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Author Topic: Did Jack Quit Ennis?  (Read 453968 times)

Offline doggedstrength

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #75 on: June 02, 2006, 09:19:35 AM »
Thought a lot about "did Jack quit Ennis?". After the first few viewings of BBM, I feared that Jack after their last meeting decided to move on without Ennis. That was mainly because of his sad expression he had on his face when Ennis drove off.
But I changed my mind soon after.
I´m now clearly on the "no quit"-camp.

Ya know, it's kinda funny.  I am a vociferous proponent of the "no-quit" side.  I think the reason is that I never, ever even thought that.  Nothing I ever saw made me think "OMG Jack's gonna leave Ennis!"  The famous look that so many think shows Jack's resolve to quit is simply there to contrast with the look from the dozy embrace just a few seconds prior.  The younger look is sublime and peaceful while the older look is worried and fretting.  What I believe it is meant to show is not resolve to leave Ennis but the toll their relationship has taken on Jack specifically and by inference on Ennis.  I am glad to see that you are now firmly with the "no-quitters".



i love this animated discussion.  let me try to make a bit more headway.  we've already seen jack looking sad, bereft, forlorn, dismayed and hurt in the final confrontation scene itself.  take a look at his eyes when he says "i did once," and turns to face ennis.  it's a look of sorrow that's grown old; i find it, coupled with his hopeless tone of voice, devastating.

in comparison, it strikes me that the look in jack's eyes as ennis drives off has all of that sorrow still smouldering, plus another edge, something implacable; i see resignation in it, not conviction that he'll take ennis no matter what.  i don't know exactly what that would look like, but i don't see it on jack's face alone there watching ennis drive off.

second point:  jack met randall in 1978, a good four years before this moment.  and he and randall have been slipping around, too.  any thought that maybe jack is just plain tired of ducking and dodging, and if randall is willing to leave leshawn and take the plunge with jack, well, that's a pretty strong commitment and at least some sort of foundation to build on?  if his final quarrel with ennis teaches jack anything, isn't it that ennis is not ready for anything like that kind of commitment, and won't be any time soon?  life moves on.  i think it's possible that jack did, too, always loving ennis, but seeking his own happiness.  and when it comes to feelings, i think it's always been clear that jack is tough and agile in ways that ennis can't imagine (ennis, for instance, would never have thought to keep the shirts).  furthermore, i'd suggest that a married man who conducts not one but two affairs with men on the sly is no idle dreamer:  he's a man in search of a sexual and emotional connection that he's determined to get.  yes, jack embraces ennis as he collapses at the end of their quarrel, and tells him it will be all right. 

but that's comfort.  it's not a decision. 

what jack tells john twist is a decision.  and an important step besides.  the idea of jack with a man is something john twist is just going to have to get used to.

i'm seeing how far my speculation can go, 'til it collapses.   i'd like to hear what others imagine going through jack's mind during that final gaze up the road as ennis departs, yet again, driving horses . . . leaving what, exactly, behind for jack to hold onto?
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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #76 on: June 02, 2006, 10:10:51 AM »

i love this animated discussion.  let me try to make a bit more headway.  we've already seen jack looking sad, bereft, forlorn, dismayed and hurt in the final confrontation scene itself.  take a look at his eyes when he says "i did once," and turns to face ennis.  it's a look of sorrow that's grown old; i find it, coupled with his hopeless tone of voice, devastating.

in comparison, it strikes me that the look in jack's eyes as ennis drives off has all of that sorrow still smouldering, plus another edge, something implacable; i see resignation in it, not conviction that he'll take ennis no matter what.  i don't know exactly what that would look like, but i don't see it on jack's face alone there watching ennis drive off.

second point:  jack met randall in 1978, a good four years before this moment.  and he and randall have been slipping around, too.  any thought that maybe jack is just plain tired of ducking and dodging, and if randall is willing to leave leshawn and take the plunge with jack, well, that's a pretty strong commitment and at least some sort of foundation to build on?  if his final quarrel with ennis teaches jack anything, isn't it that ennis is not ready for anything like that kind of commitment, and won't be any time soon?  life moves on.  i think it's possible that jack did, too, always loving ennis, but seeking his own happiness.  and when it comes to feelings, i think it's always been clear that jack is tough and agile in ways that ennis can't imagine (ennis, for instance, would never have thought to keep the shirts).  furthermore, i'd suggest that a married man who conducts not one but two affairs with men on the sly is no idle dreamer:  he's a man in search of a sexual and emotional connection that he's determined to get.  yes, jack embraces ennis as he collapses at the end of their quarrel, and tells him it will be all right. 

but that's comfort.  it's not a decision. 

what jack tells john twist is a decision.  and an important step besides.  the idea of jack with a man is something john twist is just going to have to get used to.

i'm seeing how far my speculation can go, 'til it collapses.   i'd like to hear what others imagine going through jack's mind during that final gaze up the road as ennis departs, yet again, driving horses . . . leaving what, exactly, behind for jack to hold onto?

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

The rest is speculation, including my own opinion.  I stated earlier that the famous look is used more to contrast young Jack of the dozy embrace and the world weary Jack of later years.  Let's speculate though that it is resignation to change and look for a more amenable lover.  Okay, so the look says "That son-of-a-whoreson-bitch Ennis, I love him but he's killing me and I can't do this anymore."  Filled with resignation he climbs into the truck and starts to ponder what he can do.  He fixates on Randall as a possible option.  He drives half way across Wyoming, stewing.  He gets to the parent's house and falls into the old routine of trying to impress the abuser.  He's been doing it years on years.  We know that because John Twist says so and I believe John Twist is accurately, if maliciously, recounting what Jack told him.  The only difference may be that Jack is genuinely disgusted by Ennis at the time and doesn't want to include him in his future.  He still wants to be able to make promises to John Twist about helping out, he just doesn't want to include Ennis.  The most realistic option for him is to keep the story but change the characters.  I think this is what he does.  To argue that that "is a decision" is unsupportable.  To differentiate a firm decision from plans/ideas requires actual action (you may argue that resolve is sufficient, but we have no way to measure resolve of a fictional character, so, I believe we have to go with what actually happened), otherwise it is just an idea and we know "most of Jack's ideas...never come to pass."  After all this speculation we are left with an unresolved debate, so, we have to return to the "facts" again and that can only lead to one conclusion, NO

Offline David G

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #77 on: June 02, 2006, 10:23:18 AM »
NO
Yet Jack told his parents about another fella; it was no longer a clear cut Ennis Del Mar; there was someone else. Jack was considering options. How serious he was and how far he would have gone if he hadn't died, we'll never know. But he did appear to me to be moving on.

Offline Lisbeth

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #78 on: June 02, 2006, 10:39:44 AM »
Thought a lot about "did Jack quit Ennis?". After the first few viewings of BBM, I feared that Jack after their last meeting decided to move on without Ennis. That was mainly because of his sad expression he had on his face when Ennis drove off.
But I changed my mind soon after.
I´m now clearly on the "no quit"-camp.

Ya know, it's kinda funny.  I am a vociferous proponent of the "no-quit" side.  I think the reason is that I never, ever even thought that.  Nothing I ever saw made me think "OMG Jack's gonna leave Ennis!"  The famous look that so many think shows Jack's resolve to quit is simply there to contrast with the look from the dozy embrace just a few seconds prior.  The younger look is sublime and peaceful while the older look is worried and fretting.  What I believe it is meant to show is not resolve to leave Ennis but the toll their relationship has taken on Jack specifically and by inference on Ennis.  I am glad to see that you are now firmly with the "no-quitters".



i love this animated discussion.  let me try to make a bit more headway.  we've already seen jack looking sad, bereft, forlorn, dismayed and hurt in the final confrontation scene itself.  take a look at his eyes when he says "i did once," and turns to face ennis.  it's a look of sorrow that's grown old; i find it, coupled with his hopeless tone of voice, devastating.

in comparison, it strikes me that the look in jack's eyes as ennis drives off has all of that sorrow still smouldering, plus another edge, something implacable; i see resignation in it, not conviction that he'll take ennis no matter what.  i don't know exactly what that would look like, but i don't see it on jack's face alone there watching ennis drive off.

second point:  jack met randall in 1978, a good four years before this moment.  and he and randall have been slipping around, too.  any thought that maybe jack is just plain tired of ducking and dodging, and if randall is willing to leave leshawn and take the plunge with jack, well, that's a pretty strong commitment and at least some sort of foundation to build on?  if his final quarrel with ennis teaches jack anything, isn't it that ennis is not ready for anything like that kind of commitment, and won't be any time soon?  life moves on.  i think it's possible that jack did, too, always loving ennis, but seeking his own happiness.  and when it comes to feelings, i think it's always been clear that jack is tough and agile in ways that ennis can't imagine (ennis, for instance, would never have thought to keep the shirts).  furthermore, i'd suggest that a married man who conducts not one but two affairs with men on the sly is no idle dreamer:  he's a man in search of a sexual and emotional connection that he's determined to get.  yes, jack embraces ennis as he collapses at the end of their quarrel, and tells him it will be all right. 

but that's comfort.  it's not a decision. 

what jack tells john twist is a decision.  and an important step besides.  the idea of jack with a man is something john twist is just going to have to get used to.

i'm seeing how far my speculation can go, 'til it collapses.   i'd like to hear what others imagine going through jack's mind during that final gaze up the road as ennis departs, yet again, driving horses . . . leaving what, exactly, behind for jack to hold onto?

It is very interesting in here. I have just been reading and reading but in the end I am still convinced that JACK DID NOT QUIT ENNIS. What Jack tells John Twist can be anything - you think it is a decision and I think it might have been wishful thinking (but no more). As John Twist said himself, Jack said so many things that never came about, he didn't believe anything anymore. That's what I understood from his sarcastic remarks. Lureen said the same on the telephone and to me Jack was a soft-hearted dreamer, even at 39. Soft and sweet and lovable and untrue (twice a year just isn't enough - everybody can understand that!) but nothing and no-one could replace Ennis, how can anybody think that he would team up with Randall? He had reasons for falling in love with Ennis and staying in love with Ennis for 20 years and I just can't imagine him teaming up with Randall.

The last scene did not at all indicate that Jack would quit Ennis, it indicated that Jack was disappointed and unhappy but in my mind the comforting of Ennis and the way Jack threw up his arms just before he walked over to Ennis to hold him signalled clearly that he gave up the fighting and let love take over. He would always be there for Ennis and would never quit him.

Of course, Jack lived a life without Ennis and probably didn't spent his time brooding and thinking of Ennis all the time. There was time for Randall or Mexico or I don't know who else, but all that disappeared when Ennis came into the picture. I believe this would have lasted forever, or maybe in a good dream it could have dawned to Jack that instead of Ennis coming to Texas he might just as well move up to Signal......Who knows. Unfortunately it was not to be.

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Offline gres

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #79 on: June 02, 2006, 11:54:07 AM »
.  and when it comes to feelings, i think it's always been clear that jack is tough and agile in ways that ennis can't imagine (ennis, for instance, would never have thought to keep the shirts). 


I just wonder how would  Jack ever quit Ennis. The fact that Jack stole Ennis shirt 20years ago and he treasured it for 4 years till up to their reunion and continued to have it in his closet as the most precious thing of his life and of their love shows the strenght of Jack's love. Jack had "invested"  all his emotional existance on Ennis. How could he quit him? The fact that Jack had placed Ennis' shirt under his own shows exactly that. Jack had Ennis under his skin (as the two shirts shows) and Jack existed through Ennis' existance and the vice versa. Jack had become one with Ennis and  quitting him was like him  fighting back, denying  and rejecting his own existence
« Last Edit: June 02, 2006, 12:18:00 PM by gres »
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Offline wiljohn

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #80 on: June 02, 2006, 02:19:53 PM »
.  and when it comes to feelings, i think it's always been clear that jack is tough and agile in ways that ennis can't imagine (ennis, for instance, would never have thought to keep the shirts). 


I just wonder how would  Jack ever quit Ennis. The fact that Jack stole Ennis shirt 20years ago and he treasured it for 4 years till up to their reunion and continued to have it in his closet as the most precious thing of his life and of their love shows the strenght of Jack's love. Jack had "invested"  all his emotional existance on Ennis. How could he quit him? The fact that Jack had placed Ennis' shirt under his own shows exactly that. Jack had Ennis under his skin (as the two shirts shows) and Jack existed through Ennis' existance and the vice versa. Jack had become one with Ennis and  quitting him was like him  fighting back, denying  and rejecting his own existence
I don't think Jack quit Ennis in the literal absolute sense--he quit WAITING for ENNIS to followup on what they had--as previously stated that seemed to be unlikely.  I know by the shirts that Ennis was etched deeply in Jack's heart, but reality can make strange bedfellows. I think when Randall had propositioned him he was already in the mood for a physical change, even though I am sure he would still think about Ennis, he was painfully aware that Ennis clearly was making no conscious physical attempt to change his own condition, and Jack was not going to sit forever-throughout the story and movie he was not one to sit around for anything.  That the shirts are still there is still conjecture as to whether Jack ultimately did keep them or didnt have the chance to get rid of them later--great thing about some hanging threads...they allow for all this discussion. 

Offline Lance

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #81 on: June 02, 2006, 04:53:26 PM »
To argue that that "is a decision" is unsupportable.

Thank you; now I don't have to say it. :)
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Offline gboo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #82 on: June 02, 2006, 09:43:25 PM »
to me, that stunned look on heath's face, the frightened flare of his nostrils, says, "oh my god, i lost him.  just before he died, i lost him."  and maybe that's what gives ennis' final "jack, i swear" some of its power.  "if i'd known how close i was to losing you, jack, i swear . . . i'd have overcome my fears."  alas, it's too late.  that's my sad take.

I'm a no-quit advocate.  In fact, it really surprised me when I first found out some people thought Jack had moved on/quit, because that just never crossed my mind.

But I do appreciate this take on "I swear."  And actually, I don't think you have to accept Jack had quit Ennis to feel it could be what Ennis meant.  He could still think about how close he'd come to losing Jack without actually having lost him.

As for Randall's role in this debate, one thing that seems important to me is the fact that Jack had been seeing him for 4 years.  I have to think that if they were so seriously involved that it was a real possibility they would leave their wives and go off together, it would have been hard for them to keep it a secret from Lureen and Lashawn and the rest of the town for so long.  Yes, someone discovering the relationship with Randall is probably the reason Jack was killed, but it's hard to believe it took "four f***in' years" for that to happen if they were spending a lot of time together.  I'd say it'smore likely it took that long for them to be spotted together accidentally, because things between them weren't that intense.

And if things were so serious by the time of Jack & Ennis's confrontation that Jack had already thought seriously about bringing Randall to Lightning Flat, I can't accept that he would tell Ennis, "sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it."  I believe Jack mentioned Randall to his father, but I think it was a vague notion he'd come up with in anger over what had just happened with Ennis.

Offline David G

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #83 on: June 02, 2006, 09:50:11 PM »
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.

Offline Signal63

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #84 on: June 02, 2006, 10:05:14 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.

Offline janjo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #85 on: June 03, 2006, 04:40:53 AM »
Jack didn't have time to have a new scheme, if that was true, why did he tell Ennis he missed him so much he could hardly stand it.
 As far as I know there were no mobile phones in 1983, and there was no obvious land line at the "Twist" farm. He could hardly have phoned Randall from the depths of his misery and have made plans on this scale. Just popped into a phone box to tell you to leave your wife, and come up and run a ranch with me in Lighning Flat. Followed by a call to Lureen to say he's leaving her and their son. One does not make these kind of far reaching arrangements from a phone box. One would need a lot of loose change.
NO!
He was just angry with Ennis!
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Offline River girl

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #86 on: June 03, 2006, 05:25:15 AM »
As for Randall's role in this debate, one thing that seems important to me is the fact that Jack had been seeing him for 4 years.  I have to think that if they were so seriously involved that it was a real possibility they would leave their wives and go off together, it would have been hard for them to keep it a secret from Lureen and Lashawn and the rest of the town for so long. 

And if things were so serious by the time of Jack & Ennis's confrontation that Jack had already thought seriously about bringing Randall to Lightning Flat, I can't accept that he would tell Ennis, "sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it."  I believe Jack mentioned Randall to his father, but I think it was a vague notion he'd come up with in anger over what had just happened with Ennis.

Gboo, like you, I'm firmly in the 'no quit' group.

I don't see Randall and Jack's relationship as serious. We don't know that they were seeing each other for four years. We only know that Randall made Jake a proposition at the dance scene. We see Jack staring dejectedly into space; he does not answer Randall.

As you say, it makes no sense that Ennis would make the "Sometimes I miss you...." remark if he were already seriously thinking about bringing Randall to Lightning Flat. I don't think he was.

If Jack were to leave Ennis and go directly to his father and announce his plan to bring Randall to Lightning Flat, he would be a pretty cool customer. He would be using both Randall and Ennis, going with whoever seemed more likely to agree to his plans. I don't see him that way at all, and I don't believe that is what happened.

I think their relationship had reached an impasse, that Jack recognized that things were never going to be as he had dreamed all those years, and that he is desperate to find a new future to believe in, cause that's how Jack survived, looking ahead and making plans. I see him contacting Randall after the last meeting with Ennis, talking to his Daddy about Randall later, but no, his heart wasn't in it, his heart belonged to Ennis. I think the time he and Randall had together was short and never got anywhere near what Jack had with Ennis.

I know - all speculation, but that's how I see it.  :)




« Last Edit: June 03, 2006, 05:31:27 AM by River girl »
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Offline gres

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #87 on: June 03, 2006, 05:50:13 AM »
Well

the fact is that Jack didn't go to their last meeting having in mind to quit Ennis. We are left with that impression only after their fight. Before that there is no indication of Jack quiting Ennis. So IMO to beleive that Jack in their ten minutes quarrel decided to change all his life and to quit Ennis and more over to move on his life with Randall is out of the question. How could he throw the love of his life in just ten minutes? Also Jack visited his parents for a couple of days. So two days is not long enough to get over his anger and his sadness of what had happened and it is quite possible that he said things to his parents out of pain and range.
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Offline gres

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #88 on: June 03, 2006, 05:58:35 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.

It is true that Ennis says nothing but i think the scene in the tent says it all. This is  Ennis telling i love you to Jack. And i think this scene is put there by Lee in purpose. He wants to show the difference in how Ennis and Jack tell i love you to each other. Jack says i love you with that "i miss you so much..." and Ennis says i love you with that embracement.
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Offline gres

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #89 on: June 03, 2006, 06:27:19 AM »
Can someone explain  me how Jack after his admission  " s'times i miss you so much i can hardly stand it"  can so easily go on his life and replace Ennis with Jack? (20 years of frustration doesn't count as an answer in my mind. You have to come up with s'thing else so as to convince me ;D ) Also if he can't stand seeing him only two or three times a year  and wants more how the hell he can stand not having him in his life at all.  So do  i have to believe that if he can't have Ennis all the time he prefers not having him at all?  Sorry guys but this is not the  Jack i know...
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