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Author Topic: The Dozy Embrace  (Read 5649 times)

Offline royandronnie

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The Dozy Embrace
« on: April 08, 2016, 06:50:23 PM »
It was suggested that the Dozy Embrace merits its own thread, and really, it does. So, here it is! Have at 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 Rosestem

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2016, 07:39:28 PM »

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2016, 11:53:13 PM »
A new thread! How exciting! And you're right that it deserves its own thread. It's such a tricky little passage, not fitting chronologically into the point of the story where we meet it, yet crucial to understanding pretty well everything which has gone before and which will come after.

And hello Rosestem. Cute name.

Offline Desecra

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2016, 06:18:56 AM »
I think this part of the book is probably the passage that had the most emotional impact for me (quite special in the midst of scenes with devastating emotional impact). 
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline suelyblu

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2016, 02:12:02 PM »
This:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxW0npSi9U0

To see them standing there like that is heart melting....but the words used to describe the moment are just beautiful. Makes you wonder how someone can write
something sooo wonderful ...with all the right words and feelings....about such a simple act of standing in front of a camp fire with your lovers arms around you.
Nothing more...nothing less. Perfect.

Am I right in thinking that it was said that this beautiful memory was just all in Jacks mind.....and that it never really happened ?  He needed this to be for real .For Ennis to just give him this achingly loving moment.
Could Ennis be capable of doing it though ? They wrestled with each other. One or the other using this "game" to initiate sex...but would Ennis be able to cope with doing such a raw emotional action... even though he held him from behind ? Revealing how he really feels about Jack. It's almost an "I love you"...with out the words.
"I  know that ghosts have wondered on the earth,
 Be with me always. Take any form. Drive me mad,
 only do not leave me in the dark alone, where I cannot
 find you.
 I cannot live without my life.
 I cannot die without my soul.
                                          .

Offline morrobay

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2016, 02:49:09 PM »
of course, it did happen...even though it wasn't perfect (even the knowledge that Ennis would not then embrace him face to face because he did not want to see nor feel that it was Jack he held)...

What Jack remembered and craved in a way he could neither help nor understand was the time that distant summer on Brokeback when Ennis had come up behind him and pulled him close, the silent embrace satisfying some shared and sexless hunger.

They had stood that way for a long time in front of the fire, its burning tossing ruddy chunks of light, the shadow of their bodies a single column against the rock. The minutes ticked by from the round watch in Ennis's pocket, from the sticks in the fire settling into coals. Stars bit through the wavy heat layers above the fire. Ennis's breath came slow and quiet, he hummed, rocked a little in the sparklight and Jack leaned against the steady heartbeat, the vibrations of the humming like faint electricity and, standing, he fell into sleep that was not sleep but something else drowsy and tranced until Ennis, dredging up a rusty but still useable phrase from the childhood time before his mother died, said, "Time to hit the hay, cowboy. I got a go. Come on, you're sleepin on your feet like a horse," and gave Jack a shake, a push, and went off in the darkness. Jack heard his spurs tremble as he mounted, the words "see you tomorrow," and the horse's shuddering snort, grind of hoof on stone.

Later, that dozy embrace solidified in his memory as the single moment of artless, charmed happiness in their separate and difficult lives. Nothing marred it, even the knowledge that Ennis would not then embrace him face to face because he did not want to see nor feel that it was Jack he held. And maybe, he thought, they'd never got much farther than that. Let be, let be.

« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 02:56:04 PM by morrobay »
“Remember the days you prayed for the things you have now.”

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2016, 04:58:38 PM »
Am I right in thinking that it was said that this beautiful memory was just all in Jacks mind.....and that it never really happened ?  He needed this to be for real .For Ennis to just give him this achingly loving moment.
Could Ennis be capable of doing it though ? They wrestled with each other. One or the other using this "game" to initiate sex...but would Ennis be able to cope with doing such a raw emotional action... even though he held him from behind ? Revealing how he really feels about Jack. It's almost an "I love you"...with out the words.
It has been suggested by some posters that Jack's memory of the event was flawed, but not that it didn't happen at all. The main points of contention were (from memory):
-that Jack could have turned around, i.e. he was mistaken in his belief that Ennis wouldn't embrace him face to face
-that the moment WAS marred eventually, because he finally understood about Ennis's ongoing inability to (metaphorically) face up to the truth
-that despite it being described as a single moment of artless, charmed happiness, there must have been similar occasions throughout their time together
-that "then" referred only to the DE and not any other period of time.

There are probably others but those are the ones which leap out this morning.

Offline morrobay

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2016, 05:20:39 PM »

-that the moment WAS marred eventually, because he finally understood about Ennis's ongoing inability to (metaphorically) face up to the truth


When do you think this happened?  Obviously, Jack came to acknowledge the DE for what it was in reality...that is clear on his face as Ennis pulls away after the fight about August.

I wonder how long he had...how many months or years of remembering and fantasizing about that perfect time and place...five minutes that overshadowed everything he had ever known, or would ever know...
“Remember the days you prayed for the things you have now.”

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2016, 05:45:51 PM »
I may be a bit of a romantic but I always feel that the DE was never marred for Jack. Yes, he realised at last that the promise held out in those precious minutes would never come to fruition but I feel that he still believed in what happened then.

I guess it all depends on what one concludes Jack was thinking. The essence seems to be that Jack understood there was more to Ennis's feelings than simple horseplay and sex. In the DE he understands that Ennis has real, deep feelings for Jack, that he can give Jack the things he needs - which are love and approval. So he spends the next twenty years waiting for those things and never getting them. But he's had that glimpse and he knows (or thinks he knows) Ennis has the ability to give them again. But when the final argument happens he finally understands that Ennis is incapable of giving them. Does that mean he then thinks the promise of the DE was a lie, or does he think that it was true but unobtainable, unrepeatable? I'm inclined to go for the latter, thus the DE can remain unmarred in some way.

Offline morrobay

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2016, 05:55:50 PM »
But when the final argument happens he finally understands that Ennis is incapable of giving them. Does that mean he then thinks the promise of the DE was a lie, or does he think that it was true but unobtainable, unrepeatable? I'm inclined to go for the latter, thus the DE can remain unmarred in some way.

I agree with your more romantic side, that Jack knew the dozy embrace was true and real at the time...Ennis was capable, for that singular moment, of showing an expression of love, however fleeting.  It would sustain Jack for most of the rest of his life...
“Remember the days you prayed for the things you have now.”

Offline Rosestem

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2016, 07:57:44 PM »
I just watched this interview with Jake http://www.people.com/article/jake-gyllenhaal-heath-ledger-death-brokeback-mountain?xid=rss-topheadlines, and I was struck by his response to the question of what he learned about Jack Twist:

"What a sad, brokenhearted fellow he was."

Could the DE be the moment when he realized that he loved Ennis and Ennis loved him back?

Offline morrobay

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2016, 08:30:29 PM »
that is one of the more human, for want of a better word, interviews I've seen with Jake.  Mostly he's on talk shows and has 4 minutes to be funny and pitch his latest movie...this went a little deeper into some aspects of his career, and touched on Brokeback and Heath a little.  Nice to watch.

My personal opinion is that Jack knew long before the DE that he loved Ennis.  The fact that Ennis would actually come to him, put his arms around him (albeit not face to face), hum a long-forgotten song, share that momentary warmth...that was, for Jack, his confirmation that it wasn't only sex, Ennis had deep feelings...he just couldn't sustain them...but for those few moments...that was everything...
“Remember the days you prayed for the things you have now.”

Offline B.W.

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2016, 09:22:04 PM »
I have never read the short story, but I loved the look on Jack's face when Ennis rides away on the horse in the flashback scene.  I think that may have been the moment where Jack was given a subtle confirmation that Ennis was in love in with him, just like how Jack was in love with Ennis.  The phrase " I love you" doesn't need to be spoken between the men, it just seems  so obvious due to their facial and bodily expressions.  I certainly wouldn't be able to understand how someone couldn't acknowledge that these men were in love with each other and that sex was only one part of their relationship.   

I think it is so sweet when Ennis hums to him, and when he mentioned about how his mother had sang to him and told him that he "slept on his feet like a horse".  That piece of dialogue seems to suggest that Ennis was very close with his mother.  It is just so tragic when the scene transitions back to where we see a hurt and angry Jack watching Ennis drive away in his truck.

Offline Sara B

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2016, 01:13:17 AM »
A new thread to itself! I'll have to see if I can activate my brain cells. And find the book.... Ok, got it! "Would not then..." Hmm.

Welcome, Rosestem. :)
There were only the two of them on the mountain flying in the euphoric, bitter air, looking down on the hawk's back and the crawling lights of vehicles on the plain below, suspended above ordinary affairs....

Offline Desecra

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2016, 03:40:46 AM »
I think it happened as Jack remembers.   I'm just speaking of the book now, but I think this scene is key, and we know now from the opera libretto that they didn't kiss on the mountain.  This is the scene that tells us that in the book (Ennis wouldn't embrace face to face).   For the whole time on Brokeback they really did just more or less repeat the FNIT.  That was a shocker for me at the time.  I suppose it was as far as Ennis was able to go without questioning his own sexuality (he doesn't dare to question it until after he's safely married with a child).

As for whether the DE was marred, I've gone back and forth a bit over it, but I think it wasn't, really.   It was the rest of the time on Brokeback that was marred.  That moment was able to occur because of some fortuitous positioning - Jack was facing the fire and didn't turn round, Ennis came up behind him, and it just happened naturally.   In that moment, they were just loving each other.  However, it seems that when the moment comes into his mind, so does the memory of Ennis's reluctance and denial of what was between them.   I suppose the recollection of the memory is always marred, rather than the memory itself, if that makes sense.  Or maybe I just want Jack to have died still having that unmarred memory.

This is a big difference between Jack and Ennis, I think - for Jack the time on Brokeback is marred, very marred, however wonderful it was, but for Ennis, it was the only time that was hardly marred (because he avoided facing the issue, literally and metaphorically).   That's why Ennis continually tries unsuccessfully to recreate Brokeback, whereas Jack wants to move on together and regrets that Brokeback is all they've got.   They don't manage to meet in the middle until after Jack's death. 

Reading it again, that "single moment" in twenty years really gets to me. 
« Last Edit: April 10, 2016, 12:18:12 PM by Desecra »
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)