How could one compare and contrast Frankenstein and Edward Scissorhands?

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literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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One could find a few comparisons between Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein and Tim Burton's film Edward Sissorhands through examining the both the Creature (from the novel) and Edward (from the film).

Both the Creature and Edward have been created by a man (Victor created the Creature and Vincent Price, the actor, created Edward). While both men attempted to complete their "experiments," each was left incomplete (the Creature fails to possess the necessary nurturing and Edward fails to possess hands). Each of the beings are left to fend for themselves in life.

Another comparison which can be made refers to the fact that each being is looking for love (the Creature desires a mate and Edward falls in love with Kim (played by Winona Ryder). Regardless of their desires, both beings are misunderstood by many of the people around them.

Contrastingly, each is received into the world very differently. The Creature is attacked and those around him wish him dead. Edward, on the other hand, is received rather well by the community around him (especially given his talent at cutting hair).

Another difference lies in the fact that the Creature dies at the end of the novel and Edward is left alone in his castle. Neither are able to gain the life they desire.

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thanatassa's profile pic

thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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If you are doing a literary analysis, you might start with the issue of genre. Frankenstein is a novel, and part of its effect is derived from the complex layering of its narration. It is deeply embedded within philosophical debates of its period, including the question of how science, divorced from religion and ethics, might create monstrosities on a moral level, not just a literal one. In a sense, Frankenstein's quest for knowledge turns him into a monster; he is spiritually more monstrous than the creature he creates. As a movie, Edward Scissorhands lacks this philosophical depth, and instead focuses more on the emotional circumstances of the individuals.

Both have in common the question the ethics of invented humans (or semi-human creatures) and our responses to them. In both cases, the "monsters" start as innocent creations. It is the evil of surrounding humans that place them in difficult circumstances, leading them to violate human ethics or conventions. They respond to loving families with kindness and affection and commit murder as an outcome of negative interactions and situations forced on them by normal humans. Their external differences from other people cause them to be misunderstood.

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