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What Makes Pulp Fiction a Postmodern Text?

Intertextual references During the scene at Jack Rabbit Slims, references are made to the following (through the use of dressed up workers in the diner):  Marilyn Monroe  James Dean  Lash La Rue  Jerry Lewis  Dean Martin Also referenced are:  Andy Warhol – Mia references his 15 minutes of fame quote  Happy Days TV program: (1974-1984) Jules says ‘cool like Fonzey’ & ‘correctamundo’  Louise Brooks from Pandora’s Box – Mia has a replicated haircut  Christianity, The Bible - Jules recites Ezekiel 25:17 from the bible.  The Toolbox Murderers, The Untouchables, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Seven Samurai – When Butch goes back to save Marcellus, he picks up a range of weapons; a hammer, then a baseball bat, then decides on the use of a samurai sword. The use of Christianity, and particularly the referencing of a large passage from the Bible, shows Jules to be somewhat religious, ridiculing the conventional stereotype of Hit men, mobsters & gangsters; who are usually seen to be one-track minded, focussed on nothing but the job at hand. They are often represented to have no sense of morality, with little or no depiction of their life outside their occupation. Butch’ choice of weapon enhances the underlying comical feel of the film. Usually, in this situation, there would be an adrenaline filled scene, with Butch rushing to find a weapon as quickly in order to save Marcellus as quickly as possible. The fact that Butch stops for a prolonged period of time ridicules conventions of modern film as well as directly referencing films from which Tarantino gained inspiration for many of his films, this diminishes the realism of the film. Asynchronous scenes Pulp fiction is cut, and subsequently presented to the audience in a Non chronological order. The way in which the film is depicted to the audience differs greatly from the way in which the events actually happened in terms of chronology. This creates a reduction in realness & seriousness, enforcing the comical undertone and the postmodern ‘vibe’ of the film. As well as this, it gives variation to film, causing interest through confusion & intrigue from the audience.

They did this because they wanted to be known as a sub-culture of marijuana smokers. the scenes are structured in the following order:          Flashback of butch being given the gold watch Brett’s apartment scene (including the miracle) Jimmy’s house (Marvin gets shot in the face & The Wolf organises a clean-up) Diner (part 1 & 2) Bar scene (butch & Marcellus talk about the fight) (Vincent and Jules in t-shirts and shorts) Mrs Wallace & Vincent (jack rabbit slims & Overdose) The fight. 4:20 is linked with smoking marijuana. It was started when Californian students used to meet up at 4:20 each day to smoke it. the dead boxer & butch’ escape (Mia thanks Vincent for dinner) Butch goes back for the watch & kills Vincent (hits Marcellus with the car) Gimp scene (butch saves Marcellus) Ridicule of modernism & convention  All clocks are set to 4:20.The film displays the scenes in the following order:            Diner (part 1) Brett’s apartment scene Bar scene (butch & Marcellus talk about the fight) (Vincent and Jules in t-shirts and shorts) Mrs Wallace & Vincent (jack rabbit slims & Overdose) Flashback of Butch being given the gold watch The fight. During the scene at Jack Rabbit Slims. This is deliberately unrealistic & reminds the audience  . Mia tells Vincent ‘don’t be a square’ & as she draws a box with her hands. the dead boxer & butch’ escape (Mia thanks Vincent for dinner) Butch goes back for the watch & kills Vincent (hits Marcellus with the car) Gimp scene (butch saves Marcellus) Vincent and Jules at Brett’s apartment after the ‘miracle’ Jimmy’s house (Marvin gets shot in the face & The Wolf organises a clean-up) Diner (part 2) Chronologically. It’s argued that Tarantino used this to show his intention to be known as different to other filmmakers. a box is created on the scene.

therefore unable to choose between whether to do good or bad. but carried through into the film by Kubrick). the underlying comical feel & the lack of seriousness. Kubrick is well known for this. . This is. the backdrop resembles that of a 50’s film. creating a new hyperreality where he can only conform to what he has been forced to believe. He is eventually arrested & acquitted of murder. making him a ‘clockwork orange’. He undergoes a pilot treatment whilst in prison that is said to cure him of his hooliganism in return for release.that there is a lack of realness in the film. underlying comical value. & viewpoints on life & society create a hyperreality that breaks convention. This then removes his ability to do partake in either of these. along with the slang. This is again deliberately unrealistic in context to the film & is a mocking homage to 50’s cinema. The treatment makes him ill whenever he is faced with confrontation or violence. ultimately. Set in a futuristic idea of Britain during the 90’s. A Clockwork Orange conforms to postmodern ideas through the culmination of the use of narrative devices such as conspicuous dialogue (incorporating a fictional slang created by Burgess. A Clockwork Orange is about a teenager called Alex ‘whose hobbies are ultra-violence. costume. depicted through Kubrick’s use of quirky & bizarre items to create a mise-en-scene that. Other Postmodern Texts A Clockwork Orange – Stanley Kubrick (1971) A Clockwork Orange is a depiction of the book by Anthony Burgess. the reality that he sees. This becomes a problem when his former ‘droogs’ (gang members) are after him & he is almost killed because of the treatment entitled ‘ludovico’ subsequent to his release. The Whole film is set in a fictionally generated ‘future’. This fulfils Baudrillard’s theory of hyperreality as Alex’ reality is completely controlled by those who carried out the treatment. making the reality that they wanted him to partake in. therefore removing him from his former reality.  When Butch is in Esmeraldas’ taxi. rape & Beethoven’. Another concept of postmodern film. a depiction of Baudrillard’s theory put into a different context. The Ludovico treatment forces Alex to become ill when faced with confrontation or violence. However. the most poignant part of the film that makes it postmodern is the Ludovico treatment that Alex receives whilst in prison.

He does this through a friendship to ‘Tyler Durden’.Fight Club – David Fincher (1999) The plot of fight club revolves around a mentally unstable man who forms an underground fighting club in order to use man’s primal emotions and aggressions as a form of therapy and escape from an otherwise mundane world. Truman’s belief that the reality that is manufactured around him is the only reality also symbolises Socrates’ ‘analogy of the cave’ which is explained in the next section. on the pursuit of revealing to the world how society has become postmodern & has subsequently lost its meaning. living a normal life. and was therefore him. is the subject of ‘The Truman Show’. which. Truman’s livelihood is all a simulacrum. completely unaware. Truman Burbank is your regular 20 something man. in as much as his reality has. until Tyler shoots himself & Jack realises that Tyler is simply a social simulacra of himself and everything Tyler has done. The Truman Show – Peter Weir (1998) The Truman Show directly symbolises the ‘hyperreality’ that Baudrillard explains in his theory of postmodernism. The fact that Truman’s reality isn’t actually the real reality represents Baudrillards subtheory of hyperreality & the question of ‘what is real’. By doing this. metaphorically. Eventually. In actual fact. setting up every single instance of Truman’s life including the weather. become the truth in its own right. but ultimately. the traffic. completely manufactured by producers who operate from ‘the moon’. married. how people interact with him & what they do. particular events. Fight club has many postmodern themes. Or so he thinks. we are unable to differentiate between what is real and what is depicted to us as real. the fact that the shock ending of the film that Tyler is a simulacrum (as defined by Baudrillard). a show watched by millions of people. as the viewer finds out at the end of the film. sailing to the edge of the set & finally realising that his reality is in fact manufactured & not reality at all. depicts. Truman realises that something isn’t quite right. who leads him into a world of destruction. Baudrillard’s theory that in today’s society. Truman’s life is a TV program. culminating in him overcoming his fear of the sea. was simply a polarized imagination depicted to Jack by himself. Jack loses all sight of what is real. is actually a psychologically constructed imagination. His ‘home town’ of Seabank is a TV set. 24 hours a day. He. even though it may not be a representation of the true reality in any way. .