Study Guide

Pulp Fiction Violence

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"Violence." Probably the first word you think of when someone says "Tarantino." But it's really the quality of violence that counts…let us explain that so we don't sound like a deranged serial killer. The violence in Pulp Fiction is very strange. At times it's unsettling, sometimes gut-wrenching; it can be exciting like an action flick, but it can also leave you on the floor laughing. Watch the movie with other people (yes, you don't have to see movies alone) and notice the dead silence during the scenes of Marsellus' rape and the startled chuckles when Marvin gets his head blown off. Violence is a means to many ends in Pulp Fiction (especially the character's ends) and it's not just for us to gawk at. It's for us to think about; so let's get started.

Questions About Violence

  1. Not all violence is graphic. What are some examples of non-physical violence displayed by the film?
  2. Is violence ever warranted? What about the most extreme violence that results in the death of others?
  3. Can violence help us determine "good" characters from "bad" characters? What types of people are violent in the film?

Chew on This

Jules and Vincent are unaffected by the violence they create unless it inconveniences or threatens them personally.

The only thing that could get Jules to renounce violence was a religious revelation.

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