Director’s study

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How Edward Scissorhands and Alice in Wonderland Defy Society Expectations?

(Do a brief presentation on yourself, cite the name of the speech and start) Tim Burton penchant for gothic films can be easily seen throughout all his work. However, in Edward Scissorhands, and Alice in Wonderland, we can see a different kind of film. These films are more connected with the character psyche, and offer us an interesting depiction of society, and how the characters defied its expectations.
Television and film are full of symbols that often lead us to a perceived reality, taking us to places we have never dreamed of being. That is one of the main characteristics of Burton’s films. They are meant to play with the spectators conventions, showing them a completely different scenario than the one they are used to. In the same way, Burton recovered the Gothic genre, revitalizing its darkness with scenes of light humor and a tad of kitsch. Alice is an example of this, as it shows the classic tale, with Burtonian twists that make impossible not to know who directed the film. In the same way, it is important to note how both films, although completely different in their realization, share a series of key features that we aim to show today.
That being said, in this speech we shall speak about how Edward Scissorhands, and Alice defy the expectations society had in them. In the same way, we aim to address how their defiance changed them.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND
How did she defy society? In the movie, Alice is depicted as a 19.year-old woman. In that sense, she is different from the Alice in Carroll’s original story (Karlsson 1). Alice is depicted as a girl coming from an aristocratic family that is different than the rest of the family. She is a strong, and independent soul that sadly has to cave into the pressures of being a woman in the Victorian era. Tim Burton’s Alice is a woman that does not know how to live her dreams, and please her. The death of her father brought many changes, as he is perceived as the last dam between her childhood, and the adulthood her family is pushing her to accept. Attending to the party is the first step she does toward adulthood –although she does not know about it- . To Alice, falling the rabbit hole means to leave all the worries behind, centering in the moment. Before entering the rabbit hole, Alice is a child, a child that reconnects with her former self that visited Wonderland –or underland- when she was a child. This time, her voyage has other purpose but is still a self-discovery voyage.

How did her defiance change her? Before entering the rabbit hole, Alice was still a child, frightened that her situation might change. When she decided to step in the rabbit hole and miss the party that was initially meant for her she defied her family, and in her defiance she found the freedom, she was looking for. In the underworld, she did not have to follow the conventions of the Victorian society, being able to live by her rules. It seems that Alice is not comfortable being who she is, and her experience reconnects herself with the strong child she used to be. In the underworld, she finds her strength to defy her family and eventually turn her prospective fiancé down. Although it took a voyage to a fantastic land, Alice eventually finds who she is.

EDWARD SCISSORSHANDS
How did he defy society? With Edwards, it is important to see a couple of aspects that make him an interesting character. Edward can be regarded as a creation. He is an artificial boy, who is left with scissors instead of hands after his creator dies. Edward is an interesting construct between a human and a non-human personality. Given the fact that Edward’s scissors do not let him be completely human, he has to find coping mechanisms that make him able to partake of human society (Wiercinski 1). After his inventor dies, Edward finds himself alone and is presented to the rest of the habitants of the town by a lady who intends to help Edward adapting to modern society. In a strict sense, Edward is capable of taking part of his town’s social life using his creations –his haircuts and gardening-. However, the same town that welcomed him eventually shunned him apart because of his differences. Edward is confronted by the fear of the townsfolk, who regard him as different. However, they do not see that Edward serves a looking glass where they can see their judgmental behavior.

How did his defiance change him? Edward had to accept his differences to live a fulfilling life. In a strict sense, he does not defy like Alice does. Edward has to accept himself as different as a way to harness his power and prowess. Edward is a creative non-conformist in a town that tries to turn every inhabitant into a uniform person. When Edward learns to understand that he is a creative man, he realizes being different is not bad. Instead, it is better being different.

To conclude, Alice and Edward are not that different. They are both different than everybody they know, and have a hard time understanding and harnessing their differences. The society intends to make people uniform, but Burton, faithful to his views shows us that being different is not a crime, but something to be proud of.
Works Cited
Karlsson, J. “Alice’s Vacillation between Childhood and Adolescence in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Karlstadts Universitet. Web. <http://kau.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:409791/FULLTEXT01.pdf> 17 June 2015.
Wiercinski, A. “Topics in the Director’s Cinema: Tim Burton.” Topics in the Directors Cinema Tim Burton. 2012. Web.< HYPERLINK “http://burton.brendankredell.com/2012/11/society-and-” http://burton.brendankredell.com/2012/11/society-and-edward-scissorhands/> 17 June 2015.