“He was infatuated with the rodeo life and fastened his belt with a minor bull-riding buckle, but his boots were worn to the quick, holed beyond repair and he was crazy to be somewhere, anywhere else than Lightning Flat.”
This is a description of Jack Twist at the time he first meets Ennis. It conveys his enthusiasm with rodeo, his lack of money, and his boredom with living in Lightning Flat, the small town he grew up in.
“During the day Ennis looked across a great gulf and sometimes saw Jack, a small dot moving across a high meadow as an insect moves across a tablecloth; Jack, in his dark camp, saw Ennis as night fire, a red spark on the huge black mass of mountain.”
This takes place during the first days of Jack and Ennis’s work on Brokeback Mountain, before they have really gotten together. It is ironic in the sense that it conveys the distance between them as Jack looks after the sheep and Ennis tends the camp—a distance that will soon shrink both physically and emotionally as they become attached to each other.
“They never talked about the sex, let it happen, at first only in the tent at night, then in the full daylight with the hot sun striking down, and at evening in the fire glow, quick, rough, laughing and snorting, no lack of noises, but saying not a goddamn word except once Ennis said, ‘I'm not no queer,’ and Jack jumped in with ‘Me neither. A one-shot thing.Nobody's business but ours.’”
Jack and Ennis insist that in spite of their sexual relationship they remain heterosexual men.
“As they descended the slope Ennis felt he was in a slow-motion, but headlong, irreversible fall.”
Jack and Ennis’s time on Brokeback Mountain has come to an end, and as they come down for the last time, Ennis has a premonition that his life will be all downhill from now on—a feeling that is born out by his later years, since he never again finds the happiness he knew with Jack on Brokeback
“’Sure enough,’ said Alma in a low voice. She had seen what she had seen.”
Alma has just witnessed Jack and her husband kissing each other passionately, and her knowledge of the nature of their relationship will negatively affect her marriage and contribute to its failure.
“I'm stuck with what I got, caught in my own loop. Can't get out of it.”
Ennis expresses his frustration to Jack. Although he would like to spend more time with Jack, his family and work situation prevent him from doing so.
“‘Nothinnever come to my hand the right way.’”
Jack complains to Ennis, when they are both nearly forty years old, that nothing has ever worked out for him in the way that he wanted.
“One thing never changed: the brilliant charge of their infrequent couplings was darkened by the sense of time flying, never enough time, never enough.”
This expresses the frustration that Jack and Ennis both feel. They have known each other for nearly twenty years,but in spite of the way they enjoy each other when they meet, there is always a shadow to it, because they never get to spend as much time together as they want.
“The huge sadness of the northern plains rolled down on him.”
This describes Ennis as he reacts to the conversation he is having with Lureen, Jack’s wife, who explains the circumstances of Jack’s death.
“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.”
These are the last lines of the story and convey the way Ennis tries to deal with the loss of Jack and his memories of him. Things turned out badly but there is nothing he can do about it so he just has to accept it and live with it.
Brokeback Mountain : Top Ten Quotes