Thursday, January 12, 2006

Some more thoughts...
Escape is a large part of the Western genre, and parallels can be drawn between Brokeback Mountain as a location, and Ennis and Jack's dilemma, and the Western tradition. The Cinematic West exists either as an unsettled, law-less territory, or as a dying landscape, on the verge of being tamed by law and order. Its inhabitants are feeling their past, looking for a new start on life: ex-gunslingers (Shane, Johnny Guitar) or homesteaders (Shane, Bend of the River). Westerns are about rebuilding, starting over again--and the landscape is an important part of this. Planting new roots finds a literal metaphor in nature: living in a more pure nature becomes a way of rediscovering one's self. Too, if these characters are fleeing from a modern society, unsatisfied with it as they are, then they should flee all signs of modernism and (sub)urbanism. Their new life--landscape and all--should be unfettered by all that has corrupted their former life: it is as though they reject an entire history. That is why lawlessness is important to the Western: it allows people to start again. The crook will inhabit any society, but without an omnipresent law (encompassing a society's morals and ethics) anybody can begin to live a little freer. Jack and Ennis, dissatisfied with their conventional homes and duties, are able to find temporary solace on Brokeback Mountain.

-Cullen

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