by Annie Proulx
Brokeback Mountain Men and Masculinity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Paragraph)
Both high school dropout country boys with no prospects, brought up to hard work and privation, both rough-mannered, rough-spoken, inured to the stoic life. (3)
Welp, there you have it, folks. This is who men are expected to be in this world, and this is who our two protagonists are. Or at least, so we think.
Ennis, high-arched nose and narrow face, was scruffy and a little cave-chested, balanced a small torso on long, caliper legs, possessed a muscular and supple body made for the horse and for fighting. (8)
The physical description conveys a great deal of the character's masculinity, letting us see it, instead of just being told about it. It also hints at what might later make this character so resistant to entering into a full-blown relationship with Jack.
"Shot a coyote just first light," he told Jack the next evening, sloshing his face with hot water, lathering up soap and hoping his razor had some cut left in it. (20)
Ennis is shaving here, an act traditionally associated with the guys. Also, he killed a wild animal, something also connected to manly men. And his sense of self seems to be tied up in that assurance of masculinity, which might be why he's asserting it here.