Jack Twist

Jack Twist

    Brokeback Mountain
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up… originally from outside Lubbock, Texas, Jack was raised on a ranch. Jack’s father was something of a rodeo hero in his younger years, inspiring Jack to jump around on the backs of cattle whenever he can. Jack was raised Pentecostal by his mother, but doesn’t seem to know very much about all that.

Living… essentially on horseback for now. Jack has come up to Signal, Wyoming, to look for sheep-herding work. Joe Aguirre, a man in charge of sheep grazing, finds Jack work alongside another cowboy, Ennis Del Mar. Jack will be encamped out on Brokeback Mountain with Ennis and a large herd of sheep.

Profession… cowboy. Jack is restless as a shepherd, especially compared to the quiet-by-nature Ennis. Jack doesn’t mind having some fun on the job, bringing plenty of whisky with him and sharing it with Ennis. Jack is unsatisfied with the work and complains often, while Ennis plods along – cooking, minding his own business, and occasionally keeping Jack in line. Jack likes to horse around, literally. Still having great plans for the rodeo back in Texas, Jack chooses the most difficult mare to stay atop as a challenge.

Interests… playing the harmonica, much to Ennis’ annoyance. Jack also still has a true passion for rodeo. Besides that, all he likes to do is drink and have fun.

Relationship Status… single, for now. In fact, he doesn’t even seem to have any romantic prospects back home. Up on Brokeback Mountain, however, Jack finds himself attracted to Ennis, and after a night of heavy drinking Jack makes a pass at him that Ennis eventually reciprocates. Ennis tells him it’s a one-time thing, to which Jack reluctantly agrees, but Jack wants to be involved in Ennis’ life. Ennis is a reserved man and can get by without as much contact with others – something that’s very much not true of Jack. But Ennis does have feelings for Jack as well, which makes everything more complicated.

Challenge… convincing Ennis to have a real relationship with him, even if in secret. Jack wants to make a better life for himself, one that he sees Ennis as a part of. In a world set up to make Jack feel alienated and unsatisfied, his challenge is to find a way to make things work, against all the obstacles of life and his era that stand in the way. Later Jack does marry a woman (Lureen) to see if he can find more traditional routes to happiness, but it’s hard to imagine that working out well in the end.

Personality… free-spirited and fun-loving. There’s a gentleness to Jack; he can definitely joke and goof off. But his discontentment with seemingly unchangeable parts of his life imbues him with a certain seriousness and quiet desperation. It was a difficult world for a man like Jack.


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