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Analysis

Literary Devices in Brokeback Mountain

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Proulx sets many of her stories in Wyoming, and "Brokeback Mountain" is no exception. She ranges far and wide with her characters, but there's always an intense combination of beauty and loneliness...

Narrator Point of View

Proulx sticks to the basics here. Her author's voice can see all and know all. All the better to let us soar through the Wyoming skies to zero in on whatever she needs us to, right? Most of the tim...

Genre

Proulx keeps the story in the realm of realism, even though it's fiction. Everything adheres to the tenets of reality, nothing happens that we wouldn't expect in the natural world, and we could ver...

Tone

"Brokeback Mountain" is best defined by two things: (1) these guys really, really love each other, and (2) ain't nobody ever gonna understand. We see signs of the first one in the way they react to...

Writing Style

We say "rambling" out of love, of course, because this story's got some of the best darn rambling you're ever going to see. That said, you won't read many authors this side of Henry James who are a...

What's Up With the Title?

Brokeback is where it's at. For reals. "Brokeback Mountain" is where Ennis and Jack fall in love, and as such, it becomes much more than a setting for the first part of the narrative. It's more a s...

What's Up With the Ending?

We start out with love, we finish with pain and loss; that's the deal. Ennis ends up with Jack's shirts hanging under a postcard of Brokeback Mountain, and all he can do is step back and look "at t...

Tough-o-Meter

Jack and Ennis are high school dropouts, so they don't exactly use their words. And when they do, they certainly don't use ten-dollar ones. Proulx endeavors to keep that reading level intact even w...

Plot Analysis

One Crazy SummerThings begin pretty innocuously, with Jack and Ennis both heading up to Brokeback to tend sheep. We get a little on their background, watch them do the cowboy thing up on the trail,...

Trivia

The movie version of Brokeback Mountain was a sure favorite to win Best Picture in 2005. Instead, it lost to Crash, in a move widely regarded as an expression of homophobia by Academy voters. The i...

Steaminess Rating

"Brokeback Mountain" doesn't pull any punches when it comes to the sex lives of its characters. We get explicit sex scenes with plenty of words you wouldn't want to repeat at the dinner table. Plus...

Allusions

The U.S.S. ThresherProulx uses the wreck of the Thresher to give a historical reference and establish the time. It's clever thinking on her part because it's a notable news item that guys like this...
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