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I don't know that I can disagree about the facts as you state them, but I nevertheless think there is more to it than that. More to Ethan and his wandering. It just feels that way, to me. Or maybe what it is is that in spite of these failings in Ethan, I still warm to him as I do not warm to the more honorable Aaron.

 

I wasn't criticizing Ethan, just defending Aaron. It's easy for a man who has no home and no responsibilities to throw away money. The value of money and the pressure to have it soars when it's the other way around. Ben Wade vs. Dan Evans.

 

And I think what you and Jackie may be feeling with Aaron is his jealousy of Ethan. Jealousy can often make a person come off ugly and unlikeable. Aaron is really tough on Ethan and I think it's because he's very jealous of him. Remember, Ethan just blows in whenever the heck he wants to and he gets nothing but a hero's welcome from all of his family members. Aaron is tied down. The husband/father rarely gets the "hero's welcome." He's taken for granted.

 

I find that in many scenarios, many movies. Isn't Ashley more noble and responsible and worthy than Rhett? Why do I nevertheless like the scalawag more than the good family man? I'm crazy, I guess.

 

Well, it's long been established you are crazy, Cobra Woman.

 

But what if Leslie Howard played "Rhett" and Clark Gable played "Ashley." Then what?

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I don't think you are crazy, MissG. I feel the same way.

 

And I agree with you Frank. Aaron is jealous AND taken for granted.

 

Perhaps I am wrong here, I will have to go back and check - Ethan may be a scalawag, but he is bringing that money back FOR Aaron, I believe. He is a mercenary, but not mercenary himself.

 

Again, although he has not been home for some time, I see no sign that Ethan has used that money recklessly, or bought anything for himself at all. Aaron is, I'm sorry to say, not particularly good at what he is doing. Aaron is an unsuccessful man. Though that is nothing to be ashamed of, he is also not ashamed to take money from his brother - for what? As a landlord takes rent? Ethan has not been living there. Does he say, "Oh, no, Ethan I couldn't take it." Does he dance around and say, "Now I can buy Martha that new coat!", or "Now I can get the kids some real good shoes"? No, He goes and hides his money away like a rat. This is why I get a bad feeling from Aaron.

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Mar 1, 2010 7:59 PM

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> I wasn't criticizing Ethan, just defending Aaron. It's easy for a man who has no home and no responsibilities to throw away money. The value of money and the pressure to have it soars when it's the other way around. Ben Wade vs. Dan Evans.

>

 

That is very true.

 

> And I think what you and Jackie may be feeling with Aaron is his jealousy of Ethan. Jealousy can often make a person come off ugly and unlikeable. Aaron is really tough on Ethan and I think it's because he's very jealous of him. Remember, Ethan just blows in whenever the heck he wants to and he gets nothing but a hero's welcome from all of his family members. Aaron is tied down. The husband/father rarely gets the "hero's welcome." He's taken for granted.

>

 

Hmmm...I hadn't thought of that. I don't find Aaron unlikeable, just aloof. You really think he was jealous? Where does he show that? Or do you read that from his demeanor? Your reasons why he would be jealous certainly make sense, without even going into the idea that Martha's heart always belonged to Ethan.

 

 

> Well, it's long been established you are crazy, Cobra Woman.

>

 

I am not Cobra Woman, Fran or Agatha, let's just get that clear, Mr Layne.

 

> But what if Leslie Howard played "Rhett" and Clark Gable played "Ashley." Then what?

 

Then....I don't think I would have been sitting opposite Robert O a year ago talking about a little civil war movie. :D

 

So are you implying it's the man, not what he does or what role he inhabits, that matters, that makes the real impact?

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Whew...Jackie just called it plain. Now I think I have to watch the movie again and pay more attention. I just love that there can be this much to mine out of the few, seemingly casual exchanges involving the brothers.

 

Did you all notice, too, that the "Reverend" Sam Clayton orders Aaron to stay behind when they all go out to scope the indian activities?

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Hmmm...I hadn't thought of that. I don't find Aaron unlikeable, just aloof. You really think he was jealous? Where does he show that? Or do you read that from his demeanor? Your reasons why he would be jealous certainly make sense, without even going into the idea that Martha's heart always belonged to Ethan.

 

He's upset at Ethan. He takes digs at him.

 

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Aaron didn't "clear out." He didn't run away from responsibility. Ethan used the war to get out. You could even say Aaron represents the man who didn't fight in WWII and Ethan does. I believe Aaron is embarrassed and ashamed that he doesn't have the war stories to tell, like good ol' everyone loves Uncle Ethan. Aaron stayed at home.

 

You could even see the metaphorical with Ethan's racism as those from WWII still say, "I hate them Japs."

 

I am not Cobra Woman, Fran or Agatha, let's just get that clear, Mr Layne.

 

Says you, Madame Bovary!

 

So are you implying it's the man, not what he does or what role he inhabits, that matters, that makes the real impact?

 

Not necessarily. But I believe in the case of Gable and Howard, with you, it does. You wouldn't find "Rhett" nearly as appealing with Howard playing him. And you'd find "Ashley" much more appealing with Gable. But I do believe the "Rhett" kind of man is what many women prefer in the world of fantasy. Well, at least from certain generations.

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>

> He's upset at Ethan. He takes digs at him.

>

> Aaron didn't "clear out." He didn't run away from responsibility. Ethan used the war to get out. You could even say Aaron represents the man who didn't fight in WWII and Ethan does. I believe Aaron is embarrassed and ashamed that he doesn't have the war stories to tell, like good ol' everyone loves Uncle Ethan. Aaron stayed at home.

>

 

I'd forgot that exchange! Thanks for finding and posting those caps. Interesting....hmmm. I don't know that we can be sure that Aaron didn't fight, though. He clearly seems old enough. But I can see what you're saying. Yet, does this mean Ethan is what G.W. McLintock called, "All show and no stay"? Can we be 100% sure Ethan didn't clear out for a reason Aaron doesn't even grasp or appreciate? I only say this because of Martha. I guess I hate to think I may be unfair to Aaron. Ford did do a number here, he's too foxy for me this time or I'm reading too much into it all. I'm completely unsure what to think now.

 

> You could even see the metaphorical with Ethan's racism as those from WWII still say, "I hate them Japs."

>

 

That's a great analogy and I bet it's true. Still, I think Aaron fought and I also think Aaron's views are exactly the same as Ethan's about such things, just without the implacable violence behind it. Aaron is contented person, basically, with no real passions to stir, except maybe to see his land grow and develop.

 

> Says you, Madame Bovary!

>

 

Oh, please!

 

> Not necessarily. But I believe in the case of Gable and Howard, with you, it does. You wouldn't find "Rhett" nearly as appealing with Howard playing him. And you'd find "Ashley" much more appealing with Gable. But I do believe the "Rhett" kind of man is what many women prefer in the world of fantasy. Well, at least from certain generations.

 

:P Beyond that, I was thinking that one type seems rather transparent (Rhett) and generous, and the other harder to gauge and less giving of himself.

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I don't know that we can be sure that Aaron didn't fight, though. He clearly seems old enough.

 

Oh, I'm not sure. I'm speculating. And you wisely pointing out how Ethan tells Aaron to "stay close," meaning to stay at home, could mean he's the guy who is to stay with the women and children. He's not a fighting man, like Ethan.

 

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Ford specifically cuts to a shot of Martha and Aaron in the following shots. Read the words that are being said:

 

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Aaron looks angry and disapproving of Ethan's running wild of the law. This reminds me of a film I just recently watched: The Public Enemy. Ethan is basically Tom (James Cagney) and Aaron is his older brother, Mike (Donald Cook). So I think Aaron disagrees with the decisions Ethan has made in regards to his life. He's judging him.

 

Yet, does this mean Ethan is what G.W. McLintock called, "All show and no stay"? Can we be 100% sure Ethan didn't clear out for a reason Aaron doesn't even grasp or appreciate? I only say this because of Martha. I guess I hate to think I may be unfair to Aaron. Ford did do a number here, he's too foxy for me this time or I'm reading too much into it all. I'm completely unsure what to think now.

 

All of this is elusive and I love that about The Searchers. It's like there are two films playing at once. There's the one we see and the one we don't. It's remarkable, really.

 

That's a great analogy and I bet it's true. Still, I think Aaron fought and I also think Aaron's views are exactly the same as Ethan's about such things, just without the implacable violence behind it. Aaron is contented person, basically, with no real passions to stir, except maybe to see his land grow and develop.

 

Ethan is consumed by his feelings toward Scar and the Comanche. He's fighting a war. Aaron isn't. Aaron's fight is a daily one to survive and provide.

 

Beyond that, I was thinking that one type seems rather transparent (Rhett) and generous, and the other harder to gauge and less giving of himself.

 

I agree with that. Rhett is nothing but honest and Ashley is very guarded. Ashley is a gentle, patient man. He's loving. Rhett is a rough, passionate ride. I always get the sense one is a British man and the other is an American man.

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I think poor old Aaron is set up not to be liked, or at least appreciated. We look at Ethan much like the kids do. He is exciting, interesting. He has been places. There is a mystery to him. Aaron is none of those things. That doesn't mean Aaron is anything bad. He is just a man trying to scratch out a living and a boring one at that.

 

He doesn't stand a chance against Ethan. He is not a coward as much as he is not cut from the same cloth.

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> Oh, I'm not sure. I'm speculating. And you wisely pointing out how Ethan tells Aaron to "stay close," meaning to stay at home, could mean he's the guy who is to stay with the women and children. He's not a fighting man, like Ethan.

>

 

Oh, so it was Ethan who told him to stay. Even more interesting.

 

> Ford specifically cuts to a shot of Martha and Aaron in the following shots. Read the words that are being said:

>

> Aaron looks angry and disapproving of Ethan's running wild of the law. This reminds me of a film I just recently watched: The Public Enemy. Ethan is basically Tom (James Cagney) and Aaron is his older brother, Mike (Donald Cook). So I think Aaron disagrees with the decisions Ethan has made in regards to his life. He's judging him.

>

 

Super! I can see that, too. Mike (Aaron) the cautious one, maybe the one the family always looked up to.

 

>

> All of this is elusive and I love that about The Searchers. It's like there are two films playing at once. There's the one we see and the one we don't. It's remarkable, really.

>

 

Well, you just said it in a few words what takes me a hundred. "The one we see and the one we don't."

 

>

> Ethan is consumed by his feelings toward Scar and the Comanche. He's fighting a war. Aaron isn't. Aaron's fight is a daily one to survive and provide.

>

 

But don't the feelings against Scar only arise after the massacre? I know Ethan is a bigger Indian hater than Aaron, but his issues weren't personal and all-consuming until afterward.

 

> I agree with that. Rhett is nothing but honest and Ashley is very guarded. Ashley is a gentle, patient man. He's loving. Rhett is a rough, passionate ride. I always get the sense one is a British man and the other is an American man.

 

Oh well, yes, definitely. Ashley is from landed gentry, the European style "aristocracy". Rhett is the new, brash breed. The opportunist.

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Howdy, Cowboy Chris -- I think poor old Aaron is set up not to be liked, or at least appreciated. We look at Ethan much like the kids do. He is exciting, interesting. He has been places. There is a mystery to him. Aaron is none of those things. That doesn't mean Aaron is anything bad. He is just a man trying to scratch out a living and a boring one at that.

 

He doesn't stand a chance against Ethan. He is not a coward as much as he is not cut from the same cloth.

 

I agree with all of that. Ben Wade vs. Dan Evans or Shane vs. Joe Starrett. The husband and father all of a sudden becomes "boring." If only more people were "boring" in this world.

 

How do, Lila Neal -- I just now noticed Ethan and Aaron are dressed identically! Red shirt, braces, jeans.

 

Fantastic! That's a great catch! The brothers Edwards: Jealousy and Envy.

 

Oh, so it was Ethan who told him to stay. Even more interesting.

 

Yep. You stay put, big brother.

 

Super! I can see that, too. Mike (Aaron) the cautious one, maybe the one the family always looked up to.

 

And Martha ADORES and PROTECTS Ethan, just like Ma Powers does with Tom. So that places Aaron in a tough spot. He's now the "bad guy."

 

But don't the feelings against Scar only arise after the massacre? I know Ethan is a bigger Indian hater than Aaron, but his issues weren't personal and all-consuming until afterward.

 

I'm not sure. I always took it that Ethan had been hunting Scar for a little while.

 

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Oh well, yes, definitely. Ashley is from landed gentry, the European style "aristocracy". Rhett is the new, brash breed. The opportunist.

 

And here I thought you'd prefer the snob. I guess that's Sweet T. :D

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> And Martha ADORES and PROTECTS Ethan, just like Ma Powers does with Tom. So that places Aaron in a tough spot. He's now the "bad guy."

>

 

I do sense a whiff of that, but maybe not to that extent. I don't know. Aaron is in a tough spot, it's true. But how sure are we Aaron didn't construct that tight spot as much if not more than Ethan? All we have is Aaron's word for it. Ethan doesn't deny or defend himself, which seems like an admission that Aaron is right....or not.

 

> I'm not sure. I always took it that Ethan had been hunting Scar for a little while.

>

 

I think that's the conditions they were all living under and Ethan was one of many who were out fighting. The book made it clear that the settlers all around were in the midst of chronic hostilities. So yes, he may have been out there looking for the Indians who killed the Pawleys, but may not have yet known it was Scar until he saw the lance. That's how it is in the book, anyway.

 

And I'm no Lila, either!

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I do sense a whiff of that, but maybe not to that extent. I don't know. Aaron is in a tough spot, it's true. But how sure are we Aaron didn't construct that tight spot as much if not more than Ethan? All we have is Aaron's word for it. Ethan doesn't deny or defend himself, which seems like an admission that Aaron is right....or not.

 

Ethan gets very defensive when questioned about his wrongdoings. I'm pretty sure he's guilty of them.

 

I think that's the conditions they were all living under and Ethan was one of many who were out fighting. The book made it clear that the settlers all around were in the midst of chronic hostilities. So yes, he may have been out there looking for the Indians who killed the Pawleys, but may not have yet known it was Scar until he saw the lance. That's how it is in the book, anyway.

 

I can believe that. I guess Ethan is the kind of guy who is always fighting a war because that's all he knows how to do. Of course, his greatest was is within himself.

 

And I'm no Lila, either!

 

Oh, yes, you are!

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> Ethan gets very defensive when questioned about his wrongdoings. I'm pretty sure he's guilty of them.

>

 

Yes, that's true.

 

>

> I can believe that. I guess Ethan is the kind of guy who is always fighting a war because that's all he knows how to do. Of course, his greatest was is within himself.

>

 

And that's the engine that drives The Searchers. Fascinating.

 

> And I'm no Lila, either!

>

> Oh, yes, you are!

 

No way!

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I think that, just as Ethan is not all good or bad, Aaron must also be a mix too. I don't want to say, "Oh, poor Aaron. He has to work hard when Ethan just comes waltzing in... " because to some extent, he must have issues as well. He's in a Ford film, after all. Yes, it's true he's a family man, but he is also vindictive, and perhaps he is cold? We don't really know. But I think he bears a little responsibility somewhere for Martha's loneliness...and I do think she is lonely.

 

I like your push-pull theory of the two brothers and their envy or jealousy of each other . It so real that each would be jealous of what the other has, even when shown right to their face that it's not such a great life either way. Ford gets that brotherly rivalry..... I wonder why? :)

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Mar 1, 2010 10:01 PM

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Howdy, Ford Floozy -- I think that, just as Ethan is not all good or bad, Aaron must also be a mix too. I don't want to say, "Oh, poor Aaron. He has to work hard when Ethan just comes waltzing in... " because to some extent, he must have issues as well. He's in a Ford film, after all. Yes, it's true he's a family man, but he is also vindictive, and perhaps he is cold? We don't really know.

 

I believe Ethan makes him feel small and that turns him ugly. Jealousy is darker than envy. Aaron is the darker one of the two. Ethan is purely envious.

 

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But I think he bears a little responsibility somewhere for Martha's loneliness...and I do think she is lonely.

 

I agree. I believe just as Aaron doesn't feel the appreciation, he doesn't share his appreciation of Martha, either. He seems like a serious man, one with great worries and concerns. He seems uptight. Ethan is loose. I think Aaron believes Ethan has it easy and he has it hard.

 

I like your push-pull theory of the two brothers and their envy or jealousy of each other . It so real that each would be jealous of what the other has, even when shown right to their face that it's not such a great life either way. Ford gets that brotherly rivalry..... I wonder why?

 

Excellent point!

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*Aaron asking and behaving as if entitled to the money, that's another thing.*

 

In the past, Ethan and Aaron probably worked the homestead together until Ethan decided to go off on his own, leaving Aaron to care for the Edwards family homestead. He marries Martha, raises a family.

 

Aaron has a family, living out on the outskirts of the frontier. They have had to scrimp and save for everything they own and they hang on, barely ecking out a living.

 

Ethan returns home with a bag filled with money. He says he may stay. Aaron sees the money as a way to improve his family's lot in life. The money could help Martha buy needed things for the home, the money could be used to help them on the farm.

 

Aaron has been taking care of the land, the land his and Ethan's parents died for, taking care of Martha (whom Ethan left brokenhearted) and doing the best he can with what he has had.

 

I can see why he thinks Ethan should share the money with him as payback for all that Aaron has kept going and accomplished in Ethan's absence and without Ethan's help.

 

It's the classic situation where the "good" sibling stayed on the land/close to the family/etc and was there when it mattered as opposed to the other sibling who turned his back on all of that and followed his wanderlust.

 

Part of Ethan's redemption is taking over for Aaron and being there when it matters and never giving up on trying to find Debbie and bringing her back to those who love her.

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> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> Part of Ethan's redemption is taking over for Aaron and being there when it matters and never giving up on trying to find Debbie and bringing her back to those who love her.

 

That is a very good point, Lynn. I don't think this is sufficiently emphasized in most discussions about The Searchers.

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Part of Ethan's redemption is taking over for Aaron and being there when it matters and never giving up on trying to find Debbie and bringing her back to those who love her.

 

But keep in mind...

 

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Howdy, Mrs Brittles,

 

You bring to life what the day to day reality for the Edwards must have been and I can certainly see all that as you describe, Lynn. When you include that extra element Jackie shrewdly brought up about Ford's own perspective of sibling rivalry and how Aaron is, in the end, a character in a Ford film and given some interesting dialogue and framing for a reason, it really goes to show how deep the movie is. You never know what you're going to get. :D Things (and characters) aren't always what they seem.

 

Cowboy Chris! I think the director made a choice between shooting at a realistic location for Texas settlers, or use Monument Valley with all it's metaphorical possibilities. For instance, when Mr Jorgensen, after the death of his son, says, "This land, Ethan..." and shakes his head like the land is a hostile enemy to all who try to settle there, this scene has more force when you see it played against the harsh, forbidding terrain of Monument Valley than if it were the real, more fertile land they actually homesteaded in the story.

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But keep in mind...

 

OH SURE... you had to go and bring THAT up. ha.

 

But you are right... And he did have that mindset all the way up to the very end... but I do believe he was only doing it out of the same sort of emotion that COULD have led him to "search" all those years for a comletely OTHER reason (as in: to rescue her) and likely would have had he not been so consumed by his hatred of the comanche. The longer things went on (and ON) the more driven he became to put an end to it his way.

 

And I think Ethan stuck with it for so long because of who she was and because of what had been done to his family. If Debbie had been just some OTHER kid... from some other family.. and if it had not been Martha and Aaron... and their family who were murdered, I don't think he'd have spent all those years out there like that. Oh sure... he wanted to get Scar... but it would not have been the same sort of search for him without the family connection.. and I don't think he'd have been so committed almost to the point of insanity had Debbie been somebody else.

 

And what I find intriguing is that I guess you could say the same things about Marty as well... because all those things I just mentioned were the same reasons HE was there as well... they were both working all those years from the same motivation... but only from a different point of view. And to me, (don't miss this Grey Dude.. ha.) that was absolutely one of the most fascinating :-) aspects to the whole story.

 

Ethan really believed he was doing right by Martha (AND by Aaron) .. and most importantly by Debbie too (whom he clearly loved... and yet in a way had come to hate) In his mind, death was the better alternative for her than being where she was. It was mixed up logic, but it was what he really believed.

 

(And PS... ha. Sorry for the detour.. ha. All of that was just extra blabbage, folks... did not mean to lead you down a rabbit trail... Please go on w/ the Aaron/Ethan compare and contrast. You folks have all given me a lot to think about it. I am not sure where I come down on Aaron exactly. I don't think I have ever viewed any of it (in it's entirety) the way you folks have been talking about it... but it is likely because I never gave him as much thought as I should have. You have given me a lot to think about.

 

Next time I watch I will keep in mind all the stuff you have been saying and see how it all fits together. Thanks folks.

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