Study Guide

Brokeback Mountain Memory and the Past

By Annie Proulx

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Memory and the Past

We spend a lot of time Ennis and Jack. Sure, "Brokeback Mountain" is only a few pages long, but it spans more then twenty years in these men's lives, so you can bet that they get to a fair amount of reminiscing and, yes, regretting. In fact, at the end of the day, their relationship is carried on through one single memory of the time they spent together on Brokeback. That's when they had it good, and they'll never have it that way again. In a way, all they have are their memories.

Questions About Memory and the Past

  1. What does Jack mean when he tells Ennis, "What we got now is Brokeback. Everthing is built on that."? 
  2. How does Jack's father use his own memories against Ennis at the end? 
  3. In what ways do Jack and Ennis try to outrun their memories? In what ways do they try to recreate them?

Chew on This

Ennis's memories are ultimately a source of comfort and support for him.

Ennis's memories haunt him worse than any other punishment.

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