Monday, November 23, 2009

Brokeback Mountain: Annie Proulx

Brokeback Mountain is a short story that Annie Proulx included in a collection of shorts titled Close Range. It is a tale about two old fashioned cowboys—rough, gritty, and aggressive men—who spend a herding season on Brokeback Mountain together, working with a herd of sheep. In a short span of time and very close proximity, they discover something in one another that they have each longed for all their lives. They connect on a level that is intangible to both of them. Startled by the discovery, they never title their love, refusing the terms “gay” and “queer”. Each man marries and has children, while maintaining their friendship. They both know the possible consequences of being caught together.

I find it difficult to read a book after having seen the movie, because I will inevitably place the movie actors in the roles of the characters without giving the writer the chance to describe them. Brokeback Mountain doesn’t have that problem. Proulx is such a fantastic writer that in the 55 pages of her short story, she is able to illustrate the characters of Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist with such clarity that the Brokeback Mountain movie actors are separate characters.

When Brokeback Mountain was made into a movie, it was garish and romantic. Grown, straight men cried, and young gay men held their heads a little higher. I personally feel that it was an incredibly important film, and it was some of the best acting either of the leading men have ever accomplished. Reading the short story gave me further insight. Proulx writing is clever and very real, setting her above other writers. The gruff adoration of two cowboys for each other isn’t treated like a Hollywood love story—it’s told as honestly as if Ennis del Mar had sat down and wrote the story himself.

1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic review! You are such a great writer yourself! When are you going to put together a collection of short stories?