembering their lives. So is it just possible that the "not a goddamned word" is Ennis, and not Jack or AP? It is a striking phrase, so emotional amidst all the dry, spare writing. It's intrusive. Her descriptions of weather are lurid, but do not pass a judgement; that phrase does. So is it Ennis, regretting? I know--VERY unlikely. But the thought struck me just now, so I throw it out to you all. More likely that it's a little authorial self-indulgence.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2008, 08:12:49 PM by royandronnie »
"…in the family homestead of his dead lover, the shirts they wore while cowboying together long before: shabby denim and weary cotton, wrapped in each other's arms." Like this. Always.

He either fears his fate too much
Or his deserts are small
Who dares not put it to the touch
To win or lose it all

Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #63 on: January 16, 2008, 08:08:34 PM »

7. Ennis comes to an acceptance of his homosexuality after Jack dies.

Bolded is VERY intriguing...... ;D

I'm not sure why you pick this one out--I'm only using your own argument about the peeing in the sink representing Ennis no longer caring about society=has come to accept who he really is! I am extrapolating somewhat here, except that the continued presence of the Shirts in his life, and his pleasure at Jack being in his dream, suggest he has at least reached an accommodation with the issue. The sad part is this isn't really such a big step, though we usually imply or even say it is. After all, what does it cost Ennis to acknowledge his love in some silent way? As we have noted repeatedly, Jack is dead at this point, and loving him can no longer put Ennis under pressure or in danger. So, he accepts it.
Relax, I'm not making an issue...You're just so definitive about it  ;D, so I couldn't resist..but from my pov,  I don't see the obvious or even suggestive evidence. I 've gone back and forth about the peeing in the sink..I think minimally its true, he doesn't care if anyone judges him for loving Jack-but remember, it was only the one person. Not sure he's sat and defined his sexuality. On the other hand, you'd think by that age and his lack of interest in anyone, especially women, he might figure it out. I don't know.

Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #64 on: January 16, 2008, 08:09:45 PM »
Sorry, I was responding to MIni's post.  And, of course, I shouldn't have.
I was just wondering....it was right after mine, so...... :)

Offline garyd

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #65 on: January 16, 2008, 10:00:02 PM »

PS. All right, this is a little unlikely, I admit--but for the sake of discussion: this is Ennis' story, is it not? Except for the DE and the two revelations about Jack having sex w/other men, we agree that it can be read essentially as him remembering their lives. So is it just possible that the "not a goddamned word" is Ennis, and not Jack or AP? It is a striking phrase, so emotional amidst all the dry, spare writing. It's intrusive. Her descriptions of weather are lurid, but do not pass a judgement; that phrase does. So is it Ennis, regretting? I know--VERY unlikely. But the thought struck me just now, so I throw it out to you all. More likely that it's a little authorial self-indulgence.
This is interesting.  However, even though the prologue might allow one to make the arguement the story is a flashback told from Ennis' point of view, it is actually told from the pov of third person omniscient.  So, it is probably not strictly Ennis.  More than likely it is editorial by the author and represenative of the thoughts of all involved, including the reader.

(Well, of course it is not tpo, is it?  It's third person limited....which allows for the "not a gd word" phrase. ) 
« Last Edit: January 16, 2008, 10:39:44 PM by garyd »

Offline garyd

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #66 on: January 16, 2008, 10:03:17 PM »
Sorry, I was responding to MIni's post.  And, of course, I shouldn't have.
I was just wondering....it was right after mine, so...... :)

I know, just a coincidence of timing and the fact that I chose not to quote the post to which I was referring.
Be that as it may, I should have learned my lesson months ago and stuck to my guns about not being baited.

Offline Desecra

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #67 on: January 16, 2008, 11:42:10 PM »
Just a general comment on the 'restrictions'.   
I also disagree that all quick and rough, etc. is the norm for men this age.   I most of us will at some point (even if it was a while ago) have had lovers that age, or inexperienced lovers - given time (which Jack and Ennis) and lack of inhibitions, they are usually eager and keen to explore. 

The thing is, and I think this is important--neither Ennis nor Jack was female. There are some guys who are naturally tender--I've known a few. But I don't think it would be all that general between two guys. They might have been totally different with girls, but with each other… I think that makes a BIG difference. It's not that they wouldn't have behaved tenderly. It's that they didn't behave with each other, at least not enough that we are told about it. If Ennis was trying not to be queer, and Jack was trying not to reveal himself as queer, sex that always had a rough-housing element to it gave them a decent level of deniability.

I think that it's your last sentence that really gets to the truth.  That's why they're behaving the way they are.    It's not that men only want quick, rough sex, or that 19 year olds only want quick, rough sex or that teenagers never talk about sex, or even that gay men only like quick, rough sex or don't talk about sex.    It's because they're young gay men in those particular adverse circumstances, where their sexuality is considered dangerous and wrong.    Homophobia again - that's what stops them talking and  slowing down or expanding the sex.    We find out later that the homophobia is particularly pertinent to Ennis, who showed him, traumatically, that he'd brutally murder and mutilate anyone gay, and to Jack, who has been deprived of approval and sees his sexuality as making him less of a man.   Neither of them could have talked about it, because neither of them were in a position to say that what they were doing was OK.    Ennis was trying to deny what it meant, and Jack was trying to fit in with Ennis. 

So I don't think we're being told that they act like teenagers - it's directly related to homophobia, and it's explained further as the story continues. 
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 #68 on: January 17, 2008, 12:00:07 AM »
Yes, either CSI or MinAngel brought out the brilliant point that they talked about lots of things--but NOT girls. I think that almost from the get-go there was a sexual tension between them and they instinctively understood the subject was dangerous. Perhaps--who knows--they played along with other guys, swapping lies and talking dirty about girls they knew, but I think with each other, all alone, they steered clear of a natural subject.

That seems likely to me.

Quote
It cannot be argued that story Ennis and Jack did not speak during sex or about sex. I think it's interesting to consider that at the time, maybe Jack didn't want to either. We ASSUME he did--but why? Because of Jake's performance? Maybe given his druthers, he would have preferred to talk, but with "I ain't no queer," he knows for sure if he wants the sex to continue, he'd better leave it alone.  But really, one of the other really important things we never know is how Jack felt about being gay. We don't KNOW that he was cool with it, we only KNOW that he didn't let it get in the way of having gay experiences other than Ennis, so we make that assumption, and I think that's a pretty safe one. But how did he feel at 19, having his first sexual experience with another man, certainly his first full-on sex? (Most agree, even if they believe he'd had some M/M experience, that he was a virgin.) I would say a combination of exhilarated and scared. Wouldn't he have had to be scared? He didn't have an Earl in his past, but he'd sure heard plenty of derogatory remarks about queers by that time, heard other boys call each other queer as an insult, maybe been called that because he was small, if for no other reason. He wanted to get it right, but here he was doing something else wrong. So maybe he was perfectly happy to go along with the silence thing as long as he hadn't sorted out his own feelings yet.

I think we do know a little about what Jack felt about his sexuality.   I think that the 'pissing scene' helps to explain Jack's attitude to being gay (as the Earl scene helps to explain Ennis's).    It seems that he sees it as something he's stuck with rather than something he can control, which explains why we don't see any effort to not be gay from Jack - he doesn't believe he can change it.   He accepts it, but he doesn't see it as a good thing - the words he uses to describe his circumcision are negative - you don't get the impression that he sees his circumcised cock as being better than, or even as good as his father's.     His sexuality is also tied into the idea of not being able to get it right (with Ennis, eventually) - he can't change it and there's no way for him to get it right. 

So if Jack's aware of his sexuality on Brokeback - right from the FNIT he gets a clear message that he shouldn't reveal it.    Ennis rejects his cock (the symbol of his sexuality, in a way) confirming what he already feels - he's different, branded, less acceptable.    Ennis restricts what they do, and warns Jack off during sex.     I think Jack is tuned in enough to him to know it wouldn't be adviseable to reveal his sexuality.    If it wasn't for that attitude we're told about - if he really was confident about his own sexuality, he might just have been able to push a bit more. 

There's also the question of time - they really don't have that long on Brokeback, and I get the feeling that Jack bides his time, hoping for the next step forward.  (And there are a few steps - the FNIT, the DE, the August night).    So I don't think Jack makes a decision to never talk about his sexuality - he's waiting for the right moment.   I think he would have admitted it at the reunion, if Ennis hadn't cued him not to. 

Of course I'm looking at what we know later, not at the time.   At the time, when we read it, I think it sounds like they're both acting the same way for the same reasons. 

Quote
PS. All right, this is a little unlikely, I admit--but for the sake of discussion: this is Ennis' story, is it not? Except for the DE and the two revelations about Jack having sex w/other men, we agree that it can be read essentially as him remembering their lives. So is it just possible that the "not a goddamned word" is Ennis, and not Jack or AP? It is a striking phrase, so emotional amidst all the dry, spare writing. It's intrusive. Her descriptions of weather are lurid, but do not pass a judgement; that phrase does. So is it Ennis, regretting? I know--VERY unlikely. But the thought struck me just now, so I throw it out to you all. More likely that it's a little authorial self-indulgence.

It could be - we start from the prologue, and it could be Ennis in retrospect, remembering that they didn't speak a goddamn word.   I don't think it's Ennis at the time - it seems to me that he was avoiding thinking about what they were doing as well as avoiding speaking about it - 'not a goddamn word' would push him in the direction of asking why, I think. 
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 #69 on: January 17, 2008, 12:19:43 AM »
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!


Actually, I think the film and book are different here.   In the film they do talk about the sex - there's that conversation on the mountainside after the FNIT.   They're clearly acknowledging that something has happened (and is going to continue to happen).  And we're not given the further detail of 'not a goddamn word' during sex - we don't know if they said anything during sex.    So that particular restriction is another thing which has been left out of the film, and I can see why.

I agree that 19 year olds (or people of any age) might hit and tease - but they also have sex, and also talk about sex.   However, closeted gay men in a homophobic society might find it more difficult to express themselves freely, verbally and sexually.    I think this is about homophobia, again, (in the broad sense) rather than their age.   If it was just their age, then why do they continue to deny their sexuality when they're older?

Your last point - I'm not sure what you mean here.  I think this is in answer to me asking why we are shown something of no consequence (that 19 year olds don't talk about sex).    Are you saying that we don't need to know why they don't talk?  Is the idea that any couple who fell in love at 19 would have similar problems because the lack of communication at that age?
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 #70 on: January 17, 2008, 02:31:23 AM »
A boy and a girl would talk about the sex, she would make him. Two boys? I just doubt it. If they had talked about what was going on with them, how they really felt about each other, they would, I think, have had to make some accommodation in their circumstances, have had to arrange to see each other, to be together. The fact that they didn't, or couldn't, that they had to keep up the image, the manly pretence that they were tough and nothing affected them, is at the core of why this didn't happen.
That is why I say that without the manly stoicism which is so apparent here, there would be no story.
Perhaps it is because I am in my fifties and I can remember those times, but men have changed a lot in their attitudes since 1963. A man would never have been seen pushing a pram, or carrying a bunch of flowers in those days.
Sex was not talked about freely. Unmarried mothers were ostracised.
With the natural reticence to talk about feelings, common to boys that age, the fact that they were indulging in homosexual acts that were regarded by society as a wicked perversion, and to the tenor of the times, I would have said that not speaking about the sex was exactly what one would expect.
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Offline Ministering angel

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #71 on: January 17, 2008, 04:01:22 AM »
Sorry, I was responding to MIni's post.  And, of course, I shouldn't have.
I was just wondering....it was right after mine, so...... :)

I know, just a coincidence of timing and the fact that I chose not to quote the post to which I was referring.
Be that as it may, I should have learned my lesson months ago and stuck to my guns about not being baited.

Given that your post has been deleted I won't respond to it, despite the fact that it remains as a quote. However, I wasn't baiting. I was expressing my views on the importance of the "no talking" stuff.

Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #72 on: January 17, 2008, 07:17:16 AM »
A boy and a girl would talk about the sex, she would make him. Two boys? I just doubt it. If they had talked about what was going on with them, how they really felt about each other, they would, I think, have had to make some accommodation in their circumstances, have had to arrange to see each other, to be together. The fact that they didn't, or couldn't, that they had to keep up the image, the manly pretence that they were tough and nothing affected them, is at the core of why this didn't happen.
That is why I say that without the manly stoicism which is so apparent here, there would be no story.
Perhaps it is because I am in my fifties and I can remember those times, but men have changed a lot in their attitudes since 1963. A man would never have been seen pushing a pram, or carrying a bunch of flowers in those days.
Sex was not talked about freely. Unmarried mothers were ostracised.
With the natural reticence to talk about feelings, common to boys that age, the fact that they were indulging in homosexual acts that were regarded by society as a wicked perversion, and to the tenor of the times, I would have said that not speaking about the sex was exactly what one would expect.
IMO, a very reasonable argument.
The 'but' is that there was perhaps a desire to talk on one of their parts, ie, Jack's, as we see from the Reunion, 'we gotta talk about this'; and Ennis was not going to allow it, except just the one time, with INNQ, on BBM. I think the reason it is emphasized by the author is, it is not describing what might seem like ordinary male stoicism that she would have to assume her reader is at least dimly aware of, as much as the fact that if they were suspended above ordinary affairs and anything goes, and all that-what was stopping him? If we say its simply part of who he was, then why? And if the answer is, he is a man of his time, then I submit homophobia also makes him a man of his time, along with not doing certain things that would trigger his fear/shame combo. and I think Jack, frustrated as he was, understood-he was a man of his time-, so did not push it as  you well pointed out, a woman might.
This was two men together who understood these Things, so it is expected they would react differently than a man and woman together. I'm not sure how that can be defined in today's terms, there is so much more gender-bending and more loose-thankfully-boundaries, but back then? For all intents and purposes, these people, culturally, were living in the old West. They lacked the education to tell them there were other options....Jack was just desperate enough to cross that line with Ennis once or twice.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2008, 12:15:25 PM by CANSTANDIT »

Offline janjo

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #73 on: January 17, 2008, 07:27:44 AM »
I don't think we are disagreeing very much here, except to say that Ennis would have had to have felt the shame in the first place in order to organise his list of restrictions. I don't think he did feel that shame, it built up until everything became "mixed" and then he punched Jack. I don't think there was enough shame before that. He was enjoying himself too much.
It is nice that we agree about most of it.
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Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #74 on: January 17, 2008, 07:45:26 AM »
If anyone has not yet read Eric Patterson's article from the General Discussion thread, it addresses many of the points we've been discussing from day 1, and also adds a few insights. One thing he seems convinced of, is that Jack was murdered in the end; and that both fathers had a sense of a lack of masculinity in their sons when they were small. That was speculated about, a long time ago, by the stalwarts. here..I wonder how much research was done using this Forum! ;D ;D ;D