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Author Topic: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II  (Read 491630 times)

Offline royandronnie

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3390 on: January 15, 2016, 09:20:24 PM »
They do all seem to agree Jack quit…
"…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.

He either fears his fate too much
Or his deserts are small
Who dares not put it to the touch
To win or lose it all

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3391 on: January 15, 2016, 09:32:39 PM »
Wishful thinking, I suspect.

Offline royandronnie

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3392 on: January 16, 2016, 09:47:40 PM »
Well, at first blow it does really look that way: "got another fella." That's black and white, in story and movie. But then we have that history of Jack always wanting to get something going/moving--and often failing. And what's the "another fella" context? He's just had a terrible blow: Ennis can't make August. Naturally a day or a few days later he's going to be angry, bitter, frustrated. He's going to have been thinking about Ennis' immovability on the moving in dream. And then juxtapose "another fella," who already existed--the affair is going on before the Final Argument--with the fact that Jack still clearly wants to be with Ennis. Otherwise, why would he be more than moderately upset at the cancellation, if he's got a pretty good new thing going? Because it may be going, but it's not Ennis. I'd say if you look at what happens closely, and this is even more obvious in the movie, there's no way Jack already had it in mind that he and Randall were going to make a go of it. But it's very easy to imagine a bitter, angry Jack more or less talking/threatening out loud to his parents, hardly caring if they understand what he really means by moving in with this second guy. Ennis won't? "Got me another friend. Don't need me no more crap from Lureen, him and me gone a come up here and take care a this ranch." That's Jack trying to get into "the control zone" as in the story.

But of course, for me, the central argument is that when Jack leaves--intending to return, which it is important to understand--despite his bitterness and frustration, he leaves the Shirts behind, still in their sacred embrace, symbolizing where his heart truly is.

Nothing has really changed. He'll be there in November. Or, at least, he would have been.
"…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.

He either fears his fate too much
Or his deserts are small
Who dares not put it to the touch
To win or lose it all

Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3393 on: January 17, 2016, 09:28:30 AM »
Gosh I like that logic!   Yeah those shirts.   I suppose in a way one has to decide if he quit Ennis on a pragmatic level...would he ever be able to quit him inside, though?Jack's feelings certainly are his ultimate drivers unlike Ennis who doesnt know what he feels within light years of having a feeling. I've been kept awake  more than once trying to reconcile Jack's "accident" -which I've also always accepted as the tire rim -with his going on about the ranch neighbor to the folks. There is a disconnect there unless you insert Ennis's pathological fear of the tire iron and how quickly he accepts it as not an accident. And it's such an obvious leap to make to the tire iron if down in Texas his dalliance was found out about by his father in law's people. Earl and Rich all over again except- earl and rich were a loving couple who had lived together presumably a long time back in the 50s.   But then we get the shirts revelation and the "stiff with long suspension".  I'm reminded of a statement a presumably insider friend made that AP used to stop by the forum to see if Jack had quit. :)))))). I still cannot internally reconcile Jack actually quitting; but just the suggestion to the parents is enough to get Ennis' wheels spinning through his own biased perceptions.  (  Sorry wrong thread.)

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3394 on: January 17, 2016, 04:14:51 PM »
It strikes me that Jack, for all his plans, was always drifting with the tide. As his father so cruelly and accurately put it, "But like most a Jack's ideas it never come to pass."

On Brokeback he makes a move then falls in with Ennis's desires and restrictions. When he finally makes another move to meet up again, he once again falls in with what Ennis will and won't do. If his ways of spending money and his business trips and his visits to Mexico are what we (mostly) all assume they are, then he's more or less reacting to the denial of a life together. So is he really going to leave Lureen and come up with the ranch neighbour? I doubt it. I doubt also that he'd make any sort of decision about the shirts. They are left there, suspended, for all that time.

What got me thinking was the implied offer of money to get lost. We know Lureen's daddy makes lots of money so it's not impossible to imagine Jack could find himself a small place nearer to Wyoming. I think there's been agreement in the past that having Jack in such close proximity could cause Ennis to run a mile in the opposite direction, but my point is that Jack doesn't even try it. He justs accepts his fate, as dished out by Ennis, and remains in limbo.

So, no quit, no life with the ranch neighbour, no decision on the shirts one way or another. Jack is eternally in "long suspension". He only comes to life, as it were, when the wind causes those shirts to shudder. IMHO. But I do always love the symbolism.

Offline royandronnie

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3395 on: January 17, 2016, 06:42:35 PM »
"stiff with long suspension--" Jack's dream of living with Ennis. It never comes to pass, but it never dies either. Jack can't quit. He belongs to Ennis. He may no longer believe in their life together, but he can't cut fence and get away either. The Shirts state it: look into the hidden recesses of Jack and you see what is really important for him: Ennis.
"…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.

He either fears his fate too much
Or his deserts are small
Who dares not put it to the touch
To win or lose it all

Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3396 on: January 17, 2016, 07:06:05 PM »
It just occurred that since we do not actually witness the accident; we just hear about it....we are like Ennis , left to our own thoughts. But the interesting part is what happens to those shirts. Ennis enshrines them but more importantly....jack remains the only one. And gives Ennis pleasure the rest of his life. I don't see that progression coming from a man who thought the love  of his life truly quit him. I think he believed what Jack said...jack couldn't make it on the high altitude Fs.  Has it iccurred that Ennis believes the tire iron not due to the ranch neighbor as a specific threat....but rather Jack's recklessness as a general one?  He could have heard the RN story and dismissed it while believing Jack still went to Mexico.  Ennis' greatest fear was Jack was full- blown gay.  Whether he figured that out about himself or not the greatest progress Ennis made was continuing to love and honor Jack after he had proof And could no longer warn Jack off. So to me that tells me by the prologue he knew it was never a quit. He knew Jack was able to go Avery long time as they were. He already had.


Why do we torture ourselves over this?

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3397 on: January 18, 2016, 06:04:46 PM »
Paul!

Okay, I gathered together bits of your Dozy Embrace posts in one place (and well away from the Reunion thread although, as we all know, it's hard to keep ideas separated out in this story.

~snip~ I feel the embrace in the film works as well as it does simply because it omits the story’s authorial voice from “on high” passing retrospective judgement on what was a spontaneous moment of pure affection.

When the flashback ends and Ennis rides off we return to the present to see Jack looking wistfully at Ennis as he drives away. The sequence works because there’s nobody telling us that what we saw was anything other than Jack remembering a special moment.

Proulx’s insertion of her authorial voice might indeed, as you suggest, produce a “kick in the guts,” but as there’s no indication from Jack himself that he thought what she says he thought her interjection just comes out of the blue without supporting evidence that that was the case.~snip~

In the film there is no "Summer Of No Face-To-Face" so it's impossible to have that sudden revelation. Initially, Larry and Diana considered having the DE both in its correct chronological place and also as a flashback but settled on the same setup as the story. It works simply as a beautiful memory followed by an older and wiser Jack reflecting on what just happened.

But what do you mean when you say,
Quote
there's no indication from Jack himself that he thought what she says he thought
What sort of indication would you want? Jack thought what she says he thought because she wrote the story. There is no independent Jack to verify or deny what she says he thought. Could you explain to me what you mean, because this makes no sense at all.

As for the supporting evidence, it's all there in the story. AP described the story as a Moebius Strip, i.e one where you find that when you reach the end you haven't actually reached the end. You may not like the way she wrote it, with revelations late in the piece requiring a rethink of previous assumptions, but that's the way it's written. It's a reflection of the way both Jack and Ennis reach conclusions. Jack hoped that the reunion overrode the restrictions of the summer of 1963, but after the argument he comes to understand that a physical change did not indicate a mental change. Ennis still would not metaphorically embrace him face to face. His body would but his mind wouldn't. Then in the closet Ennis comes to understand what he has done to Jack (both in finding the shirts and in remembering the tale of Mr Twist's abuse of Jack). There's more to it than that, of course. The pissing scene also shows us why Jack never quite stands up for himself fully.

~snip~

The issue of sexual arousal, by either party, had Jack turned around, if that what’s you’re hinting at, doesn’t arise.

It’s a different situation to the only other post-reunion instance of actual close physical contact that we’re told about (“Jack slid his cold hand between Ennis’s legs ... and they rolled down into the dirt.”) and Jack’s reference to “high-altitude fucks.”
No, it's not what I was hinting at.

This is where I basically disagree, and not only about whatever Jack “had learnt” on the mountain.

The only time we hear about this supposed reluctance on Ennis’s part to embrace Jack face-to-face is when the narrator pipes up with her timely little nugget of information. #

We never hear anything about it again. Not once does Jack raise the issue when the brakes are off and a full-scale major argument erupts at the trailhead parking lot. He just complains about how their life could have been better, about Ennis keeping him on a short leash, about meeting only a few times over the years and having to go to Mexico for what “he needs” and “never hardly gets.”

But it’s odd that, if Ennis’s refusal to “embrace him face to face because he did not want to see nor feel that it was Jack he held” was such an important issue “in their separate and difficult lives,” why Jack didn’t mention it. After all, it was the perfect time to do so.

As I said earlier, we have only the narrator telling us that that was what he thought.  8)


# Which rather conveniently ignores the fact of their full-on, face-to-face embrace outside the Riverton apartment, and casts doubt on the veracity of the narrator’s interjection.
It might have sounded like a bit of a hissy fit for Jack to be yelling, "And you wouldn't even embrace me face to face all summer, you bastard!" But you need to trust AP when she says that nothing marred the memory of the embrace, even that standout fact about Ennis. It's only when Ennis has revealed that he has never accepted the full situation (i.e. two gay men in a loving relationship) that Jack goes back to that memory and understands that nothing much has really changed. Sure, they moved forward a bit but not much further.

We actually hear about this supposed reluctance of Ennis in the lines "both knew how it would go. As it did go." We simply make the wrong assumptions at first. Moebius Strip.

Anyway, I really want to know why you separate out fictional Jack from the narrator's version of him. The narrator is Annie Proulx. She may be playing tricks with her readers but that's no reason to doubt her when she makes a flatout straightforward statement. (I'm not sure what you mean to indicate by using the sunglassed emoticon.)

Also, somewhere in your posts you said that the reunion kiss negated the DE memory. I hope what I said above about Jack's realisation covers that issue. No face-to-face on the mountain followed by the reunion kiss, but the kiss didn't deliver on its promise because Ennis only changed his body not his mind.

Desecra

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3398 on: January 19, 2016, 01:35:25 AM »
Can I just jump in and mention the much-disputed "then"?  " ... even the knowledge that Ennis would not then embrace him face to face ...".   Jack/AP do not claim that Ennis never embraced face to face, only that he wasn't doing it back then. 

Offline Sara B

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3399 on: January 19, 2016, 02:15:28 AM »
That's certainly the conclusion that I finally (and reluctantly ;)) arrived at, Des.

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3400 on: January 20, 2016, 09:04:50 PM »
Shifted over from Reunion thread.

I don’t agree with you that Jack pauses, and I don’t believe he’s as devious as you make him out to be.
But is he not lying when he denies doing it with other men? Isn't that being devious (your choice of word, not mine)? He's certainly not being straightforward with Ennis, and this is a pattern which he sets up early and maintains throughout his life.

When ... Ennis said, "I'm not no queer," and Jack jumped in with "Me neither. A one-shot thing. Nobody's business but ours," he is (possibly) lying. The question of Jack's sexual experience has been hotly debated over time but AP hints at it with 1963 being Jack's second year on the mountain and in the symbolism of him having shot an eagle that first year (Ennis being associated with an eagle at various points in the story). When Ennis comments that he's not queer it may be that Jack genuinely means his reply, i.e. either he has had no previous m2m experience or he doesn't regard himself as queer, but if he has had previous experience then it really isn't a one-shot thing for him. (I have no strong views about when and how Jack identifies his own sexuality.)

This first occasion on the mountain may be debatable but the motel occasion really isn't. We are told that Jack had been riding more than bulls, not rolling his own at the point when Ennis brings up the subject again. He is lying when he denies "doin it with other men." ("Jack?"  :D)

We can assume that he continues lying (or at least is prepared to lie if the subject arises) throughout the years because in 1983 he's spinning a yarn about his affair with the ranch neighbour's wife. IOW he's still maintaining a front of straightness. I know a few people have argued that both he and Ennis are sort of winking at each other when they describe their heterosexual activities in this conversation but I don't think that's the case; it doesn't fit in with the pattern of the whole story, and it would imply a self-awareness which Ennis doesn't seem to have - not conscious awareness at any rate. AP tells us there's some lying going on - and not just on this occasion - when she describes ...the sparks flying up with their truths and lies, a few hot points of fire landing on their hands and faces, not for the first time.

We are told obliquely that Jack is up to something on his business trips and we also learn from the horse's mouth that he's been down to Mexico, so we can assume the ranch neighbour's wife story is a lie.

That's twenty years of "deviousness", one way or another. (I prefer to think of it as self-protection combined with his deep desire to be with Ennis.) Jack lies because Ennis virtually demands that he does. When he does finally come out and state the truth - "Hell yes, I been. Where's the fuckin problem?" Ennis indirectly threatens violence (or worse) then eventually falls in a heap.

Offline royandronnie

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3401 on: January 21, 2016, 06:33:44 PM »
I have often wondered if Jack ever really does "identify himself" sexually. I fully believe he is lying, and aware of it, with "me neither;" that is, that he knows at least that he wants to have sexual contact with other men, that he thinks about other men in a sexual way. But I wonder if he ever labels that/accepts that he is gay. I've kind of developed this idea that he never calls it anything. He just accepts that he wants men and goes about trying to make that happen. He does know that actively wanting men as a concept, as opposed to this strange wanting of each other that Ennis admits to, is verboten with Ennis, so he denies interest in men beyond Ennis. It is, certainly, a kind of denial, much like Ennis', but with less repressive results--except, of course, at the end, if you believe as I do (I know you don't) that it was murder.

I wonder more than I did about the "second" summer, but I still don't think Jack got any. They each found a companion where they expected none, remember--if he was having a good time the previous summer, then why was Ennis' friendship a surprise to him? Perhaps during that summer he realized he would welcome sex of some kind, and was ready when the opportunity came with Ennis.
"…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.

He either fears his fate too much
Or his deserts are small
Who dares not put it to the touch
To win or lose it all

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3402 on: January 21, 2016, 10:16:13 PM »
I pretty much agree about Jack's self-awareness. As for how he labelled himself, I suppose it doesn't matter all that much to the story so it's not something I dwell on.

Thanks for the reminder about them being respectful of each other's opinions, each glad to have a companion where none had been expected. I can convince myself either way about Jack's first summer  :D Of course, that comment applies to before FNIT so it's the actual friendship which is being referred to rather than the sexual connection. I guess that Aguirre changed the rules about sleeping with the sheep in 1963 after the previous summer's debacle, yet the way Jack emphasises that they should both be sleeping in the main camp kinda sounds like that was the previous year's arrangement. Hard to say.

Offline royandronnie

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3403 on: January 22, 2016, 05:09:36 PM »
Well, you're right, I think--something might have happened in Summer '62. For me, the idea of anything actually happening, as opposed to what Jack fantasized about, dilutes the power of what happened with Ennis. And it's hard for me to imagine another guy doing anything with Jack without them being friends first, at least superficially. I mean, you could have prison-TYPE sex, where there wasn't a real, long-term friendship, but if it was just two guys who barely related to each other, you couldn't have coerced sex when one was free to say no/run away, and I think if the guy were actually hetero and just putting up with it, there might have been some abuse as he would probably despise Jack for being queer. So Jack wouldn't have looked forward to another summer. I suppose in the absence of evidence, Jack had previous to '63 had SOME kind of experience, but maybe just some puberty-driven fooling around in the barn of the sort I remember being described in the long defunct "Ennis and Jack's Sex Life." If both slept in the main camp before, maybe they jerked off beside each other in the tent and Jack didn't dare do anything. Or something, anyway, but I still believe that ongoing contact waited for Ennis. I think at one time we mostly agreed Ennis was his first full-on sex. Perhaps when they were drunk there had been some mutual hand stuff? But not regularly, I believe--then there's no tension for Jack: he just figures it will happen when a guy's drunk enough.
"…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.

He either fears his fate too much
Or his deserts are small
Who dares not put it to the touch
To win or lose it all

Offline royandronnie

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Re: Ennis' and Jack's Relationship, II
« Reply #3404 on: January 22, 2016, 05:15:14 PM »
Oh, and by the way, this is why I hate "critical" writing in all forms. Eventually, it sounds like this:

"If, as Slavoj Zizek [there were accents above both Zs] contends, the 'ideological manipulation of obscene jouissance has entered a new stage' by way of 'soliciting, or controlling and regulating jouissance,' can we not, then, read Proulx's protagonists as wholly controlled, policed even, by such politics (309)?"

"JOUISSANCE?" I took French for four years and read "L'Etranger" in French and I never encountered that word.

All critical writing, eventually, sounds as precious and self-congratulatory as this.
"…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.

He either fears his fate too much
Or his deserts are small
Who dares not put it to the touch
To win or lose it all