The most important characters in the story “Brokeback Mountain” by Annie Proulx are Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist who are the protagonists. The other characters mentioned in the text are episodic and secondary. They help build the context and the social setting.…


Ennis Del Mar

Ennis Del Mar is one of the main characters, whose perspective the narrator uses occasionally. His name is ironic and symbolical as ‘Del Mar’ translates as ‘of the sea’, but Ennis was happiest away from the sea, on Brokeback Mountain when he met Jack.

Outer characterization

Ennis’s outer characterization at the time of the narration presents him as an older man (probably in his forties), living in a trailer, and recently unemployed as his employer decided to sell his ranch.

From the backstory about him and Jack, we also know that he has two daughters with a woman named Alma whom he married and subsequently divorced. He has a brother and a sister, and his parents died in a car accident. All his life he struggled with a precarious economic situation. He also dropped out of high school due to not having enough money, and had various jobs at ranches.

His physical portrait is conveyed at the age of nearly 20 when he meets Jack:

Ennis, high-arched nose and narrow face, was scruffy and a little cave-chested, balanced a small torso on long, caliper legs, and possessed a muscular and supple body made for the horse and for fighting. His reflexes were uncommonly quick, and he was farsighted enough to dislike reading anything except Hamley’s saddle catalogue. (p. 34, ll. 18-22)

When he and Jack meet, he is hired as a camp tender for a herd of sheep, but he soon switches places with Jack and becomes the herder.

Inner characterization

Ennis’s inner characterization is complex, as it follows the man’s development over 20 years. His characterization is mostly conveyed in relation to Jack.

When he first meets Jack and they go to work on Brokeback Mountain, he comes across as friendly and helpful. He does not complain like…


Jack Twist

Jack is the second main character in the story. As with Ennis, the narrator occasionally uses his perspective when conveying the events. His name (“Twist”) is also symbolical as it suggests Jack’s preference for the opposite sex, and hints at the fact that he twists the truth when he talks to Ennis (he does not tell him about other affairs with men or that their employer knows about their affair).

Outer characterization

According to his outer characterization, he comes from a family of ranchers and did not receive higher education. In the course of the story, he becomes a rodeo competitor for a brief time and marries the girl of a wealthy man with whom he has a son. His physical portrait is conveyed around the age of 20 when he meets Ennis:

At first glance Jack seemed fair enough, with his curly hair and quick laugh, but for a small man he carried some weight in the haunch and his smile disclosed buckteeth, not pronounced enough to let him eat popcorn out of the neck of a jug, but noticeable. (p. 34, ll. 10-14)

Inner characterization

Jack’s inner characterization is conveyed through his actions, attitude, and thoughts. The conversations he has with Ennis suggest that Jack had a difficult relationship with his father: “Jack said his father had been a pretty well-known bull rider years back …

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