The American West's alluring because men dream a better life awaits them way out there. The wild, wild west promises freedom, land, and lots of cowboys in tight jeans. What more could a man want?
As a postmodern western, Brokeback Mountain set up those dreams…and shatters them. The life Jack dreams of—a life with Ennis, the man he loves—is a dream that can't be achieved in Wyoming or Texas in this time period, at least not without significant effort that Ennis isn't willing to put into the relationship. Ennis simply wants to live to see another day. Their different dreams put them on different paths, and those lonely trails lead them apart.
Questions About Dreams, Hopes, and Plans
What are Jack's dreams? What are Ennis's? Do they have any overlap?
How do Ennis's plans change over time, as he starts a family and later loses his family?
Does having a family change Jack's hopes and dreams?
What do they women in these partnerships hope to get out of a relationship with these men?
Chew on This
Jack's a dreamer, but Ennis is a realist, and that's a bad combination. Jack's dreams keep him afloat, but Ennis always tears a hole in his sails.
Ennis doesn't realize he has dreams until it is too late. He keeps a postcard of Brokeback Mountain next to Jack's shirt after Jack's death to remind him of the dreams he didn't know he had.