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Author Topic: The Dozy Embrace  (Read 4660 times)

Offline royandronnie

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2016, 08:59:31 PM »
For me, what is marred in Jack's mind is not Brokeback in any form--it's the fact that what the DE represents, limited though he finally realizes it was, is progress: Ennis is capable of not just sex but love, and of showing it--but it never happens again. Because there is no real progress. On Brokeback, all that's necessary is that Ennis hold Jack. That's enough for then. Later, it's not enough. The love is there, again, in the Reunion, but it goes nowhere. Ennis will go so far, and no further. So Jack remembers for the rest of his life when the love wasn't contaminated by expectations of what will or will not happen next. You don't see him at the end of the DE going "so what we gone a do now?" He just believed, maybe more than that: KNEW, it would keep developing as it was developing. So he can remember how good it felt, and the knowledge that, yes, there was more to it than sex for Ennis too. That is unmarred, and I think, though not stated, it's reinforced by the Reunion and whatever good times they had after that. But they can't go beyond it. In the beginning, the DE was, while glorious, just the beginning. Jack didn't realize it was a place to which they could never really return. So of course he longed for it, for that innocence of believing it would all work out. And that was unmarred. What was marred was the innocence and belief. He knew Ennis loved him, I think, in a gut way. But he also knew Ennis did not love him enough to change, brave the danger, or break out of the rut he lived in. And in a way, that did mar the DE for him. So yes, you can have it both ways.
"…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 Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2016, 03:13:20 AM »
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.
I'm curious as to why you haven't read the short story. It's only 10,500 words long, and while it doesn't differ greatly from the film (apart from the now-resolved kiss/no kiss issue) it still contains bits which the film doesn't, or which the film changes or interprets differently. The major example is a flashback which clearly indicates why Jack is so unable to stand up to Ennis when Ennis arranges things to suit himself. I guess the discussions here now mostly centre on the story, or the story and the film, rather than just the film.

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2016, 03:18:10 AM »
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?
I think that it's the moment when he is given a taste of what Ennis is capable of. Jack needs acceptance and love, and during the DE he feels that's what he's getting. Perhaps he believes that Ennis loves him, but I don't think I could hazard a guess as to when Jack realises he loves Ennis. For sure, the DE is the moment which seals Jack's fate, since it keeps him in a permanent state of waiting, of essentially unrequited love.

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2016, 03:20:29 AM »
Reading it again, that "single moment" in twenty years really gets to me.
I've always used "...that distant summer..." as my little profile quote, because it is so unutterably sad. All those wasted years.

Offline Sara B

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2016, 03:23:18 AM »
I'm curious as to why you haven't read the short story. It's only 10,500 words long, and while it doesn't differ greatly from the film (apart from the now-resolved kiss/no kiss issue) it still contains bits which the film doesn't, or which the film changes or interprets differently. The major example is a flashback which clearly indicates why Jack is so unable to stand up to Ennis when Ennis arranges things to suit himself. I guess the discussions here now mostly centre on the story, or the story and the film, rather than just the film.

I so agree, Marian. Although the film and story are different entities, knowledge of the original adds so much depth to the film. And the more you read it, the more you appreciate the skill and poetry of the writing.
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 BlueJeanJeannie

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2016, 09:14:07 AM »
This:

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

The video has the same music that Annie Proulx played when she wrote this paragraph.

When I first watched this clip, about two years ago, I cried. The paragraph is by far my favorite in the story, and the DE is one of my favorite scenes in the film.

I just watched this interview with Jake [...] 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?

Absolutely. That's how I think of it, anyway.

Welcome, Rosestem  :)
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Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2016, 06:50:00 PM »
For me, what is marred in Jack's mind is not Brokeback in any form--it's the fact that what the DE represents, limited though he finally realizes it was, is progress: Ennis is capable of not just sex but love, and of showing it--but it never happens again. Because there is no real progress. On Brokeback, all that's necessary is that Ennis hold Jack. That's enough for then. Later, it's not enough. The love is there, again, in the Reunion, but it goes nowhere. Ennis will go so far, and no further. So Jack remembers for the rest of his life when the love wasn't contaminated by expectations of what will or will not happen next. You don't see him at the end of the DE going "so what we gone a do now?" He just believed, maybe more than that: KNEW, it would keep developing as it was developing. So he can remember how good it felt, and the knowledge that, yes, there was more to it than sex for Ennis too. That is unmarred, and I think, though not stated, it's reinforced by the Reunion and whatever good times they had after that. But they can't go beyond it. In the beginning, the DE was, while glorious, just the beginning. Jack didn't realize it was a place to which they could never really return. So of course he longed for it, for that innocence of believing it would all work out. And that was unmarred. What was marred was the innocence and belief. He knew Ennis loved him, I think, in a gut way. But he also knew Ennis did not love him enough to change, brave the danger, or break out of the rut he lived in. And in a way, that did mar the DE for him. So yes, you can have it both ways.
This is a beautifully thought through post, R&R.

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2016, 07:23:24 PM »
I woke up this morning, thinking of the DE - as you do - and its placement in the story. It has two places, of course, its chronological place (which I've never quite decided upon - maybe that's for a later post) and where it appears in the story, after the last argument and before news of Jack's death. But what is exercising my brain today is the cryptic passage directly before it:
"...they torqued things almost to where they had been, for what they'd said was no news. Nothing ended, nothing begun, nothing resolved.

I'm thinking that this implies Jack knew for years that his DE-fuelled hopes were on shaky ground, just as he knew as a youth that there was no way to get it right with his father but it didn't stop him trying year after year. And Ennis knew, in some deeply buried part of himself, that Jack wasn't the straight man he said he was. The only difference with the final argument is that the questions are actually asked and answered. Ennis has asked before and Jack has evaded the truth, and then an uneasy agreement has been reached for sixteen years.

Jack is no fool - he must know that such a hiding of the truth will likely never lead to the relationship he seeks, so does this knowledge (which is "no news") mar his memory of the DE over the years? We are told it doesn't, so logically the last argument shouldn't change that. All that has happened is that the question has been asked again and the truth has been spoken. (Sort of - Jack still couches it in terms of sex rather than love.)

I guess I'm a romantic and I prefer to think that the memory is never marred, that Jack takes it to his tragic death in its perfect state. He may die (and I believe he is a willing participant in his death, one way or another) but he never lets go of his perfect moment of happiness.

Offline suelyblu

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2016, 07:24:34 PM »
                                                    ^^^^

Some how...the descriptive words are more beautiful than the actual scene in the film.
As I said in my first post....the moment was so perfect in Jacks memory...it makes you wonder if the DE actually happened or was it something he'd wished for so desperately...it became real in his mind.

Like how you "remember" the sun shone all the time in the summer when you were a child.That's how you want to remember it....but there must have been some gray days and rain. Nothing is really ever that perfect .

If the DE did happen....it was the actions of a man who wanted to say "I love you" or even "I care"...but as we know Ennis didn't believe he could ever love a man.

I say this ....because the way the scene of the DE...just seemed to be wedged into the film and to an extent in the SS too. We never saw it  coming and yet it was one of the most tender and important scenes. Ennis doing something loving with out being prompted was a big milestone for him.....and Jack.




"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 Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2016, 07:30:56 PM »
Hi, Sue!

It seems we are both musing over this scene yet again.

I know what you mean about the description being better than the film scene. Much as I love the film scene it does feel a little like a checklist being ticked off: sleepy Jack, check; hug from behind, check; humming, check; mention of mum, check. All present and correct.

Did it happen? Yes, it did. It's essential to understanding the story. Was it as Jack recalled? I think there's nothing in the glorious description which couldn't or wouldn't have happened and I think Jack's feelings are remembered correctly too, but maybe as years passed he polished that memory into that "single moment" as he began to see there would never be another one. Later, that dozy embrace solidified in his memory as the single moment of artless, charmed happiness in their separate and difficult lives.

Offline suelyblu

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2016, 07:39:15 PM »
                                                      ^^
Hi M.A.,

I'm musing over it at 3 in the morning !!!!!

Will have another think about it .
"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 royandronnie

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2016, 09:25:41 PM »
This is a beautifully thought through post, R&R.

Thank you!
"…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 BlueJeanJeannie

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2016, 09:20:11 AM »
Much as I love the film scene it does feel a little like a checklist being ticked off: sleepy Jack, check; hug from behind, check; humming, check; mention of mum, check.

Oh no! Now you've ruined the scene  :laugh: 

I can see Ang Lee going: "Fire, check; Jake, check; Heath, check. Ready and - action!"  ;D

Hell, it probably was like that on set. But somehow I prefer our more romantic point of view.
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Offline Desecra

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2016, 02:53:10 AM »
I like to picture the book scene with the smaller Jack and taller Ennis.  I think it gives a different feel, and Ennis seems more paternal.

We don't ever see what Ennis thinks of it, and apart from the fact that it wouldn't work to have two accounts of the DE, I think his feelings must be different.  At the time, he'd managed to push all thoughts of the possibility that they might be gay out of his head, and even though the sex was obviously challenging enough for him to instinctively place limits on it, sex didn't feature in this moment.  He was just hugging the unexpected and loved friend he'd discovered.   But I wonder if it was marred for him looking back, once he'd realised what was really going on on Brokeback?  And once he suspected that Jack was gay and was having to find reasons why he himself, wasn't? 

I think for Jack it's different, because I think he's aware of his own feelings for Ennis, but keeps thsm hidden (he steals the shirt).    I think he got the impression that Ennis was either straight and enjoying the sexual release, or gay and in denial, but either way, not open to a confession from Jack.  I think the DE told a different story, about Ennis's true feelings, and it was enough to make Jack contact him after four years.   Maybe not enough for Jack to have come up with something straight after Brokeback, but I think the punch got in the way.   

Anyway, when Jack looks back, there's nothing that negates the DE or mars it really - he always knew about Ennis's reluctance, internalised homophobia, etc., even if he'd hoped that they might get further.  Whereas when Ennis looks back, his current knowledge could mar the DE, because it wasn't what he thought it was at the time (It was a trying-to-be straight man showing love for a gay man, rather than a straight man showing love to his straight friend).     They always seem to be coming from different directions. 
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline Rosestem

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2016, 09:06:03 AM »

I can see what you're saying about the checklist, and also the film DE is way to fast, as moviegoers would have a hard time with anything longer.

That's why I love the "Spiritual" slo-mo DE so much: The scene is slowed down to almost as long as it might have been in Proulx's description, and the words are presented at a truly dreamy pace.