Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain is a tragic story of forbidden love. It chronicles the romance between Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, two cowboys who fall head over heels for each other in the spring of 1963. Their relationship endures for twenty years, never fully resolved, never fully let go of, and always surrounded by fear, confusion, and above all, by love. Brokeback Mountain depicted a story that was both accurate in its portrayal of queerness in the setting of its story, and in making it relatable to queerness and homosexuality today. Later, when turned into a movie, it broke even more barriers, and furthered its social effects on Hollywood and Society.
Brokeback Mountain accurately describes the attitudes of society towards homosexuals in the 1960’s, specifically of those that live where the story took place. In the 1960’s, police raids of gay bars were routine, and extremely violent. The stigma associated with even the idea of being homosexual was crippling. It was considered a disease, and looked down upon severely. But finally, the gay rights movement was gaining its footing. During this time, influenced by the model of a militant black civil rights movement, the “homophile movement,” as the participants dubbed it, became more visible. Activists, such as Franklin Kameny and Barbara Gittings, picketed government agencies in Washington to protest discriminatory employment policies. But the south, the setting of Brokeback Mountain, was very different. Although these were great steps towards equality, many states in the south and west were very far behind. The treatments of gays shown in the story were painfully accurate. At one point, when Ennis and Jack reunite after four years, they fear what would happen if they got caught. Ennis tells Jack the story from his childhood, saying: “There was these two old guys ranched together down home, Earl and Rich- Dad would pass a remark when he seen them. They was a joke even though they was pretty tough old...
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