RE: How have critics interpreted the ending of Pulp Fiction?

What are some critical interpretations and theories about the ending of Pulp Fiction? What is the general consensus about how the movie wraps up?

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The ending of Quentin Tarantino's film Pulp Fiction is quite thought-provoking and has sparked a variety of interpretations from critics and viewers alike. 1. Display of Repentance and Redemption: The dominant interpretation revolves around the theme of repentance and redemption. Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) decides to quit his gangster life after surviving a supposed 'miracle', expressing his plan to "walk the Earth" in search of a new purpose. On another hand, Vincent (John Travolta) disregards the incident as mere chance, continuing his lifestyle, which ultimately leads to his demise. Therefore, the critics see the contrast between the paths taken by Jules and Vincent as evidence that Pulp Fiction is ultimately a moral tale about redemption. 2. Cyclical Nature of Violence: Another theory around this plot emphasizes the cyclical and repetitive nature of violence. The story ends where it started - in the diner with Honey Bunny and Pumpkin - completing a full circle. This circular storyline could represent the never-ending cycle of violence, where acts of violence lead to more violence. 3. Non-linear Narrative and Chaos: Some critics mention the chaotic and non-linear storyline. There's no traditional narrative arc, and it ends in a way where the viewers have to piece together the chronological order. They argue that the structure is representative of the chaotic world that the characters inhabit. 4. Meta-Cinematic Element: Some others viewed the film-ending as a meta-cinematic element that underscores Quentin Tarantino's unique filmmaking style. Breaking the fourth wall, looping back to the restaurant scene, the film forces viewers to reflect on how Pulp Fiction is self-conscious of its existence as a film. The general consensus about the conclusion of Pulp Fiction recognizes Tarantino's genius storytelling. The ending provides closure but simultaneously leaves an open-ended narrative which allows its audience to interpret based on their perceptions. It's a smart commentary on morality, violence, chaos, and cinema itself. However, like all pieces of art, Pulp Fiction means different things to different viewers, and that's a part of its enduring appeal.
Answered on September 16, 2023.
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