Silence of the Other in E. Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain” Cover Image

Silence of the Other in E. Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain”
Silence of the Other in E. Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain”

Author(s): Selma Raljević
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Bosansko filološko društvo
Keywords: silence; identity; other(ness); Brokeback Mountain; forbidden gay cowboy love; gendered contemporary world; shame; fear; sexuality; small community in the U.S; heterosexual culture; hybridity; homophobia; heteronormativity; heterosexism

Summary/Abstract: Love between males is supposedly unspeakable and unspoken even in postmodern society, but such male intimacy is absolutely unthinkable between cowboys who stand for archetypal American values of masculinity. This paper explores a long silence of the other, of a forbidden gay cowboy love, in a rural community in the American West in E. Annie Proulx’s short story “Brokeback Mountain“. The final as well as the strongest story in Proulx’s 1999 collection of short fiction Close Range: Wyoming Stories chronicles a complex and secretive relationship between Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, two men who meet and fall in love on the fictional Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming in 1963. A haunting, dangerous and heartbreaking gay cowboy love story, shameful for the conservative society at that time, was adapted into a 2005 American romantic drama of the same title. The Brokeback Mountain film won three Oscars in spite of the fact that it also depicts evocative romantic and sexual relationship of a ranch hand and a rodeo cowboy during some twenty years. This paper focuses on these modern-day characters and the problems of a gendered contemporary world, such as silence, shame, attitude toward sexuality and identity of the other, even more alienated and queer in Proulx’s story and its film adaptation since both works are closely aligned with the earlier, quieter days in a small community in the U.S.

  • Issue Year: 2011
  • Issue No: 09
  • Page Range: 296-305
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: English