Pulp Fiction and Interpretive Reading

After a rainy day viewing of Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction for the umpteenth time, I’ve decided the movie is ripe with blog material.  In particular, the last scene, where a pleasant breakfast shared by hit men Jules and Vincent is interrupted by amateur crooks “Honey Bunny” and “Ringo.”  Jules stops the would-be robbers in their tracks, and in the ensuing standoff he recites the same lines of scripture (Ezekiel 25:17) that he does before an execution:

“Blessed is he who in the name of charity and goodwill shepherds the weak through the valley of 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 my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”

This scene differs from those preceding it because Jules readily admits, “I never gave much thought to what it meant.”  In previous instances he uses the lines merely to intimidate the victim, but after experiencing what he calls “divine intervention” and narrowly avoiding death, he has a change of heart:

“See now I’m thinkin’, maybe it means you’re the evil man. And I’m the righteous man. And Mr. 9 Millimeter 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. Now 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 a shepherd.”

Now, after a drawn out introduction, here are the questions I have.  How much of what we read is open to interpretation, and is there always a correct one and others are incorrect?  In this case the book is the Bible, and Jules thinks he has finally zeroed in on the truth; but is there a single truth to be found or just different opinions held by different people?  I’m not sure what the answers are, but if you haven’t seen Pulp Fiction you should get on that.  And if you have seen it, take a look at today’s forecast and watch it again.

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