Chekhov’s Gun that Never Goes Off: Femininity and Castration in Jackie Brown (1997)

  • Clinton Barney Washington University
Keywords: Jackie Brown, Tarantino, Quentin Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds, Schlipphacke, Gender of Revenge, Freud, Castration, Femininity, Representation of femininity, Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Blaxploitation


Feminist readings of Tarantino’s films generally investigate the placement of women within his hypermasculine storyworlds. Deriving from Schlipphacke’s reading of Inglorious Basterds, specifically her notion of feminine revenge, this essay will evaluate the gendered power dynamics in Jackie Brown (1997). While feminine revenge is obtained by Tarantino’s protagonists, the women become victims of their own desires, creating a vacuum of power in which the patriarchy unknowingly reinforces its own power. Examining the visual pattern created by Tarantino during the quickdraw sequence in Jackie Brown as a case study, this essay will investigate the lack of true feminine power within Tarantino’s storyworlds.