Feb 10, 2021 in Analysis

Brokeback Mountain


Brokeback Mountain is the 2005 drama film produced and directed by Ang Lee. This is the story of a complex relationship between major heroes, Ennis Dell Mar and Jack Twist who had to hide their relations because of the criticism of society of those times. A story of two men being secretly in love is not an average, traditional representation of romance because it depicts the hardships that both representatives of LGBT community have to overcome on the way to happiness. Nonetheless, the film seeks to represent the genuineness of emotional bonds between two bonds, who had to fight their personal feelings and thoughts. Both Ennis and Jack are doomed to eternal loneliness; they had to lead a traditional life with wives and children to meet societal standards and avoid criticism and hatred of the community of the 1960s. Certainly, that the movie is about the representation of sexuality, masculinity and social norms. However, it should be stressed that Ennis Del Mar represents the LGBT community of the era better than Jack Twist because of his attitude to sexuality, masculinity and social ideology.


The main cause of Ennis being a better representor of the LGBT community of the time period than Jack is Del Mar's attitude to sexuality. It should be admitted that both heroes recognize the presence of feelings, affection, and obsession with each other. But still, Ennis is represented as more mature in his personal attitudes to his sexuality. Although he is not against family, but he knows for sure that the bond between him and Jack is undeniable. The story introduces the difficult childhood of Ennis, whose father was a perpetrator, receiving no low, support, and compassion. According to Rose and Urschel, the knowledge of what can happen to gay lovers, the lack of a father/son bond, and abandonment by family members, whether through death or marriage have forced to close himself from others indeed to build walls of protection around himself to avoid closeness and to avoid the pain of loss. Similar to Ennis, Jack also experienced deprivation and lack of support in childhood because of his abuse farther.

On the other hand, one can argue Ennis does not represent the LGBT community at that time period better than Jack. The language of sexuality plays a critical role in constructing sexual identity by promoting polar understanding of homosexuality and heterosexuality. According to De Jesus, de Carvalho Figueiredo, and Nascimento, such relations of coherence are exemplified by the biological sex is supposed to present masculine traits, perform gender as a man and have a relationship with a person of the female biological sex, who performs gender as a woman. At this point, homosexuals create a social group which is represented through the concept of otherness, which is not included into the privileged, elite system of heterogenic norms. Because of the marginal stage of LGBT community, being part of it could bring in negative outcomes for its members. Thus, the movie reproduces heterogenic ideas and prejudices regarding the bond between two men, as well as the ways that the heroes themselves behave.

Turning back to my point, Ennis does represent LGBT community better than Jack. Although the movie represents an alternative vision of sexuality and sexual orientation, the direct still places an emphasis on the fact that this not a gay movie, but a love story, which narrates the hardship of two beloved who have to overcome the hardships of social criticism. However, there is still sexual sub-context, which makes it difficult for the audience to distinguish between LGBT motives, and true feelings and relationship between two movies. At this point, Piontek explains, Lees decision to refer to Brokeback Mountain as a love story rather than a Western, however, had more to do with marketing strategies and target audience than generic distinctions. Thus, it is a matter of emphasizing the presence of romance in a Westernalized environment. The queerness of the plot consists not in the fact of representing homosexual relations, but the absence of women as central heroines of love stories. The love story of two men, two people, requires a deeper understanding, where Ennis is committed to his long-life affection for Jack, whereas Jack takes the role of a feminine representation, which is addicted to the love story and is more open to such type of relationships. At this point, one way through which the film helped to change Americas stereotypes to homosexuality was the humanizing effect, representing true people with true feelings. However, few of the audience could hardly image the human dimensions in understanding the love of two homosexuals. Nonetheless, the sexuality representation is more revealed through Ennis, who is more committed to traditional development of serious relationships. The hero will never betray his genuine affection for Jack, but he understands that having a family and children is a necessity which is required by the social norms, and he is helpless about it. He is realistic about the possibility for accepting and developing homosexual relations in heterogenic society.

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The main cause of Ennis being a better representor of the LGBT community of the time period than Jack is Del Mar's attitude to masculinity. Indeed, Jacks masculinity is under the question because he goes from riding bulls to driving large combines. At this point, the authors have provided the explanation of masculinity of the time: The mindset of 1960s cowboy culture cannot accept any man, especially a cowboy, who does not meet its definition of masculinity: to be strong, stoic, successful, and heterosexual. In this respect, Jack does not fit the image because he failed succeed in rodeo circuit and bull riding and, as a result, Jack is under the pressure of Lureens father who establishes Jacks position and place in the family, striving to amplify his masculinity. Although both characters strived to adhere to hegemonic masculinity and render the ideas of masculinity of that time, the film opted to describe one of the heroes as the penetrator and another one to be the penetrated in the sex scene, as depicted in the movie to cope with the system of cultural intelligibility. Such system defines what understandable and intelligible. Thus, Jack Twist is represented as penetrated, and does not match the hegemonic masculinity type, presenting more feminine dimensions as compared to Ennis. Furthermore, Jack has a feminine attitude and does not do things which are expected from males of the time because he is the one who first finds Ennis, and comforts him; he also strives to start a new life in Mexico. Jack is also involved in flirting with other men. In contrast, Ennis is represented as more masculinized; he is silent and confined, and is reluctant to reveal his feelings to others, but through violence. Such a representation fits the heterosexists standards even in homosexual interactions because someone has to take the role of a traditional heterosexual man to conform with the standards of masculinity, whereas another has to take on the responsibility for the heterosexual woman, the penetrated, exposing more feminine aspects.

On the other hand, one can argue Ennis does not represent the LGBT community at that time period better than Jack. The movie represents the genuine image of American masculinity in Hollywood Western, which has represented masculinity by means of male homosocial interactions, which are still haunted by homoerotic desire. As such, Grindstaff explains, because same-sex desire undermines their protagonists presumed heteronormative masculinity, Western films have required symbolic codes...to simultaneously represent and manage their homoerotic dimension that, if explicit, would threaten the male homosocial norm. Therefore, the same sexual intimacy as represented in the movie provides the failure of traditional masculinity, being a generally accepted idea, the mainstream tendency. Furthermore, portraying homosexual desire as a sort of gender inversion enables the movie to represent same-sex relationship without undermining the binary gender structure of traditional masculinity. As an example, Jacks behavior betrays his gender deviation and heterogenic status, whereas Ennis demonstratively strives to conceal his genuine homosexual essence, which could lead to the development of new type of masculinity as shown in the movie.

Turning back to my point, Ennis does represent LGBT community better than Jack. The concept of masculinity has been cultivated for over centuries and it has always been associated with heterogenic society. Therefore, it is evident that Ennis is more approved in this term, because he takes the role of the penetrator, the aggressor, the man, who has to have family. As Grindstaff explains, because representing same-sex sexual intimacy on screen suggests the failure of heteronormative masculinity as a universal ideal, mainstream media has often de-eroticized gay characters. He is the one who decides to end relationships, to live a traditional life, according to the generally accepted conventions. In contrast, Jack is more concerned with feelings and emotional stability; he is not a leader in relationship, and Lurreen is the first who initiates the relationships. Jack is never involved into masculine-type professions and he is more feministic about his role. He is also flirting with other males, which is also the role which is usually performed by women.

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The main cause of Ennis being a better representor of the LGBT community of the time period than Jack is Del Mar's attitude to social ideology The first meet of Ennis and Jack is expected because both carry the hardship of the childhood and both have to fight to fulfill their lives as it is accepted of cowboys in the 1960s. When they started working together, they become close, telling each other about their purposes in life, including marriage and career. However, their communication becomes closer as they enter into first sexual intercourse. To prove the dominance of Ennis Rose and Urschel write, Ennis at first tries to fight off Jacks advances, but he quickly become the aggressor as though he is lashing out- as tough he is trying to let go of all the pain and trauma of his childhood. He more they spend on the Brokebeck Mountain, both understand that the affair is a dangerous thing in the light of the conservative norms of heterosexual society which dictates rules and lifestyle habits. But Jack is still reluctant to abandon their relationships and continues to search for new meetings. Instead, Ennis is more serious about marrying her long-life friend Alma, whereas Jack meet rodeo rider Loreen. Both have children and start normal life to abstract from what happened on Brokeback Mountain. The strange bond between Ennis and Jack exists beyond the standard understanding of love. Due to the infrequent opportunity of being together, the love of the two men does not have the right to existence. The overwhelming attraction is the only thing which exists, creating pain and forcing both to end up the relationships. However, Enniss failure to define himself as gay or bisexual creates problems on the way of building relationship with the surroundings. He is conflicted with the self and heterosexism and knowledge that Jack is involved into love affair with other males. Hence, Jack is still more concerned with social ideologies, where Jack has a constant need for sexual acceptance and self-definition prevents him from understanding the seriousness of the bond with Ennis. The traumatic experience of the childhood is impossible to resolve by means of relationship development, lacking the communication intimacy. In his turn, Enniss obsession with social criticism does not allow him to accept a loving man, whereas Jack is not in his powers to accept loneliness of the possibility of the relationship. Therefore, Jack seems to be less concerned with the social judgment, motivating Ennis to rescue from the standards in the pursuit of genuine feelings.

On the other hand, one can argue Ennis does not represent the LGBT community at that time period better than Jack. To enlarge on the issue, the film is acknowledged as the picture which has acquired the status of a cultural artifact because of the development of an alternative picture of the relationship which had place in the 60s of the past century. As Grindstaff asserts, Brokeback Mountains audiences unequivocally enter into an ideologically charged narrative, as the film sets two forces desire and power into dialectical tension. As a result, viewers perceive Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar as one a dreamer and another as a stoic, when they gain summer affair. Audience should recognize therefore, that each has a mutual desire by introducing exchanged glances. The cinematic world introduces distinct modes; audiences should adjust to strategic types of reading, for them to navigate the discord between the homophobic culture and same-sex desire delivered by the main heroes. The moments following Ennis first sexual encounter is followed by Enniss denial of his sexual desires because he strives to create a traditionally approved family with wife and children, suppressing his genuine feeling, believing that Ennis is not queer. In contrast, Jack is more open to his genuine thought, behaviors, and feelings and he is involved several encounters with males because of the inability to build normal relationships with Ennis. Therefore, Ennis is more concerned with social ideology. As such, Grindstaff reproduces the queer sublime through symbolic representation of the collective trauma in the movie, resulting from witnessing the homophobic violence and repression. For heterosexual subjects, these examples suggest the inability of the traditional heterosexuality to take place. As such, the author explains, because queer cultural moments aesthetically induce feelings of pleasure, however, viewers are able to transcend the terror that would ordinarily accompany such encounters. This is the actual explanation of the concept of queer sublime, which is also accepted against the social heterosexual norms. As such, the queer sublime is introduced through cinematic signs, and linguistic frameworks. When it concerns cinematic signs, the attention should be paid on the failure to he accepted identity. To enlarge on the issue, the cultural representations reveal specifics that are based on the ideological claims to traditional universality, which is also called collective symptom. As such, cinematic sublime entails symbolic representation that mediates between pleasure and terror. Further, language undermines human subjects to overthrow collective terror and experiences and expose to sublime experience, the essential contract and genuine identification. In this respect, the films use of cinematic experiences of using cinematic signs and linguistic frameworks provide the audience with collective experience with homophobic violence and repression.

Turning back to my point, Ennis does represent LGBT community better than Jack. In the movie, Jack is less concerned with the social boundaries and searches for the ways of him and Ennis are happily together. The representation of social ideology shown in the film is also revealed through the way the audience reacted to the directors idea regarding the concept of gender, homosexuality, and masculinity. Certainly, the audience represents a modern target which deliberates on the masculinity and gender standards which were accepted several decades ago. As such, Cooper and Pease have shed light on the false understanding of cowboys masculinity, which is not always associated with the concept of sexual orientation, but with the image, behavior, and overall perceptions accepted in society. Additionally, the authors have argued, despite reviewers apparent desire to frame both their critiques and the film as transcending binary sexual boundaries, their struggle to position the movie within familiar discursive space for viewers had unintended consequences. Therefore, such an approach is essential to meet societal norms, but in fact there are many undercurrents which should be taken into consideration on disguising the veritable picture and landscape of the period.

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To prove the above-presented ideas and provide more arguments, Ennis is less concerned with his masculinity or sexual orientation. Specifically, after Jacks death, the main hero prefers live a solitary life, letting nobody to his heart and home. From time to time, his daughter visits him and informs him about events in her live. She invites Ennis to her wedding. Ennis remains committed to Jack till death, being afraid of the possibility of new feelings and experiences. He believes that there is nothing to lose, if you have nothing.


As a result, the barrier between him and society has been established. This representation contradicts the norms of homosexual representation, which is presented in a modern society. More and more people are not afraid of coming out, revealing their true feelings. As Madsen explains, [LGBT community] wanted a name that would signal their contention that their right to sexual and gender determination is a matter of social sovereignty, not U. S. civil rights, and that would resort the spiritual component of third-gender roles to sexual identity. Apparently, Ennis lack of confidence caused the disaster in relationship and inability to sustain his feelings. What is more important is that the LGBT community protects human rights irrespective of their sexual orientation. Finally, the representation of masculinity is also through the presentation of new forms of governance and understanding of masculinity, which is also presented among both gays and lesbians. The latter take different roles in pairs, both feminine and masculine, which is not associated with the concept of sexuality and gender.

With regard to the above-presented cause and effects, the movie also identified and develops a new understanding of masculinity, which is not associated with sexual orientation. Ennis displays masculinity through his aggression, power, and violence. His is not feminine, although he is in love with the man. Such an attitude to the concept of masculinity breaks stereotypes and male the audience to deliberate on different problems in a traditionally heterogenic society.

In conclusion, it should be stressed that the review, Ennis del Mar is more distinctive in terms of representing the concept of sexuality, masculinity and sexual ideology as compared to Jack Twist because of several undeniable arguments. When it concerns sexuality, Ennis is represented as the sexual aggressor. He is the initiator or relations; he is more confident and mature. Although he conceals feelings and he is the first to break up the affair, Ennis is still committed to those feelings. Jack is just open to the emotional rather than rational dimensions. He is interested in cognizing his sexuality and sexual orientation. When it concerns masculinity, once again, Ennis is more definite in his representation of male dominance. He is concerned with displaying power, violence, and rational thinking, which are typical of males. His masculinity is also revealed through his desire to create a family, have children and earn money for his family. He is also the one who reveals his commitment and fidelity to Jack, although he is involved into the relationship with woman. Jack is not concerned with the masculine role and, therefore, his marriage with Lurreen is just the matter of accident. Lurreen is the first who start the relationship. Her father also motivates Jack to take masculine position, but Jack is reluctant to become a man. Finally, Jack starts flirting with other men for self-approval and definition. Finally, Ennis was more concerned with the social stereotypes, norms and morale, which dictates heterogeneity as the key rule for becoming privilege in this type of society. All the terms and rules have promoted the argument about Enniss distinctions from Jack, who was more concerned with experimenting and cognizing his sexuality. The distinctions, however, did not prevent the director from revealing a true love story, but not the contradictions created between homophobic representation and heterosexual display of society.


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