With an embrace of Being driving Action, and a recent cross-country road trip stop at my old Alma Mater, the University of Mary Washington, I am moved to bring you the one and only system of Character Archetypes for Pulp Fiction!
This is a system I developed in November 2015, and have steadily perfected ever since. At the dawn of its creation, it was only a skeleton, a structured syllabus for study of character types both in fiction and in fact, both in past and present.
Over the years it’s been steadily fleshed out in workplace break rooms, bathroom stalls, library study centers, in pocket notebooks and iphones, in dinner table conversations, in zoom calls, in text and email and voice messages…
And so today, it has a heart and lungs and muscles and sinew, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and skin!
So without further ado, I give you the Pulp Fiction Renaissance Character Archetype System!
THE BIG 5
Within the system, there are five groups each featuring a number of characters. These four groups are:
- The Heroes
- The Villains
- The Fifth Column
- The People
- The Command and Control
Without further ado, let’s look at each in turn!
First, the Heroes!
THE CONFRONTATIONAL COMMANDO
First we have the Heroes, and headlining the Heroes is the Confrontational Commando himself!
If you’ve spent any time around Pulp Fiction Renaissance, then you know all about this Character!
He’s the Indo-European Warrior who fights Confrontationally: that means that he likes to fight clean, up front, mano-a-mano, straight shooting.
The Confrontational Commando doesn’t shoot fish in a barrel, because he considers it pathetic to shoot a fish who can’t shoot back.
So because he only fights worthy enemies, he becomes the best fighter around…and this fact ultimately separates him from the Villains, as we will see soon.
In addition to his Confrontational Warridom, we see that the Confrontational Commando possesses a great calm and dignity, coupled with a fiery passion. Apollion and Martian, in the Classical scheme.
And not only does he fight the right way, but he also fights for what’s right. Not only is his combat Confrontational, but he is Loyal everything that is good and decent in this world.
His imperturbable calm powered by his fiery passion expresses itself Confrontational combat in Loyal dedication to righteousness is what the Confrontational Commando is all about!
Which leads us to the second off the Heroes…the Priestess-Princess!
THE PRIESTESS PRINCESS
The Priestess-Princess is often the reason for the mission: she sets the train in motion!
In her own Feminine Way, she mirrors all the qualities of the Confrontational Commando.
In the way that the Confrontational Commando is imperturbably calm in the Apollion mold, the Priestess-Princess possesses vast other-worldly wisdom in the Delphiric mold.
And in the way that the Confrontational Commando possesses a fiery passion driving him to greatness in the Martian mold, so too does the Priestess-Princess possess an alluring desire in the Venetian mold!
In the end, her other-worldly wisdom and alluring desire expresses itself in a spiritually sacred Sexuality in Loyal dedication to righteousness is what the Priestess-Princess is all about!
And to win her, the Confrontational Commando needs some help from two of his friends:
The Sergeant and the Model-Martyr Soldier!
THE SERGEANT AND THE MODEL-MARTYR SOLDIER
The Sergeant is the Confrontational Commando’s sidekick. He provides a Springboard for the Confrontational Hero to act, and to show what he’s made of.
He can back up the Confrontational Commando in everything he does, or he can be pretty ignorant and have to be taught a lesson or two throughout the course of the story!
On the other hand, the Sergeant can also be very knowledgeable, and provide critical information to move the Confrontational Commando along on his adventure!
Which leads us to the Model-Martyr Soldier. This is the fighter in the Confrontational Commando’s platoon who embodies everything good about the good guys…selfless service, discipline, and dedication to the cause.
He may survive the final battle, or may sacrifice himself for the good of the cause in order to accomplish the mission.
He also, like the Sergeant, can act as a local guide and information to provide the Confrontational Commando with critical information as his adventure unfolds.
And that critical information always leads to the Villains, which we will turn to next!
THE DEVIL AND HIS DEMONS
For the Villains, we’ve got two types…the Devil and his Demons! The Devil is the main foe, the big bad guy, the opposite of the Confrontational Commando in so many ways!
And his Demons are lesser versions of himself…everything true of him is true of them as well!
If you’ve spent any time around Pulp Fiction Renaissance, you know the Devil’s drill: he fights Predatorily.
That means he likes to fight dirty, from the shadows, sneaky, stab-in-the back. He likes shooting fish in a barrel, because he believes the powerlessness of the fish shows off the power of the man with the gun.
This leads him to a mentality of Tyranny and Oppression. In his mind, there are only Masters and Slaves, Top and Bottom, Dominated and Submitted.
And it is his sick, tyrannical system of oppression that leads to his big showdown with the Confrontational Hero…often times over the fair hand of the Priestess-Princess!
However, it is this sick system of tyranny and oppression that proves his undoing…because when you make a living out of shooting fish in a barrel, you find yourself in big trouble when a real man with a real gun comes looking for you!
And the Confrontational Commando fits that bill to a T!
Even if a few extra screw ups try and get in the way…
And it is to these screw-ups we turn!
THE FIFTH COLUMN AND THE PEOPLE
In the Fifth Column category, we have the Hidebound Commander and his Lackeys who help him do his job.
The Hidebound Commander is on the same side as the Confrontational Commando, but he does everything in his power to stand in the Confrontational Commando’s way!
This may be because he lacks imagination and aggressiveness, refusing to take the fight to the enemy, and thereby trying to hold the Confrontational Commando back!
But even worse is the Hidebound Commander who knows exactly what he is doing…in fact, he’s clandestinely working for the bad guys! His holding back of the Confrontational Commando isn’t borne out of ignorance…it’s borne out of evil!
And they’re not the only ones, as we shall soon see…
This backstabbing lack of support is reflected more broadly in a group called the Heathen Generation: these are bad civilians who are unsupportive of the Confrontational Commando…and actively or passively try to undermine his efforts!
Sometimes they can be redeemed, sometimes they can’t!
They’re the opposite of the Imperiled Generation: these are good civilians that the Confrontational Commando is fighting to protect and save, and are “all we hold dear”, both at home and abroad!
But somebody has got to give the Confrontational Commando that mission…which leads us to our fourth and final group, Command and Control!
COMMAND AND CONTROL
Here we have the Commander and his sidekick, the Sergeant-Major.
The Commander gives the Confrontational Commando, provides support and guidance, and reigns the Confrontational Commando in if need be. He’s a Father figure to the Confrontational Commando, whether close or distant.
The Commander works for good to help the Confrontational Commando accomplish his mission, as opposed to the Hidebound Commander who acts out of ignorance or evil to hold the Confrontational Commando back.
And the Sergeant-Major? His job is to help the Commander accomplish his mission!
A DECADE IN THE MAKING!
Well there you have it…the Pulp Fiction Renaissance Character Archetype System!
A system almost a decade in the making!
And while the tongue-in-cheek names correspond to the “Man on a Mission” type of military Pulp Fiction adventures, they apply to every conceivable sub-genre of Pulp Fiction under the sun!
That Confrontational Commando may be a Legionnaire, Hoplite, Knight, Redcoat, Cavalryman, Cowboy, Tommy, Doughboy, Cop, Boxer, Spy, Spaceman, or anything else!
I hope you have enjoyed this foundational piece in the study of Pulp Fiction, and hope that you use it for your own purposes, whether as a fan or creator of this wonderful genre…
Written at 7:42 PM at a Quality Inn in Fredericksburg, VA