Study Guide

Jack's Mother and Father in Brokeback Mountain

By Annie Proulx

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Jack's Mother and Father

Ennis meets Jack's mom and dad at the end of the story, when he comes to ask them if he can have their half of Jack's ashes. Jack's dad possesses "the hard need to be the stud duck in the pond" (137), while his mom "stout and careful in her movements as though recovering from an operation" (135) tries to make everything better with dessert. It's an awkward encounter, to say the least.

Dad seems to be running the show, and he makes it pretty clear that he knows what Jack and Ennis were up to, saying, "I know where Brokeback Mountain is. He thought he was too goddamn special to be buried in the family plot" (140). Like Alma and Aguirre, his homophobia comes out as something seemingly innocuous—and justified—only to hide darker, hateful things behind it. Ennis reads between the lines of what Jack's dad is saying and "now he knew it had been the tire iron" (143). If you're looking for nurturing families, this clearly isn't the right story.

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