Quentin Tarantino is not your average film producer, and his films are not your typical film. They contain a little bit of everything- violence, romance, humor, suspense, action- but most importantly, lots and lots of blood. As a lover of the romantic-comedy genre, I chose to focus my essays on the romance aspects in two of Tarantino’s films in particular, True Romance and Inglourious Basterds. I enjoyed watching the chemistry develop between Clarence and Alabama Worley in True Romance, and as Tarantino explains, his definition of a “true romance” is one based on loyalty which is what influenced my essay on Hugo Stiglitz from Inglourious Basterds. Hugo Stiglitz, a member of the German Army during World War II, kills thirteen of his own men and then becomes a member of the Basterds, the Jewish Army. And although he was disloyal to the German Army, he found his loyalty fighting with the Basterds. Over the course of this semester, I have been able to fail forward with my writing, and I believe a lot of that had to do with my interest in the topics of my essays. Just as Tarantino was passionate about his films, I learned to become passionate about writing.
For my first essay, I chose to write about how Quentin Tarantino uses the film True Romance to provide his own perspective on the definition of a “true romance.” Ultimately what it came down to was loyalty within a relationship. Originally, I wanted to discuss three different relationships within the film- Clarence and Alabama, Clarence and his father, and Clarence and Lee and Elliot. I wanted to demonstrate Alabama’s loyalty to her husband as well as Clarence’s father’s loyalty to his son. And to juxtapose these two relationships, I wanted to discuss Elliot’s disloyalty to his boss. However, in the end, I decided to just focus on Clarence and Alabama’s relationship so I could go into more depth and demonstrate my point more clearly. At first, I struggled with length. I found it difficult to elaborate my points. However, after doing research about the film, listening to Quentin Tarantino interviews, and re-watching the movie, I found it more helpful and much easier to develop my ideas, to further explain my points, and to make my paper more interesting to the reader. I found that background information and information not included in the films proved to be intriguing not only for me, but for the reader as well.
“Shortly into the drug deal, the scene turns into a Mexican stand-off where everyone dies, Clarence gets injured, but he and Alabama take the drug money and flee the scene. In Tarantino’s original script, Clarence was supposed to die; however, after Tarantino sold the script of True Romance to Tony Scott, Scott decided to change the original ending. Rather than having Clarence die, Alabama helps him to the car and they flee to Mexico where they have a son named Elvis. Tarantino did not support the edited ending at first, but he eventually agreed that it was the more appropriate ending and was very happy with how the film turned out.”
“Clarence found his true romance, his true love, in just one night, and she proved to be so loyal to him that she would die to save his life. The opening quote of this essay by Clarence never appears in the final movie, only in DVD extras; however, I think the movie speaks for itself and that even though his quote was not included, the viewers understood Clarence’s feelings for Alabama.”
Additionally, after researching more about the True Romance, I discovered that writing the essay came more naturally and more easily than it did before I had any of the background information.
For my second essay, I wanted to write about Hugo Stiglitz, a minor character in Inglourious Basterds. At first, I thought this would be a difficult essay to write because there was not as much to write about since he did not appear in most of the movie. However, I realized that my paper on a minor character would be more entertaining than a paper on a major character in that the audience already knows a lot about a major character but not as much about a minor character. In doing so, I found that Hugo Stiglitz was a much more interesting character than a majority of the leading roles. There was more to his character than what we see in his ten to fifteen minutes on screen. Similar to my first essay, I found it difficult to push for length and to elaborate on my research. Nonetheless, the more I researched the more I had to write about and the more I enjoyed learning about the character Hugo Stiglitz and his role the film.
“As mentioned before, Hugo Stiglitz uses a knife to stab an officer, but this isn’t just any knife. He steals this SS (Schutzstaffel, German for “Protective Echelon” and “defense”) dagger from the Germans before he leaves. During the tavern scene after shooting Major Hellstrom (August zdiehl) in the balls, Hugo Stiglitz stabs him with the knife and then sticks it into Major Hellstrom’s neck. The motto of the Schutzstaffel (“Meine Ehre heisst Treue” meaning “Loyalty is my honor.”) is written on the knife which is ironic because Stiglitz is not loyal to the German army at all. This is important, however, because he murders his own soldiers with their own weapons- the ultimate kill.”
“…Quentin Tarantino writes [Stiglitz’s] backstory into the film. In an interview with Tarantino, he claims to have given Hugo Stiglitz a backstory and not the other supporting characters simply because he did not want the movie to last 3 hours. However, Tarantino states he needed to provide a backstory for Hugo Stiglitz to explain to the audience why Stiglitz, a German soldier, was on The Basterds’ side and not the German’s. None of the other characters needed an in-depth explanation for why they were where they were or why they were in the movie, but Hugo Stiglitz needed a clarification which, after watching the movie, we understand.”
Again, here are two examples from my second essay in which the research and outside information helped strengthen my essay and make it a more interesting read.
Lastly, for both my biography essay and my wild card essay, I focused a lot on where I grew up because it has greatly shaped me into the person I am today. My biography came easy to me as I am very passionate about my home, Kwajalein (“Kwaj”) as I am sure everyone is about the place they grew up. My biggest struggle with my biography, though, was narrowing down what I wanted to say and mostly focusing on how Kwaj has shaped me. I wanted to talk only about Kwaj, but before I got too carried away, I realized I needed to demonstrate how it has impacted and influenced me over the years. So in that sense, writing my biography was difficult because there was so much I wanted to say, but I needed to stay on topic. And for my wild card, I decided to write about a palm tree because I felt that I could, again, go into more depth about Kwaj while still keeping the theme of a palm tree throughout the essay. I was very passionate about both essays and was pleased that I had the opportunity to write about my home that very few people know about. This entire course has taught me that regardless of what I am writing