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Author Topic: The Dozy Embrace  (Read 5013 times)

Offline Desecra

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #45 on: May 24, 2016, 10:32:16 AM »
There's something rather endearing about the idea it was before FNIT but as you say, Des, that means there's a line drawn. The implication would be that Jack was hankering after a pre-FNIT time, i.e. a time when they weren't lovers, but that would turn the story on its head, I think. I'm 100% certain that we are supposed to assume they were true soulmates and lovers caught in a situation where they could never be together the way they should. A pre-FNIT DE throws all the pieces up in the air.

An immediate post-FNIT DE has problems with Jack's knowledge about Ennis's reluctance to be face to face. Jack would have nothing to base that fact on.

Pre-August night, well into the relationship but before everything seems mixed, feels like the right time for me.

Post-August night throws up those problems of reality beginning to creep into Ennis's thinking. There's really no other explanation for his feelings about "everything" unless it harks back to what they are up to. So he spends the night with Jack - deliberately or accidentally - after the previous step forward of the DE, and the heavens open, the wrath of the gods descends, and he's left all mixed up. No way can a DE slip in there, I think.

It feels like a progression, that the DE is Ennis with his guard down, and it all turns out okay so he's happy to sleep over afterwards. (Not that his mind is working that way - he seems to feel his way through most situations rather than think through them, on the mountain at least.)

One thing which I've been half-thinking about again recently is why Jack didn't take advantage of the situation to turn around. I guess this is where his drowsy state helps. I wonder if he would have chanced it if the DE had gone on any longer, or would he have sensed it would be a foolish thing to try? Is it only the drama of the nosebleed which pushes him into that f2f situation?

I'm rambling again.

I agree with all the above.   About your question, I think that Jack's "knowledge" is not from the DE itself, i.e. he's not thinking during it about the fact that they couldn't be face to face (and so that in itself doesn't rule out a post-FNIT DE - he could pick up that knowledge later and retrofit to the DE).  I think it's that every time he thinks of the DE later, that special memory, it reminds him that they couldn't be face to face.  I don't think it actually comes into his mind in the trance-like state he's in during the DE, so I don't know if it was something he actually wanted to do at the time, even if he thought he could chance it.  I think the DE was fine just the way it was.  But had the idea come into his head and he wanted to do it? I don't really know, but my guess is that he would have known not to try it - it would change the tone of the whole thing.
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #46 on: May 24, 2016, 04:45:43 PM »
Yes, the knowledge has two parts to it. There's the fact that Ennis wouldn't do f2f and there's the reason why. FNIT could have been a drunken one-off that happened the way it happened just because of the circumstances, and at the time Jack may have assumed other bouts would have been different. I'm certain that AP intended her readers to think along those lines too. The writing is deliberately deceptive:

Ennis woke in red dawn with his pants around his knees, a top-grade headache, and Jack butted against him; without saying anything about it both knew how it would go for the rest of the summer, sheep be damned.

As it did go.


At some stage Jack tries whatever it is which causes Ennis to comment about not being queer (and it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to think he might have been going for a kiss - after all, as we all seemed to agree, an ongoing and mutually pleasurable sexual relationship without a kiss is pretty unusual ;) ) so he knows, or comes to know, that Ennis won't do it. I guess if the DE had been straight after FNIT Jack might have made that unspecified move the following night or thereabouts, thinking along the lines of "Hey, a night of drunken sex followed by another bout followed by a lovely hug - this is coming along nicely - think I'll go for a bit more tomorrow." It's not inconceivable.  It's just that "as it did go" and "except once Ennis said" make me feel (and it's entirely subjective) that there was a little while before Ennis had cause to verbally warn Jack off. I feel there were a few comings-together before Jack made his aborted move, and by the time the DE rolled around he knew better than to try anything on. That doesn't mean that he made a conscious decision not to turn, however. I think he was just totally lost in the moment.

But by then he had the first part of the knowledge. The second part - the reason - is something he only comes to understand later, possibly not until the reunion when Ennis talks about "them guys" and once again denies his sexuality. That comment would make Jack aware that "I'm not no queer" coupled with the refusal to be f2f = "Ennis would not then embrace him face to face because he did not want to see nor feel that it was Jack he held." He may have figured it out earlier but that was the sealer. Perhaps. Or perhaps he never really knows until the trailhead in 1983. Jack does live on scraps of hope.

So when he looks back at the DE he is able to put the two pieces of the knowledge together but at the time he was only in possession of one part.

Offline Desecra

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2016, 01:14:25 AM »
Yes, my guess is that he understands why early on.  I think the new information in 1983 is that what looked like progress was superficial and that Ennis can't get past it (they didn't get much farther than that).   He thought the huge step forward at the reunion was the start of many instead of the last one.  He doesn't fully understand that after the reunion, because he holds on to those plans of living together.  He drove all that way after the divorce (it's just hit me again how shocking and tragic that line is, almost a throwaway after Jack's death that we didn't know about).  But even after giving up hope of a life together I think he was holding out hope that Ennis might eventually accept him fully when they were alone together.   I suppose he realises the physical aspect (didn't want to feel a man) early on, but the metaphorical aspect - he's not sure about that until the last argument and make up convinces him.
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline royandronnie

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #48 on: May 30, 2016, 04:24:00 PM »
You know, I don't think I had ever fully realized that the DE takes place at night; in the movie it's early in the morning. But the unified shadow on the boulder has to be at night. I would say that this kind of suggests it's before August, though I still think there's enough wiggle room to have Ennis spending all of August, not just one night, in the main camp. Anyway, one night or two weeks, after they collect the sheep, as you point out, Ennis is uneasy, so I think the DE needs to be before that. I would suggest it's just before--Ennis is so happy he lets Jack persuade him not to bother with the damn sheep. But I don't really care for that placement: I like it better as part of a continuity in August that just happened one, well, night.
"…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.

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Offline Sara B

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #49 on: May 31, 2016, 12:50:36 AM »
It's funny - that divergence from the book in the film had never struck me, so when I think of the DE my mind can somehow accommodate both the daylight and darkness versions! No, that's not quite true though: it's always that amazing piece of writing that I go back to - the scene in the film is lovely, but a pale imitation.
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 Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #50 on: June 01, 2016, 05:13:20 PM »
I see where you're coming from at last, R&R! When I first saw the film I didn't give any thought as to time of day of the DE because I was so distraught by that stage that my ability to think had gone west. I read the story before seeing the film again, and I assumed the DE was in the evening (and still do). When I saw the film a second time I figured it was earlier in the evening than in the SS (hence no shadow on the rock) but still in the evening. In the film it can't be straight after the August night because Ennis leaves by himself, while the two are together when the sheep unmixing happens. Maybe Ennis could have gone back for Jack but it doesn't sit quite right. In the SS it's Ennis who has the miserable five days unmixing sheep - Jack's participation isn't mentioned That allows AP to make the observation that "everything seemed mixed" without specifying how Jack felt. You'd assume Jack would have come up to help but that's not how the story goes.

But back to the DE. It has always felt like the evening to me, with the fire burning down and the stars coming out. Yes, I know it doesn't say the stars weren't visible before but it feels as if the stars begin to shine as the DE continues. Jack is tired and essentially heading for bed, hence "sleeping on your feet like a horse", which is the sort of comment a parent might make to a kid who's resisting bedtime. But the main thing is that Ennis says, "See you tomorrow." Is he going to ride away to the sheep until the following morning? We know on that first night he took provisions so he could stay out until the following evening, unlike Jack who did the commute twice a day, and while we know the time from the sheep stretched out as they got friendlier we aren't told that Ennis varied his routine and started coming in for breakfast. The August night is a once-off IMHO, and its payback for Ennis is instant trouble with the sheep.

So, for me the DE is in the evening, probably after some of that sex by the campfire, after Ennis has come in for supper, and he then rides off  "in the darkness" while Jack presumably stumbles off to the tent, having been told it's "Time to hit the hay, cowboy." Yes, it could conceivably be the aftermath of an all-nighter but I just can't see it that way. The writing points towards an evening DE.

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #51 on: June 01, 2016, 05:26:31 PM »
It's funny - that divergence from the book in the film had never struck me, so when I think of the DE my mind can somehow accommodate both the daylight and darkness versions! No, that's not quite true though: it's always that amazing piece of writing that I go back to - the scene in the film is lovely, but a pale imitation.
I do agree. Lovely, but a pale imitation. Yes.

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #52 on: June 01, 2016, 05:39:14 PM »
You know me - slightly obsessed. ::)

I went looking through the various scripts and call sheets to see what the film was indicating, and found that when it was shot, the scene was described as happening in the afternoon (although it was actually shot very early in the morning, right after the water-walking Jesus scene - let that sink in for a while ;)) In the call sheets (which are the shooting order information) the DE has two scene numbers, one for its actual place in the film, and one which indicates it was originally meant to be placed after the sheep unmixing, hence Jack's tiredness, I assume. In old scripts it appears twice but fortunately it was decided to show it only the once. In the revised script (in Story To Screenplay, which is a version that I think was altered a little to tie in with the finished product) the scene is described as occurring at night. Make of that lot what you will.

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #53 on: June 01, 2016, 06:10:40 PM »
Yes, my guess is that he understands why early on.  I think the new information in 1983 is that what looked like progress was superficial and that Ennis can't get past it (they didn't get much farther than that).   He thought the huge step forward at the reunion was the start of many instead of the last one.  He doesn't fully understand that after the reunion, because he holds on to those plans of living together.  He drove all that way after the divorce (it's just hit me again how shocking and tragic that line is, almost a throwaway after Jack's death that we didn't know about).  But even after giving up hope of a life together I think he was holding out hope that Ennis might eventually accept him fully when they were alone together.   I suppose he realises the physical aspect (didn't want to feel a man) early on, but the metaphorical aspect - he's not sure about that until the last argument and make up convinces him.
Yes, 1983 is the last straw rather than a sudden realisation. After all, it was "no news". Perhaps that's what the torquing back to "almost" where they had been indicates. Same old same old, and yet......

The line about the divorce is a killer. Did Ennis ever realise what he'd done to Jack in that moment? He essentially reneged on much of his reunion excuse.

Offline Rosestem

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #54 on: June 02, 2016, 12:07:44 PM »
I disagree that Ennis "reneged" because he had not made any promise -- only that they would get together. Au contraire, he had spelled out how things would be and he lived up to that promise.  He mentioned his and Jack's marriage and kids, but more importantly, Earl and Rich: "Two guys livin together? No. All I can see is we get together once in a while way the hell out in the back a nowhere -- ".  That was his promise.
There's no reneging on an excuse.

Offline Desecra

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #55 on: June 02, 2016, 02:30:03 PM »
I suppose the trouble was that it wasn't just responsiblities or safety that held him back - it was still not being able to accept Jack (or accept Jack being gay, or his own feelings for a gay man, or whatever).  I think Jack could and did accept once in a while in the back of nowhere.   But I think it was the fact that even alone together under those particular conditions, they still didn't get much farther than the DE - that's what got to Jack in the end, I think.
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline Desecra

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #56 on: June 02, 2016, 02:44:34 PM »
And I've always felt that actually Jack's plan wasn't a bad one - it did partially deal with the Earl and Rich situation.  They wouldn't have been two guys living together, but one guy living with and working for a family in the middle of nowhere.  People might have guessed, but it wasn't the clear cut Earl and Rich situation.   So yes, Jack does take on board that he can't take money to get lost and set up a ranch with just him and Ennis.  He has a viable plan that apparently meets Ennis's requirements.   Just the fact of Ennis phoning seemed to be enough to convince him that with the family responsibilities out of the way, Ennis would go for it.   

One thing I find really heartbreaking is that it's clear he never even got as far as proposing the new "safe" idea.   At least, I get the impression that the first Ennis hears of it is at the Twist ranch.   He must have driven all the way and Ennis must have given him a firm message before he even got a chance to discuss it. 
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #57 on: June 08, 2016, 05:45:32 PM »
I disagree that Ennis "reneged" because he had not made any promise -- only that they would get together. Au contraire, he had spelled out how things would be and he lived up to that promise.  He mentioned his and Jack's marriage and kids, but more importantly, Earl and Rich: "Two guys livin together? No. All I can see is we get together once in a while way the hell out in the back a nowhere -- ".  That was his promise.
There's no reneging on an excuse.
Fair enough. At the reunion Ennis was fishing around for excuses, and the first one was his and Jack's family responsibilities. There's an implication that if he were free he'd be available to Jack in the way Jack wanted. It's not a stretch to assume that Jack considered the removal of that big problem as a green flag for his own move. In fact, I defy anyone to argue that's not part of the point of the throwaway divorce line.

Jack's decline feels like a three-part process to me. After Brokeback, Jack thinks it's both fear and circumstance - Ennis talking about Earl and about being caught in his own loop. After the divorce (when the loop is released considerably) it's reduced to fear. After May 83 it can only be shame and its attendant homophobia. That's the one thing Jack can't fix. He and Ennis could maybe have found somewhere safe to live, eliminating the fear more or less, but he can never change the fact that they are queer. Hence his clinging to the DE, the one moment when it was all seemingly okay.

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #58 on: June 08, 2016, 05:51:22 PM »
And I've always felt that actually Jack's plan wasn't a bad one - it did partially deal with the Earl and Rich situation.  They wouldn't have been two guys living together, but one guy living with and working for a family in the middle of nowhere.  People might have guessed, but it wasn't the clear cut Earl and Rich situation.   So yes, Jack does take on board that he can't take money to get lost and set up a ranch with just him and Ennis.  He has a viable plan that apparently meets Ennis's requirements.   Just the fact of Ennis phoning seemed to be enough to convince him that with the family responsibilities out of the way, Ennis would go for it.   

One thing I find really heartbreaking is that it's clear he never even got as far as proposing the new "safe" idea.   At least, I get the impression that the first Ennis hears of it is at the Twist ranch.   He must have driven all the way and Ennis must have given him a firm message before he even got a chance to discuss it.
Agreed. We don't know when he started talking about bringing Ennis up one day. Would he have been saying it while Ennis was still married? Or only when it was becoming clear that Ennis was still holding out, in which case the "plan" as mentioned to his folks becomes more of wishful thinking (with a side helping of trying to "get it right" with his father).

I've always been taken by the fact that Ennis seems to be pretty much alone with Stoutamire by the end - if he isn't there to deal with the late-calving heifers the job will fall onto the boss. And yet he doesn't see anything odd in that. Maybe there was a Mrs Stoutamire. But if Jack had been able to make his proposal after the divorce there would have been the Twist parents.

Offline Desecra

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #59 on: June 10, 2016, 12:42:21 PM »
Oh, good point about Stoutamire!  I didn't even think of that.  So sadly, Ennis has ended up in a situation just as, if not more, "suspect" than the Twist ranch ... but without Jack.

I'd thought that he talked about bringing Ennis up after the reunion and before the divorce ... but of course, that's not definite.   I just feel that the divorce meeting seemed to close that avenue off.   If I'm right, I wonder how Jack thought it would pan out - if he thought that Ennis would see the light in a year or two, or if he was in for the long haul of waiting until the girls grew up and no family responsibilities?   On the other hand maybe Jack did drive up after the divorce with the original plan and that was what Ennis rejected - but if Jack thought the Twist ranch plan was more acceptable, why didn't he mention it?   I agree about the barriers coming down in two stages, and them being left with shame/homophobia as the final, insurmountable one. 
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)