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Author Topic: Did Jack Quit Ennis?  (Read 458748 times)

Offline gboo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #90 on: June 03, 2006, 06:48:48 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.

Actually, last night I came up with a slightly different explanation for why Jack said that.  I won't re-post it now, but here's a link: http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=2419.2865

And to respond more directly, Ennis's response is not telling about Jack's intentions.  I'm talking about Jack's thoughts and reasons for saying it, which are wholly separate from Ennis's reaction after the fact.  And I still don't see how he could if he was having serious thoughts about a life with Randall.

Offline David G

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #91 on: June 03, 2006, 07:28:19 AM »
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.

To me, the tent scene is indicative of the mixed signals that Ennis keeps giving Jack. Yes, Jack knows Ennis cares for him deeply but in not replying, Jack is denied full confirmation. Ennis can't say the words that Jack needs to hear.

Offline doggedstrength

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #92 on: June 03, 2006, 07:30:10 AM »
i gotta jump back in.  jack and randall have been seeing each other for four years, and both of them are married men.  lee shot a scene where they part publicly after a meeting, and because that parting is witnessed by violent homophobes, it triggers jack's murder.  were they careless?  they surely were willing to take calculated risks to see each other.  and i'll wager that randall never reproached jack with a line like ". . . what i hear they got for boys like you in mexico."  randall is a man on jack's wavelength, in his identical social and marital situation.  that could count for a lot with jack.

jack tells john twist not just that he's thinking of bringing a ranch neighbor to lightning flat, but that, he, jack, is planning to leave his wife in order to do so.  that sounds serious to me, and i can't imagine jack would go that far unless he and randall had discussed this crucial possible step in depth for some time.  they've had four years to get to know one another.  jack's announcement to john twist was no sudden outburst in anger, but the culmination of a period of considering options about how he wanted to live the rest of his life (a not uncommon instinct as one approaches age 40). 

looked at in this way, ennis' postponement of their next meeting from august to november is not a new kind of hurt for jack, but, on the contrary, the last straw.  and ennis may well sense this, since he's so hesitant to reveal to jack that august is off.  this disappointment is the tail end of years of frustration on jack's part at the infrequency of their times together.  that's why he hurls at ennis:  "what we've got now is brokeback mountain.  that's all we've got."  that comes from simmering frustration finally boiling over, not a fit of momentary pique.  with randall, jack may not have more, but he will have something different, something he's never had, a constant male companion.

recalling the dozy embrace induces sadness in jack, because the longing for each other that they discovered back then hasn't been enough to make ennis go the distance.  indeed, jack still misses ennis so much he can hardly stand it.  but maybe, after this confrontation, he settles in his own mind that he truly can't stand it any longer.  it's a 40-year-old's thing.  it's not a dismissal of ennis or of their love.  it's an awareness that there is life beyond brokeback  -- if only ennis could embrace and act on that liberating possibility.  remember:  "it could be like this, just like this, always."  sadly, ennis has never been able to match that courageous formulation of jack's at their four-year reunion.  now, some 15 years later, jack is ready to move on.  and ennis has to face what his fears may have cost him.  i think he begins in the phone conversation with lureen, flashing on the grisly "tire iron" outcome.  john twist's mention of the other fella confirms ennis' deepest, and longstanding, anxieties.
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Offline David G

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #93 on: June 03, 2006, 07:35:28 AM »
I'm talking about Jack's thoughts and reasons for saying it, which are wholly separate from Ennis's reaction after the fact. 

I don't see how you can separate them. That is the scene.

Quote
And I still don't see how he could if he was having serious thoughts about a life with Randall.

Jack was having thoughts about the other fella because in Jacks mind, Ennis was not giving him the commitment he was looking for. Jack was giving Ennis one more chance to confirm him feelings, to say, 'i love you', but Ennis drops the ball.

Gonzo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #94 on: June 03, 2006, 07:44:17 AM »
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."

Offline River girl

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #95 on: June 03, 2006, 07:51:49 AM »
If Jack did talk to his father about the ranch father, it may have been an act of self-protection.

He gets to Lightning Flat. He's just been with Ennis, they've had their blow-out, he's confused, doesn't know what's going to happen. For years he's been telling his father that Ennis del Mar will be coming with him to lick the ranch into shape.  He obviously can't tell his parents what is going on with Ennis now. So he talks about Randall to get around it. Not because he has any real definite plans with Randall, but he is confused and is buying time.


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Offline gres

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #96 on: June 03, 2006, 08:10:16 AM »
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.

To me, the tent scene is indicative of the mixed signals that Ennis keeps giving Jack. Yes, Jack knows Ennis cares for him deeply but in not replying, Jack is denied full confirmation. Ennis can't say the words that Jack needs to hear.

I have already said in one of my other posts that from times to times people need to hear words of love from the people they love, espesially from their partners. But Jack knows Ennis. That was Ennis' character. He loved Ennis for what he was and asking from Ennis acting differently then it would be like asking him not to be the man he fell in love at the beginning.
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Offline gboo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #97 on: June 03, 2006, 09:42:44 AM »
I'm talking about Jack's thoughts and reasons for saying it, which are wholly separate from Ennis's reaction after the fact. 

I don't see how you can separate them. That is the scene.


Yes, the scene needs to be taken in its entirety if you are analyzing how Ennis's reaction affects Jack.  And I know that's where this thread is ultimately headed, so I'm not trying to deny the importance of Ennis's reaction.  (I do maintain, though, that what flows from this conversation is open to multiple interpretations)

However, I'm trying to take a step back and focus purely on what is going on in Jack's head and heart before he says it, and before Ennis responds (or, more precisely, doesn't).  And Ennis's reaction just has nothing to do with that.  How can it, when it hasn't happened yet?

Maybe Ennis's lack of reaction ended up changing how Jack felt when he said those words.  Or maybe Jack expected Ennis to show no reaction, knowing him as well as he did, so Ennis's silence didn't really hurt him.  That is an interesting question, and it bears heavily on the answer to the "move on or not" issue (I hope you notice that I'm using your preferred terminology out of respect for your views ;)) but I really think it can be separated from the question of what Jack was thinking and feeling when he decided to open up to Ennis about his true feelings.

Offline David G

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #98 on: June 03, 2006, 10:10:32 AM »
I have already said in one of my other posts that from times to times people need to hear words of love from the people they love, especially from their partners. But Jack knows Ennis. That was Ennis' character. He loved Ennis for what he was and asking from Ennis acting differently then it would be like asking him not to be the man he fell in love at the beginning.

My point is that Jack has clearly reached an intolerable level of frustration of dealing with Ennis and he confronts Ennis in a way he never has before. In the past, Jack has always acquiesced to Ennis' way of maintaining their relationship.

Jack knows Ennis and it is this knowledge that leads to his frustration. Jack is now getting old, tired, and cold and he wants more from Ennis and Ennis doesn't reciprocate. Jack is being as clear and direct in saying 'i love you' as either one of these guys is capable of being and he doesn't get anything back.

By not responding, Ennis failed Jacks test.

Offline janjo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #99 on: June 03, 2006, 10:11:24 AM »
i gotta jump back in.  jack and randall have been seeing each other for four years, and both of them are married men.  lee shot a scene where they part publicly after a meeting, and because that parting is witnessed by violent homophobes, it triggers jack's murder.  were they careless?  they surely were willing to take calculated risks to see each other.  and i'll wager that randall never reproached jack with a line like ". . . what i hear they got for boys like you in mexico."  randall is a man on jack's wavelength, in his identical social and marital situation.  that could count for a lot with jack.

jack tells john twist not just that he's thinking of bringing a ranch neighbor to lightning flat, but that, he, jack, is planning to leave his wife in order to do so.  that sounds serious to me, and i can't imagine jack would go that far unless he and randall had discussed this crucial possible step in depth for some time.  they've had four years to get to know one another.  jack's announcement to john twist was no sudden outburst in anger, but the culmination of a period of considering options about how he wanted to live the rest of his life (a not uncommon instinct as one approaches age 40). 

looked at in this way, ennis' postponement of their next meeting from august to november is not a new kind of hurt for jack, but, on the contrary, the last straw.  and ennis may well sense this, since he's so hesitant to reveal to jack that august is off.  this disappointment is the tail end of years of frustration on jack's part at the infrequency of their times together.  that's why he hurls at ennis:  "what we've got now is brokeback mountain.  that's all we've got."  that comes from simmering frustration finally boiling over, not a fit of momentary pique.  with randall, jack may not have more, but he will have something different, something he's never had, a constant male companion.

recalling the dozy embrace induces sadness in jack, because the longing for each other that they discovered back then hasn't been enough to make ennis go the distance.  indeed, jack still misses ennis so much he can hardly stand it.  but maybe, after this confrontation, he settles in his own mind that he truly can't stand it any longer.  it's a 40-year-old's thing.  it's not a dismissal of ennis or of their love.  it's an awareness that there is life beyond brokeback  -- if only ennis could embrace and act on that liberating possibility.  remember:  "it could be like this, just like this, always."  sadly, ennis has never been able to match that courageous formulation of jack's at their four-year reunion.  now, some 15 years later, jack is ready to move on.  and ennis has to face what his fears may have cost him.  i think he begins in the phone conversation with lureen, flashing on the grisly "tire iron" outcome.  john twist's mention of the other fella confirms ennis' deepest, and longstanding, anxieties.


If we are really supposed to think that Randall is going to leave his wife and go and live up at Lightning Flat, why did  John Twist mention that for years Ennis Del Mar was going to come up there and live, when Ennis doesn't know anything about it. If this is a genuine plan, why not say, when Jack was here in the spring he told us about a neighbour of his who's gonna leave his wife and come up here to run the ranch with me? He has to mention Ennis for us to understand that it his dream that at least for a while has changed, and not a true plan or intention!
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Offline gres

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #100 on: June 03, 2006, 11:37:05 AM »

My point is that Jack has clearly reached an intolerable level of frustration of dealing with Ennis and he confronts Ennis in a way he never has before. In the past, Jack has always acquiesced to Ennis' way of maintaining their relationship.

Jack knows Ennis and it is this knowledge that leads to his frustration. Jack is now getting old, tired, and cold and he wants more from Ennis and Ennis doesn't reciprocate. Jack is being as clear and direct in saying 'i love you' as either one of these guys is capable of being and he doesn't get anything back.

By not responding, Ennis failed Jacks test.

I don't think Jack was expecting Ennis to tell him "i love you" in the way you put it here. In my mind the scene in the tent is stronger and the love they made in there that night is stronger than any words of love. Moreover even if Jack was thinking  that Ennis failed his test the very next day Ennis' emotional breakdown was all Jack wanted to know. Ennis' anger for Jack slleeping with other men and the tears in his  eyes are the proof. I find this scene very heartbreaking and in my mind Ennis' breakdown was him shouting out his love for Jack.
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Offline David G

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #101 on: June 03, 2006, 12:39:28 PM »
I don't think Jack was expecting Ennis to tell him "i love you" in the way you put it here. In my mind the scene in the tent is stronger and the love they made in there that night is stronger than any words of love. Moreover even if Jack was thinking  that Ennis failed his test the very next day Ennis' emotional breakdown was all Jack wanted to know. Ennis' anger for Jack sleeping with other men and the tears in his  eyes are the proof. I find this scene very heartbreaking and in my mind Ennis' breakdown was him shouting out his love for Jack.

The tent scene is sandwiched between two heartbreaking scenes which tell the same narrative of frustrated love. While asleep, Ennis may have been able to express his love for Jack unconsciously. But Jack needs more, wants more, and expects more. Jack is no longer satisfied with a snuggle in a tent in the backwoods two or three times a year. Jack wants a life together and he's not getting that from Ennis.

Offline samsung

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #102 on: June 03, 2006, 01:14:22 PM »

I don't think anyone here would deny that J&E were in a "once in a lifetime love"—as Proulx calls it. But sometimes in real life that just isn't enough as the sad circumstances of J&E make clear. In this case "settling" for Randall is what many people do all of the time, so it's not unbelievable that Jack would do the same. However that doesn't diminish the love they had for each other, which is what the shirts are all about. So while homophobia destroys all the major sexual relationships in the film, including J&E's, it can't extinguish the love that they found.

Thanks for this!  The voice of truth!

Offline Lance

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #103 on: June 03, 2006, 01:19:35 PM »
The voice of an agreement on one point with an opinion by someone else!
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Offline janjo

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Re: Did Jack Quit Ennis?
« Reply #104 on: June 03, 2006, 01:44:48 PM »

My point is that Jack has clearly reached an intolerable level of frustration of dealing with Ennis and he confronts Ennis in a way he never has before. In the past, Jack has always acquiesced to Ennis' way of maintaining their relationship.

Jack knows Ennis and it is this knowledge that leads to his frustration. Jack is now getting old, tired, and cold and he wants more from Ennis and Ennis doesn't reciprocate. Jack is being as clear and direct in saying 'i love you' as either one of these guys is capable of being and he doesn't get anything back.

By not responding, Ennis failed Jacks test.

I don't think Jack was expecting Ennis to tell him "i love you" in the way you put it here. In my mind the scene in the tent is stronger and the love they made in there that night is stronger than any words of love. Moreover even if Jack was thinking  that Ennis failed his test the very next day Ennis' emotional breakdown was all Jack wanted to know. Ennis' anger for Jack slleeping with other men and the tears in his  eyes are the proof. I find this scene very heartbreaking and in my mind Ennis' breakdown was him shouting out his love for Jack.

Gres,

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!
Brokeback short stories at storybyjanjo.livejournal.com

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