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Author Topic: Did Jack Quit Ennis?  (Read 458752 times)

Offline Lance

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #105 on: June 03, 2006, 01:52:16 PM »
This is not a contest.
May the bridges I burn light the way forward.

Gonzo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #106 on: June 03, 2006, 01:55:46 PM »

The "quitters" are on a roll tonight! Still doesn't ring true to me, and I suspect not to you either! Twistedboy.........we need you!

I'm here baby.  Taking a nap, keeping an eye on the situation.  Frankly, haven't read anything convincing enough to rebut.   ;) ;)

Offline gres

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #107 on: June 03, 2006, 02:19:09 PM »
Janjo & Twistedboy

i was wondering where have you been. Being here all alone  trying to convince David G.



 
It is me, baby Gres and i'm in bed sleeping...that is why mom is around doing  some foruming  ;D

Gonzo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #108 on: June 03, 2006, 02:28:07 PM »
Janjo & Twistedboy

i was wondering where have you been. Being here all alone  trying to convince David G.


You seem to be doing pretty well.   ;)

Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #109 on: June 03, 2006, 03:56:50 PM »
Janjo & Twistedboy

i was wondering where have you been. Being here all alone  trying to convince David G.


You seem to be doing pretty well.   ;)
We just had a pretty good go around on evidence to the contrary-quitting, I mean-in the Last Scene together thread. I think we managed concensus of more than 3 people over there. Miracle of miracles...
Here's another view to the Quitters:
-Neither Jack nor Ennis ever directly say "I love you", so there is a certain balance of power maitained in the relationship-much as I ranted like a maniac over the lack of that phrase in another thread. I just don't buy 2 lovers never saying it in 20 years.
But there is another component, I think, from Jack's POV that supports the NO QUIT.
Jack has, I am afraid, fundamental masochistic tendencies that come from his childhood abuse; he can see any attention from a loved one as a sign of that love, whether positive or negative.
I think he accepts Ennis as he is; he just can't accept the situation.
That is what the final fight was really about, IMO. So, if he and Ennis torqued 'things'-the relationship-back almost to where they were, as the text indicates, where is the quitting? I could see, if he had come to no longer need Ennis, that this might happen. But both book and film make it clear that he does need him.
My argument is that he is not sophisticated or emotionally healthy enough to separate his love for Ennis from what is necessarily good for him (Jack) or not.
So, I can see him continuing to make furtive trips to Mexico; having a superficial fling with Randal, until, at least November.
Uh-oh, here it comes, the Canstandit Mantra: IF ONLY NOVEMBER HAD COME....

Gonzo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #110 on: June 03, 2006, 04:19:40 PM »
Jack has, I am afraid, fundamental masochistic tendencies that come from his childhood abuse; he can see any attention from a loved one as a sign of that love, whether positive or negative.

I think this is absolutely, rock-bottom, essential in understanding Jack Twist.  Everything he does stems from this characteristic.  Everything.

Offline David G

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #111 on: June 03, 2006, 04:23:04 PM »
-Neither Jack nor Ennis ever directly say "I love you", so there is a certain balance of power maitained in the relationship-much as I ranted like a maniac over the lack of that phrase in another thread. I just don't buy 2 lovers never saying it in 20 years.
But there is another component, I think, from Jack's POV that supports the NO QUIT.
Jack has, I am afraid, fundamental masochistic tendencies that come from his childhood abuse; he can see any attention from a loved one as a sign of that love, whether positive or negative.
I think he accepts Ennis as he is; he just can't accept the situation.
That is what the final fight was really about, IMO. So, if he and Ennis torqued 'things'-the relationship-back almost to where they were, as the text indicates, where is the quitting? I could see, if he had come to no longer need Ennis, that this might happen. But both book and film make it clear that he does need him.
My argument is that he is not sophisticated or emotionally healthy enough to separate his love for Ennis from what is necessarily good for him (Jack) or not.
So, I can see him continuing to make furtive trips to Mexico; having a superficial fling with Randal, until, at least November.
Uh-oh, here it comes, the Canstandit Mantra: IF ONLY NOVEMBER HAD COME....

That Jack and Ennis never say 'i love you' is a telling aspect of their personalities.

I agree that child trauma has played an integral role in their formative years and lives. However, as we see in the Thanksgiving scene, Jack has matured and he is no longer cowering. (This is done so that we are prepared when Jack confronts Ennis and the confrontation is not seen as coming out of nowhere).

The Thanksgiving scene shows us that Jack is getting emotionally stronger and willing to take charge and take action.

Jack has changed, he's no longer a pushover, and he's no longer satisfied with the status quo.

Offline janjo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #112 on: June 03, 2006, 04:36:38 PM »
First of all, sorry Lance I wasn't suggesting it was a contest. I was being light hearted, but I also felt a need for reinforcements!
Thank you to Twistedboy and Gres for keeping the flag flying.
I agree that Jack was finding the situation quite intolerable, but from the moment he breaks down in tears, it is quite obvious to Jack that Ennis is finding it intolerable too.
Is that really the point that they decide to go their seperate ways, just when there has been at least some sort of a breakthrough. Surely it would take a much harder hearted man than Jack Twist, to just decide to go off with another man at that point.
If the whole crux of this story is based on a character that isn't even in the book, except in the most oblique way, then I for one don't buy it!
But then you "quitters" already know that!
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Offline littledarlin

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #113 on: June 03, 2006, 04:39:51 PM »
In the book, after Jack says he misses Ennis bad enough sometimes to make him whip babies, Ennis puts his arm around Jack and pulls him close (sigh). To me that's Ennis telling Jack I love you.  They talk about normal mundane things, kids, how life has turned out, Jack slides his cold hand between Ennis's legs (hot!) and talk like old  lovers and close friends.  They make poignant, bittersweet love by the fire, Jack thinking this has to hold me until August, Ennis thinking this has to be really extra special, soon I have to tell him about August.  The tent scene is the beauty of their love, sleeping close, Ennis's arm comfortably (so different from the first time!)around Jack protectively not letting the world affect them, protecting him from the bad news he has to deliver. 

When Ennis's tells Jack November he says, "November.  What in the hell happened a August?  Tell you what, we said August, nine, ten days."  3 or 4 times a year, 4 to 10 days at a time, that's enough to keep me coming back time again if I'm Jack, I'd take whatever time I could get with Ennis greedily and hold onto the memories for dear life while I'm back in Texas making do with Randall for my physical needs.  Love like that cannot be quit and you gotta stand it, whatever happens in your "real" life.  Settling (for Randall) is not an option, it leaves a longing in you that can never be fulfilled. 

I hope I didn't go off to much there.  I see the tragedy but live with the hope of different decisions made ......

Not sure if that copied over correctly (still newbie, never even been in a forum like this before, before this beautiful story captured my every free moment)  I posted this in the last scene thread.

I am a resounding NO for Jack quitting Ennis.  You can't quit that kind of love, only regret what could have been and how things might have been different and hold close to your heart the handful of times you've been lucky enough to be together.  The look Jack gives as Ennis is driving off is the torture of knowing you can never have it the way you want it but you're willing to take whatever you can get so strong is your love.  I agree he is just mad when he tells John Twist he'll bring up Randall when he could never, ever give up on Ennis.
The shirts are the final I love you from Jack to Ennis.  I love you no matter what, I'll always hold onto you even when I'm mad.  BTW, when Ennis hugs that shirt with his beautiful long fingers caressing it, it kills me a little more every time I see it.  Love like that never dies!!

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"The hope of a great love is one of the strongest driving forces in life - if I had it within my sights, I can't imagine letting it get away for any reason" Sienna- Boys of Blue Ridge

Offline Signal63

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #114 on: June 03, 2006, 04:51:17 PM »
The simple answer to the question this thread poses is a resounding, undeniable, unequivocal, absolute, earthshattering NO.  He didn't have the opportunity to do it before he dies.  Those are "facts" from the story that cannot be refuted.  To argue otherwise is simply folly.  IMO

I don't understand why you declare this as an absolute fact. The only thing we know for sure is that Ennis was not aware of Jack's plan until he hears about it from Mr. Twist. Jack certainly has enough time to tell his father about his new scheme. The fact that Ennis is unaware of Jack's intentions does not mean it did not happen.

You're right, it is a little heavy handed to declare anything involved in this story to be "undeniable, unequivocal, absolute".  The point I was trying to make is that Jack often has grand ideas that don't always come true.  Because of that I don't believe that you can argue that Jack quit Ennis.  He may have resolved, he may have intended to do so, but the fact is that he didn't, primarily because he didn't have the time to act on any resolve he may have had to do so.  The question posed by this thread is "Did Jack quit Ennis?"  The simplest answer to that is no.  If you argue "Did Jack intend to quit Ennis?" there are valid points to be made.  What we do have is that at the time of Jack's death the relationship was more or less as it had always been.  "Nothing ended, nothing begun, nothing resolved."

Thanks for your clarification. Maybe we should change the wording of the thread then! It seems we agree that Jack's grand ideas don't always come true. His "plan" is dismissed as such by Mr. Twist, HOWEVER, it is hugely symbolic and important--and therefore more like a dream than a plan--that Jack had changed it after all these years. This little bombshell just can't be swept away as so much misplaced anger by Jack or a lie fabricated by Mr. Twist.

"Nothing ended, nothing begun, nothing resolved." This little gem everyone is fond of quoting is not in the film, of course, and it pertains to what had transpired at the trailhead, at that moment. It's even less reliable in the film version of the story because the character of Randall had been much more developed (not to mention the film lacks a narrator). Even the last scene of J&E together is staged in the film in much more dramatic fashion and even has Ennis proclaiming he "can't stand it any more." I think you could argue that Jack sees what the relationship is doing to Ennis in a whole new light in this breakdown. For so long he thought he was the only one suffering. Maybe he realizes they both are suffering and that Ennis will continue to be tormented unless he can be released from it.

Offline janjo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #115 on: June 03, 2006, 05:00:27 PM »
The dream has to be changed through anger, misplaced or otherwise, so that Ennis realises that Jack was seeing another man in Texas, and that is why he was murdered, (or could have been murdered).
No one is denying that Jack was fulfilling his sexual needs with Randall, or whoever, just that taking him up to lightning Flat and starting a new life with him was not a serious option.
As for stopping seeing Ennis in order to let him "off the hook".
Well! He was sure off the hook at the end of the film, it was hardly a comfort to him then!
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Gonzo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #116 on: June 03, 2006, 05:08:13 PM »
This little gem everyone is fond of quoting is not in the film, of course, and it pertains to what had transpired at the trailhead, at that moment. It's even less reliable in the film version of the story because the character of Randall had been much more developed (not to mention the film lacks a narrator). Even the last scene of J&E together is staged in the film in much more dramatic fashion and even has Ennis proclaiming he "can't stand it any more." I think you could argue that Jack sees what the relationship is doing to Ennis in a whole new light in this breakdown. For so long he thought he was the only one suffering. Maybe he realizes they both are suffering and that Ennis will continue to be tormented unless he can be released from it.

This is where we finally reveal our irreconcilable differences.  I am an absolutist proponent of the story as the "ultimate truth".  The story is paramount.  In cases where story and movie deviate the interpretation for me stays with the book.  So, a character like Randall, regardless of his stature in the movie, maintains his status as a mere reference by John Twist as in the book.  It is an odd hybrid way to look at it but I cannot see these two pieces independently.  And then cover them both as a single unit with the music.  It's like the most delicious chocolate truffle imaginable.

Offline Signal63

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #117 on: June 03, 2006, 06:44:57 PM »
This little gem everyone is fond of quoting is not in the film, of course, and it pertains to what had transpired at the trailhead, at that moment. It's even less reliable in the film version of the story because the character of Randall had been much more developed (not to mention the film lacks a narrator). Even the last scene of J&E together is staged in the film in much more dramatic fashion and even has Ennis proclaiming he "can't stand it any more." I think you could argue that Jack sees what the relationship is doing to Ennis in a whole new light in this breakdown. For so long he thought he was the only one suffering. Maybe he realizes they both are suffering and that Ennis will continue to be tormented unless he can be released from it.

This is where we finally reveal our irreconcilable differences.  I am an absolutist proponent of the story as the "ultimate truth".  The story is paramount.  In cases where story and movie deviate the interpretation for me stays with the book.  So, a character like Randall, regardless of his stature in the movie, maintains his status as a mere reference by John Twist as in the book.  It is an odd hybrid way to look at it but I cannot see these two pieces independently.  And then cover them both as a single unit with the music.  It's like the most delicious chocolate truffle imaginable.

I, like Ennis, prefer to compartmentalize things! It's funny because I do think some people have created a kind of super-BBM version in their minds now, which combines elements of the story and the film. I was noticing that on other threads where posters have inserted dialogue only in the book with scenes from the film.

The dream has to be changed through anger, misplaced or otherwise, so that Ennis realises that Jack was seeing another man in Texas, and that is why he was murdered, (or could have been murdered).
No one is denying that Jack was fulfilling his sexual needs with Randall, or whoever, just that taking him up to lightning Flat and starting a new life with him was not a serious option.
As for stopping seeing Ennis in order to let him "off the hook".
Well! He was sure off the hook at the end of the film, it was hardly a comfort to him then!

Well, Jack doesn't know he's going to die. Your logic is in hindsight. It is also possible that the dream must be changed in order to create the greatest possible tragedy of BBM (IMO), which is not merely that Jack dies but that Ennis in fact lost Jack because he could not commit himself to living with him (or being with him on a more regular basis). In other words, Ennis could not overcome his deepest, innermost fears. He can't fulfill Jack's dream because to do so would be to risk Jack (as well as his own) life. It's an inescapable paradox for Ennis, of course: Jack + Randall = death just as surely as Jack + Ennis = death. He can't really win.

Offline City Girl

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #118 on: June 04, 2006, 01:30:56 AM »
I can't accept that he would tell Ennis, "sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it." 

The telling moment of that scene for me is that Ennis doesn't answer. Jack told Ennis how much it hurts to be without him and Jack surely must want or expect Ennis to say 'me too'. But Ennis says nothing. Jack would have to wonder at that moment what Ennis really felt about him.

I’m someone who identifies with Ennis and like him I don’t calibrate emotions well.  The happy ones, oh no problem.  It is the ones dealing with fear of loss, whether loss of face, loss of love, grief, or out pouring of another's feelings towards me that are the most challenging.  I will either be non-demonstrative/analytical or fly totally into a rage.  There is very little in the way of in-between.  It is not that we stoics don’t “feel” things we just don’t know how to express it well.  At all.  There is a sort of deer in headlights reaction. 

This is sort of difficult to explain but, if someone were to say to me something along the line of “sometimes I miss you so much...” given the parameters of the situation, I think I too would likely “freeze”, look down at the ground, look away, and be totally at a loss for something to say.  I actually think I am better at it now than I use to be.  I use to consider it rather like a “slimy brick” placed on my lap when someone got a bit to emotional with me.  I really did think, “well what am I suppose to do with this now?”   Thus, I don’t consider Ennis to have been deliberately cruel to Jack.  He really doesn’t have a clue what to do with this admission from Jack. 

Ennis is not a nimble kind of guy (not like Jack who can think and react on his feet)  and when confronted with the unexpected, and Jack's admission came outta the blue for him as they don't talk about their "feelings", Ennis retreats and goes and pushes a piece of pie around a plate to think on it.  It is after he has time to think that he does anything. 
"He would have given anything. Anything. His new truck. His horses. Whole years of his life. Just to be able to stay right where he was in this threadbare little bedroom with its fake wood paneling, its cracked mirror, the bits of hay and horse shit tramped in on Ennis’s boots" Casual Match frayach

Offline Lisbeth

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #119 on: June 04, 2006, 01:36:05 AM »
This little gem everyone is fond of quoting is not in the film, of course, and it pertains to what had transpired at the trailhead, at that moment. It's even less reliable in the film version of the story because the character of Randall had been much more developed (not to mention the film lacks a narrator). Even the last scene of J&E together is staged in the film in much more dramatic fashion and even has Ennis proclaiming he "can't stand it any more." I think you could argue that Jack sees what the relationship is doing to Ennis in a whole new light in this breakdown. For so long he thought he was the only one suffering. Maybe he realizes they both are suffering and that Ennis will continue to be tormented unless he can be released from it.

This is where we finally reveal our irreconcilable differences.  I am an absolutist proponent of the story as the "ultimate truth".  The story is paramount.  In cases where story and movie deviate the interpretation for me stays with the book.  So, a character like Randall, regardless of his stature in the movie, maintains his status as a mere reference by John Twist as in the book.  It is an odd hybrid way to look at it but I cannot see these two pieces independently.  And then cover them both as a single unit with the music.  It's like the most delicious chocolate truffle imaginable.

There was no Randall in the book and there must have been a reason Ang Lee left some scenes (with Randall) out. Had he wanted Randall to be an important part to the story (which he would be had Jack considered to quit Ennis for Randall) he would have left those scenes in. Jack's sad look on the bench in front of the restaurant when Randall suggested they go fishing said about all. Nobody is denying that Jack has matured in 20 years and he even was able to stand up to his father-in-law (this is only in the film and not in the story) but when it comes to Randall, I couldn't see that Jack was attracted to him at all. They did exchange glances, true, but when I think of the scene where Jack wanted to buy the rodeo clown a beer, I saw the sparks of attraction that Jack felt for the guy. Nothing the like with Randall.

Nothing in the book suggests that even the question occurred that Jack quits Ennis and therefore I think Ang Lee did not have the intention to change the story in this most important aspect. (Can we ask him?). The rodeo cowboy, the Mexican prostitute and Randall were only there to show how hard it was for Jack. On the other side, we also were shown how hard it was for Ennis, in another way. They both were suffering their own pains and tried to cope with life as good as they could.

In my opinion the essence of the story is lost if the relationship with Randall (if there was one) is given such an importance. It would not only dilute the impact of the story but even damage the story. The story wanted to tell us that there was no solution for the two of them...... Ang Lee consoles us a bit with the last scene with daughter Alma Jr. (which was not in the book either) suggesting that Ennis has learned his lessons whereas in the book there is no change in Ennis.

Lisbeth