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Literary Devices Utilized in Thomas Foster's Book "How to Read Literature Like a Professor" Put to Use in "Pulp Fiction"

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The only real way to truly understand a story is to understand all aspects of a story and their meanings. The same goes for movies, as they are all just stories being acted out. In Thomas Foster's book, “How to Read Literature Like a Professor”, Foster explains in detail the numerous ingredients of a story. He discusses almost everything that can be found in any given piece of literature. The devices discussed in Foster's book can be found in most movies as well, including in Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic, “Pulp Fiction”. This movie is a complicated tale that follows numerous characters involved in intertwining stories. Tarantino utilizes many devices to make “Pulp Fiction” into an excellent film. In this essay, I will demonstrate how several literary devices described in Foster's book are put to use in Tarantino’s film, “Pulp Fiction”, including quests, archetypes, food, and violence.

In Foster's book, quests are described as being a very popular device used frequently in literature. Foster says that a quest has five parts; a quester, a place to go, a stated reason to go there, challenges and trials, and the real reason to go (Foster 3). In “Pulp Fiction”, many quests are present as each character has their own voyage. These separate voyages all revolve around one main quest, Marsellus Wallace's quest to get his briefcase back. One of the mini stories revolving around the main quest is the story of Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega. Vincent Vega has been asked by Marsellus Wallace to take his wife, Mia out on the town while he is away. Vincent has heard a story about a man who gave Mia a foot-rub and was afterward thrown out of a window by Marsellus, so he is rightfully paranoid about his quest. Vincent is the quester in this m...


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...icance of spirituality in the film.
In conclusion, many other devices mentioned in Foster's book were employed throughout the film “Pulp Fiction”. However, the most prominent devices were quests, archetypes, food, and violence. These devices were used to make the story more interesting, easier for the audience to relate to, and to make the film a little deeper than most. Any great film or literary work is bound to include the devices mentioned in Foster's book. In fact, it would be almost impossible to make a movie or story without them.


Works Cited

Foster, Thomas C. How to Read Literature like a Professor: a Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading between the Lines. New York: Quill, 2003. Print.
Pulp Fiction. Dir. Tarantino Quentin. Perf. John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer. Miramax / Buena Vista Home Video, 1994. DVD.


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