Pulp Fiction and Pulp Fiction

Author: Mirren Chou

Jinan Foreign Language School

Introduction: Pulp Fiction is a movie directed by Quentin Tarantino. This passage will firstly introduce Pulp Fiction and pulp fiction individually, then explain their relationship from several aspects. There is an extra focus paid on the name of the film, Pulp Fiction.

  1. Introduction of pulp fiction.

Pulp fiction refers to an inexpensive fiction magazine printed on cheap and low-quality wood-pulp paper without a delicate and smooth surface. It is published from the early 20th century to the 1950s in America. This type of fiction is usually criticized for its lack of literary values and complexity. Such fictions, however, often achieve substantial popularity for its thrilling plot and appeals to sexuality.

Pulp Fiction, a film released in 1994, is considered as the best of Quentin Taratino. It tells a story related to gangsterdom, and the main characters are Vincent Vega, Mia Wallace, Butch Coolidge, Marsellus Wallace, and so on. It has a longstanding impact on later American films for its excellent execution and quality. Even though numerous outstand movies appeared in the same year, including The Shawshank Redemption, Chunking Express, and To Live, Pulp Fiction still stood out and won several distinguished awards, such as, Palme d’Or in Cannes Film Festival,[1] Oscar in Academy Awards, USA for the best writing,[2] and so on.

  • Relationship between pulp fiction and Pulp Fiction.
    • Form
  • Chapter-style narration.

The narration of Pulp Fiction is not chronological. Instead, it divides the whole movie into three chapters: Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace’s Wife, The Gold Watch, and The Bonnie Situation. The reason for calling them chapters is that the names of them are clearly shown on the screen before each story beginning, informing the audience that the next sections (chapter) will begin. This creative arrangement mirrors the literary structure of paperback pulp fictions, which is arranged in such chapters.

  • Individual pages for words without pictures.

As mentioned above, the filmmakers decide to set several whole pages for only words with similar typeface, colors, and name style to those of pulp fiction.

Fig 1, the title page for The Bonnie Situation.

Take the title page for THE BONNIE SITUATION as an example. The Times New Roman typeface, underline, and capitalization are used to emphasize the title and popular in the titles of pulp magazines. The colors are only black and white, being like the pages of books. Such uses blur the line between a fiction and a movie, while absorbing the advantages of both forms.

  • The style of the poster.

The poster style of the movie is also similar to the cover of the pulp fiction.

Fig 2, The Poster of Pulp Fiction. Fig 3, The pulp fiction cover

For example, there are two pictures shown above. The left one is the poster of Pulp Fiction, and the right one is the cover of a pulp fiction called Smashing Detective Stories. To begin with, the typefaces of the movie and book’s names are both elaborate, and the color matchings are both red and yellow. Adding the color of the photo and painting, the dominant hues are red and blue. According to the chromatic circle, the distance between yellow and blue are the farthest, red is between yellow and blue, and its distance between yellow is comparably small than which between blue. It means that yellow and blue are complementary colors, putting them together will exalt each other but also make the eye tired,[3] while putting red and yellow together will be harmonious and attractive. Given such principles of chromatic arrangement, it’s thus clear how Quentin has deliberately devised flagrant, daring colors to the posters in order to enhance their appeals to the audience both visually and amorously. Besides, even though the picture of the movie poster is a photo and which of the magazine cover is a painting, the styles of them are similar, and the central figures are both sexy girls, which meet the taste of Americans in the 1930s, a period of pulp fiction’s greatest popularity. Lastly, the movie poster has noticeable scuff marks. Actually, the filmmakers create them on purpose to imitate the low-quality paper of pulp fictions.

  • Content.

Via rearranging three chapters, the chronological story is this: A gang boss Marsellus asks his two employed killers Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield to retrieve a suitcase stolen. After finishing this task, Vincent kills their informer by mistake and deals with the dead body with Jules. Then, they have breakfast together. There, a killer couple tries to rob the restaurant but is controlled by Jules. In the evening, Marsellus pays Butch to pretend to lose in the boxing match and requires Vincent to take care of his wife Mia because he will be out of the town for a few days. After that, Vincent accompanies Mia to a bar. At the same time, even though Butch receives the money, he still defeats his opponent and even kills him in the boxing match. Marsellus is so angry about this so he wants to kill Butch. Eventually, Butch escaped with his girlfriend.

Firstly, the theme of this movie is about crime, which is a popular type of pulp fictions. Besides, there are plenty of violence and eroticism elements, like the bloody scenes of killing, the shots of drugs, sexually-appealing girls, and so on. All of these elements are common in pulp fictions.

  • Director.

The director and writer, Quentin Tarantino, is an exceptionally unique and stylistic artist. The most uncommon element of him is he does not major in director in school and therefore did not learn any knowledge about directing films. Instead, while working as a video clerk, he watches plenty of movies and videos, which become his guiders of filmmaking. As a result, his movies are not traditional or academic but reveals an audacious fusion of pop culture and independent arthouse cinema.[4] This experience is similar to which of the writers of pulp fictions. As mentioned in assignment one, pulp fiction writers are initially denied by formal presses, and styles are significantly different from the traditional novel styles.

  • Intension.

In an interview of Quentin Tarantino, he discusses one inspiration of him: “She says it’s as if a couple of movie crazy young French men were in a coffee house, and they’ve taken a banal American crime novel, and they are making a movie out of the novel but on the poetry that they read between the lines. And when I read that, I said that’s my aesthetic, that’s what I want to do and achieve.[5]” This is the intension and meaning of this movie and also the pulp fictions.

Work Cited.

[1] “Pulp Fiction (1994) Awards”. n.d. IMDd. Web. 22 Jun. 2020.

[2] “Pulp Fiction (1994) Awards”. n.d. IMDd. Web. 22 Jun. 2020.

[3] J. C. Adamson. “Physics & Physiology of Color”. The Muser. Web. 2008.

[4] “Quentin Tarantino”. n.d. Rotten Tomatoes. Web. 22 Jun. 2020.

[5] filmSCHOOLarchive. “Quentin Tarantino on his role models” YouTube. Web. 1 Apr. 2013.

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.