Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain" Narrative Structure


Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain:"
Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain:"
Rendering Consciousness
Lee's Brokeback Mountain
16 Sections

  1. Section 1: Paragraphs 1-2.

    Ennis in his trailer. Thinking of his dream of Jack Twist. Thinking about the dream might fuel the day, remind him of that "old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong."

    This section creates suspense. Who was Jack Twist? Why is Ennis dreaming of him? What happened on that mountain? Focuses the story inside Ennis: Psycho-narration.

  2. Section 2: #3-11.

    Time shift to beginning of the story. Describes the two guys. Mostly Ennis' history. Dates it: 1963. The story now told in chronological order to the end in 1983 when Ennis is dreaming of Jack in his trailer that opens the story.

    Section 2 tells how they got the job herding sheep and hung out and made it up to Brokeback Mountain.

  3. Section 3: #12-33.

    Their time on Brokeback Mountain. Developing relationship. Sexual Encounter.

  4. Section 4: #34-38.

    They part from each other. Ennis throws up. He felt about as bad as he ever had and it took a long time for the feeling to wear off.

  5. Section 5: #39-42.

    Ennis marries Alma.

  6. Section 6: #43-58.

    Four years later: 1967. Jack comes to Ennis. They go off to a Motel.

  7. Section 7: #59-80.

    Long Dialogue scene in the Motel. States the theme: If you can't fix it you got a stand it.--#78.

  8. Section 8: #81-93.

    Breakdown of Ennis and Alma's relationship. Divorce. Alma and Jack Nasty.

  9. Section 9: #94-96.

    They were no longer young men with all of it before them. Narrator summarizes the passage of years and names the places they camped over the years. Brief summary of Jack's world in Texas.

  10. Section 10: #97-119.

    1983. Their final camping trip. Explicit sex scene. The confrontation, breakdown and recovery. Nothing ended, nothing begun, nothing resolved. Stoic acceptance. "If you can't fix it you got a stand it." Cf. #78; 159.

  11. Section 11: #120-22.

    Psycho-narration: Jack's memory of Ennis holding him on Brokeback Mountain. Reflects on the significance of the memory.

  12. Section 12: #123-133.

    Notice of Jack's death. Ennis and Lureen on the phone. Dialogue scene. Ennis' Interior Monologue: No, he thought, they got him with the tire iron.--#124. Psycho-narration of Ennis' thoughts while talking on the phone.

  13. Section 13: #134-146.

    At Jack's parents. Father reveals that Jack had another friend coming to ranch with him. Narrated Monologue: So now he knew it had been the tire iron.--143.
    Finds the shirts. Psycho-narration: Remembers the bleeding incident on Brokeback.--#145.
    Find his shirt inside Jack's--the pair like two skins, one inside the other.--146.

  14. Section 14: #147-148.

    Father denies the ashes. Ennis leaves.

  15. Section 15: #149-157.

    Back to the beginning of the story. Ennis gets postcard of Brokeback Mountain. Hangs shirts and postcard in his trailer. Looks at them: Jack, I swear--.

  16. Section 16: #158-159.

    Psycho-narration. Ennis dreaming of Jack. Narrator restates Ennis statement in #78 as the concluding line. A stoic acceptance. There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can't fix it you've got to stand it.