The present is always pasted on layers of the past.Nature plays a crucial role both in Proulx’s original story as well as in the film adaptation of Brokeback Mountain.
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Thunder rolls in as Jack arrives, and as they lie together in the hotel room, “A few handfuls of hail rattled against the window followed by rain and slippery wind” (Proulx 23).
Proulx utilizes the image of rain, often used in literature and film to signify change, cleansing or a re-birth, to underscore Jack’s return and the rebirth of Ennis’ and Jack’s relationship.
When Proulx first presents us with Ennis and Jack together, they are being told by their new employer, Joe Aguirre, to “pitch a pup tent on the q.t.
with the sheep, out a sight and he’s a goin a SLEEP there.
is about the simultaneity of love and loneliness, and is a story filled with contradictions and juxtapositions. The main character, Ennis del Mar, awakes and recalls his murdered lover, Jack Twist.
The remainder of the story then revolves around the memory of Ennis and Jack’s deep and troubled homosexual love affair, which began during a summer when the two men worked as ranch hands on However, Jack and Ennis were not working as cowboys when they met and fell in love, but rather as shepherds, who have often been portrayed as living on the margin of society.
Eat supper, breakfast in camp, but SLEEP WITH THE SHEEP, hundred percent, NO FIRE, don’t leave no sign” (Proulx 6).
From the beginning of the story, Ennis and Jack are being instructed to sleep where they are not supposed to – to sneak around out in the wilderness.
But, her use of the term “slippery wind” tells us that this union will be a fleeting one, soon wrapped only in memory.
Interestingly, this device of menacing weather to frame these scenes was not used in the film.