Author Topic: The rules of Ennis and Jack's togetherness - fideility  (Read 2385 times)

Offline thunderwolf

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Hey guys, this aspect of the story and movie really intrigues me more than anything. I hope some people will join me in a discussion, even though I'm at the BBM party way too late.

These guys didn't speak much. Least about their relationship, or 'situation' which was always approached like a problem that had to be fixed. However, through watching the film, and reading the short story, here are the clues:

Ennis sets the rules up front, at least subconsciously. 'I ain't queer'. I personally don't believe that Ennis means he's literally not queer, I think it just must means, he doesn't want to be. Whether consciously, or subconsciously, his 'gayness' is just about Jack.

When they reunite, at least in the short story, Ennis admits he's strummed one out 100s of times, thinking about Jack. In my mind, although he admits 'he likes doing it with girls' he makes it clear it doesn't compare to what he has with Jack. He also asks Jack in the short story if he's thought of doing it with another man. Jack denies it, although the story makes it clear that Jack hasn't just thought about it - trying to pick up the Rodeo Clown - he's 'ridden more than bulls'.

Ennis stays true to his 'commitment' - he is never revealed to lust after, or have sex with another guy. Jack, up until the post-divorce scene doesn't either.

When they talk about Cassie, and then the Foreman's Wife (almost surely Randall) you get the feeling that there's still so much unchartered territory in their relationship. But neither, really reacts, to their revelations.

It's only at the quit scene do we really get a sense of the power of the possessiveness that Ennis has for Jack. I know violence and aggression are not attractive traits, but actually, I can see Ennis perspective. He's had very little in his life from being very young. His wife divorced him and his daughters he only gets to see infrequently. He has very little in his life to hold dear, and call his. He's not a rich man, and is trapped in his own world of self-denial, and a facade of stocism. Jack is meant to be the one thing that is his, and his alone. The one thing he can depend on. I can't, but think badly of Jack for his 'cheating' on Ennis.

Anyone else agree, or totally disagree?





Offline lancecowboy

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Re: The rules of Ennis and Jack's togetherness - fideility
« Reply #1 on: Jun 26, 2014, 06:04 PM »
Wow! Bravo, thunderwolf. Interesting insight on Ennis and his possessiveness.

Thanks for sharing, and stirring up the pot after all these years.  :t) :c)
Heath, you are loved, like this, always.

Offline bluemountainsky

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Re: The rules of Ennis and Jack's togetherness - fideility
« Reply #2 on: Aug 18, 2014, 01:49 AM »
I think Jack reached a point where he was so sad and frustrated about the situation with Ennis that he needed distractions from it. Hence, he started going to Mexico for prostitutes and later struck up the relationship with Randall. Jack tried for years to get Ennis to listen to him so they could live together, but to no avail. This left Jack a broken man after all those years, and he used other men to cope with his situation in a similar way that some people might use alcohol or drugs. I always think about what if Jack hadn't died and I think he would still year after year cling on to the hope that Ennis would just listen, after all, they did make plans to meet again later in the year, but unfortunately Jack died a few months before what was going to be their next trip together. But it is important to remember that Jack was getting older, and his one dream had still not come true, all the while the terrible irony is that he had it. He had true love, he had his soul mate, yet they only saw each other ten days out of a year when they could have had a life together as a couple, living in the same house and being free to be together all the time any hour of the day or day of the year. Imagine that happens with the love your life...it's a very sad situation to cope with, and Jack was at his wit's end on what more could he do. Each year they were getting older, and each year, nothing changed because Ennis didn't have the courage to change it.
"I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime;
In a big country, dreams stay with you
Like a lover's voice fires the mountainside."

Offline lancecowboy

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Re: The rules of Ennis and Jack's togetherness - fideility
« Reply #3 on: Aug 19, 2014, 03:10 PM »
Sorry but I think it is clear that Ennis loved only Jack when it comes to men, and Jack rode more than bull, before and after he met Ennis, before and after the reunion. Jack's libido and wanderlust didn't detract from his love for Ennis, in part, because he loved Ennis for his faithfulness. That was the irony and tragedy of it all.

If Jack had been more like Ennis, loving only Ennis and no other, they'd continue meeting in the middle of no where for years and decades to come. But Jack needed more than a few high altitude funks a few times a year. And he was willing to get it from someone other than Ennis. On the other hand, Ennis never thought of anyone else. Eventually, when the girls are grown, I have no doubt Ennis would move to Texas to be closer to Jack, even if Lureen won't divorce him. By the 1990's, when they are old and grey, I can see the two moving in, taking care of the Twist Ranch, two odd ducks living the dream.

No, Jack was the risk taker dreamer...riding bulls, riding more than bulls, going to Mexico, chatting up clowns, Randall, and who knows what other ranchers or ranch hands. That was the tragedy, too. The true love defeated by lust.
Heath, you are loved, like this, always.

Offline bluemountainsky

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Re: The rules of Ennis and Jack's togetherness - fideility
« Reply #4 on: Sep 14, 2014, 02:25 PM »
One of the many things Jack loved about Ennis was indeed his faithfulness and devotion. That is really another reason why this story is so sad. If Ennis had accepted Jack's proposal at the reunion, or better yet, had he decided to go with him after they finished working for Aguirre and came down from the mountain in 1963, then Jack and Ennis would have been one of those old couples, living together for 50-60+ years, only parting when one of them dies of natural causes, and like a lot of couples who grow old together, it would have probably not been long when one died, the other would follow a few months later, like Johnny Cash and June Carter.

The irony is that it was Ennis who denied them that life together out of his fear, it was Ennis who hurt Jack's feelings to the point where Jack began being unfaithful to his soulmate. I can imagine what Jack was thinking, hurting deeply to be cheating on a person he truly, deeply loved, but feeling so hurt by that person that he needed that distraction. When Ennis finds out about the infidelity, he's irate. For years, they knew relationships with women meant nothing, they were just a cover for their homosexuality.

But when Ennis knows that Jack has been with other men, there's a how dare you moment, exactly like how heterosexual couples experience if infidelity occurs. A wife finding out a husband she truly loves is having sex with other women, or vice versa. There is a sense of betrayal, of anger, of shock. "How dare you, I thought what we had was special, that it was something deep and true, that we're soulmates, so how can you think of being with someone else that way?" It's a moment that shows how much Ennis was in love and had been all those years, how much Jack meant to him. From the moment that moment Ennis went into that tent the second night way back in '63, he was married in his heart to Jack, and it was a bond for life.

There was an awful moment for Ennis being troubled by doubt like any person who gets cheated on experiences...what if Jack never saw it the same way? What if Jack has never truly felt for me what I feel for him and felt all those years? What if this is just sex to Jack, what if the relationship is not as meaningful as I thought? All the things Ennis felt at that moment but couldn't say out loud, so instead he gets angry, pushes Jack, threatens him, then subsequently collapses in Jack's arms, crying, as always happened when he was with Jack, he could never keep his sensitivity, vulnerability, and fragility hidden. So he collapses crying into his arms, needing comfort and reassurance. Jack reassures him at that moment once again how much he means to him, that he's the one and only one, without a single word. Hence, Ennis a few months later, goes to the post office and mails off the postcard looking forward to their next time together...if only Jack had lived, I think a breakthrough might have occurred at the November meeting.
"I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime;
In a big country, dreams stay with you
Like a lover's voice fires the mountainside."

Offline Reny46

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Re: The rules of Ennis and Jack's togetherness - fideility
« Reply #5 on: Apr 27, 2019, 11:48 AM »
I somewhat agree with you. From the start, you could tell Jack was more "experienced" than was Ennis. Now the fidelity part, I liked Jack, but he was a complete slut. When he said," something I hardly ever get," hardly means you get it you are not getting enough of what you want. I never, then that's a different story. But to add insult to injury, after he would get his sex on, he'd go to Ennis is if nothing is different. I just felt that was so low down. You tell him one thing, but you are doing the dirty deed with any and everyone. He knew Ennis was a novice to all of this. and poor Ennis is sitting there being good thinking Jack is also. When I first saw the movie and he was outraged about Mexico, I thought he was just being an a**hole, then I saw it again and it came to me that he was hurt. Basically, the truth of Jack's character was shown to him. And in the early '80s, OMG! He was playing with people's lives.

I forgot to add that when Jack made the statement "sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it," I noticed how Ennis looked at him, like yeah right!