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Brokeback Mountain Analysis

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Psychoanalyzing Traumatic Childhood Events and the Heteronormative Personas They Create in Annie Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain"
Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain” examines the lives of two ranch hands and their struggles with coming to terms with their queer identity amid a homophobic, Midwest landscape. Each character experiences a traumatic event in his childhood which settles in his unconscious mind and contributes to the projection, or lack thereof, of his respective queer identity. By examining these traumatic events through Freudian psychoanalysis, one may conclude that these events shape the heteronormative, Jungian personas the characters of Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist project and the extent to which they project these personas to others.
Austrian neurologist, Sigmund Freud, founded the discipline of psychoanalysis in the late 19th century. Through his studies, he provided insight into the human mind, particularly how "psychological forces over which we have very limited control" motivate a great deal of a person's actions (Guerin 203). If we view the human mind as an iceberg, the conscious mind lies accessible above the water, whereas the unconscious, the psychological force over which a person has minimal control, lies beneath the surface in a dense expanse. As Freud explains in "The Anatomy of the Mental Personality" in 1932, "We call a process 'unconscious' when we have to assume that it was active at a certain time, although at that time we knew nothing about it" (Freud). Gary Grossman, author of "Queering Psychoanalysis," explains that psychoanalysis focuses on the "development of a sense of self and individual identity" (287). Essentially, events that occur can retract into a person's unconscious. It is the uncon...

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Proulx, Annie. Close Range: Wyoming Stories. New York: Scriber, 2003. Print.
Snider, Clifton. "Queer Persona and the Gay Gaze in Brokeback Mountain: Story and Film." Psychological Perspectives 51:54 (2008): 54-69. Web. 14 Nov 2011.
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