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Author Topic: Character Analysis of Jack Twist  (Read 391570 times)

Offline peteinportland

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Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« on: January 27, 2006, 01:16:17 AM »
It is past time for this topic. This is the thread to talk about Jack Twist. Discuss any and everything about this character.

« Last Edit: May 16, 2006, 06:38:50 AM by peteinportland »

Offline ImEnnisShesJack

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2006, 07:07:34 AM »
okay, since I identify most closely with Jack, and since I'm already significantly late for work [again], I'll tackle this one:

Jack is open and loving and heart-on-his-sleeve type of guy.  He jumps right in and grabs the bull by the horns (no pun) when it comes to whatever aspect of his life he's in.  He's a total "fuckup" in that he can't really do anything well. (can't shoot straight, can't rodeo well, can't hold his seat w/ the mare, can't heard sheep, can't play harmonica, etc...)  He's earnest and genuine in his emotions - even if he doesn't understand their origination.  He is willing to make the first move on Ennis because he is only thinking about the good.  He doesn't acknowledge the dangers or the negativity possible with such a union, only that they could make it work and deal with the rest later.  Everything will be fine as long as they can be together.

I don't think Jack is a predator, as Gene Shallit so inelegantly put it, but I do believe he was the initiator of a lot of the relationship between him and Ennis.  However, you can't rape the willing.  If Ennis didn't want him, he coulda/woulda/shoulda slugged him outright, pushed him away, beat the sh*t out of him, etc.  Ennis is so bottled up that this relationship would have never happened if it had been up to Ennis to start it. 

Jack was lonely and looking for his father's approval.  Ennis didn't have a father-figure either.  Both boys were missing a male presence in their lives.  Does that mean that if your daddy runs off when you're nine that you're going to grow up gay?  No!  Of course not!  But it let both of those 19 yr. old boys bond over the absence of their fathers.  AND it let them be receptive to having a good MALE friend because they needed that maleness in their lives.  The love that grew between them is a parallel issue.  It's separate but runs alongside. 

Jack knew that what he had with Ennis was the best thing. A-1. Bar none. Ever.  He was the one who worked so hard to try to wear Ennis down and give in.  He was willing to work out the details to provide a life for them together.  He was the one that was willing to throw away all his past life to be with the one person he loved more than anything in the world.  And he withstood rejection after rejection from his soulmate, but he never gave up on him.  Even his trips to Mexico and the bit with the ranch hand were all just to keep him going to one day be with Ennis.  If Ennis had ever said "NO MORE", I think Jack would have done everything he could to give up the other dalliances.

Jack was always offering himself up to Ennis, heart and soul.  And each time Ennis would kick his heart or wound his soul, the hurt Jack felt was immense, but it didn't diminish his love for Ennis one iota.  He loved Ennis so completely.

I know people will disagree with [some of] my observations.  It's difficult to write this as I found that I was writing about myself and not Jack several times.  I'd love to see my Ennis evaluate the film's Ennis....
"And when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night."
~~Heath Ledger 1979-2008~~

Carol8159@yahoo.com

Offline BeL

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2006, 07:53:02 AM »
I do like your post about Jack *thumb up*
I saw him almost the same way, and that's why it's so hard for me to see him in their last time together. :(

People like Jack, always hopeful and romantic and full of new plans and ideas no matter the odds, might seem weaker than the ones that never let their emotions come out, because we see them hurt, we see them cry, we see...you know, their hearts in the sleeves, is what you say? :D . But when we sense them loosing hope for good, we just can't stand it, for it is one of the most heart-wrenching things to see. And in the end you realize that the others are lost without the little infectious hope all the Jacks give you, even if you never realized before.

(If this has little sense, tell me and I'll try again, lol)

I wonder what would have happened to Jack had he been the one receiving the postcard. :'(

Offline aceygirl

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2006, 01:58:06 PM »
I'mJack....that's an accurate and thorough analysis IMO.  :)

Jack to me is also the underdog (as others have mentioned in threads) with a tender heart for those in need. He "loved a little dog" and shelters a lamb in his saddle, even pulling thorns out of its foot. He's the nagging father who drives the school crazy regarding his son. He's the "pissant" son-in-law who finally stands up to his stud-duck father-in-law. Apparently he was pretty good at selling equipment, if we are to believe Lureen's compliment. But he doesn't think ahead very well in the practical sense--only in the romantic, idealistic sense. Doesn't think twice about driving 1200 miles on a chance, or frequenting hustlers in alleys.

But when it's not someone in need, he can be rather inconsiderate. He marries Lureen for her money, it seems, for he shows no compunction about possibly ditching her. He has no concern for Alma "you call that a life?" and Ennis's daughters. And he's not very considerate of his own safety.

That's just my take on Jack's human flaws. Although in all honesty, if he had been able to have the life he wanted with Ennis, I bet he would've made a great uncle to Ennis's daughters!

Overall, I think this character is so courageous and motivated by love and hope...exactly the kind of inspiration Ennis needed, even if he wanted to deny it. And despite what his asshole father put him through, he kept wanting to go back to Lightning Flat and help out his folks.

Offline cythera4

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2006, 03:17:28 PM »
One of my favorite scenes that shows Jack's character is the Thanksgiving dinner where he finally tells off his blowhard father-in-law. His wife is so pleased with this self-assertion and glances meaningfully at their son as if to say: "see, that's what it means to be a man." But then we see Jack, his face in his hands, and we realize that this sort of macho display is repulsive to him--the fact that he *had* to do this makes him feel sick. Contrast this scene with Ennis kicking the bikers' butts at the 4th of July fireworks show--Ennis, I think, is much more into typically macho outbursts of violence (he hits Jack, almost hits Alma, gets into that fight with the guy in the truck). It's as if that's all he knows about what it means to be a man--unless he's with Jack, alone, where a more tender side can show. I don't mean to say that Jack is "feminine" by contrast, merely that he has a gentler, more loving spirit. Really, I think Ennis's violence is the result of his repression--his emotions are under so much pressure that they wind up erupting into rage. Jack is more honest with himself and true to his feelings, but the price of this is that he's much more vulnerable and always getting wounded. The genius of the movie is that it has so much to say about gender roles and attitudes, as well as about sexuality/desire, etc.

Offline aceygirl

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2006, 04:52:53 PM »
Kmich, it makes a bucketload of sense. Having someone to believe in you...man, that's huge. Even Ennis, who loves him more than anyone, inadvertently kinda keeps the trend going. "Jack Twist, thinks he has all the answers..." he mutters. It would be so frustrating to have even the one who loves you keep dismissing your ideas and goals.

Offline Wx

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2006, 06:28:04 PM »
For me this song reminds me so much of Brokeback, even though it is not in the film.

It's perhaps a song Ennis might sing to Jack (not that he is the kind to sing in the movie, although they do sing in the book), even after his death/killing.

It seems to describe the cheeky, full of life, happy go lucky Jack.

What do you think?

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00005ND8T/103-3206405-4133403?v=glance

[Amazon lets you download it free, so it must be legal (it is not just a low quality preview recording, it is the entire song in mp3).]

Offline bkm

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2006, 02:37:47 AM »
one thing that viewers seem to overlook about jack is that he is  a dreamer. he dreams of  a life with ennis,lays out some ideas etc.When you really think about it he does nothing to make himself free to be with Ennis. Ennis makes the sacrifices with his jobs,he is the one who divorces,he breaks with cassie(it seems that this may have been Ennis'decision to a monogamous relationship with jack) . then contrast this to Jacks behavior . Is it just me ,or does Ennis fear that Jack and his need for other partners may not stop if they were together,and in fact his outgoing nature and needs may put Jack in danger. Does Ennis feel they are safe when together on bbm and thats why they keep their relationship there. P.S. ,by reading the short story does anyone guess that jack may have been sexually abused by his father, or that his father may himself had homosexual tendencies( stated tin short story that jack mother has not been part of his life for a long time!

Offline ImEnnisShesJack

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2006, 06:45:32 AM »
It would be so frustrating to have even the one who loves you keep dismissing your ideas and goals.

That doesn't make the dream die.  It just makes the dreamer bitter.

Trust me. 

*I* know.
"And when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night."
~~Heath Ledger 1979-2008~~

Carol8159@yahoo.com

Offline aceygirl

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2006, 01:34:50 PM »
It would be so frustrating to have even the one who loves you keep dismissing your ideas and goals.

That doesn't make the dream die.  It just makes the dreamer bitter.

Trust me. 

*I* know.

Yes...like the look on Jack's face when he watches Ennis ride away for the last time :-\

Offline JAKEheathadmire

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2006, 09:24:57 PM »
okay, since I identify most closely with Jack, and since I'm already significantly late for work [again], I'll tackle this one:

Jack is open and loving and heart-on-his-sleeve type of guy.  He jumps right in and grabs the bull by the horns (no pun) when it comes to whatever aspect of his life he's in.  He's a total "fuckup" in that he can't really do anything well. (can't shoot straight, can't rodeo well, can't hold his seat w/ the mare, can't heard sheep, can't play harmonica, etc...)  He's earnest and genuine in his emotions - even if he doesn't understand their origination.  He is willing to make the first move on Ennis because he is only thinking about the good.  He doesn't acknowledge the dangers or the negativity possible with such a union, only that they could make it work and deal with the rest later.  Everything will be fine as long as they can be together.

I don't think Jack is a predator, as Gene Shallit so inelegantly put it, but I do believe he was the initiator of a lot of the relationship between him and Ennis.  However, you can't rape the willing.  If Ennis didn't want him, he coulda/woulda/shoulda slugged him outright, pushed him away, beat the sh*t out of him, etc.  Ennis is so bottled up that this relationship would have never happened if it had been up to Ennis to start it. 

Jack was lonely and looking for his father's approval.  Ennis didn't have a father-figure either.  Both boys were missing a male presence in their lives.  Does that mean that if your daddy runs off when you're nine that you're going to grow up gay?  No!  Of course not!  But it let both of those 19 yr. old boys bond over the absence of their fathers.  AND it let them be receptive to having a good MALE friend because they needed that maleness in their lives.  The love that grew between them is a parallel issue.  It's separate but runs alongside. 

Jack knew that what he had with Ennis was the best thing. A-1. Bar none. Ever.  He was the one who worked so hard to try to wear Ennis down and give in.  He was willing to work out the details to provide a life for them together.  He was the one that was willing to throw away all his past life to be with the one person he loved more than anything in the world.  And he withstood rejection after rejection from his soulmate, but he never gave up on him.  Even his trips to Mexico and the bit with the ranch hand were all just to keep him going to one day be with Ennis.  If Ennis had ever said "NO MORE", I think Jack would have done everything he could to give up the other dalliances.

Jack was always offering himself up to Ennis, heart and soul.  And each time Ennis would kick his heart or wound his soul, the hurt Jack felt was immense, but it didn't diminish his love for Ennis one iota.  He loved Ennis so completely.

I know people will disagree with [some of] my observations.  It's difficult to write this as I found that I was writing about myself and not Jack several times.  I'd love to see my Ennis evaluate the film's Ennis....


WHAT A GREAT POINT OF VIEW, RIGHT ON! The worst rejection moment is when Ennis does not welcome Jack after poor Jack drove 1200 miles as soon as he heard about the divorce...It does not make any sense to me, that Ennis dare to send Jack back after a 14-hour drive!!! What a lack of judgment, and what a lack of understanding and compasion...no wonder poor Jack, tears in his eyes, decided to escape to Mexico

Offline JAKEheathadmire

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2006, 09:46:23 PM »
one thing that viewers seem to overlook about jack is that he is  a dreamer. he dreams of  a life with ennis,lays out some ideas etc.When you really think about it he does nothing to make himself free to be with Ennis. Ennis makes the sacrifices with his jobs,he is the one who divorces,he breaks with cassie(it seems that this may have been Ennis'decision to a monogamous relationship with jack) . then contrast this to Jacks behavior . Is it just me ,or does Ennis fear that Jack and his need for other partners may not stop if they were together,and in fact his outgoing nature and needs may put Jack in danger. Does Ennis feel they are safe when together on bbm and thats why they keep their relationship there. P.S. ,by reading the short story does anyone guess that jack may have been sexually abused by his father, or that his father may himself had homosexual tendencies( stated tin short story that jack mother has not been part of his life for a long time!

Why so many people believe that Jack had SEVERAL other male partners? It is very clear in the book that he went to Mexico ONLY ONCE. And nothing in the movie suggests that it was otherwise. At their last meeting, he clearly said to Ennis that he did go to Mexico ONCE...Also, he never went after Randal either, it is the other way around...Randal hit on him, but Jack did not really respond to him. And when Jack’s father said to Ennis that Jack talked about another man to come on the ranch, well he said Jack mentionned that when he visited last spring (which was right after the last meeting in May 1983). So that last visit to his father, Jack did it just after he left Ennis after their last meeting, as he said to Jack then: ’’I’m going to drive up to Ligthening Flat to visit my folks’’...So he talked to his father about another man than Ennis for the first time, but it was wishfull thinking, nothing really happened, and he died shortly after...

kumari

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2006, 09:54:10 PM »
I find Jack's character to be very complex.
He is a romantic in the traditional sense; he embraces love fully even when everything and everyone around him tells him that this love is impossible.
His upbringing has dictated what he should do with his life and whom he should love and not love.
Jack has an incredible sense of entitlement to happiness for someone so poor, something that his father both hates and envies about him. He doesn't think that he should eat beans when he doesn't want to, he doesn't think he should be made to sleep with the sheep (well, we know why he doesn't like that idea!) even though it's a part of his job, and doesn't feel the need to deny his sexual urges.
He shaves before going up on Brokeback and displays other hints of vanity that are both puzzling and charming.
Jack does not see why he should not have what he wants.
His inability to fully accept the limitations of the status quo makes you wonder what he might have been in a different place and time. Many dreamers and idealists become activists when their world seems too small for their ideas.

Offline crcj

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2006, 10:50:29 PM »
Like many of the previous posters, I find myself relating so completely to the Jack character.  I did not feel this same way when reading the short story.  In the story, Jack is a little more of a cad who is more opportunistic, in my opinion.  The story makes it very clear that he was much more experienced than Ennis and had been sowing his oats before reuniting with Ennis.  Jack's relationship with Ennis after the reunion was sort of a surprise for him in the story.

In the movie, the character was developed much differently in some ways.  And Jake does such a complete job of selling the viewer that he is Jack, it really is so true and meaningful to watch.

Jack is such the optimist and romantic.  I have been involved with a couple of Ennis types, and I understand the dynamic.  They suck you in and make you want to hang in there until you get what you need from them.  You don't understand why they don't see what you do, and you know that just a little more time and effort and they will come around.  My situations were not quite the same, but the dynamic was very familiar.  Two different men who could not fully deal with their families expectations, and always needed to hold back a bit.

I absolutely fell in love with Jack.  And that says something, because the Jack of the movie also had some real issues.  I think fidelity was not as valued by him as Ennis.  Ennis would never have thought about Jack being with someone else, until their final day together when it all came to a head during their fight.  Jack was not thoughtful in how he treated the women in their lives-- as someone else mentioned.

But he was such a true and loving person, that you kind of look right past all of that.  And think about what a loving partner he would have been and how much joy and happiness he would have shared with Ennis.  Jack was infectious and a life together would have brought great influences on Ennis.

Offline lektronnorth

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Re: Element: Character Analysis of Jack Twist
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2006, 12:02:07 AM »
I don't know whether this is the right place to post this, but when do you think Jack falls in love with Ennis?

It's easy to see when he fancies him. When he turns round after kicking the pick up truck about two minutes into the movie. His body language is like a peacock on display. So assuming we're agreed he's got the hots for Ennis straight off, when does he fall in love?

It has to be sometime between the first meeting, and the return of Ennis after he's spent all day chasing after the horses following the incident with the grizzly. Because what Jack does to try and clean Ennis's wound is SO tender, SO caring that he must be in love by that time - I don't think there's any other explanation. Ennis of course can't be seen to allow another man to clean his wound.....

Does anyone else fall to pieces with the shot of Jake G asking whether Ennis is going to go back to sheep herding next year?.  His eyes are just astonishing. For two straight actors to get this close to the characters is amazing.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2006, 12:07:46 AM by lektronnorth »
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