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“The joy of discovery is certainly the liveliest that the mind of man can ever feel”

- Claude Bernard -

Final Year Major Project;

The Psychological Postmodernist works of Tarantino: Is the American man capable of achieving self-actualization?

"Throughout my studies of Postmodernist works, I have been uncovering the main discourses and considerations that are applied upon analyzation of text, film and theatre. Postmodernism itself is a broad and expansive identifier for media, with strong roots to Philosophy and Sociology; which in itself provides challenges to truly define ‘what Postmodernism is’. Despite the large amount of theological discourse with consideration of the Philosophical and Sociological, I recognized that there was a distinct lack of inclusion of the Psychological. Many discussions of Postmodernist media revolve around its’ societal suggestions, and commentary, or addresses aspects of Philosophy such as Nihilism, and Existentialism. However, there is rarely a discussion of the psyche of the self; whether it be of a character, or the author. One could argue that Psychology has no place in the position of textual analysis, and for a large part this may be true. Contrary to that, I stand to believe, that especially in the case of character examination, an expression of Psychology can elevate and provide for deeper understandings; most critically including Personality Psychology and comprehending Postmodernist Publications."  


"Chapter 1 will provide an expansive background into the key theologies that will be presented and applied within this article; covering first the Psychological discourse and following with an informative analysis of key Postmodernist techniques and ideologies which are consistent within Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. The processes of Personality and Motivation, the differences between and the apparent links between the two will be assessed and appraised to conclude that for this article, they will be presented as a completed discourse in one, ultimately falling under the term ‘Personality Psychology’. I will be addressing the works of Abraham Maslow, and an article by Corr, DeYoung, and McNaughton to initially tackle the problematic suggestion proposed by Vollmer, of Postmodernism causing the progressing disinterest in Personality Psychology, providing evidence to suggest that other reasons may also be cause. Following this I will begin to address some of the most prominent Postmodernist techniques that have been utilized by Tarantino and could further suggest towards the theological premise I offer. Such techniques include the addressal of a form of meta-fictionality, known as mise en abyme; which is a narrative construction that is used as a tool to distract the audience from the true nature or commentary of the piece. With further inclusion to that of of particularly Nihilistic characters, for which the definition and examples are provided.

    Chapter 2 will attempt to apply the above theological processes in an analysis of Pulp Fiction. It will systematically approach the characters of Jules and Vincent, deconstructing significant dialogue and situations for cohesive application of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Personality Psychology) and instances of the ‘Postmodern Tarantino’. This is a title I have designated which is encompassing of possible societal commentary from Tarantino regarding consumption of Capitalism (‘Americanisms’), religious apostasy, nihilistic tendencies, and ‘the American man’. It will conclude with a presentation of how these features can be considered to have been consciously applied by the author, which ultimately approaches the suggestion; Can the American Man achieve Self-Actualization? Whilst also providing an instance (Pulp Fiction) that combats Vollmer’s proposition that popularity of Postmodernism is to fault for the lack of interest in the psyche of the self (Personalities and Motivations Psychologies), through an active integration of both discourses."

Historical Fiction Essay;
An Introduction Into: The Absolute Importance of Narratology in Contemporary Historical Fiction

This essay will be an attempt to articulate an understanding of how Contemporary Historical Fiction novels - such as, The Confession of Katherine Howard, and, Atonement - provide important insights, narratives, and other narratological features that can be utilised as a tool to re-approach knowledge or build upon critical skills that are addressed in the Key Stages of English education. In the case of Atonement, the article will be approaching a position in which it prompts the reader to question, and critically analyse the sources and information given; and with The Confession of Katherine Howard (The Confession), the article will address the ideal of untold or untaught feminine narratives. 
The essay will first consider the implications of the English national curriculum - despite its statement that GCSE history should, “inspire to students to deepen their understanding of the people, periods and events studied and enable them to think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, make informed decisions and develop perspective and judgement,” - there is no documentable standardization for historical narratives that are taught. Of course, there is the generalized collated subsects and divisions of the government requirements created and distributed by awarding boards such as AQA and Edexcel. However, it is my understanding that a teacher is free to teach the narratives of the discourse in a manner they choose, as long as their students can meet the determined examination requirements. In practice, it is understandable that there is a need for open variation; different regions explore alternate regional history, and certain schools may need to apply a framework that is examinable across the comprehensive array of student abilities. Nevertheless, a subsequent of this ‘simulated freedom to teach’ dictates that there also has to be a recognition that the particulars of historical narratives provided to students may have been produced from existing biases within the academic system during an educator’s own period of engagement.

A further relevant issue is the lack of content specified in curriculum outside of what is designated for examination purposes. Although the government, and as such governing awarding bodies, deem that GCSE History should deepen a student’s understanding of people, periods, or events- it also neglects to include specific direction towards certain narratives that would enlighten a student’s consideration of political figures, or some British accomplishments that  -when reviewed under society’s current ‘progressiveness’ (advancement toward better conditions, policies or methods []) – were achieved through, or followed by discriminatory, racist, and bigotry behaviours. It is worth noting that even though several of these ‘behaviours’ were not only acceptable, but completely legal – it doesn’t make the actions morally right. For example, homosexual activity was illegal under the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 (See Appendix A) with persecution detailing imprisonment, or an alternative of ‘hormone therapy’ could be prescribed, which in the case for males, would render them impotent. This is also more commonly known as a method of Chemical Castration; and were the terms under which Alan Turing accepted, following his open admission to homosexual activity. The reason I refer to Turing here, is that only past his death, is his early work truly admired- his contributions have been considered and formulated into the fields of modern computing science, and Artificial Intelligence; his revision of the Polish bomba, into the bombe, an “electromagnetic device that could detect settings for ENIGMA,” which subsequently allowed for detection and interpretation (deciphering) of encrypted German messages. This revelation was vital in ending the second world war; General Dwight D. Eisenhower told the British intelligence chief in July 1945 that ULTRA, “saved thousands of British and American lives and, in no small way, contributed to the speed with which the enemy was routed and eventually agreed to surrender.” [CIA.GOV website] Despite Turing’s absolutely vital contributions; he was still persecuted for his homosexuality.


However, a petition in 2009 saw the response of an official public apology from Gordon Brown, on behalf of the British Government- which also subsequently saw an increase in the available teaching of his life, in the form of academic papers, but also, Contemporary Historical Fiction medias – Ian McEwan even features a novel in this collection; Machines Like Me. This is the attitude of history that I am attempting to address in this essay; that by providing untold narratives, or questioning the amount, or validity of information that is taught to us, we can make greater steps in understanding, and reassessing the moralistic values of the past- so that current societies progression isn’t withheld, nor its population exists with a falsified view of its’ countries past transgressions. 
By no means does this suggestion intend to detract from sentiments taught in education, but rather attempts to propose that the systems in place leave room for desired improvement. When taking into consideration that there is a percentage of only 45.1 student uptake for History GCSE, and a 17.8 percentage for student uptake of History at A-level [see Appendix B], one could argue the fair assumption that some of the population could potentially have a subsequent perpetually distorted vision of Britain’s past. 


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