Disabilites Disability has several definitions. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a disability as: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; a record of a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; or when an entity takes an action prohibited by the ADA based on an actual or perceived impairtment. I chose the movie Edward Scissorhands as my example for disabilities, and how it makes life so different from the “normal”.
Edward Scissorhands is a movie that came out in 1990, and it is very popular. The movie portrays Edward as having a clear physical disability, and a mental disability that may not be as obvious. The movie starts out with a woman telling her granddaughter a bed time story of where snow comes from and a man named Edward who has scissors for hands. He was completely normal except for the fact that he had no hands. His creator died before he could put hands on Edward, making him look abnormal to the rest of the world.
A woman visits the mansion where Edward lives, and realizes he is harmless so she takes him home to live with her, her husband, and their teenage daughter. He later falls in love with their teenage daughter, which is a love doomed from the start because of Edward’s “disability”. The movie then goes on to show the neighborhood taking advantage of his dangerous looking, yet seemingly useful looking scissor hands. He then begins trimming hedges and cutting hair (human and animal) for the entire neighborhood.
Everyone seems to love Edward and his hands, except for two people who are not as impressed as the rest of the neighborhood. One of the women convinces Edward to open a hair salon with her, and tries to seduce Edward in the back room. He leaves in a state of panic, causing the woman to become angry and later wrongfully accuse him of trying to molest her. The mean teenagers that the daughter is friends with convince him to break into a house, and he ends up getting arrested. This makes all of the neighbors start to question his personality.
Soon the whole neighborhood except for the family that he lives with becomes fearful of him, making that one particular family unpopular with the rest. While the family is setting up Christmas decorations, Edward carves an ice sculpture and accidently cuts the teenage daughter that he is in love with, on her hand, digging him even deeper. Edward flees to the same mansion in the woods that he first started in, living his life in isolation just as before. He is said to be responsible for creating snow, as he carves ice sculptures in his abandoned mansion to pass the time.
This can be related somewhat to the commercial that we watched in class. The commercial shows a man in a wheelchair looking down through a window at his girlfriend and his best friend. Edward Scissorhands was in love with the teenage daughter that he lived with. Throughout the movie she is the girlfriend of the typical asshole jock in the movie, and Edward has to sit by and watch it happen. Although Edward is not blind, I feel like this movie can also be related to the clip that we watched in class of the blind man trying to find his way through his hotel room.
The clip shows the man as physically being helpless not knowing his place and where he is at. He cannot find anything. Edward mentally is helpless and lost, not knowing his place in society. There are several so called disabilities that are portrayed throughout this movie. The most obvious one is the fact that he has scissors for hands. This makes him automatically different from the rest of the “normal” people. Because of his scissor hands, I think he falls under the stereotypical category of being “sinister, evil, and criminal” that Jack Nelson suggests in his text.
There are both ups and downs to his disability. His scissor hands do become very useful in doing many things throughout the movie, like the trimming of the hedges for the neighbors. However, his hands make it very easy to accidently harm any normal person, and most people would see him as purposely assaulting another person, making him evil. The people in the movie only liked him and his hands when they were being benefited by them, but as soon as an accident happened they were quick to turn their back on him because he was not like the rest of them.
There is also another theme in this movie that could possibly be considered a “disability” that some people might not catch. That is his personality of being too nice and too trusting of others. Most people think that a disability is something obvious like missing a body part or an illness such as down syndrome, but I think that this little trait could easily be considered a disability. His personality of being too nice and trusting has got him into some trouble throughout the movie.
He got in trouble when the hair salon woman tried to seduce him, and he rejected her and ran off in panic. Most guys would jump on the chance to be with a woman, and he did the complete opposite. Because he did the opposite it got him accused of rape, making people start to not like him. Another example of this is when he broke into the house for the teenagers. He agreed to doing it because he wanted to make the teenage daughter happy, and it ended up getting him in trouble too. This nature and behavior could be associated with the feral children cases in the world.
Feral children grow up in isolation, and after being in isolation for so long, they tend to act differently than the “normal” people. They tend to not know right from wrong. Edward lived in isolation away from people, therefore did not know what the difference between right and wrong was. That could be categorized under another one of Nelson’s stereotypes, which would be the “unable to live a successful life”. He will never be able to live a normal life due to his isolation and his obvious physical disability. He has been shunned by society for not being like the rest of t hem.
Sadly this tends to happen in real life quite often. Many people are cruel and do not care if you have a disability, if you do not look or act what society considers normal, then you are most likely judged and discriminated against, and most likely not going to be accepted by as many people. I feel like Edward Scissorhands provides the perfect example in showing how a physical or mental disability affects how a person lives and is treated. Liked Edward, they do not get to lead the same life every “normal” person lives.