Author Topic: The significance of wind in the short story  (Read 2282 times)

Offline Bubz

  • Cassie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Country: us
The significance of wind in the short story
« on: Mar 27, 2018, 05:12 AM »
Hi everyone,

I have been really intrigued by Annie Proulx’s descriptions and use of weather, and especially wind, in the short story. Wind seems to always appear at times when change or important scenes are about to take place. I am wondering if there are any patterns that anyone noticed related to wind or interpretations that you had.

Here is a list I made of all ten appearances of “wind” in the short story:

1.   It is mentioned three times in the introductory paragraphs in which we meet Ennis and hear about his dreams. Wind “rocks the trailer,” “booms down the curved length of the trailer,” and strikes the trailer like a load of dirt coming off a dump truck, eases, dies, leaves a temporary silence.”

2.   “Ennis and Jack, the dogs, horses and mules, a thousand ewes and their lambs” ascend into the mountain’s flowery meadows and the “coursing, endless wind” as the summer on Brokeback in 1963 begins.

3.   Ennis is “riding against the wind” (which seems to be tremendously meaningful; for once in his life he is going against the status quo?) as he goes back to the sheep, having such a good time that he feels “he could paw the white out of the moon.”

4.   Before Jack and Ennis have their first sexual encounter, Ennis realizes he’s too drunk and it’s too late to “go out to them damn sheep,” and as he decides to stay the night with Jack in the camp “a flinty wind worked over the meadow, scraped the fire low, then ruffled it into yellow silk sashes.”

5.   Although there is no direct mention of wind, a “blowy hailstorm” does cause Jack and Ennis’ sheep to mix with those of the Chilean shepherd, leading Ennis to feel that “in a disquieting way everything seems mixed.”

6.   As Jack and Ennis descend from brokeback, the wind “combed the grass” and draws a “bestial drone” from the surrounding trees and rocks.

7.   When Jack and Ennis have their final conversation before they part after the summer on Brokeback, the wind appears twice. First it is “gusting hard and cold” after Jack asks Ennis if he will return next summer, and then it “tumbles  an empty feed bag down the street” after Ennis says he’ll see Jack around.

Notably, when Jack and Ennis are apart until 1967, there is no mention of wind.

8.   When Jack and Ennis are reuniting in the motel room, hail and rain rattle against the window, “followed by…a slippery wind banging the unsecured door of the next room then and through the night.”

9.   During their final trip into the mountains in 1983, Ennis notices the weather and anticipates a storm but the sky is so blue that Jack believes “he might drown looking up” (a beautiful metaphor of the differences between the two men, perhaps). Then, on the third morning, Ennis sees the gray clouds that he expected (another metaphor) as “a bar of darkness driving wind before it.”

10.   The final mention of wind is when Ennis feels the weight of the realization of Jack’s death during his phone call with Lureen. As “the huge sadness of the Northern plains rolls down on him,” he hears the imagined sounds of Jack’s murder “under the wind drone.”

Then, again,  no more wind is mentioned as they are apart once more.

What do you make of this? How do you interpret wind as a character and a symbol in this story? What about weather as a whole?
« Last Edit: Apr 03, 2018, 10:56 PM by Bubz »


  • Guest
Re: The significance of wind in the short story
« Reply #1 on: Apr 19, 2018, 04:48 AM »
It's a very good short story, I like it a lot, I hope to read another good story.

Offline FlwrChild

  • Jack + Ennis
  • *
  • Posts: 18470
  • Gender: Female
Re: The significance of wind in the short story
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2018, 10:45 PM »
Hi Bubz.   ^f^

I don't know if I've ever thought about the role that wind played in the narrative of the story before but you make me curious to see how it might strike me if I read it again now with that notion in mind. I'll try to find time this week. Thank you for sharing those passages. 
For a moment in our lives. Forever in our hearts.

"They were respectful of each other’s opinions, each glad to have a companion where none had been expected." ~ BBM Short Story

There are three ways to ultimate success:
The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. (Mister Rogers)