The short story “Brokeback Mountain” by Annie Proulx is structured following a backstory plot. The narrative starts and ends in the present, but the main events take place in the past over the course of 20 years, following the relationship between two men, Jack and Ennis.
The title, “Brokeback Mountain”, refers to part of the short story’s setting, a fictional place in the US where the main characters meet and begin their secret, closeted love affair. The title is symbolic of the author’s exploration of contexts and places and their relationship with individuals. Through the story, although the action moves to different places, the characters always remember Brokeback Mountain, sometimes with nostalgia, other times with rage: “Tell you what, we could a had a good life together, a fuckin real good life. You wouldn’t do it, Ennis, so what we got now is Brokeback Mountain. Everything built on that.”; “…that distant summer on Brokeback when Ennis had come up behind him and pulled him close, the silent embrace satisfying some shared and sexless hunger.”
The short story begins with a prologue introducing readers to one of the main characters, Ennis Del Mar, and announcing part of the plot of the story, his relationship with Jack Twist: “…yet he is suffused with a sense of pleasure because Jack Twist was in his dream.”
The prologue foreshadows the resolution of the story, by describing the wind in association with the idea of death: “The wind strikes the trailer like a load of dirt coming off a dump truck, eases, dies, leaves a temporary silence...