Ideologies of race, class and gender in the film Pulp Fiction

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Introduction

The ideologies of race, class, as well as gender, are some of the issues that this analysis seeks to examine in regards to the movie “Pulp Fiction.” It is imperative to register a concern that the issues highlighted above have been subjects of debate for a long time in the society.  The race is a disturbing matter in the society today, more so in the United States of America where the immigrant communities feel that they are undermined just because of the color of their skin. On the other hand, the class has rendered the majority of the people living in the United States as second-class citizens, such that their voice cannot be heard on important matters. Discrimination against gender is equally an issue, which various thinkers have tried to deal with by doing research on the matter, which has been associated with the traditional cultural arrangements. In examining these matters, this analysis relies on the movie “Pulp Fiction” in an endeavor to demonstrate the extent in which the ideologies of gender are perpetuated.

Thesis Statement

The film “Pulp Fiction” challenges the held beliefs that divide people along the lines of race, gender, and class but puts them together in everything they do, such that women are portrayed as stronger beings who can participate in more tempting tasks like gang-raiding, whereas the blacks are shown as good leaders.

Methodology

The study relies on both primary and secondary sources of information to enlighten the ideas presented in this study. In regards to the intellectual property requirements, all the ideas borrowed from other scholars are rightly acknowledged to ensure the ethical standards. This implies that it is a qualitative study, and mainly delves into the examination of the chosen movie “Pulp Fiction” to present various aspects that indicate the possible perpetuation of the ideologies identified here, which include gender, class, and race. For instance, it is clear that the movie’s structure is fictional, but a complex one. It depicts a violent act and maltreatment of the vulnerable individuals who are victims of discrimination. These are some of the things that are criticized in this analysis to inform the readers about the way they interplay in the video.

Ideologies of Gender

It is fundamentally important to note that every piece of literature communicates particular ideas even in silence (Buckland 11). The pulp fiction movie, which was produced in 1994, has certain effects that it passes on to its audiences. There was a realm of thinking that existed before the production of the video, and the other mindsets, which it instills in the people after its production. However, this was also inspired by certain events that took place at the time. Importantly, there has been a shift in the culture and cinema, which was initially seismic. The film depicts issues that are highly associated with the ideas of gender equality.  As the movies begin, the audiences have a glance if the Pumpkin and Honey we’re having dinner. They engage in a conversation in which they indicate their robbery plan to a restaurant, which indeed would give them more reward. The way they talk to each other suggestively shows that they are partners in love and crime as well. As they execute the plan, they are seen standing up holding their guns, and immediately, Pumpkins pronounces that it is a robbery followed by Honey who screams. This is an indication of gender discrimination as the pronouncement is only made by Pumpkin, and Honey is just reduced to dirty talks sought to scare their victims. However,

Significance of the Study

This study serves its intended purpose and objective of examining the ideologies of race, gender, and class as reflected in the movie (Server 17). The position of this paper is to demonstrate that equality in the highlighted ideas, even though it is a challenge in human society, should be supported and applauded. Indeed, all people are equal, and nobody should be regarded as a lesser being. This analysis, in addition, seeks to inform the audiences about the need to propel these ideologies so that they become agents and ambassadors in supporting the fight against any discrimination of humanity of any given manner. However, not every effect presented is positive per se, as there are regrettable results that perpetuate discrimination in one way or another. For example, the audiences interact with the gratuitous violence and killings of the innocent people just because they belong to individual races. More importantly, Tarantino uses the aspect of extreme violence and bloodshed, as it is in the movie in order to help him in demonstrating the primary subjects of morality and desire (Schippers and Grayson Sapp 30). Even though some researchers think that the extreme violence and killings are meant to entertain the audiences to laugh at the violent scenes, for example, the accidental killing of Marvin by Vincent, the superiority of the characters of the individual race over the others is a regrettable affair in the movie. Nevertheless, there is an ostensible balance of effects, where people perceived in the society to be vulnerable are given a chance to test their strengths.  it is worth appreciating that women have a voice in the film, but in a lower ratio compared to men.

Examining the conversation between Vincent Vega and Marcellus Wallace’s wife, the audiences see the importance of foot rub, an indication of intimacy and care about women. Vincent tells Jules that his boss Marcellus allowed him to take his wife, Mia, for an adventure away from home.  Vincent then proceeds to Lance’s house, his drug seller to buy some heroin to self-medicate. This, in essence, shows an intimidation against men. Going to pick Mia, she is not there but only left a note telling him to get in the room (Geiger and Rutsky, eds 21). On the positive end indeed, the film indicates to the public that women are worth being involved in difficult tasks like robbery, and therefore, should not be undermined or rather perceived as weak people. Even though Vincent tries to convince Jules that the engagement with Mia is not a date, the viewers can relate awkward silences in the restaurant with something different from what Vincent says. Essentially, the ideology of gender is apparent in the movie, because men dominate the action, and are presented as dynamic individuals determined to achieve what they set out to attain, which indeed paints the males as more determined people compared to their female counterparts.

Another unfortunate thing is the depiction of women as insecure people who look for stronger men to lean on for support. Men are dominating the film by undertaking crime, but relatively, there is the equally more powerful woman, Mia who is organized and plans her activities according to her personal will. She smokes cigarettes just like her male counterparts and rests with the gun beside her (Gallafent 17). He is elegant, intelligent, beautiful and highly seductive, which makes her attract influential people. This indicates that even though in some cases women need men, on the other hand, they are able to stand for themselves to be admired by men. Smoking cigarettes while lying on the bed with a gun in front of her without any doubt, is an attribute of a stronger person. Nevertheless, other women are brittle and weak. Honey opens the scene with her husband in their mission to rob the restaurant, but she is unable to keep with the same spirit as her husband. She is very gaudy and hysterical and uses a loud voice while communicating. This would be associated with being meek, and that is why Jules treats her like a doll (Engert and Spencer 19). Her actions are highly distinguished to Mia who is composed and organizes herself uprightly. Therefore, the movie is an important piece that endeavors to create a balance between females and males, as opposed to the prevailing thought that the men are superior to women.

Race

Race has been a serious matter in society where people are judged by their origin. The most worrying cases have been reported in the United States of America where the immigrant communities are discriminated against and denied access to important privileges like other citizens. Examining the ideas presented in the film, one would see that Tarantino is trying to deal with the matter of race by challenging the poor phenomenon that considers the blacks inferior to the whites (Allan 190). At the beginning of the film, a black man is a leader and controls the affairs. Jules drives the car and does various leadership roles while with Vincent, who is a white. While moving, Jules dominates the talking as they undertake their operations. The black man being in charge actually challenges the thought that only the white Americans should dominate global affairs.  In this dictum, the movie acts as a voice to the blacks who have felt discriminated against due to the color of their skin. Another important thing is the way in which the duo does things in a friendly and ordinary manner. In various arts and pieces of literature, the White has been portrayed as the leaders, stable individuals with the outstanding balance that places them ahead of their black counterparts. The movie challenges this ideological assumption and informs the viewers that African-Americans are valuable enough to be visible. This in line with the portrayal of gender equality, Tarantino endeavored to avoid any form of division in the society.

Class

Even though the issue of class is not much open, it is worth appreciating the effort by the artist to communicate the need for unity among the people of the United States of America. In most cases, there is division between the whites and the blacks in the country, and as a result, the black Africans have always been perceived to be poor people associated with crime and unable to offer anything worthwhile. Even though there are instances when slight divisions are visible, the good news in the video is that all people are equal regardless of their race or gender (Aronson 13). The film is a good representation of all the people who interact with it regardless of where they come from. The choice to use bloody crime fits well with what he communicated to the audiences. He showed that the notion that crime and gang are only associated with the blacks is not justifiable, but only a tool of discrimination. The film also indicated that not men alone are involved in these crimes, but women too can. This challenges the thought that women are the only object of sex and entertainment to people. Therefore, it is an excellent piece to interact with for a better society.

Summary of the Events That Took Place during the Time

The period of 1994 was a year associated with various manifestations, some that augured well with what is depicted in the movie. For example, Kurt Cobain was found killed by unknown assailants in his apartment. Similarly, OJ Simpson escaped from detention, and The Jacksonville Jaguars was made an official football team.  That is the same year when the movie was produced and addressed some of the societal imbalances by restoring the hope of societal unity.

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Conclusion

This analysis has shown that the film was tailored to restore equality in gender, race, and class. As depicted herein, it challenges the held ideologies that divide people along these lines. The movie’s structure is fictional though, but it is also a complex one. It depicts a violent act and maltreatment of the vulnerable individuals who are victims of discrimination. Tarantino uses the aspect of extreme violence and bloodshed, as it is in the movie to help him in demonstrating the principal subjects of morality and desire. Some thinkers argue that the extreme violence and killings are meant to entertain the audiences to laugh about the ferocious scenes. However, there are more important messages that the movie passes across than just the entertainment aspect. As indicated herein, it is a voice of women, who have been considered weaker gender for a long time. It also shows that African-Americans can be pace setters in important matters.

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  1. Allan, Keith. “When is a slur not a slur? The use of nigger in ‘Pulp Fiction’.” Language Sciences 52 (2015): 187-199.
  2. Aronson, Linda. 21st Century Screenplay: A comprehensive guide to writing tomorrow’s films. Allen & Unwin, 2010.
  3. Buckland, Warren. Film studies. Teach Yourself, 2008.
  4. Engert, Stefan, and Alexander Spencer. “International relations at the movies: Teaching and learning about international politics through film.” Perspectives: review of Central European affairs 1 (2009): 83-103.
  5. Gallafent, Edward. Quentin Tarantino. Routledge, 2014.
  6. Geiger, Jeffrey, and R. L. Rutsky, eds. Film analysis: a Norton reader. WW Norton & Company, 2013.
  7. Schippers, Mimi, and Erin Grayson Sapp. “Reading Pulp Fiction: Femininity and power in second and third wave feminist theory.” Feminist Theory 13.1 (2012): 27-42.
  8. Server, Lee. Encyclopedia of pulp fiction writers. Infobase Publishing, 2014.
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