Themes In Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain

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Even the most tenacious flowers will eventually wither in the wrong environment. Similarly, even the fervent love of Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar—the protagonists of Annie Proulx’s short story, “Brokeback Mountain”—cannot withstand the social taboos that threaten their relationship. In a sense, the two cowboys were doomed from the start. Their fathers were completely intolerant and denied Jack and Ennis of empathetic upbringings. This, among many other social restraints, precludes the development of their relationship. Both Jack and Ennis grew up in the West—a region that seemed to be homogeneous in its prejudice against gay men. Jack and Ennis’ childhoods were set in desolate ranches and completely immersed in the 1960s-cowboy culture. Ennis’ childhood was cut short when his mother and father were killed in a car crash. Though, before this pivotal moment, Ennis’ father forced Ennis to witness to the battered corpse of a …show more content…
After Jack’s thundery arrival, he and Ennis retreat to the secluded Motel Siesta, and as they lie together in the motel room, “A few handfuls of hail rattled against the window followed by rain and slippery wind” (12). In literature, rain is typically employed symbolically to signify a change, and here it seems to underscore Jack’s return and the rebirth of Ennis’ and Jack’s relationship; but, Proulx plants a subtle caveat with the phrase “slippery wind,” thereby suggesting that this reunion will be a fleeting one. If the hail represents the lonesome four years after their initial encounter—the memory of which “rattles against the window” and prevents them from living complacently in their stale marriages, then the rain would stand for the revival of their relationship, which rejuvenates and enlivens the men, but is ultimately and tragically followed by the slippery wind—Jack’s

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