Help with Pulp

J

johnwayne12

So I just finished reading Pulp and I am pretty confused. What does it all mean? What were all of the metaphors in the book and what was the ending about? Thanks a lot.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Over 5000 posts
What metaphors are you thinking about? I can tell you a few things I do know.
Bukowski was dying when he wrote the book. That accounts for Lady Death in the book.
The Red Sparrow is a metaphor for Black Sparrow Press, Bukowski's publisher. The owner, John Martin, is called John Barton in the book.
Celine was one of Bukowski's favourite writers, so he's in the book too.
At the end the Red Sparrow moves closer to Belane with an open beak and within the beak is a vast yellow vortex and soon Belane is swept over and enveloped by a blaze and blare of yellow. Well, you now know what the Red Sparrow is, and btw, yellow was Bukowski's favorite color. How you want to interpret it is up to you.
I personally think it was his way of dealing with his own death, and that's why he wanted to mention people who had meant a lot to him, especially John Martin and Black Sparrow Press.
Apart from that, the book is a spoof on detective novels like Chandler's, Hammet's and Micky Spillane's (Micky Spillane=Nick Belane). That's why the book is dedicated to 'bad writing', because detective novels used to be seen as bad writing and certainly not art.
I hope this helps you a little bit in understanding the book.

'Pulp' is not your typical Bukowski book, and that's why most of us here always tell newcomers to Bukowski they should wait reading 'Pulp' till they've read the other novels.
 
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Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Over 5000 posts
Bukfan, that was the perfect answer, but are the lights on and is anyone home.


You should read some more Bukowski or some Buckowski, which ever you prefer.
 
When PULP first came out, it was like reading this strange & beautiful goodbye letter.
It's absolutely hysterical - I especially love when Red, who was another of Buk's friends, shit talks Chinaski in the bookstore - but there's a definite sadness throughout the whole thing.
He also references John Fante and Dante Alighieri in there, too.
It should definitely be read towards the end of your Bukowski studies.
 
J

johnwayne12

Yeah I've already read a decent amount of Bukowski but I was just wondering about the meaning of it. I already knew everything that Bukfan was saying but it was interesting to see how he worded it. Really what I was looking for was why is the red sparrow a reference to black sparrow press? Why is he trying to find the red sparrow the entire book and why is it such an enigma and why is John Barton (John Martin) trying to get him to find it. And lastly, why does it eventually end up killing him? (I think I might know the answer to that last one but I wont be sure until I know the answer to the other things.
 

mjp

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The only person who can definitively answer all your "why?" questions is dead, so you'll have to make up your own answers.
 

Gin Soaked Boy

Over 100 posts
Really what I was looking for was why is the red sparrow a reference to black sparrow press? Why is he trying to find the red sparrow the entire book and why is it such an enigma and why is John Barton (John Martin) trying to get him to find it. And lastly, why does it eventually end up killing him? (I think I might know the answer to that last one but I wont be sure until I know the answer to the other things.
Bukowski, unknowingly, searched for Black Sparrow (red sparrow) ever since he started writing and wanted to publish. Like in the book he doesn't know what the red(black) sparrow is until he finds it. The 100 dollar a month is just an obvious hint to John Martins deal with bukowski and just makes the story stick (as a detective he needs to get payed).

Death can be relieving, which I think is what the book says when the birds yellow beaks "swallows" Belane (seeing how it is Bukowskis favourite color). In real life Black Sparrow was a lifesaver and in the book (the red sparrow) is equally lifesaving, even thou it means Belanes death.

That is my take on why the red sparrow is a reference to the black sparrow press. Not the greatest of explanations but it'll have to do!
 
I'm just going to be honest: Pulp sucks. I love Bukowski's work...he is my favorite Author, he is my favorite poet...but Pulp sucks big donkey dicks. I mean the guy knew he was going to die soon, he wasnt in his right mind when he wrote that garbage....I forgive him.
 
J

johnwayne12

That is my take on why the red sparrow is a reference to the black sparrow press. Not the greatest of explanations but it'll have to do!
Thanks a lot, that was a great explanation.

As for Pulp sucking, I don't think it sucks but I feel like Bukowski definitely dropped in greatness at the end of his life. He seems to be too full of himself instead of being the great average man of poverty.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Over 5000 posts
And lastly, why does it eventually end up killing him? (I think I might know the answer to that last one but I wont be sure until I know the answer to the other things.
johnwayne12, the red sparrow does not end up killing Belane! The goon, Johnny, kills him with 4 bullets to the gut. He then faints and hear music and then the red sparrow appears. So the red sparrow has'nt caused Belane's death. It only appears in his mind after he fainted from the gunshot wounds.
I think it's quite fitting the last thing he senses in life is the red sparrow (Black Sparrow Press) because it meant so much to him in life.
 
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mjp

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Bukowski definitely dropped in greatness at the end of his life. He seems to be too full of himself instead of being the great average man of poverty.
A) He was always full of himself, B) He was never an average man, C) He rarely lived in poverty.
 
J

johnwayne12

mjp is right of course. you are confusing Charles Bukowski/Bukowski's myth/Henry Chinaski.
Henry Chinaski was the alter ego of Bukowski? His father was constantly unemployed and he lived in anything but wealth. Even if he wasn't poor he was still an average guy, he wasn't the son of a politician or business tycoon. Also, I realize he was always full of himself but he wasn't the same kind of pretentious ass that he was later in life or if he was it certainly didn't come out in his books until later in his life.

johnwayne12, the red sparrow does not end up killing Belane! The goon, Johnny, kills him with 4 bullets to the gut.
What I meant by it was that it lead to his death, if it wasn't for the red sparrow he would've never been in business with Johnny so therefore the red sparrow was the thing that ultimately killed him.
 

mjp

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I realize he was always full of himself but he wasn't the same kind of pretentious ass that he was later in life or if he was it certainly didn't come out in his books until later in his life.
Well, you're the expert.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Over 5000 posts
Bukowski secretly had 8 PhDs. He wore berets and spoke the perfect Queen's English. Also, he hated sin of all kinds adn kept his body pure. No alcohol, no cigatettes. He even went to church twice a week. He even wiped his ass with $100 bills....

Now Chinaski was a whole different story. he was a man of the people.

Bill
 

esart

esart.com
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Over 500 posts
I'm just going to be honest: Pulp sucks. I love Bukowski's work...he is my favorite Author, he is my favorite poet...but Pulp sucks big donkey dicks. I mean the guy knew he was going to die soon, he wasnt in his right mind when he wrote that garbage....I forgive him.
You're an idiot.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Over 5000 posts
What I meant by it was that it lead to his death, if it wasn't for the red sparrow he would've never been in business with Johnny so therefore the red sparrow was the thing that ultimately killed him.
You could just as easily say what ultimately killed him was his own stupidity. It was stupid to borrow money from those goons or venture into any kinda deal with them concerning the red sparrow. He could have tried to find the red sparrow using other methods than making a deal with crooks. That's not a clever thing to do, especially not for a detective who should know better. It was certainly a bad choice to make. So his own stupidity, or lack of judgment ultimately killed him, one could say.

With your logic you might as well say John Barton was the cause of his death because he asked Belane to find the red sparrow and Belane accepted the job. Or maybe Belane caused his own death by accepting the job?
Ultimately, a detective risks getting killed no matter what kinda job he accepts. It comes with the territory, same as with policemen. So Belane's occupation killed him, or the wrong choices he made practicing his occupation, if you like.
Or maybe he wasn't fit to be a detective to begin with and what caused his death was him choosing the wrong occupation.

I'm just going to be honest: Pulp sucks. I love Bukowski's work...he is my favorite Author, he is my favorite poet...but Pulp sucks big donkey dicks. I mean the guy knew he was going to die soon, he wasnt in his right mind when he wrote that garbage....I forgive him.
You forgive him? That's very noble of you, Smear! I'm sure we all appreciate it. :rolleyes:
 
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nervas

more crickets than friends
Over 1000 posts
I'm just going to be honest: Pulp sucks. I love Bukowski's work...he is my favorite Author, he is my favorite poet...but Pulp sucks big donkey dicks. I mean the guy knew he was going to die soon, he wasnt in his right mind when he wrote that garbage....I forgive him.
Totally and when I say that I mean TOTALLY disagree.

But, whatever, I wont say more mr smear, except that if you hadn't forgiven him, I would have certainly thrown away ALL my Buk books, and would have spent every penny I have collecting your art, even as much as a rip off as it seems of other notable artists.

Anyway, when all is said and done I have enjoyed Pulp since the first time I read it. Maybe not Buk's best, but still better than a million other books you can read.

And I'm sorry, but johnnywayne, pretentious ass? Man, o man, really? Even Chinaski, a pretentious ass, what are you guys reading?
 
J

johnwayne12

Well not really an ass but he gets pretentious at the end of his life I feel like. It dosen't come out as much in Pulp but you can still see it but it comes out hugely in The Captain Is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship.
 

james

Over 1000 posts
pulp and the captain is out to lunch are excellent books. end of mothafuckin' story....HAMMER IT DOWN INDEED!!!
 

Purple Stickpin

Over 5000 posts
I have to say that The Captain... is the one Buk book I couldn't make it through. Well, I didn't have to say it, but there's something about it that didn't pull up my socks, as it were. I suppose I should go back and give it another chance.
 

ROC

It is what it is
Over 1000 posts
Do that and come back to tell us how much you loved it and wrong you were to have low socks and how much you love the man and how great this site and all who sail in her are.

Or else.
 
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