The weapon of warrior

“A warrior is worthless unless he rises above others and stands strong in the midst of a storm.” — Yamamoto Tsunetomo

There is no time to waste. Quickly, Butch reaches for the keys to the chopper and shoots straight for the door. Before stepping out, Butch hears the agonizing screams of Marcellus Wallace from the pawnshop basement. Butch sees freedom in front of him, but he knows he cannot leave Marcellus being raped by the pawnshop owners. A man with morals cannot let this continue. He quickly finds a few weapons: a hammer, a baseball bat, and a chainsaw. Butch firmly grips each weapon with both hands, testing to see if this is the right weapon for the job. But something quickly catches his eye. A black katana sword sits above all weapons, waiting for a master. Without hesitation, Butch snatches the sword from its place, holds it with both hands, Takakura Kenstyle, and quietly sneaks back into the basement to save Marcellus Wallace.

Butch prepares to face the men in the basement after choosing his weapon.

To Pay or To Save?

There are two paths Butch can take. The first path is to leave Marcellus Wallace to die in the basement and taste the sweet sweet taste of revenge. But Butch also has another path that can be chosen — the path to forgiveness and morality. The rebel and American flag sawn together illustrates the idea that Butch has more than one choice. He can seceed from the horrors downtowns or fight for freedom.

Butch looks toward the basement, thinking about which path he should choose.

Understanding that anarchy is not right, Butch begins to switch from the path of revenge and hate to the path of forgiveness and morality. Butch did not follow the plan that was agreed with Marcellus , causing him to lose a numerous amount of money. Even though Marcellus set out to kill Butch for not losing the boxing fight, Butch chooses the path of forgiveness and grace, saving him from the hell Marcellus Wallace rightfully deserves.

Marcellus Wallace explains to Butch the horrors that are coming for the man who raped him.

While Butch can been viewed as a saviour to Marcellus Wallace, he can also be viewed as a mighty samurai.

The Path of A Samurai

In feudal Japan, samurais, meaning “those who serve,” were great and noble warriors. The samurais followed bushido or “the way of the warrior,” which is a traditional code of honor, discipline, and morality.

Art illustrating the traditional samurai

These warriors most famous weapon of choice is the sword. The katana sword was the most common type, and a man’s honor is believed to inhabit it. Calling Butch a warrior/samuai is correct, but he is not necessarily a samurai. Butch is a “bushi”, which is a samurai without a master. A common man in feudal Japan cannot achieve the status of samurai — such honor must be inherited, and the past of Butch’s family allows him to join the ranks.

The War Child

Butch has always been destined to be a great warrior. His great grandfather was a soldier during World War I. Butch’s grandfather fought in World War II, and his own father was a soldier in the Vietnam War. The time would soon come for him to inherit the title of a great warrior but in a different scenario.

Like his family, Butch must stand up and fight for what he believes in. He chooses the katana sword, illustrating his allegiance to his own code of honor and morality.

Butch grips the katana sword with two hands as if he was a samurai.

The sword connects Butch to the masculinity that encompasses his family. He stands with tradition and history, ready to take on the enemy.

Watch Out!

His father, grandfather, and great grandfather carried around an object that is seen as a vital heirloom — the watch. The tradition of the watch surrounds this scene in Pulp Fiction in numerous areas. As Butch chooses which path he must take, a car tag is obvious in the background.

A Tennessee cartag can be seen behind Butch.

Earlier in the film, Captain Koons delivers a breif history of the watch, describing the sesiphean task that was demonstrated by each member of his family. He evens tells the young Butch that the watch was made in Knoxville, Tennessee. Here, we can see the genuis mind of Quentin Tarantino at work. This car tag foreshadows the task that is now given to Butch, which is to save his worst enemy.

The connection to the watch can also be interpretted when Butch heads back into the basement to save Marcellus Wallace. As Butch begins to walk down the stairs, clocks are lined up down the stairs.

Butch’s destiny becomes clear as he walks down the stairs.

These clocks are also connecting the past of his family with the present. The scene of him slowly walking besides the clocks with the main weapon of a samurai builds on the idea that the time has come for Butch to be the great warrior he has destined to become his entire life.