Stage 1 English Specialist
Mrs Brindal, 2007
Jacqueline Bonsell, 1101
Word Count: 1,397
Compare the ways in which the authors of two texts explore how society treats people who are different.
The texts Edward Scissorhands - directed by Tim Burton - and To Kill a Mockingbird - a controversial novel written by Harper Lee - both explore the ways in which society treats people who are not like them whether it is because they look or act different. Both texts demonstrate how a misunderstood character can be quickly judged through his actions and appearance. Whilst the two texts focus mainly on appearance as an explanation for the way the characters are treated, they also illustrate the death of innocence through critical eyes. Harper Lee and Tim Burton use characters in their stories to represent their own experiences during childhood. Harper Lee has acknowledged that Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, who serves as the novel’s narrator, is based on herself, just as Tim Burton uses Edward Scissorhands to reflect his emotions of isolation as a child. Using character contrast and symbolism, the authors are able to express how people who are different do not receive the recognition they deserve.
The stereotypical society of ‘white America’, in both texts, is quick to judge people who are unlike them. This results in harsh treatment, particularly of those whose physical appearance is extremely different to the rest of society. In Edward Scissorhands, this is shown when Peg brings Edward home for the first time and is anxious that this ‘pale man for scissors as hands’ might be judged, when in fact, Edward’s presence is kindly ‘welcomed’ by her neighbours. Harper Lee chooses to express society’s critical eye by not even mentioning Tom Robinson until he is accused of rape for the simple reason that he is of a different colour to the rest of society. With Atticus defending his innocence, his children, Scout and Jim are often referred to as “nigger-lovers”. Whilst Burton...
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