Author Topic: There was some open space....  (Read 36737 times)

vedrana

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #60 on: Feb 17, 2009, 02:13 AM »
Love came after their deep friendship, so I often say "friend(s) and lover(s)" - cos it describes so well my 2 strong loving cowboys! <^(

Offline brokebacksoul

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #61 on: Jun 11, 2009, 04:58 PM »
Diehard romantics are very certain that Jack loved Ennis to the end, but I don't think Ennis was so certain. When Jack told Ennis "I wish I knew how to quit you", Ennis had to suspect that Jack had already been thinking of leaving him. His suspicion was later confirmed when he learned that shortly after Jack had said "I wish I knew how to quit you", he told his folks that he was divorcing Lureen and moving back to the ranch with another man to build a place and help run the ranch. This is knowledge Ennis could not completely dismiss, even if he tried to believe Jack still loved him.

The shirts are evidence that Jack had loved Ennis from the beginning; not evidence that he would love him eternally.  Jack did not trot out the shirts every time he made one of his annual weeklong visit his folks.  Jack had more or less forgotten about the shirts. Otherwise, he would have kept them at his home in Childress.


It takes a long time to read everything in the forum;-)) so it has lasted a while before I came to read this. What Brach wrote reminds me of my thoughts I always had on the last sentence .........between "what he knew" (= that Jake had planned to move to Lightning Flat with another man) "and what he  t r i e d  to believe" (= that in spite of this fact (!) Jake had still loved him - Ennis - as much as before). To me, the "open space" of course refers to the accident-/or murder-fact - but MAINLY to the fact that from a certain point Ennis cannot be sure of Jake's feelings/love for him. Maybe Jake even wouldn't have come to the next meeting that Ennis was hoping for and that he had announced on the postcard?  Ennis will NEVER know the truth about that , and for me that's the sadest point of the whole story. Even worse than Jake's death itself.... when a beloved person dies you can keep her in loving memory, never forget about her ... surely Ennis will do so - but the fact of not knowing about Jakes feelings for Ennis during the last months(?) before his death is even worse.  So sad....!!!  I'm not sure again if I could make my thoughts clear, I just tried;-( and had to state this.
But: Concerning the hidden shirts - it seems logical for me that Jake kept them at Lightning Flat. If he had them at home maybe Lureen could have found them and could have asked inconvenient questions?? On the other hand - maybe Brach is right and the fact that the shirts were kept in Jakes room at Lightning Flat state that Jakes' feelings weren't the same as before, the shirts weren't as valuable as before to him...  :\'(
You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness. (Gotye)

vedrana

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #62 on: Jun 11, 2009, 05:17 PM »
It takes a long time to read everything in the forum;-)) so it has lasted a while before I came to read this. What Brach wrote reminds me of my thoughts I always had on the last sentence .........between "what he knew" (= that Jake had planned to move to Lightning Flat with another man) "and what he  t r i e d  to believe" (= that in spite of this fact (!) Jake had still loved him - Ennis - as much as before). To me, the "open space" of course refers to the accident-/or murder-fact - but MAINLY to the fact that from a certain point Ennis cannot be sure of Jake's feelings/love for him. Maybe Jake even wouldn't have come to the next meeting that Ennis was hoping for and that he had announced on the postcard?  Ennis will NEVER know the truth about that , and for me that's the sadest point of the whole story. Even worse than Jake's death itself.... when a beloved person dies you can keep her in loving memory, never forget about her ... surely Ennis will do so - but the fact of not knowing about Jakes feelings for Ennis during the last months(?) before his death is even worse.  So sad....!!!  I'm not sure again if I could make my thoughts clear, I just tried;-( and had to state this.
But: Concerning the hidden shirts - it seems logical for me that Jake kept them at Lightning Flat. If he had them at home maybe Lureen could have found them and could have asked inconvenient questions?? On the other hand - maybe Brach is right and the fact that the shirts were kept in Jakes room at Lightning Flat state that Jakes' feelings weren't the same as before, the shirts weren't as valuable as before to him...  :\'(

Hi brokebacksoul!

It is Jack, not Jake! Jake is alive! ;) ;D

Well, for me the open space could be Ennis's life without Jack - empty and meaningless. And what he knew and tried to believe... I always thought that he knew that Jack was dead, but he tried to believe that he'd meet him in a month or so... I know that it sounds too romantic or even naive, but can't help it.

It is the beauty of the open space in the movie - giving us the space to be open to any possibility. And I have chosen mine!

 :c)

Offline brokebacksoul

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #63 on: Jun 12, 2009, 05:37 PM »
Hi brokebacksoul!

It is Jack, not Jake! Jake is alive! ;) ;D


 :c)

Hi Loreen -

 %&) %&)

Jake and/or Jack .. didn't notice that while posting.
Probably because everything concerning BBM still drives me crazy  ::)
You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness. (Gotye)

Offline tpe

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #64 on: Jun 15, 2009, 09:14 AM »
Hi Loreen -

 %&) %&)

Jake and/or Jack .. didn't notice that while posting.
Probably because everything concerning BBM still drives me crazy  ::)


You're in good company!  ;)


Offline nonamelake

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #65 on: Jun 21, 2009, 07:10 PM »
Hi, new here..... :)


I wanted to comment on the intriguing question regarding this quote from the short story:

'There was some space between what he knew and what he tried to believe...'

I think the shirts told Ennis how Jack felt; and subsequently, perhaps the  rage that Jack displayed at the last meeting becomes explicable to Ennis, in a way it had not before. So the idea of a ranch neighbor, though hurtful, is not so shocking, really. Ennis has come to understand Jack's truest needs and wants in the short time span since his death, with one shock after the other showing him the light.

Also, I think if the 'imagined power of Brokeback mountian' disappears with the finding of the shirts, then Ennis realizes that there was a real thing between them, not just the mountain's magical spell...He has to acknowledge his own feelings, in order to accept Jack's, to an extent.

So...

If he believes in Jack's love; and realizes he felt the same, there is one terrible thing he must be left wondering:

He knew how Jack felt-but did Jack know how he-Ennis-felt.

I think that is the meaning of the 'space'. He tries to believe Jack knew; but he knows he failed at demonstrating it-for if he had, why was Jack so unhappy?
 :(

Offline jackster

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #66 on: Jun 22, 2009, 07:51 AM »
Dear nonamelake:

Welcome to the forum, glad to have you on board. You've got an interesting and insightful interpretation of this simple line, even after a few years it's amazing to me the various ways folks read and appreciate this work. I think you're sure right that Ennis tried to believe (and maybe did believe) that Jack knew. Thanks.
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Offline tpe

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #67 on: Jun 22, 2009, 04:09 PM »
Welocme, nonamelake.  I echo jackster's comments.  I think Jack was unhappy because even though he knew how much Ennis loved him, he also understood in the end that there was probably no way he could ever get Ennis to join him in the sweet life.  But no matter how Jack thought of "moving on" from there, he was secure in the notion that he was loved -- in spite of Ennis's fears and limitations.


Offline myprivatejack

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #68 on: Jun 23, 2009, 11:02 AM »
Welcome,nonamelakeˇ.I can't add anything to what Jackster and Tpe have said so well...Only that IMO both of them knew they were loved,but sometimes they needed a kind of confirmation,specially in Jack's case.And in the end,Ennis needed more than only this confirmation,because he tried to believe Jack had loved until the very end,but maybe he was not so sure as before...However,this phrase means that the "open space" is the many interpretations each one of us can give to their feelings and reactions-the same,more or less,than in the infamous"Jack,I swear..."-.
Ennis’s eyes gone bright with shock, mouth opening then closing again. “Love?” Ennis said finally, voice strangling in his throat.

Jack smiled sad. “Yeah, Ennis. Love.” Leaned forward and kissed Ennis’s temple, whispered, “What’d you think it was, all this time?”
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Offline brokebacksoul

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #69 on: Jun 24, 2009, 02:48 PM »


If he believes in Jack's love; and realizes he felt the same, there is one terrible thing he must be left wondering:

He knew how Jack felt-but did Jack know how he-Ennis-felt.

I think that is the meaning of the 'space'. He tries to believe Jack knew; but he knows he failed at demonstrating it-for if he had, why was Jack so unhappy?
 :(



Yes,   :h) and welcome from me, too, nonamelake!!! Another very interesting view again on our Short (but neverending) Story.
 
Really like to occupy with the different thoughts of all of you
 ^f^

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness. (Gotye)

Offline nonamelake

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #70 on: Jun 30, 2009, 08:48 AM »
Thank you all for the welcome... :)


I would dearly love to think Jack knew he was loved..but his comments about high-altitude f*cks, and what I see as despair that led to his death, was not only about them not living together-I think he lost that dream after the divorce. ('...and Jack had misunderstood the reason for the call...')
 In the bitter end, right before Ennis goes upstairs and finds the shirts at the parents' ranch, he remembers the terrible childhood bathroom story Jack once told him. The upshot from Jack is that he could not get it right with his father.

I have to wonder if the reason we are told about that, is that Ennis knows he did not let Jack get it right with him. We are told he 'recognized' the stud duck. Well, he called the major shots between Jack and him; that 'short leash' comment of Jack's tells us that Jack felt this way, at least.

Of course, I think this all comes as a terrible shock to Ennis, this realization of what his part might have been in Jack's demise. I keep wanting to ask, 'Where were you while he was withering  away in Texas?' Of course, the answer is always the same: Ennis was withering away up in Wyoming-only he didn't know it. He didn't want to know is a phrase the author applies to him at least twice in the short story.

Thanks for listening.


Offline jackster

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #71 on: Jun 30, 2009, 11:48 AM »
Another very thoughtful view of events and storylines NNL. I believe you're right (and clever) to connect the two statements from the SS about Jack “not getting it right” with either old man Twist or Ennis. I'd only add to this that Jack - in his own way, and by his own admission, rarely “got it right” with anything - "But f*** all has worked the way I wanted. Nothin never come to my hand the right way." I feel this is another peek into Jack's soul – that pretty much speaks for itself. Justified or not is another matter.

I honestly have never really understood the “short f**kin’ leash” comment. Maybe, bein’ an Ennis I can't see the forest here, but I always think of being kept on a leash as, like a dog being handed instructions about what to, and what not to do. Maybe Ennis seems to use one of those invisible leashes. Other than his comment during the reunion campfire about “two guys livin’ together” I don't see where he’s particularly instructive to Jack in any way about his or their lives. So it's always baffled me, if we'd seen Ennis threatening to leave or to not see Jack if certain behavior was or wasn't adhered to, then I guess I could understand him pushing Jack around. But it didn't seem like he was pressuring Jack one way or the other, he just wouldn't, couldn't, do the one thing Jack wanted to (the sweet life).

'...and Jack had misunderstood the reason for the call...' What was the reason for the call? Of course Ennis wanted to let Jack know ‘bout the divorce, but that could have been a postcard, musta’ known it was comin’. Why call, what was the reason? Huh? Never really understood that either. Wasn't as if Alma had been keeping them apart, (more likely it was the girls), but that wasn't changing, so why call? Easy to see why maybe Jack did misunderstand. Maybe Ennis was (subconsciously) crying out for some love, needed to know somebody did care.
sorry way OT here
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Offline nonamelake

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #72 on: Jul 04, 2009, 10:28 AM »
Hello, Jackster:

I agree it is puzzling, because so much is left unsaid....

It seems to me this is where the short leash comes in:  Jack is expressing how much emotional control Ennis has over him, and he's doing what Ennis does sometimes: He places the blame for his feelings outside of himself. (Another BBM fan pointed out to me once that line about Ennis wanting to curse Lureen for 'letting Jack die on the dirt road.':She wasn't woman enough to keep him away from men....it's her fault, in Ennis's estimation.)

I'm reminded, with regards to the short leash, of the line, 'For he loved a little dog.' (Proulx, about Jack). He sees himself as being kicked around by the father, as being subhuman, perhaps. The father beat him after peeing in the wrong place, something in his toddler's mind remained unreconciled as an adult. So I think the short leash kind of echoes that, and connects the father with Ennis. (He got punched by Ennis, as an adult, for a similiar reason-he was not behaving "manly"; he was ministering to Ennis in the columbine, but with the added impact of generating feelings in Ennis that Ennis could not accept in himself.)

 As you said, I bet the phone call was an outcry for love. Who better to turn to after the trauma of losing family #2, then someone he was assured would love him? I don't think he realized what he was doing emotionally to Jack, with that phone call. He was taking a frail thread of hope Jack had about living together-for Ennis had already told him years before that it would never happen- and dashing it for good. It it was not an effort to get some support and comfort, then I can't think of any other reason he'd call Jack-can anyone else? I can't.

So the space keeps suggesting to me that Ennis is realizing now what  his role was in the failure part of the relationship: As fragilelover noted, lots of things didn't come to Jack the right way-if he says, 'f*** all', then the 'all' must include the relationship with Ennis.

FWIW
« Last Edit: Jul 04, 2009, 10:34 AM by nonamelake »

Offline jedibarrister

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #73 on: Jul 05, 2009, 02:54 PM »
Quote
There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can't fix it you've got to stand it.

What he knew versus what he tried to believe was something he couldn't fix.  I read two ways.  One, it as guilt or blame over Jack's death.  I saw it as Ennis regretting his choices with Jack and blaming himself for his death.  If he had agreed to be with Jack in Wyoming, he wouldn't have gotten killed over Randall in Texas.  He knew this but tried to believe that instead of one, they'd both be dead if he had taken a life with Jack.  Two, he knew, on some level, that he had a bad life because of fear and could've had a good life with Jack if he had taken a risk.  He tried to believe that the life could never have been.

So what can't he fix so he has to stand?  Regret.

vedrana

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #74 on: Jul 16, 2009, 04:44 PM »
Hi Jackster.

Being new here I guess I don’t know about BBM as much as you do yet, but I think I get what Jack was talking about when he bitched about the short leash.

Jack met Ennis every time under Ennis conditions, not his. Ennis said that they’d meet 1. once in a while, and 2. in the middle of nowhere. Surely had Jack not agreed with this they’d not have met again. Jack’d see Ennis following Ennis rules of once in a while and only in the middle of nowhere.
Of course there are also those “not to the sweet life”, “don’t want you here because people (in that white truck, maybe?) can see us and figure us out (that was implicit in the divorce scene even if he didn’t say the words), and “don’t gonna move to Texas or somewhere else to be near you” (again implicit/suggested in the scene by the river side when Ennis asked Jack is he thought that people knew). So again we can see that Ennis made pretty clear how things were gonna go in their relationship. Jack had not a word there, had not a saying. It was Ennis style or nothing at all. Had Jack not been trapped with that short leash he’d seen Ennis sure in another setting and not only once or twice a year. But Jack never stood a chance against Ennis ghosts.  :( :(

At least this is how I see it. Of course I am not judging any of our cowboys. I love them both so much.

Thanks for reading.

I can agree with this. Ennis set the rules and Jack was to follow them or to give up Ennis. (At least he believed so, but was it true?) And Jack definitely didn't want to give up on Ennis.

Yup! There was a leash, and it expresses Jack's need to be with Ennis, even if that relationship was taking away all his freedom.

Offline bluemountainsky

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #75 on: Aug 30, 2014, 08:21 PM »
I checked out the book Close Range from the library, and re-read the story a few times. That last line I was thinking about, and this is my take on it.

What Ennis KNEW: Jack truly loved him, and he truly loved Jack. The love they had was something most people don't find, it was something truly special. Ennis finally accepts his homosexuality, understanding that he was in love with a man, and there was nothing wrong with that. Society had made him believe that there was something wrong with him if he was "queer", hence he had spent all those years fiercely struggling with his feelings and who he was, but now he finally understood that society is wrong and there is nothing wrong with him, and what he was doing was not a sin to be punished for. He is no longer in denial of his true nature, and he accepts himself and the love for Jack as something good and pure. He is no longer afraid of it, (symbolic of this is him hanging the shirts on a wall, signifying that he is no longer "in the closet" as the saying goes, and neither is Jack. Their love is now openly acknowledged.

Also, Ennis feels immense sorrow and regret at having repeatedly denied Jack and himself happiness. He has a thousand thoughts about what if, what if. What if he had never married Alma? What if he had instead gone to Ligntning Flat that fall/winter after the 1963 summer, like Jack hinted he should, or if he had decided to get in Jack's truck that last day and ride off with him? Even after that first mistake, there was still another chance four years later. What if he had accepted Jack's proposal at their reunion getaway and gone with him then? What if in all the intermittent years he had finally accepted Jack's proposals? If he had gone to Texas with him? Or Denver? What if he hadn't turned Jack away after the divorce? Think about all the chances he had, and he messed it up time and again. He blames himself for it all, and it's a tremendous burden to carry, all that regret. He lived a life of regrets, and he frankly couldn't go on for another 20, 30, 40 years without Jack with that huge burden on his shoulders.

What Ennis TRIED TO BELIEVE: So he tried to believe that what he had done was protect them. That by denying that sweet life together he had saved Jack and himself from a death similar to Rich and Earl's. Even though, he knew Jack, most likely still had been killed in hate crime, Ennis tried to believe that what he had done had given both himself and Jack twenty years of living, whereas, they would have been killed 20 or 15 or 10 years before if he had accepted Jack's proposal and decided to live his life with him. Of course, deep down, Ennis knows he is lying to himself. That what he had done (not accepted the sweet life together) had only caused both of them a lot of pain and suffering, and it had hurt Jack even more, it had not saved their lives from a violent and heinous death, it was done out of Ennis's fears, and was not worth it. But he had to make himself believe that because the regret and sorrow was too much to live with for the next thirty years, much less the next two months. It pained him too much to realize the mistakes he'd made, and now Jack was gone and he finally realized how much he'd hurt Jack by refusing, and how miserable he'd made himself.
"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 tpe

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #76 on: Sep 02, 2014, 09:10 PM »
Thanks for sharing this, bluemountainsky.

Sometimes, all we have is the certainty of our beliefs.  It is too hard to accept that sometimes we go wrong, even in this.  But the secret of redemption is to know that we do not need absolute certainty.  This is how love works.  We take the leap, even in uncertainty.  It is at the very core of the act of believing...

Offline bluemountainsky

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #77 on: Sep 14, 2014, 02:30 PM »
Thanks for sharing this, bluemountainsky

Sometimes, all we have is the certainty of our beliefs.  It is too hard to accept that sometimes we go wrong, even in this.  But the secret of redemption is to know that we do not need absolute certainty.  This is how love works.  We take the leap, even in uncertainty.  It is at the very core of the act of believing...

I believe that is how Ennis had felt all those years, deeply in love with Jack, yet always with that doubt in the back of his mind...what is this thing really? Does he really, truly love me? He knew...but that uncertainty was always creeping up in his mind. When he finds the shirts, then he understands, he realizes that he's been truly loved all those years, and he realizes the extent of that love, and exactly what he meant to Jack. The pain of finally being certain, but it's too late. It's heartbreaking to think of Ennis living alone all those years, with only his dreams of Jack to comfort him. But those too would be bittersweet. The dreams made him happy because in them he was in his lover's arms again, but when he woke up the heavy realization that Jack was gone hit hard again, and then the tears came.
"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 bluemountainsky

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Re: There was some open space....
« Reply #78 on: Sep 18, 2014, 05:47 PM »
It could also mean that what Ennis was still trying to believe that he wasn't gay, but he knew he was...however that means Ennis hasn't had much progress in accepting who is after all that time. He could no longer say to himself that Jack wasn't gay after he found out about Jack's affairs, so he'd given up on that, there came a point where he could no longer try to convince himself Jack wasn't gay. But as for himself...did he still lie to himself, did he still try to convince himself, was he still in so much denial? I'd like to think that he did indeed acknowledge, in the end, standing outside Jack's closet with those two shirts, that he was in fact "queer". It's sad if he didn't...really shows how terribly the internalized homophobia has ruined him for life, and..I do believe that it was Annie Proulx's main message, the saddest part of a homophobic society is the self-loathing it causes. The television series Cold Case had a number of episodes that dealt with that issue. The cop who stands there, now an old man, and still says that he isn't queer, wants desperately for the detectives to believe he isn't, because he's so ashamed of the fact he is. The 90 year-old woman who sits on the part bench remembering her female lover who died 70 years prior, and realizing that was the only person she truly ever loved, but still asks "was it wrong to feel that way?" Even just a few years ago, a young college student killed himself after being found out.

The extent of damage that internalized homophobia does is horrible. But Ennis I think does make a self-discovery in the end, and became more accepting of himself and his orientation. He might not go to the gay pride parade, but I believe he was no longer in denial and accepted that him being gay wasn't shameful or wrong. I think what he knew and what he wanted to believe at that point was simply that he it wasn't his fault, he had no choice but to live the lie he did, he was powerless in such a society, but of course he knew it was ultimately his fault that he denied Jack a life together, and he knew how much he'd hurt Jack by doing this, but he needed to believe that there was nothing else he could have done because it was a way to cope with his immense sorrow and regret.
"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."