Brokeback Mountain

This study guide will help you analyze the text “Brokeback Mountain” by Annie Proulx.  We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, theme and message.

Presentation of the text

Title: “Brokeback Mountain”
Author: Annie Proulx
Published in: The New Yorker
Date of Publication: 1997
Genre: Short story

Annie Proulx (b. 1935) is an American writer and journalist. Her second novel, The Shipping News, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, but today she is mostly associated with her short story “Brokeback Mountain”, which was adapted into a film.


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Social setting

The social setting conveys aspects of American society between the 1960s and the 1980s focusing on status and economic position, the life of the cowboy, married life, homosexuality, and homophobia.

The story follows two characters that come from cowboy families who owned ranches but who lost their status. Ennis and his siblings are forced to sell when their parents die because of mortgages, while Jack’s family barely survives. The characters have little education (they are high school dropouts) and during their youths do a number of different jobs in the area (they are herders and cowboys for different employers). There are not many jobs available and none of the characters have much money, suggesting that the area is poverty-stricken and depressed....

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Brokeback Mountain

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