The Movie & Story > Characters, Quotes & Scenes

Did the punch stop Jack from saying something?

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Youbet!:
Ennis was clearly very upset when they were called down early. In his mind, the rules of their situation were fixed and their “one-shot thing” was over. Jack however seems much more relaxed, and not because he doesn’t care, but because he is optimistic, a dreamer, and to him it didn’t have to end. In true Jack fashion he playfully approaches Ennis and tries to lighten the mood, but Ennis’ volatility results in the bloody nose and punch in the face.
His affection being met with such hostility and aggression might have caused Jack to back off if he had been planning on saying something. Would I have expected him to profess his love, or suggest they run off together? No, Jack is not stupid, and knows he would have to proceed with caution around that subject. But could he have suggested something more vague that Ennis would have agreed to? Or at least allowed them to remain in contact? I feel that the punch blindsided Jack and shut the door on his confidence in talking to Ennis. He probably figured Ennis wouldn’t want to see him again so he stole the shirt as a memento instead.

LuvJackNasty:
I think Jack tried to feel out Ennis once they were off the mountain and by Aguirre's trailer. He was asking if Ennis was going to do this next summer and mentioned that he might be back, if the army didn't get him. Aguirre cut their summer short and neither, especially Ennis, had time to process the end of their time together nor contemplate what would happen once they made the final descent.

I agree that Jack took the shirts as a keepsake of their time. Perhaps there was a part of him that knew/feared their departure from Brokeback would be the end of that "thing" they had going on.

I think that while Ennis resigned himself to this being a one-shot deal he was still hurt and perhaps a little betrayed by them being forced to come down early and he went into self preservation mode and there wasn't much Jack was going to say or do that would persuade him to continue on outside the confines of the mountain.

FlwrChild:
Interesting question. Perhaps Jack might have said something else about staying in touch if their descent from the mountain hadn't turned dark that way. But I also think that

(1) Jack took the shirt before he knew how Ennis would behave because he wanted a part of Ennis with him even if they did see each other again (I've done this so I knew where it was as soon as Ennis mentioned it was missing, but had long forgotten about it by the end of the movie so I was still stunned by that scene in the closet).

And

(2) I agree with LJN that whatever Jack said, Ennis wasn't ready or able at that time to contemplate anything between them outside of their mountain retreat. It's too bad that it took him so long to figure out that the sick feeling in his stomach was his heart telling him he shouldn't have walked away from Jack.  :-\\

Youbet!:

--- Quote from: FlwrChild on Jan 17, 2022, 11:31 PM ---Interesting question. Perhaps Jack might have said something else about staying in touch if their descent from the mountain hadn't turned dark that way. But I also think that

(1) Jack took the shirt before he knew how Ennis would behave because he wanted a part of Ennis with him even if they did see each other again (I've done this so I knew where it was as soon as Ennis mentioned it was missing, but had long forgotten about it by the end of the movie so I was still stunned by that scene in the closet).

And
Yes, I almost feel haunted by this story because there isn’t really a realistic way you can rework it to give them a happy ending. Even if Jack DID say something would the outcome had been different? Ennis did say in the short story that when he finally recognized his feelings (that he should have never let Jack out of his sights) that he possibly would have been willing, if only he had the awareness sooner?
--- End quote ---

FlwrChild:
I think that's the main tragedy of this story. Ennis needed the shock and loss of Jack's death to propel him to Lightning Flat to find the shirts in order to realize that what Jack felt for him and held onto all those years was love. In turn, Ennis was finally able to acknowledge to himself that love is what he felt for Jack, too. Without that catalyst, he probably never would have been willing to open that door in his mind and look inside. So now he finally understood what they had but too late for them to be together. Or even just to acknowledge privately what they meant to each other.   :-\\

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