Movie: Edward Scissorhands
“People are afraid of me because I am different”. Many directors use different aspects of gothic fiction to create a sense of being uneasy and Tim Burton is no exception. Edward Scissorhands was published in 1990 and is a Drama/Fantasy movie with many aspects of a gothic movie. This movie is about a man who has been created by a very clever scientist but before he is complete the scientist dies. This leaves his creation (Edward Scissorhands) alone and incomplete with no knowledge of the outside world outside the mansion he was left in. I will discuss the idea of the danger of prejudice, and I will also talk about the Gothic Protagonist. A gothic Protagonist is the main character of a story or main actor in a movie. They are sometimes called the gothic hero but we don’t usually call them a gothic hero in gothic fiction. There are six main traits that are associated with a Gothic Protagonist. Their qualities are: has distinct contrasting qualities to their character, Usually of a high social rank or holds a position of power. Often surrounded by devices the foreshadow something negative. Driven by strong emotions rather than logic or reason. Generally secretive or surrounded by an air of mystery. Has a “need to know” or curious nature. The protagonist in this story (Edward) has the trait of contrasting qualities.
The Gothic Protagonist in this film is Edward. Edward looks like a normal human being except for his hands. He was created by a very smart inventor but before his creation was finished the creator died and left Edward with no knowledge of anything outside of the dark mansion that he was left in. He was left with scissors for hands. His appearance is quite a shocker to the average human. He has scars all over his face where he has cut himself because of his hands. He states that he is “not complete” and he is “not finished” which indicated to us that he thinks he is just an object and not a human. He doesn’t believe that he can go outside because he will be hated on and judged for being different which is in fact what happened later on in the movie. Hidden behind his appearance is a shy, kind and caring young man. Jim (Kim’s boyfriend) judged Edward by how he looked. This brings forth the idea of ‘the danger of prejudice’. Throughout the whole film, Jim bullies Edward and blames Edward for his wrongs. If Jim just sat down and got to know Edward then he would know that he has a sweet soul and only wants good things. But instead Jim decides to only base his opinions on Edward by his looks and this turns out to be dangerous. Towards the end of the film, Edward kills Jim over a disagreement over Kim. They were in competition for her love and Jim took it too far. The danger of prejudice by Jim lead to him being killed by Edward. I think Tim Burton has purposely implemented the idea of the danger of prejudice into this movie for a reason. I think that Burton is telling us not to judge a book by its cover. I think that Jim deserved what he got. Jim bullied Edward for his appearance and that was a disgusting thing to do and he should be punished for this. I think I reacted in this way because I know what it is like to be bullied or judged just because of your appearance. No one should be judged by how they look and Burton is putting this idea across.
Edward Scissorhands has two main contrasting qualities. These are kind and caring and also dark and evil. If you saw Edward then you would automatically think that he is evil because he has scissors for hands but in reality, all he wants is love and to be cared for. He is the most gentle and innocent kind soul. However, towards the end of the film, Edwards dark side comes out as he kills Jim. Whilst this was all for love there were easier ways of dealing with it than killing someone and pushing them out a two-story building. I think Burton has done this to make the plot more interesting and make us want more. We spend so much time building our trust in Edwards for him to stab and kill Jim its a plot twist. I reacted quite surprised to this. I acted this way because I didn’t think Edward had it in him. I didn’t think he was dark enough to kill someone but he did and therefore showed the trait of a gothic protagonist ‘Contrasting qualities’.
This film made me think about the idea of the danger of prejudice a lot. I got thinking that not everyone is who they seem. Not everyone that seems kind will be kind and not everyone that seems bad will be bad. For example just because some Muslims are suicide bombers doesn’t mean every Muslim would do this. I will definitely not judge a book by its cover and I will actually get to know someone first. I would recommend this book to people that are maybe feeling self-conscious at the moment to make them realise that anyone is beautiful in their own way, even Edward.