Narrative and Genre Features in the Opening Sequence of Pulp Fiction

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Narrative and Genre Features in the Opening Sequence of Pulp Fiction

A narrative is the story itself and generic features are elements expected to be contained within a certain category of film.

Pulp Fiction is labeled as a gangster film; however gangster films follow very precise generic elements such a death, contraband’s, violence, wealth and strong family loyalties.

Pulp Fiction doe follow the above mentioned elements but the locations of the action are unorthodox. Screen gangster activities tend to take place in sophisticated up market places as gangsters tend to be perceived as sophisticated and highly respected and feared individuals in society. This is a generic convention which is
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However these two sit and weigh up the pro’s and con’s before they engage in the activity. The male says

‘…. no-body ever robs restaurants’

This illustrates they are breaking conventions.

In a traditional narrative we expect to see characters that have prominent roles in the film to be in the opening sequence; also you’d expect the story contained in the opening sequence to be followed up. This is not the case in Pulp Fiction. We leave the opening scene in a moment of action. Therefore we are set up with the expectation of what happens next? In a traditional linear narrative this is a question which is likely to be answered. However in Pulp Fiction the next scene contains different characters and a different plot. We do not return to the opening story till the end of the film.

The next scene contains the opening credits. The music is upbeat and compliments the emotional intensity of the two thieves’ situation. The music also suggests we are still with the two thieves’ story.

In the middle of the title track we hear a radio changing dial and a new track plays ‘Jungle Boogie.’ This suggests unpredictability. This is also a subversion of traditions in itself as it doesn’t happen in any other film.

We enter the next scene mid-way into a conversation. We do not know of they’re related to the couple in the restaurant. A