Edward Scissorhands, a film directed by Tim Burton, contains many allusions to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Both stories are centered on the creation of life and the difficulties that the one who was created must face as a result. However, Frankenstein is entirely composed of Gothic elements, while Burton chooses to sharply contrast Gothic elements with those of modern suburban life. In Edward Scissorhands, Tim Burton satirizes the conformity of American suburbanism, which is counter to many ideas popular during the Gothic period.
Conformity is an important theme in the suburban city in which Edward Scissorhands is set, as it greatly influences the behavior of the residents and is ultimately the deciding factor in the plot. This theme is first conveyed in the story that the grandmother is telling the child, which unfolds with Peg Boggs selling Avon products in the neighborhood that is soon to be Edward’s home. She goes from door to door of each cookie cutter house, and much like her inevitably pleasant manner, the response of each woman at every house remains the same. Because of this unchanging pattern in which no one wants to buy Peg’s products, she first encounters Edward within the Gothic style mansion on the hill. This is the first occasion in which conformity, and the behavior that follows in suit of it, is the cause of an important event within the plot. Immediately after this, conformity comes into play from the moment Edward arrives in the city. As he and Peg make their way to the Boggs’ home, the constantly gossiping women of the city are met with their newest topic of discussion—Edward Scissorhands himself. They gather at the street corner to share their speculations regarding Edward’s identity and the reasons for his presence. This becomes a regular and highly symbolic occurrence after his arrival. It epitomizes the general attitude of the people of the city. They do not think as individuals, nor do they seem to be capable of even...
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