The History Of Postmodernism

276 views 9 pages ~ 2296 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

A form of art known as postmodernism references to ideas popularized in the 20th century. Since the notions largely come from cultural and critical movements that began in the 1970s, they diverge from contemporary artistic trends. In order to influence their audience in a particular way, artists and filmmakers purposefully include several styles and currents into their work. People who can recognize the explicit allusions to earlier ideas in works of art build a relationship with postmodernism. As a result of the arguments about whether postmodernism is simply a question of social control, it is a contentious issue in the modern world. Quentin Tarantino creative works are immersed in the movie world, and not applicable in the real world. The film, "'Pulp Fiction'" is a quintessential postmodern film that has contributed significantly to the understanding of the relevance of postmodernism in the world today. This essay will, therefore, explore postmodernism assertions in 'Pulp Fiction' regarding the establishing a connection between Theology and postmodernism. The postmodernism claims regarding ambiguity will thus be analysed in the film. Also, it creates the need for narratives in a bid to perceive the flow of events in the movie. Finally, a connection will be secured to the role of the Scripture in defining the meaning of the world, shaping historical events and our lives in general.

Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction has dramatically dominated the contemporary American Cinema over the last two decades. Since the release of the film in 1994, movies have been produced imitating the idea and style behind 'Pulp Fiction.' Movies that took after this creativity include The Boondock Saints (1999) and Lucky Number Seiven (2006) among others. This engraved an eternal impact in Hollywood films as Quentin Tarantino will forever be remembered for his works. Renowned critics such as Roger Ebert described 'Pulp Fiction' to be among the most influential films of the decade.

Although Quentin Tarantino earlier films such as the Reservoir Dogs were also ground-breaking, it is Pulp Fiction that established its creator as influential and hence legendary across the world. He exhibited his affection for diverse genres of films in his productions. He played tribute to each of the styles by creatively using conventional and blending skills to add allure to his movies. He did not replicate the idea entirely but added refreshing stylistic elements that completely rebranded the ideas. Additionally, the film by Quentin Tarantino is equipped with pop culture minutiae coupled with a variety of references to different movies (Bertelsen, 2000). The way he thoroughly references his works is a revelation of his cinematic knowledge and therefore a clean way to avoid melees in the film industry.

Viewing of Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, offset an assortment of photographic and rational provocations. The film incorporates a multi-faceted faction that has led to a connection between the troublesome. It has hence received a boundless acknowledgment from groups of critics and the film business itself. The self-reflexivity, whimsical structure, and broad utilization of regard and pastiche within the film have driven pundits to portray it as a principal example of a postmodern movie. The film conjured by Quentin Tarantino is by far the most crisp and brightly lit wonderland. The old time-noir, delicately brings out the brooding melancholy of death scenes and the melancholic mood (Tarantino, Avary, & Bender, 1994).

The vista of Quentin Tarantino's at which he composed Pulp Fiction was postmodernist. He displayed the story out of grouping. It is organized around three particular yet interconnected storylines-in Tarantino's origination, Vincent Vega. He is the principal actor in the first story. The second story is dominated by Butch, and lastly, Vincent's kindred and Jules Winnfield are lead the third story. Albeit every storyline is focused on different narrations, they tend to converge at different scenes hence creation confusion. The film begins with a coffee shop operated by "Pumpkin" and "Nectar Bunny." They are robbers planning a heist. At that point the narration on Vincent, Jules, Butch, and other vital characters, such as Marsellus Wallace and the wife, Mia. This scene also captures Winston Wolf, and a finally wraps up at the cafe where it all began. Vincent and Jules, who have halted in for a nibble, get involved in the heist (Tarantino, Avary, & Bender, 1994).

The three stories, epitomized by what is maybe best depicted as an introduction and preface at the earliest is used to reference the end of the film. The scenes are mixed up with each other such that the audience is only able to understand the storyline through familiar concepts and convictions integrated. These are the metanarratives that discuss and expounds on postmodernism alongside the accounts that alludes to human perfectibility towards metanarratives which are temporary, unexpected and brief. Also, the accounts which give a premise to the activities of particular gatherings adjacent to conditions. The stories expose us to different circumstances the characters are caught up in and in turn associates the situation to real life.

The concept of postmodernism is quite flexible hence predisposed to justifying different ideologies and phenomena. In this paper, the perspective of the art of theology will be used to approach postmodernism. Four trends in modern art are outwardly rejected in postmodernism. This includes Modernist art. This art that captures the nature of art. In a similar way that Modern philosophy was initiated when Descartes (1961) turned his consciousness upon itself and focused on the foundations of thought so did modern art. Another trend rejected in postmodernism is the concept of avant-garde alongside the notion of artistic progress. For instance, pure cinema aims to capture the nature of cinema only directly. Consequently, postmodernism also rejects the ideology of modern art towards realism and the classical theory of representation. The last trend, which stems out as the most important is the purpose. This is the idea that artist develops meaning within autonomous self and is further expressed by instituting order in a meaningless nature.

Postmodernism, on the other hand, is a development in humanities described by a disavowal of target truth and comprehensive social account. It stresses the part of dialect, control relations, and inspirations. As far as for talk, postmodern rationalists look at writings as far as the thought processes of the individual making it. It underlines the part of the dialect, and of energy relations associated with gender, sexuality, race, and class. The postmodernist idea is a purposeful take-off from current methodologies that had beforehand been prevailing. Since the term postmodernism was first utilized as a part of the 1870's it has repudiated itself and its subsidiaries are connected. It is a class and a marvel in the examination of contemporary culture. It can be seen in films like Pulp Fiction as well as in music, design, and writing (Constable, 2015).

The universe of postmodernism, much like the imagination set up by Quentin Tarantino in Pulp Fiction, is places everything as conceivable and nothing is sure. There is no guarantee of something happening as planned. For postmodernism, art is art is considered a social construction. This leaves a chance for artists to make any art as there are many societies. Therefore there is no specific way of gauging if one is better than the other. In that vein, postmodernism does not mean privilege elitists or avant-garde but strongly opposes the institution of an autonomous self and the imposition of absolute meaning (Noys & Murphy, 2016). Postmodernism exposes merely the creativity as a representation and takes pride in the artifice of artistic representations. The films by Quentin Tarantino is splattered with these aspects of postmodernism, the most obvious being Pulp Fiction.

According to Walters (2009), Pulp Fiction is apparently an interpretation of ambiguity. This is depicted at the beginning of the film, at the opening title. The film presents a variety definitions of the word pulp. This is an effort to emphasize the possibilities of the word having different meanings. This is followed by a discussion of ambiguous events that could not be miracles. The characters also have unstructured conversations jumping from one topic to the next. They revel along the lines of cultural influences on language to social norms regarding sexuality. This is evident in the "Royal Cheese Scene" and "foot massage" dialog consecutively. Pulp Fiction is therefore inclined to force the audience to think along the lines of inescapable interpretations and how original meaning is established from ambiguous occurrences in daily life. In this, Pulp Fiction is a quintessential postmodern film.

Furthermore, 'Pulp Fiction' is detonated as a postmodern film due to the unconventional narrative structure of the film. Narrative forms a critical aspect of postmodern art. Jean François Lyotard, a French philosopher defined postmodernism in his seminal work "The Postmodern Condition." He described postmodernism to be an "incredulity to metanarrative." He, however, presents enough reason to disbar narratives entirely but stresses on the fact that narratives are inescapable. It is in this assertion that the role of narratives is formed (Denby, 2007). Through narratives one can interpret all the truth claims. A metanarrative is pseudo-truths but does not offer the absolute interpretations of the claims. They, therefore, take an objective stand rather than narratives. This is however challenged in the examples by Lyotard. In worldviews such as Darwinism.

This worldview claims to have a complete system of facts and reveals facts that are acceptable to any individual with a rational outlook. This is subsequently disputed by postmodernism as it infers objectivity to be a limiting factor to exploring interpretations in reality. Postmodernism considers the world as ambiguous and a field to explore without any form of limitations. This can also be described in other words as "Pulp." It a soft mass that can be manipulated to form something meaningful depending on the person giving it meaning. Narratives are essential in understanding different occasions and activities. An activity or action is not distinguishable from mere body movement without establishing the narrative behind it. All in all, a narrative is quite critical because events are always ambiguous.

There are no direct quotes from the Scriptures used in Pulp Fiction. However, the possibility of a grand narrative that provides meaning to everything would be through God. Christians are wary of postmodernism as they see it as a counter-argument directed to all claims of truth. Christians are fixated on metanarratives, however, postmodernist challenge the notion due to the impossibility of having "God's eye view." If God exists, on the contrary, then there is a chance in the existence of "God's eye-view." If the Scriptures reveal the truth relative to God's views, then a metanarrative that guides all activities is amidst us. A loophole is however presented in this argument since the connection to the other minute metanarratives will be vested in the hands of man. The Scriptures is not all inclusive of how everything should be done (Gerholm, 1988).

The occurrence of new events follows a new narrative and cannot be tailored to fit in an existing one. The past is continuously reinterpreted to establish a suitable narrative. The Scriptures view unintelligible suffering to be evil. It does not match the narrative of God's providence and love. Christians respond to this with the hope that a more inclusive narrative exists such that all things become lucid. For instance, in Pulp Fiction, Marsellus cannot overlook the car crash and consider himself innocent. His narrative corresponds to that of Butch who was coerced into a fight and later threatened with death. Moreover, we are incapable of forming personal interpretations within the conceptual norms of our culture. The cultural definition is dominant in people's lives as much as most of the time people do not identify themselves with them.

The need for a narrative in the film is justified as three stores are depicted as one. The meaning of the film also varies according to one's perspectives. If one focuses on all the three stories, then a different outlook will be derived. Similarly is one view the film as a single story, it will be difficult to establish the meaning as the thoughts are jumbled up. This is a typical interpretation of theologians who consider postmodernism as nihilistic. This point of view argues that the world is a meaningless pulp and implores individual to recognize any narrative presented to them as fictitious. Also, Quentin Tarantino may be able to establish meaning in the disjoint structures of the film, but he would also emphasize on the fact that events without any form of interpretation are meaningless.

Needless to say, the message in the film is outwardly incompatible with Christianity. Christians get assurance from the fact that God is in control of the world He created. It is therefore with the hope that God is guiding the narrative towards a meaningful end. Consequently, in a non-linear interpretation, 'Pulp Fiction' can be easily read as three stories. This way one can decipher the narratives which are straightforward linear narratives. Also, a clear distinction is made in the film by giving each story a separate title. The film, therefore, reveals that despite the world seeming like disorganized and meaningless, there is meaning and order. This is occasionally hard to discern because of the connection between the broader narrative contexts and the smaller narrative context.


Bertelsen, E. (2000). "Serious Gourmet Shit": Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Journal of Literary Studies, 15(1-2), 8-32.

Constable, C. (2015). Postmodernism and Film: Rethinking Hollywood's Aesthetics. Columbia University Press.

Denby, D. (2007). The new disorder: Adventures in film narrative. The New Yorker, 5, 80-5.

Descartes, R., & De Spinoza, B. (1961). Rules for the Direction of the Mind (Vol. 1). Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.

Gerholm, T. (1988). On ritual: a postmodernist view. Ethnos, 53(3-4), 190-203.

Lyotard, J. F. (1984). The postmodern condition: A report on knowledge (Vol. 10). U of Minnesota Press.

Noys, B., & Murphy, T. S. (2016). Introduction: Old and New Weird. Genre, 49(2), 117-134.

Tarantino, Q., Avary, R., & Bender, L. (1994). Pulp fiction. London: Faber & Faber.

Walters, B. (2009). Debating Inglourious Basterds. Film Quarterly, 63(2), 19-22.


April 06, 2023

Art History

Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise 20Th Century
Verified writer

"SarahPro has helped me to edit my research paper that was over 50 pages long. It was a lengthy paper that she has brought to perfectness. Love how Sarah got all my concerns addressed. Fast and accurate!"

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro

Similar Categories