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Communication Theories Seen in Edward Scissorhands

By chriswill2012 May 06, 2013 660 Words
The 1990 film Edward Scissorhands demonstrates many communication theories and concepts. This movie is an excellent example for many interpersonal communication concepts and theories because it focuses on Edward’s interpersonal communication with the other characters. This is interesting because for all of Edward’s life, he has only interacted with one person, leaving him with very weak communication skills. Having only communicated with his creator, an elderly inventor, Edward lacks interpersonal skills with virtually every person he meets after being brought home with Peg. He appears nervous and hesitant when Peg approaches him, but he quickly adapts to a completely different lifestyle, going from being almost completely isolated to constantly being surrounded by people. The new world is so different from what he has ever known that his communication skills are so weak, that he often poses as a threat to the other characters’ safety.

A specific interpersonal communication theory that the film exemplifies really well is uncertainty reduction theory. This theory states that when a person is around someone that they do not know very well, they often feel uncomfortable until getting to know them better. In the film, when Peg first brings Edward into town, many of the women overreact: Peg’s answering machine is full of messages from the concerned women. They trick Peg into agreeing to have a barbecue so that they can be acquainted with Edward. At the barbecue, Edward is constantly being approached by different women, and even some men. They ask him many questions and bring up discussions which are mainly focused around his scissorhands. This is clearly indicative of uncertainty reduction because his scissorhands are a source of discomfort for them, causing them to repeatedly bring them up to Edward.

Another interpersonal communication theory that the film exemplifies really well is in-group and out-group patterns. For example, the women of Peg’s community and their families all form an in-group. They have similar houses that only vary in color, drive similar cars, and have similar daily routines (for example, they all pull out of their driveway at about the same time.) Aside from the internal factors that are characteristic of in-group patters, the demonstrate external patterns that affect the community. They are not only tightly knit, but they also view members of the out-group negatively, which makes this film an excellent example of in-group/out-group patterns. An example of a member of the out-group that is viewed negatively is the religious woman that accuses Edward of coming straight from Hell. When this woman approaches the group, the other women group up against her. They tighten their group by physically getting close together, and talk more quietly and amongst themselves which widens the gap between the groups (in and out.)

Edward Scissorhands demonstrates many interpersonal communication conflicts and is very useful when highlighting the potential difficulties this type of communication can raise in everyday life. Though Edward is an unrealistic character, he demonstrates relatable characteristics that we often see in today’s society. We are frequently faced with poor communicators in our lives, from small children, to the mentally disabled. This can even stretch to members of an outside culture that has communication patterns that are not necessarily weak, just different from our own. Because we don’t quite understand them and their patterns, they will likely not understand us and ours. This can make our communication between different cultures increasingly difficult. Edward, though seemingly very different, when viewed through a communication standpoint, is actually quite relatable. Being able to examine Edward from this type of lens makes us be able to understand his character more, and this mentality can be taken outside of the movie to be able to understand different cultures as well. Acknowledging different communication patterns in cultures different from our own is an important first step: otherwise, we may be destined to not understand cultural variation, and the countless advantages that understanding can bring about.

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