8 Problems With Pulp Fiction That Nobody Wants To Admit

2. That "Dead N*gger Storage" Line Is Seriously Uncomfortable

During the scene in which Tarantino's Jimmy berates Jules for bringing a dead body to his house, he falls into an infamous rant in which he uses the term "dead n*gger storage" - not just once, but three times; it's supposed to be one of the film's trademark speeches in that pre-meditated Tarantino fashion. It's also one of Pulp Fiction's lesser moments.

As Michael Green wrote in his essay titled "Cinema, Race and the Zeitgeist: On Pulp Fiction Twenty Years Later," of all the uses of the n-word in Tarantino's movie (and there are a lot scattered across the span of the two and a half hour picture), this particular usage of the word feels the most inappropriate and the most contrived. As Green points out:

"No white man would speak to a black man in this manner; it€™s just Tarantino€™s colourblind fantasy."
He goes on to write that hearing that word coming from Tarantino's mouth, over and over again, evokes a "nails on chalkboard" effect. It is awkward to hear, no matter how many times you watch the scene, and endlessly grating - the sort of line that causes you to shift uncomfortably in your seat, wondering why the writer/director ever thought it was a) a good idea to include this line and b) a good idea to cast himself as the guy who delivers said line.
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Sam Hill is an ardent cinephile and has been writing about film professionally since 2008. He harbours a particular fondness for western and sci-fi movies.