Edward Scissorhands is a fable movie which was the first film to be directed by Tim Burton in 1990. Burton was able to achieve conformity as the dominant discourse in this movie. The movie starts with a loving grandmother narrating to her granddaughter about the source of snow. She tells her granddaughter how an inventor, whose home was on a hill top, decided to create a man and called him Edward. The innovator loved Edward as if he were his own son; unfortunately, he died before he finished creating human hands leaving Edward with scissors instead. In this movie, Burton was able to achieve his theme variation from a romantic adult fable, disparity between an individual and society and horror of conformity due to some special nature of a character.


Isolation and loneliness is one of major themes Burton demonstrated in this movie. The innovator who lived alone in the castle isolated from the rest of the community was lonely, and that is probably what inspired him to create a man. Self discovery is also intensively portrayed in this movie. Edward feels an urge to groom things, for example, on his way to break into Jim’s father’s house he stops to work on a hedge, his unique ability to pick locks using his scissor hands, and his inability to cope with the sophisticated society (in the scene where he is seduced by an older woman called Joyce). Though he rose to be a minor celebrity by appearing on the television chat show, his naivety leads to the situation when he was rendered a criminal and unfit to live in the society. Unfortunately, his kindness and good nature made him a victim of unscrupulous people. Edward was blamed for a robbery offence he did not commit, and also for hurting people unwillingly. Edward learnt to cope with Jim (Kim’s boyfriend) and Esmeralda who did not like him. He realized he was different from other people and finally he isolated himself completely by remaining in the castle after killing Jim.

Burton uses music, colors, and clothing to represent the difference in age, culture and emotions in the theme of romance. Jim was in love with Kim and so out of jealous and fear he tried to exploit Edward’s kindness and simplicity to cause in him rejection from the other members of the society. Edward eventually fell in love with Kim, who was Peg’s beautiful adolescent daughter. At the end of the film Kim appeared to be able to see beyond Edward’s superficial uniqueness to his underlying goodness and eventually fell in love with him.

Culture is also a key theme in this movie. Tim Burton was able to represent two cultures using very distinct locations, the castle on the hilltop and society in the town. The castle was decorated by monstrous stone carvings only lit by the spindly windows,they are mostly reminiscent of German expressionism. The town appeared perfect with spotless houses, gardens that were well kept and stereo typical traditionally ordered inhabitants. Here, women were housewives and men went to work every day. Unlike the castle, the town was represented as being pretty and peaceful. Burton used color to contrast the two cultures. The Christianity culture was also represented where Edward created an angel ice sculpture while the family was busy putting Christmas decorations.

Tolerance is another theme demonstrated in this movie. Some members of that society, living in the suburb, failed to show tolerance to Edward for being different from them. Burton showed how those who strayed from the norm were mocked, and they made the society dread. They are then used and rejected so that they were perceived as criminals. This was illustrated by Joyce who requested Edward to open a hair cut salon with her and than attempted to seduce him and later accused him falsely. Kim and Jim requested Edward to break into their father’s door and later it turned against them. Even in achieving this, Burton was able to maintain a tone infused with innocence, sweetness and gentleness throughout the film.

The movie shows a lot of love and kindness from a person who is regarded as misfit or outcast. This society is made up of people who show rejection to people who do not belong to them. In one of the episodes, Edward, in his attempt to save Kelvin from being run on by Jim’s drunken friend, hurts Kelvin; the witnesses accuse Edward of attacking him. There were some neighbors, still kind and concerned, who followed Edward to the castle where he was fleeing from the police. Kim was among those who went to stay with Edward. She finally kissed him and they confessed in their love. Here Burton shows that the society still has loving and kind people. The act of Peg inviting Edward to her home showed she was kind.
Rejection was also evident in this movie. Jim rejected Edward out of jealous. This caused him to attack Edward brutally and consequently he was stabbed on the stomach and thrown out of the window after slapping Kim. Kim had to lie to the town people that Edward and Jim were both dead to protect him from the cruel society. Throughout this movie, Edward’s naivety gave room of feelings of frustration, reject and revolt at people’s ways. In every act of kindness the pessimists found a reason to reject Edward.

Edward Siccorhands is a film that Burton used to represent power of conformity in view of an individual who is unique from the rest of society. He could not comfort, please or fit completely into this society. Burton was able to disclose how negative conformity can destroy people in the society. He was able to achieve high school fantasy at the end, where Jim, who rejected Edward, died, and Kim and Edward confessed their love for each other. Edward settled alone in the castle which was his home originally. Revealing Kim to be the old grandmother who was narrating to her granddaughter, he was able to maintain the tone of sweetness and gentleness up to the end of the film. In the end, everything returned to normality and the granddaughter could believe that Edward was the one who made snow and that though Kim was old she was waiting for him. Therefore, though he had been treated unfairly, the film ends at a low where the hero gets a chance to show his love for Kim.

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