‘The Power of the N-Word in Tarantino’s Films: Black Intolerance and/or White Audacity?’

Resumen

Quentin Tarantino is a controversial figure, whose trademark use of offensive language and explicit violence have, in particular, been subject to censure. A source of consternation for his detractors is the constant use of the N-word. In this article, I offer a detailed examination of the use of the N-word by white people in a broad range of discursive contexts.  I begin with a quantitative analysis in the eight films directed by Tarantino –Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Four Rooms (1995), Kill Bill (vol. I & II) (2003 & 2004), Death Proof (2007), Inglorious Basterds (2009), and Django Unchained(2013) – followed by choice  phrases extracted from those films in which the presence of the N-word is most palpable.

 

https://doi.org/10.17811/arc.68.2018.241-264
PDF (English)

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Filmography

Reservoir Dogs (1992) D: Quentin Tarantino. P: Lawrence Bender, Harvey Keitel. SC: Q. Tarantino, Roger Avary. Du: 102’ Live Entertainment.

Pulp Fiction (1994) D: Quentin Tarantino. P: Lawrence Bender. SC: Q. Tarantino, Roger Avary. Du: 154’. Miramax Films.

Four Rooms: The Man from Hollywood (1995). D: Quentin Tarantino. P: Lawrence Bender, Heidi Vogel, Paul Hellerman, Scott Lambert. SC: Q. Tarantino. Du: 97’ (whole film) Color. A Band Apart-Miramax.

Jackie Brown (1997). D: Quentin Tarantino. P: Lawrence Bender, Paul Hellerman. SC: Q. Tarantino (adapted from Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch). Du: 151’. Color. Lawrence Bender Productions-A Band Apart-Miramax- Mighty Afrodite Productions.

Kill Bill vol. 1 (2003) D: Quentin Tarantino. P: Lawrence Bender. SC: Q. Tarantino. Du: 111’. A Band Apart-Miramax.

Kill Bill vol. 2 (2004) D: Quentin Tarantino. P: Lawrence Bender. SC: Q. Tarantino. Du: 136’. A Band Apart-Miramax.

Grindhouse: Death Proof (2007) D: Quentin Tarantino. P: Elizabeth Avellan, Robert Rodríguez, Erica Steinberg and Quentin Tarantino. SC: Q. Ta

Tarantino. Du: 95’. The Weinstein Company.

Inglorious Basterds (2009). D: Quentin Tarantino. P: A Band Apart-A Zehnte Babelsberg Film GmbH. SC: Q. Tarantino. Du: 146’. Universal-The Weinstein Company.

Django Unchained (2012). D: Quentin Tarantino. P: A Band Apart. SC: Quentin Tarantino. Du: 165’. P: Sony Pictures/The Weinstein Company.

Internet Sources

http://www.daveyd.com/nigaornigpol.html

http://www.studentpulse.com/articles/357/3/the-n-word-the-use-and-development-of-the-term-nigger-in-african-american-culture-as-depicted-in-the-plays-of-august-wilson