Author Topic: An Examination of Ennis Del Mar and My Opinion About His Sexuality  (Read 18215 times)

Offline amtamburo

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An Examination of Ennis Del Mar and My Opinion About His Sexuality.

By: Amtamburo  :cr)

Like a great many others, I have become an obsessive fan of Brokeback Mountain. As such, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the movie, and its main characters, Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist.

During the course of all of this thinking, I came to a few conclusions and formed a few thoughts on Ennis and Jack. Of course, these are only my thoughts and opinions, so that means that they are not by any means canon or exact. I am not Anne Proulx, so I don’t know exactly what goes on in the minds of these guys. (I do occasionally wish I was though… then I could say, “I was only joking… Jack didn’t die and he and Ennis are living happily together in Truckee, CA! That would have been a much happier ending… don’t you think? :-P)

Anyway, the following are my assessments in regards to Ennis and his feelings about his relationship with Jack, and what I feel is the answer to the question that many people have asked. Was Ennis gay?

I truly feel that when Ennis Del Mar went to Signal, he was in love with Alma... or at least he believed that he was. I think that he was genuinely fond of her, and with no parental models to speak of in that department, his view of love would have been skewed. Therefore, not really knowing what love felt like, I believe he thought that what he felt for Alma was, in fact, love.

I think that Jack Twist blindsided him. I doubt that he had ever felt any attraction to a man until he met Jack. I also think that even though he was drawn to and interested in Jack... probably from the first time he saw him... I don’t think that the feelings he was having were of a particularly romantic or sexual nature. Perhaps because at that point he had no real experience with either, so he would never have made the connection.

I feel that the thought of Jack in a sexual way may never have crossed his mind until Jack made the first move on the FNIT. Yes, he did a lot of little nice things for Jack... ordering soup when he himself didn't eat it because Jack was sick of beans, switching jobs with him when it was so obvious that Jack was unhappy... etc. but I don't think that he thought much of these niceties other then the fact that he felt the urge to make Jack happy. Even then... though it could be perceived that way… I don't think that in Ennis' mind, or actually in truth, that urge was a romantic one.

My thought is that the lack of realization that he was attracted to Jack, explains his initial reaction to Jacks advance. When he woke up and realized what was happening, his immediate reaction was to jump away and fight to keep Jack away. However, Ennis was quite drunk, and I believe that Jack's advances and begging (OK.. all he said was "come on" a couple of times, but his body language spoke volumes) broke through Ennis' subconscious denial of his attraction and that attraction coupled with a good dose of hormones drove him to give in to Jacks begging. (Dang... just call me Freud...  (^) )

I think that is why Ennis was so upset/angry the next morning. I think there were two things on his mind that were causing him to have mixed feelings. 1)"Oh f*** I had sex with a MAN!" and 2) "Oh double f*** I liked it... and want to do it again!” If you look at it that way, it makes perfect sense and explains the fact that he gave Jack a dirty look and rode away without speaking. After all, he was the direct cause and object of his conflicting thoughts.

Obviously, over the course of the day, Ennis did a great deal of thinking about what had happened, how he felt about it, and what it meant in relation to the “friendly” feelings he was having. At some point, he apparently decided that he might want to continue in a sexual relationship with Jack. I think it is safe to assume that Ennis had already decided what he was going to say to Jack before he came across him lying there in the field. Notice the way he says, “This is a one shot thing we got going on here.” This sentence makes it pretty clear that he wants it to continue. “Going on” implies something that is still moving… not something that has stopped and the “we” implies that he considers them both to be equal parties in what is happening. I believe that in Ennis Del Mar’s world, this statement could only have been made after putting a great deal of thought into it. Ennis almost never did anything on impulse… he thought and rethought everything!

As far as the SNIT, I think this was the turning point for Ennis. While he was sitting out by the fire, it is obvious that he is unsure. He wants to go in there, he sees Jack undressing, but there is still a part of him that doesn’t want to admit what he wants. It was easy the FNIT because Jack made most of the moves, Ennis didn’t have to initiate anything thereby avoiding having to admit that he himself wanted it. Up until he walked up to that tent and knowing went to Jack, he could still tell himself and anyone else, that what happened was Jack’s doing.

However, by walking over and entering the tent where it is quite obvious that Jack is there, shirtless and waiting for him, Ennis is admitting to Jack, and ultimately to himself, that he wants Jack. Not an easy decision for a 19-year-old 1960’s farm boy, particularly one who, by his own admission, is a virgin and has had homophobia drummed into him all his life!

From the night of the SNIT, we see a bit of a change in Ennis. He becomes much less stiff (pardon the pun) around Jack and seems to relax and begin enjoying their relationship. We can see this from the scene just after the SNIT. Ennis knocks Jack’s hat off, and then runs away. It is obvious that they are enjoying themselves, wrestling around and quite freely touching each other. Then, Ennis finally wrestles Jack to the ground and begins kissing him. This scene makes it obvious that Ennis is no longer hesitant about showing his desire for Jack… at least to Jack.

Then of course comes the horrible day when Aguirre tells them to bring the sheep down early. My belief is that Ennis fully meant what he said to Jack about the “one shot thing”… at least when he said it. The problem is, after that day things got a lot more intimate and Ennis started having some real feelings for Jack. I almost think in a way that he forgot that the summer was not going to last forever, so when it ended a month early it came as a double blow.

I think that a very real part of Ennis wanted to find a way to stay with Jack after they came down from the mountain, however, the part of him that still clung to the homophobia that he had always known, would not allow him to do it. I think that his leaving Jack and marrying Alma was not so much an act of carrying out his duty to Alma as it was a last ditch effort for Ennis to prove to himself that he could not possibly be in love with another man. An effort that proved to be futile, as it is made very obvious by the reunion and the 16 year relationship that the two shared beyond that. His need to keep Jack in his life in some capacity was the biggest testimony, in my opinion, that he did indeed love Jack very much.

So, the question is, was Ennis gay? My thought is, no! Ennis Del Mar never felt any need or desire to be with any other man but Jack. He never looked at other men, but he was obviously attracted to woman and had no compulsion against looking at them, otherwise he would not have been able to carry on a relationship with Cassie.

My opinion is that Ennis was a straight man, who fell in love with the one person that understood him and accepted him for who and what he was. The one person in Ennis’ entire life that never demanded things of him, expected him to be nothing but who he was, and loved him unconditionally whether they agreed with him or not, and it just so happened that that person came in the form of another man!

I think that Ennis’ love for Jack was a blip… a twist of fate, and I honestly think that, had he never met Jack, he would more then likely never had had a relationship with anyone other then women.


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Amtamburo, the sexual innuendo queen, strikes again!! ;p

Offical member of DAAWW 'DSD's Against Asswipe Wankeropoulous' Worldwide

Meanwhile, the search for the Green Skittle continues!

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Offline welshwitch

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The above analysis seems to me to be entirely logical and consistent - I would add that Ennis was engaged before he met Jack, and apparently Alma is a church-goer, from what she says later, so it's unlikely they'd have had sex before marrying. thus Ennis is both committed and inexperienced - I should think he's more likely to know he is or should be feeling something for Al;ma than to know what he does feel. In any cast that engagement would be hedged about with prohibitions and limitations. Once he realises what Jack is offereing, he's already involved in it, and it comes, on Jack's side, with no limitations, conditions, inhibitions or with any apparent sense of embarrassment.(Jack's agreement that he isn't queer either is clearly meant to reassure Ennis and isn't true.) I can't help thinking that it must be an enormous relief to Ennis to be offered something so unconditional.

Had he never met Jack, which is hypothetical of course, I think he'd have married Alma and become a partner in an unremarkable marriage of the sort he must have seen from the outside at least - his sister and brother had both married.; he'd expect to do the same. Somehow none of these come over as a lot more than marriages of convenience, in tun e with society's expectations. what he finds with Jack is intimacy, intnese physical pleasure and passion, none of which he's experienced before or might ever do again.

All you can say is that passion isn't predictable; when someone inspires it, it doesn't make any differnece who or what they are.

Offline dalemidex

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Thanks, amtamburo!

What you did is something I've often thought of -- piecing together my own mental narrative of what made Ennis tick.  Mine follows a somewhat different path than yours, drawing on some different details than you did.  However I do find your take interesting and definitely appreciate that you've shared it!  After all, none of us are the final experts on a topic like this, and that makes it so much more interesting than discussing sometihng which is a black-and-white fact like the model of Kurt's car.

greenfrog

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I posted this somewhere else and I'll post it here again.

What I don't know - Whether or not Ennis was gay.

What I do know - Ennis was in love with Jack . . . and always will be.  :\'(

Offline Patriot1

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An Examination of Ennis Del Mar and My Opinion About His Sexuality.

...


An excellent synopses about Ennis' feelings and I agree with you about Ennis being a straight man. I have argued that point in several old threads saying that because we live in a dictionary definition world Ennis was a homosexual because he had sex with another man, but Ennis was not interested in sex with any other man and therefore he was "straight." I also agree that Jack was in love with Ennis and Ennis loved Jack until he found the shirts when he realized he was in love with Jack.

Again, an excellent analysis.  Thank you very much.

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Love is a force of nature.

Offline dr bill

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Very well written and as said before my fellow Brokies...an excellent analysis!  Thank you for sharing it with us.
Billy the Kid

greenfrog

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Great analysis Amtamburo.  :f)

Thank you for sharing it with us.

Offline tpe

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Great analysis Amtamburo.  :f)

Thank you for sharing it with us.


I join the others in saying thank you.   

Our conclusions may be different, but it is the thought process on how we get there that counts and what ultimately matters.


Offline stephan

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(...) I also agree that Jack was in love with Ennis and Ennis loved Jack until he found the shirts when he realized he was in love with Jack.

Again, an excellent analysis.  Thank you very much.

I also agree with everyone else, especially above. Thank you very much, amtamburo  :)

Offline danf2016

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Thanks, Amtamburo, for your thoughts.

Having recently watched the film, I quite agree with you that Ennis's love for Jack and their belonging and love together was a fluke of nature.  Had Ennis never met Jack, most likely he would not have had an affair with another man.  But we don't know that for sure.  Had someone like Jack, for instance, come along in Ennis's life, or if some other man like Jack came along later to Ennis after Jack's death, who's to say that Ennis may not have had another such romance?  As far as whether Ennis is a straight man or not,  I find your arguments interesting but not persuasive. 

Granted, the characters Ennis & Jack themselves say in the movie that they are not "queer."  But judging by this very thread, that's not the end of the matter, because there seems to be a question in the minds of many about this couple's sexuality and what to call it.  The story's author Anne Proulx was quoted in an article about her work being filmed that Ennis is "[an] ill-informed, confused, not-sure-of-what-he-was-feeling youth growing up in homophobic rural Wyoming." 

Also, Miss Proulx has been quoted in an interview saying that Ennis is a "confused Wyoming ranch[kid]." Ennis finds himself in something he did not foresee nor can he fathom it.  I'd also say that Ennis fears what he feels for Jack because he remembers a time long ago when he was with his father and he saw firsthand what others had done to two men whom they believed were lovers.   

In an interview, Miss Proulx also said this: "How different readers take the story is a reflection of their own personal values, attitudes, hang-ups... It is my feeling that a story is not finished until it is read, and that the reader finishes it through his or her life experience, prejudices, world view and thoughts."

Given all that, I have to wonder whether we are defined more by what we say and believe, or by what we DO.  Regardless of whether Ennis is straight or not, or whether he says he's not queer, I don't know whether he was or not.  I wouldn't even use the term bisexual.  I must agree with someone else in this thread who wrote that "I do know that Ennis was in love with Jack."  And that's really all that matters.  Labels begone: there's no need to pigeonhole or label a man as one thing or another, above all when it is a matter of the heart.  It just IS.  The spectrum of love and sexuality seems to be broad enough that it can include the affairs of those who don't neatly fit into any one category.
     

     

Offline welshwitch

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Thank you for joining in, and adding your own take on this. We all try to understand both through our own experiences and through what others suggest;it's an enriching, cumulative process, each strand interweaving with others, and one which leads to constant reconsideration of what one thinks one thinks.

Welcome,danf!