Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 01-08-2006, 09:44 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 58,797
Brokeback Mountain question: What was the meaning of the final line? (open spoilers)

I'll leave some space so as not to spoil anything on the mouse-overs.











Ok, so here's my question. At the end of Brokeback Mountain, Ennis opens his closet and we see the two shirts hanging on a hook under the postcard picture of the mountain (the shirts are a brilliant image, by the way, and how fitting that it's an image which is seen in a closet). Ennis straightens the picture and touches the shirts and then says, "Jack, I swear..." It's the last line of the movie. What does Ennis mean by this line? What is he swearing. The line is not delivered melodramatically or even especially sadly. Ennis says it softly, affectionately, almost with a hint of amusement. It reminded me of the tone Ennis would used when he would tease Jack about his harmonica. What are some other people's thoughts about meaning of this line?
#2
Old 01-08-2006, 10:16 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Madison WI
Posts: 22,505
It's open to a lot of meanings. He swears he'll get Jack's ashes and fulfill his last wish. He swears that he'll never forget Jack. He swears that if he ever has the chance at love again he'll take it. And probably many more.
#3
Old 01-09-2006, 01:11 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Lower half of CA
Posts: 13,909
It's not explained in the short story either, except that Proulx adds that "Jack had never asked him to swear to anything and [Ennis] was himself not the swearing kind."

I figured it meant that he swore he'd never forget Jack, the way neither of them ever forgot their time on Brokeback.
__________________
"This isn't Wall Street; this is Hell! We have a little something called integrity." --Crowley, Supernatural
#4
Old 01-09-2006, 03:49 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Chicago
Posts: 10,009
Perhaps it was Ennis swearing that he would do his best from then on to please those he loves and who love him, as well as not denying himself something that he might want. Just a few minutes earlier he had told his daughter that he couldn't make it to her wedding because of the Roundup, but then changed his mind and told her he would come after all. The smile on her face told him how happy she was at his decision.

And what vivalostwages said. It's a lovely line, for all its possible meanings.
#5
Old 01-09-2006, 04:22 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Monkey
Posts: 9,652
I think it is just a sort of openended phrase, an emotional exclaimation rather than a thought that has a direct thought after it. He's not swearing an oath, he's not talking about foul language. He's just dealing with an emotion of loss and memory that's overwhelming. People in pain or who are emotional often express themselves with incomplete phrases like this that aren't meant to imply a meaningful completion. I swear...

It's a haunting way to end a story though.
#6
Old 03-23-2013, 10:05 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 1
Taken in the context of the book, I think he's telling Jack that he loves him.

Last edited by 1niteinscotland; 03-23-2013 at 10:06 PM.
#7
Old 03-23-2013, 11:39 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: somewhere over there
Posts: 795
It's also used without implying any follow-up just as a reaction to the other's behavior. It usually expresses mild shock (just as at something outrageous) or affectionate amusement. I took it as the latter.

This usage was once common in the South and perhaps among other "country" folk. For instance, "I swear, child, you say the craziest things."
#8
Old 03-24-2013, 01:45 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Chi NYC Berlin LA Vegas
Posts: 13,728
Quote:
Originally Posted by don't mind me View Post
It's also used without implying any follow-up just as a reaction to the other's behavior. It usually expresses mild shock (just as at something outrageous) or affectionate amusement. I took it as the latter.

This usage was once common in the South and perhaps among other "country" folk. For instance, "I swear, child, you say the craziest things."
Whereas when I was growing up in a small town in Illinois, people would shake their head and say, "I swear..." when expressing frustration and disappointment.
I took the line as meaning great regret...realizing what he had lost and what a fool he was for losing it.

It was a truly sad, but perfect last line for this film. In those days, he thought that was sort of the way things had to be for this "forbidden love", but things were just starting to change for the better. Sadly, too late for him.

I know it makes no sense, but when Heath Ledger died, I felt extra remorse because of this film. It was sort of like a real life finality of a character that I had hoped would somehow find happiness (in my fictional Part II sequel of the film). In my own little Brokeback II, Ennis would indeed meet a nice guy and go off and live happily ever after...
#9
Old 10-13-2013, 08:55 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1
I kind of assumed it was "I swear, if I had it to do over again..." that he would have chosen love over fear. But as everyone knows, it's clearly open to interpretation.
#10
Old 10-13-2013, 10:38 PM
Domo Arigato Mister Moderato
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: On the run with Kilroy
Posts: 20,458
I always took it as a general expression of affection and exasperation.

Remember, he'd just found the shirt he'd thought lost during that first summer on the mountain. It's more an amused, "Jake, I swear you're a sentimental fool." when he LIKES that Jake is a sentimental fool. It's quiet joy, not regret. Ennis - not a man used to being in touch with his feelings or expressing them - is showing all the joy and hope a man like him can. All of it buried in three words.

Really, it's a touching movie. And a strong contender for top movie of the 2000s.
#11
Old 10-13-2013, 10:46 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Lethbridge, AB.
Posts: 48,816
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance View Post
<snip>
Really, it's a touching movie. And a strong contender for top movie of the 2000s.
It took me months to get over seeing it - I don't think I've ever had a movie affect me as strongly. Dammit, Ennis!
#12
Old 05-04-2014, 10:27 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 3
Related ashes Jack

I was also confused. and when no one I've ever read an opinion that says that the promise related to Jack ashes sprinkled on Brokeback Mountain. Can also.

Last edited by Romance; 05-04-2014 at 10:27 AM.
#13
Old 05-04-2014, 10:38 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 3
I your opinion

Last edited by Romance; 05-04-2014 at 10:43 AM.
#14
Old 05-04-2014, 10:41 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Equipoise View Post
Perhaps it was Ennis swearing that he would do his best from then on to please those he loves and who love him, as well as not denying himself something that he might want. Just a few minutes earlier he had told his daughter that he couldn't make it to her wedding because of the Roundup, but then changed his mind and told her he would come after all. The smile on her face told him how happy she was at his decision.

And what vivalostwages said. It's a lovely line, for all its possible meanings.
I like ur opinion
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:34 PM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: leaking struts cost songs with wednesday the departed explained dramatic sting progressive lense reviews shrimp veins medieval drawings hitler accent uplay cloud save removed nipples hershey bar ounces unit ksi can mice fart brutus or bluto elven fonts comics like preacher ham for dogs black people fade burning mercury doritos rollitos 1 syllable countries watermelon flavor stinky liquid recipe shelves pegs whats merkin neck bolts neck snapped storing port civet cat pets definity hp100 review almond flour roux can you freeze m&m's catherine tate weight loss those were the days theme song how to get gasoline smell out of shoes how much to tip a taxi cab is it legal to buy chloroform how bad is my vision prescription where can i buy car key battery how to get hot water without gas vegas live sex show what is a wake difference between ruffles and wavy lays new beginnings children's home did nancy reagan oppose stem cell research can you get a hardon without testicles the gorilla experiment big bang theory drink swimming pool water calling an ambulance for someone else thank you for smoking book starbound space age polymer my day in the barrel clogged ear with ringing me hace falta en ingles how to get creases out of posters drying pipe tobacco for cigarettes how much do d cups weigh best way to level a pool table hi beam floor switch us highway vs interstate i farted on my cat and it died snootch to the nootch what is a well qualified buyer new car john deere tractor horsepower ratings how to glue things to your face this unit not labeled for retail sale there's a snake in my booty