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Author Topic: Did Jack Quit Ennis?  (Read 451727 times)

Offline Lance

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Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« on: May 29, 2006, 09:58:58 PM »
Well, folks, here it is, the great-grandaddy, the black-sheep uncle, the evil twin of Kong, destroyer of topics:

Did Jack Quit Ennis?

As the moderator of this thread, I expect you to wear the 16 ounce gloves, stick to the Marquis of Queensbury rules, and The Rules of this message board.

Please avoid redundant repetitive posting. Once we've stated our opinion and the evidence we think supports it, the point is made as well as we can make it. Having the last word does not prove we're right. Let be.

This topic has proven over several months to be very compelling to many of us.

Did Jack finally seek a life with someone else, or had he decided to stand it?
Please remember that these are fictional characters and we cannot finally prove anything, but only try to convince ourselves and each other.

Have at it, ''be excellent to each other. And party down.''
May the bridges I burn light the way forward.

Offline dsmom

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2006, 10:11:05 PM »
No I do not think Jack quit Ennis...I think the human heart is a strange thing that lives by its own rules...I believe that you can love two people...or love one and need another...

but to me the final word is Annie's 'nothing ended'...

my .02...

thanks
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Offline Signal63

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2006, 11:15:32 PM »
I think the passionate pleas for either a yes or no to this question demonstrate the central conundrum of BBM: an inability to advance or resolve the dilemma that J&E cannot "go back" to BBM. Therefore their relationship cannot grow, change, or die. They are caught in a loop. J&E desparately try to find the kind of happiness they had that first summer, even though both knew it would eventually end. Ang Lee talks about this as "that first taste" (of love) that they try to recapture/restage over the course of the next 20 years. The resolution comes at the emotional climax of the film. He gives us his amazing version of the traditional western-style "showdown" during J&E's last scene together, the kind of confrontation where one man lives and the other man dies. We know Jack dies, but it's really the relationship between the two that is the target in this crossfire. One relationship lives (the 'no' s) and the other one dies (the 'yes'es ). For all intents and purposes it doesn't if the answer is yes or no because Jack and Randall (aka the 'other fella') never get to make good on any of Jack's plans (or dreams), and Jack and Ennis never get to officially end or continue their relationship. Jack had to die for this loop to continue; that way their relationship is frozen forever. At the end we return to the beginning: the two shirts, the postcard memory, and Ennis' dreams of a young Jack. "Brokeback got us good," as Jack says. 

Offline Sid401k

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2006, 11:16:58 PM »
After the argument at the trailhead, Annie Proulx (and the published script) says, “Nothing ended, nothing begun, nothing resolved.”  I know some people think this is a breakup, or the precursor to the breakup.  It doesn’t look that way to me, but I think it looks that way to both Jack and Ennis.

Jack’s bleak expression as Ennis drove off says to me that he’s not sure if he’s ever going to see him again.  Here's what I believe Jack is thinking:

When I drove up to see Ennis after the divorce, he apologized for not being able to give me any time.  He wouldn't see me, but at least he felt truly sorry for my pain.  Now he's keeps cutting back our time together, and when I call him on it he acts like he thinks I'm being unreasonable, just for wanting to spend more than a few days together in a year.  And he's really mad about my whoring around in Mexico.  He's jealous, so I guess that shows he cares, but then he goes and blames me for making him queer.  And then he breaks down and says he can’t stand it anymore.  I guess it’s about over.  Will he even show up in November?  And if he does, how short a time is he gonna give me, a week? a couple of days?  I can't give him up.  It's so goddamn degrading to drive 14 hours for whatever little scraps of time Ennis will spare me, but I can't help it, I have to do it, for as long as this lasts.  I guess I'll keep on with Randall, kind of like a backup.  He ain't Ennis, ain't never gonna be Ennis, but he'll be better than nothing once Ennis finally leaves me.

Meanwhile, Ennis believes that Jack is about to break it off.  Based on his expression in the next scene, in the diner with Cassie, here's what I believe he's been thinking:

I have fucked this up so bad.  Jack is just fed up with me.  I've never seen him blow up like that before.  He said he wants to quit, said it right out, and I'm sure he meant it.  And when it hit me so hard, he came over--just like he always does--and put his arms around me and told me it's all right, but he's cussing me at the same time.  It’s piss or get off the pot time, Ennis.  My life without Jack is miserable anyway.  If I hadn’t ever met Jack and...and felt this way about him, maybe things could have been different, but I did meet Jack and I did feel like this about him, and I still do and I always will.  I just can't let him go--I can't--there ain't no reins on this one.  I told him that back in '67 and that I was in this for as long as we can ride it.  Maybe he'll be okay if I just meet him more often, and for longer times?  Maybe I’ll still have a job after that trip, maybe I won’t.  If I'm not making enough to get by, I might have to hit Jack up for a “loan” to cover the child support payments.  That'll gall.  But…whatever it takes.  What if he holds out for living together?  I guess...  I guess whatever it takes to keep Jack, I'll do it.  Whatever happens—even ending up in a ditch like Earl—as long as I can be with Jack.  Because he's the most important thing in my life.

Of course, this makes it more of a tragedy than ever.  They were so close to making it…

Offline janjo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2006, 06:20:08 AM »
When i first saw the film I came away thinking that Jack probably (probably........................)? did quit Ennis, then I read the book and decided that he couldn't even if he wanted to, and that is the way I've stayed.
I feel the same now watching the film, There are so many more things to analyse when one has read the book, and then seen the film countless times, that in the end ones final conclusion is a synthesis of the two.
It is however, Annie Proulx who does it for me.

"Nothing ended, nothing begun, nothing resolved". seems pretty much the final word on it to me!

Also "I wish I KNEW HOW to quit you" is pretty much, I can't stand this situation anymore, but I love you so much, we've been through so much to get this far, that I can't leave you now!

Of course the final nail in this argument is Randall, had Jack really moved on, just before his death? My contention would be NO. John Twist's phrase (and twist is right, as in twist the knife)  that Ennis del Mar  "I'm goin' a bring him up here one a these days, and we'll lick this damn ranch into shape" followed by, "then this spring he's got another one's goin' a come up here with him" etc etc. shows not that Randall (who of course was not named in the book) was going to go to Lightning Flat, He like Ennis had probably never heard of this idea, but that in the few days after Jack and Ennis's row, he had replaced Ennis in Jack's fantasy.
Poor Jack!
It also seems possible to me that Jack was by this time in such a state of misery and despair, Jake Gyllenhall says " Jack died the day Ennis drove away after their row", that he may have behaved in an extra reckless manner when he did see Randall, because he no longer cared if he lived or died.
Ang Lee gives us a little more hope in the film, Ennis goes home and dumps Cassie, by neglect, because he now realises that it is Jack he can't live without.
In the book it is probably only Jack's death that finally brings this home to him. However, even in the book he must have gone away with plenty to think about, he couldn't bear the thought of Jack with other men, and he knew they were on the scene, and the scene where he collapses must have brought his feelings for Jack home to him in a big way, even with out the lines "I just can't stand it like this no more Jack"
Diana Ossana says" Ennis took a baby step forward" on that day, so the hope that finally they would have been together is a strong one, but as in real life, fate intervened.!
If Jack and Ennis were real my fervent hope would be that their souls will one day be reunited in heaven, and that is some of the meaning I like to take from the "Jack I swear" scene.
But" QUIT" Hell No! I wish I knew how!
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Gonzo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2006, 10:04:00 AM »
Hell no, period!!!   :P :P

Offline janjo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2006, 10:10:23 AM »
Thank you "twistedboy". I appreciate the support! Going now to hide under the table for when the postings come in from those who don't quite agree with us!
Brokeback short stories at storybyjanjo.livejournal.com

"Are birds free from the chains of the skyway?"
Ballad in plain D: Bob Dylan

Gonzo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2006, 10:17:44 AM »
Thank you "twistedboy". I appreciate the support! Going now to hide under the table for when the postings come in from those who don't quite agree with us!

I have already contacted the moderators for my spanking (little do they know).  I certainly don't want to destroy any civility so early in a thread's life, but, I just can't see Jack ditching.  I think there is plenty of "evidence" to support this.  There are some who saw a full set of luggage in the bed of Jack's truck with stickers that say "Key West or bust" but I ain't one of 'em.

Offline heavysigh

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2006, 11:48:42 AM »
I don't think Jack quit either. Like someone else said, it takes away from the heartbreaking premise of the story to think that he could. I do think he was fed up, discouraged, and disenchanted, but I think he loved Ennis to much to end things. If it were me, I would take the scraps though I wanted more. How many people get to experience a love like that?
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Offline samsung

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2006, 02:36:22 PM »
I don't think Jack quit either. Like someone else said, it takes away from the heartbreaking premise of the story to think that he could. I do think he was fed up, discouraged, and disenchanted, but I think he loved Ennis to much to end things. If it were me, I would take the scraps though I wanted more. How many people get to experience a love like that?

So, in other words, for a "love like that" you just suffer, degrade yourself, and live in misery till your last breath?  Where is the humanity, or dignity, in that?  And do you really think Ennis's kind of love was so profound and rewarding that Jack would throw his life away for it? 

I think Jack was better than that.  I think he concluded, through a haze of regret and agony, that twenty years was enough.  In this way he was much like the rest of us, who learn throuigh hard experience that "love" works when you esteem yourself as much as your beloved. 

In any case, it is incontrovertible Jack was looking to build a life with another man.  Concluding that this meant no difference for his relationship with Ennis speaks more about your conception of what love is than anything presented on the screen, or in the book.


Offline Sid401k

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2006, 02:53:04 PM »
And do you really think Ennis's kind of love was so profound and rewarding that Jack would throw his life away for it? 
Wrong question.  Was Jack's love profound and rewarding enough?  Was either one of them in this affair for what they could get out of the other?

Offline Lance

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2006, 02:57:44 PM »
In any case, it is incontrovertible..

? I very much disagree. It is your opinion based on imcomplete evidence.
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Gonzo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2006, 03:02:06 PM »
In any case, it is incontrovertible..

? I very much disagree. It is your opinion based on imcomplete evidence.

I think "incontrovertible" is a word that should never be used on this forum.  Especially in conjunction with "evidence".  IMO.

Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2006, 03:10:04 PM »
And do you really think Ennis's kind of love was so profound and rewarding that Jack would throw his life away for it? 
Wrong question.  Was Jack's love profound and rewarding enough?  Was either one of them in this affair for what they could get out of the other?
I think Jack was thinking about how much shit he'd felt he'd taken, with Ennis' controlling nature and his distancing himself from sentiment-out of sheer survival-, when he was considering quitting Ennis.
But these are surfacy things in a LT relationship. Actually, lots of things become superficial over time in a LT relationship, just as poisonous fruits eat away at it.
The real question is, IMO: Were Jack's needs being met? How strong are the basic roots of the relationship? (Not talking Ennis here, for now...)
IMO, Very strong.
I think that summer on BBM, this ideal that Ennis holds to and Jack no longer sees in the same light, was that rare event in the life of a couple: A moment in time that defines what they are to each other.
They were each other's "firsts", in many ways; first loves; first real, true best friends; first inkling of gay love-at least for Ennis. BBM kind of emblazoned Ennis in Jack's heart; that's why he does not know how to quit him, even though resentment is blossoming over the lack of time together. It's like the brain  continuing to grow outside the womb as the human being develops; it is virtually impossible to go back from those changes that have occurred; they are a part of you, every trauma, every joy. It is not a "normal" relationship, but then it never was. They've redefined "normal" for each other. Ennis sees this too late....Jack, I think, always knew it. He knew he loved Ennis from day one.
When Jack says-I know you'll love this, Sid-"Damn you, Ennis!" What he is really saying is, You've damned me, Ennis. ....I'm yours forever. Little do they know that Ennis is the one who is truly damned.
I think Randall was a safety blanket during Jack's male menopause, if you will; And he was just another "idea" to pass on to the folks, to get them off his back about the ranch, etc. I am quite sure telling these little daydreams to Mom and Twist, Sr. became broken records that helped support their family dynamics-dysfunctional as they were.
So, I am still today in the No Quit camp-apologies to Jake G, who was apparently sure he was.

Offline janjo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2006, 03:50:36 PM »
I don't think Jack quit either. Like someone else said, it takes away from the heartbreaking premise of the story to think that he could. I do think he was fed up, discouraged, and disenchanted, but I think he loved Ennis to much to end things. If it were me, I would take the scraps though I wanted more. How many people get to experience a love like that?

So, in other words, for a "love like that" you just suffer, degrade yourself, and live in misery till your last breath?  Where is the humanity, or dignity, in that?  And do you really think Ennis's kind of love was so profound and rewarding that Jack would throw his life away for it? 

I think Jack was better than that.  I think he concluded, through a haze of regret and agony, that twenty years was enough.  In this way he was much like the rest of us, who learn throuigh hard experience that "love" works when you esteem yourself as much as your beloved. 

In any case, it is incontrovertible Jack was looking to build a life with another man.  Concluding that this meant no difference for his relationship with Ennis speaks more about your conception of what love is than anything presented on the screen, or in the book.



Yes! Ennis kind of love was profound and rewarding, the way he treated Jack because of his extreme fear was not acceptable, but Jack understood why that was, and that's why he put up with it. In essence the closeness they had, and the love that they had together, the sort of love most people long for, was worth all the aggravation. Real understanding, and a oneness of spirit is not damaging to self esteem. In fact the sort of love and care one can give is beneficial in that way, particularly when one knows how much one is really loved. Surely, Jack only had to look into Ennis's eyes to know how much he was loved. If that was not true why was Ennis so destroyed by Jack's death. One does not have to be able to say "I love you" to feel that love.
Brokeback short stories at storybyjanjo.livejournal.com

"Are birds free from the chains of the skyway?"
Ballad in plain D: Bob Dylan