Hyperreal Violence And Racial Stereotypes In Pulp Fiction

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Part of the beauty of modern cinema lies within its ability to visually depict the culture and society of any given period of time; it can combine history or science with action and emotion to create an authentic ambience. Not all of these depictions, however, are accurate portrayals of the reality of the situations featured in the given film; in those cases, the work reflects a version of the truth altered by the filmmaker and accepted by the audience. In Quentin Tarantino’s film Pulp Fiction, the use of hyperreal violence and racial stereotypes reflects upon the attitudes of modern American society.
By the 1990’s, a number of filmmakers had taken to hyperreal violence for use as a critical cinematic device. Though Tarantino was not the
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Race plays a large part in the film, as seen in multiple scenes that use it to define the characters; for instance, the audience can clearly see The Wolf writing the words “black” and “white” next to Jules’s and Vincent’s names on his notepad. The image of men of color through the eyes of Pulp Fiction fits stereotypes surrounding the mob culture that characterizes the film. However, the use of such stereotypes only serves to prolong their existence and continue to distinguish members of the population. The most prominent example of this is through the character of Marsellus Wallace, a mob leader and drug dealer with a network of associates and hitmen. When Jules asks a young man to describe Wallace, he simply replies with “’…he’s black…and he’s bald’” (Pulp Fiction). Characters look down upon his marriage to Mia, again acknowledging the social taboo of marrying outside of one’s race, while simultaneously treating her as Wallace’s prized possession. Despite the many uncomfortable incidents where characters attribute all of Wallace’s traits to his race, Tarantino also subjects him to humiliation and exploitation in a sadistic rape scene where the perpetrators choose Wallace specifically because he is black. This display of white supremacy continues until Butch steps in to save Wallace, further …show more content…
While Pulp Fiction and other popular films can reflect the beliefs and values of a society, they can also have a tremendous amount of influence on the people in them. Popular media can heavily impact the view of what is acceptable and what is not in a society. When films glorify immoral or prejudiced ideas, they only popularize them more and promote negative or harmful behavior. Filmmakers should be cautious of how they portray the more controversial aspects of a culture; in the case of Pulp Fiction, Tarantino ends up promoting violence and racism as legitimate sources of

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