In this section of our Colossus Movie Guide for Pulp Fiction, we will explain the film’s ending.
- John Travolta – Vincent Vega
- Samuel L. Jackson – Jules Winnfield
- Uma Thurman – Mia Wallace
- Bruce Willis – Butch Coolidge
- Ving Rhames – Marsellus Wallace
- Harvey Keitel – Winston Wolfe
- Tim Roth – Ringo
- Amanda Plummer – Yolanda
- Eric Stoltz – Lance
- Rosanna Arquette – Jody
- Christopher Walken – Captain Koons
The end of Pulp Fiction explained
The final scene of Pulp Fiction completes the narrative circle, taking us back to the Hawthorne Grill diner where we were first introduced to the characters of Ringo (aka Pumpkin) and Yolanda (aka Honey Bunny). These two are in the midst of breakfast, discussing the merits of robbing restaurants instead of their usual targets. Convinced of the idea’s potential, they stand up and initiate the robbery, causing panic among the patrons.
Meanwhile, at a corner booth, Jules and Vincent are enjoying their breakfast, seemingly oblivious to the unfolding chaos. However, as Ringo starts collecting wallets from the customers, he approaches Jules’ table, unaware of who he’s dealing with. When Ringo demands Jules hand over his wallet and the briefcase, Jules calmly hands over his wallet but refuses to give up the briefcase.
An intrigued Ringo asks Jules what’s inside the briefcase. Jules responds vaguely, maintaining the mystery that has surrounded the briefcase throughout the movie. But Jules finally gives in and shows Ringo (but not us) whatever treasure lies within the briefcase.
While Ringo is distracted by the golden glow, Jules disarms Ringo, turning the tables on the would-be robbers. With his gun pointed at Ringo, Jules initiates a conversation, asking him to sit down. Yolanda becomes more frantic, but Jules manages to keep her calm, reassuring her that he just wants to talk.
Jules begins discussing his recent epiphany, explaining how he’s reconsidering his life of crime. He tells Ringo that he used to recite a Bible verse, Ezekiel 25:17, as a cool thing to say before killing someone. However, he’s now trying to understand the real meaning of those words.
Here’s his exact quote:
There’s a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.” Now… I been sayin’ that shit for years. And if you ever heard it, that meant your ass. You’d be dead right now. I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this mornin’ made me think twice. See, now I’m thinking: maybe it means you’re the evil man. And I’m the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here… he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. And I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.
As Jules shares his newfound perspective, Ringo appears captivated and disarmed in more ways than one. Instead of resorting to violence, Jules chooses to let Ringo and Yolanda leave the diner with his cash, thus defusing a potentially deadly situation.
After Ringo and Yolanda leave, Jules and Vincent casually get up to leave the diner, discussing Jules’ decision to quit his job and “walk the earth.”
In the climactic final scene of Pulp Fiction, several themes are brilliantly encapsulated, bringing depth and closure to the storyline. The diner sequence, which could be seen as a mere act of chance or divine intervention, allows for Jules’ transformation, the power of choice, and the concept of chance and divine intervention to come into play. Through Jules’ interaction with Ringo, we witness his profound character transformation from a ruthless hitman to a shepherd-like figure seeking redemption. Concurrently, we’re introduced to the significant theme of choice and how it can dramatically shape an individual’s life. Lastly, the scene invites viewers to ponder on the role of chance and possibly divine intervention in shaping our narratives, adding another layer of intrigue to the film’s conclusion. The following sections delve deeper into these aspects, unravelling the complexity of the film’s ending.
Section 1: Jules’ Transformation
As the final sequence of Pulp Fiction unfolds, a significant takeaway is the transformation of Jules’ character. In the midst of the chaotic hold-up, Jules becomes a shepherd, figuratively guiding Ringo towards a different path. This reflects his own personal transformation, which is a product of his deep introspection and the profound moment of grace he experienced earlier.
Jules could have easily responded to the threat with violence—a course of action that he wouldn’t have hesitated to take in the past. However, he opts for a path of non-violence, demonstrating the depth of his transformation. He utilizes his knowledge and wisdom, using it as a tool for negotiation rather than intimidation. It’s a significant departure from the ruthless hitman we’re introduced to at the start of the movie.
The dialogue between Jules and Ringo is crucial to understanding Jules’ transformation. His explanation of the Ezekiel 25:17 verse signifies a turning point. The verse, once a tool of intimidation, becomes a reflection of his existential crisis and his quest for redemption. He shares this newfound interpretation with Ringo, offering him a chance to reconsider his life choices, much like he has.
Jules’ transformation in Pulp Fiction serves as a stark contrast to his partner Vincent, which drives home the significance of their respective decisions. Vincent, unlike Jules, remains rooted in his life as a hitman, choosing to ignore the moments of grace that could potentially lead to his own redemption. This refusal to evolve eventually leads to his demise.
A parallel can be drawn between Jules’ transformation and the journey of Butch, another pivotal character. Just as Jules seeks redemption, Butch also seeks a path out of his destructive lifestyle. Butch’s decision to save Marcellus, the man who wants him dead, mirrors Jules’ decision to spare Ringo. Both these actions are crucial turning points, indicating their desire to break free from a life of violence and seek redemption.
These contrasting outcomes for the characters underline one of the movie’s central themes: the capacity for change and redemption, even within a seemingly inescapable cycle of violence and crime.
Section 2: The Power of Choice
The diner scene in Pulp Fiction also highlights the significant theme of choice and how it shapes an individual’s life. Ringo and Yolanda choose to rob the diner, Jules chooses to engage with them non-violently, and in the end, Ringo chooses to take Jules’ offer, escaping with the cash rather than escalating the situation.
Jules’ conversation with Ringo showcases how an individual can always make a different choice, regardless of their circumstances. Jules invites Ringo to consider the path he’s on and whether he wants to continue on it. This message is powerfully encapsulated when Jules states, “The truth is, you’re the weak, and I am the tyranny of evil men. But I’m trying. I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.” This line emphasizes the power of conscious choice in seeking transformation and redemption.
Moreover, the choices made in this scene underscore the unpredictability of life, a recurring theme throughout the movie. Characters’ lives twist and turn based on the choices they make, often leading to unexpected outcomes. The diner scene is a testament to the fact that even in the face of the most dire situations, the choice to change one’s course can still exist.
Pulp Fiction expertly utilizes non-linear storytelling to further emphasize the unpredictability of life, effectively mirroring how the characters’ choices influence the course of their lives. This narrative technique enhances the film’s theme of choice and unpredictability, subtly reminding viewers that decisions can often have unexpected consequences.
The film’s non-linear structure underlines the chaotic and unpredictable nature of life, mirroring how disjointed and unpredictable our experiences can often be. Just as life doesn’t always follow a linear trajectory, the film’s story doesn’t unfold in a straightforward manner. Decisions made in one moment can echo into the future (or past, in terms of film sequence), often in unexpected ways, which the non-linear structure portrays effectively.
Section 3: The Role of Chance and Divine Intervention
Throughout the movie, Pulp Fiction plays with the concept of chance and divine intervention. The ending scene brilliantly encapsulates these themes. While it may seem coincidental that Jules and Vincent happen to be at the diner at the exact time of the robbery, this coincidence creates an opportunity for the themes of redemption and transformation to come to the forefront.
This moment can be seen as an instance of divine intervention, the universe aligning events to allow Jules to actively demonstrate his transformation. Similarly, the choice Jules presents to Ringo can also be interpreted as a chance for Ringo to change his path, should he view it as a moment of divine intervention in his own life.
The ending’s brilliance lies in its ambiguity, allowing for multiple interpretations. It doesn’t provide clear answers but invites the viewers to question and explore. The scene can be interpreted as a mere coincidence, an act of divine intervention, or a mix of both. It encourages the viewer to reflect on the role of chance, choice, and possibly a higher power in the trajectory of our lives, and how these elements intertwine to create our individual narratives.
The contents of the briefcase, which remain hidden from the viewers throughout the film, play a significant role in Pulp Fiction‘s exploration of chance and divine intervention. The allure of the briefcase and the undisclosed reward it promises add an element of intrigue, but its true significance is arguably more symbolic than tangible.
The briefcase can be seen as a symbol of desire or ambition, driving the actions of many characters in the film. Yet, despite its significant influence, the fact that its contents are never revealed might suggest that the true value lies in the journey and choices made along the way, rather than the end goal. This resonates with the film’s emphasis on the power of choice and personal transformation.
Moreover, the mysterious glow emanating from the briefcase when opened has often been interpreted as a sign of divine presence, adding to the theme of divine intervention. The choice to keep the contents a mystery invites viewers to reflect on their interpretation of the divine or fate, emphasizing the movie’s exploration of chance, choice, and possibly a higher power.
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