Brokeback Mountain – Short Story vs. Screenplay Analysis

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Brokeback Mountain is an American Cowboy film dealing with the issue of homosexuality. The film is a screen adaptation of Annie Proulx’s short story of the same name. While the screenwriters and director of the film did not change the basic story of Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist’s love story, they did add a great amount of detail not present in the short story. Explain how those differences articulate the central theme of two men struggling with their natural feelings and society’s oppressive view of homosexuality. There are certain scenes in the film which are expressed differently in the short story. For instance, at the beginning of the story when Jack and Ennis separate after the first summer on Brokeback. How does the film differ from the short story? How does this difference relate to central theme of society’s oppressive view of homosexuality? In addition, explain how the film expands and adds to both Jack and Ennis’s personal relationships. Why do you think the screenwriters chose to include more details of each character’s life when they were with their families as opposed to when they were together? Choose one scene in the film that is not present in the short story and explain how the scene deals with the issue of society’s rejection of homosexuality. Last, the film relies heavily on symbolism through its use of mise-en-scene. Two items in particular are the brown paper bag that Ennis carries both at the beginning and end of the film and also the two shirts that he finds in Jack’s closet. How does the film differ from the short story with regard to these two items? Think about the last two scenes when Ennis visits Jack’s family and then the final scene when Ennis is visited by his daughter. How do these scenes further deal with the struggles that people in same sex relationships have endured in the past? And how does the filmmaker use the paper bag and shirts to articulate this idea? You are also welcome to add any other use of symbolism that you find in the film that articulates the central theme of society vs. homosexuality.




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