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Edward Scissorhands

October 11, 2015

ESThe movie magazine gossip in early 1990 was agog with the news that heartthrob, Johnny Depp, best known for the American TV cop show, 21 Jump Street, and John Waters’s parody of a teen idol, Cry Baby, was spending hours in make-up to be transformed into a grotesque creature and that he was practising arm movements in order to wield garden shears in place of hands. This was odd enough, but the gossip also noted that Tim Burton who had been responsible for such “weird” movies as Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, and Batman was directing him. This made it sound even odder.

Eventually, the film was released, not with a great deal of fanfare, but it turned out to be one of the most imaginative and gentle films of the early 1990s, a modern fable that appealed to adults and adolescents alike, Edward Scissor- hands. It seemed to incorporate elements of myths, of fairy-tales and, many audiences noted, gospel parallels. Almost immediately, Edward Scissorhands was being given religious interpretations. The film is being analyzed in this chapter in order to offer an approach to contemporary insights into Christology.

A brief plot outline will highlight the Jesus parallels. A master inventor, played by Vincent Price, creates from various parts, both human and mechanical, what is intended to be a good young man. Already we have a benign variation on the Frankenstein myth. The inventor is old and has had to work long and hard to perfect the young man’s hands. In the meantime, Edward has been using large scissor shears. As he is about to fit the hands, the inventor has a heart attack, collapses and dies, Edward piercing one of the hands that are never to be his. Edward grieves that he does not have hands. Perhaps “grieves” is too strong a word, for the other human organ that Edward lacks is a heart.

The inventor, however, had educated Edward well, infusing his mind with both the wonders of poetic and scientific nature. “Up there,” in a castle on a hill, Edward lives alone until a sweet Avon lady, Dianne Wiest, invites him down into the world — a pastel “little boxes” American suburb — to live with her family. Edward, with his pasty complexion, his unruly black hair and his eccentric matching black clothes, appears too different from ordinary people. But he soon wins them over, especially with his tonsorial skills, wielding his scissors on shaggy dogs who then look like show champions, on shrubs and on bored housewives’ hairdos. His designs for humans, animals, and plants alike are masterpieces.

The daughter of the house, Kim (Winona Ryder), befriends him and becomes lovingly devoted. Her macho boyfriend, Jim (Anthony Michael Hall), is jealous and traps Edward into participating in a robbery. Edward’s days down in the suburbs are numbered.

Edward has tried to be a human amongst humans, bringing the best out of most of the people he encounters. But then they turn against him. Edward is saved by Kim but has to defend his life against the angry Jim who falls to his death. Kim leaves Edward alone, back in his castle heights. She sends the hostile crowd away telling them that Edward is dead. However, it is she, as an old woman, who is recounting his story to her granddaughter, keeping alive his memory and his spirit. In his castle, Edward continues to shape beautiful gardens and ice sculptures. Kim dances in her memories in falling snow.

Audiences responded well to the fable. In fact, many commentators saw the film as a contemporary fairytale, a contemporary suburban fairytale. A fruitful use of stories for theological exploration is to identify and analyze “Christ figures.” One can make the distinction between “Jesus—figures” and “Christ-figures.” The basic distinction is between representations of Jesus himself (Jesus-figures) and characters in real life and in the arts who resemble Jesus (from his messianic title, Christ- figures). The resemblance needs to be significant and substantial, otherwise it is trivial. It also needs to be understood from the text and texture of the work of art, be it classical or popular, and not read into the text with Christian presuppositions.

There are many Jesus-figures, whether they be crucifixes, the Jesus of a Renaissance painting or of a nineteenth—century plaster statue. Most of the artists who have painted or sculpted Jesus-figures seem to have assumed that they were offering “realistic” figures, Jesus as he was. However, even the most “representational” paintings or statues, while they might have seemed real to people of the culture that produced the work of art, are not a representation of what Jesus himself was actually like. Rather, they have been “stylized,” adapted to the conventions of the current culture.

This is also true of movies that portray Jesus (see chapter 9 by William Telford in this book). Filmmakers and audiences may have thought that King of Kings or The Greatest Story Ever Told are realistic, when they are, in fact, “Hollywood stylized.” Even Pasolini’s admired The Gospel According to St Matthew is Italianate. The screenplays of these films often take a very literal, even fundamentalist, approach to the Gospel texts which also undermines their attempts to be realistic. With the advent of Jesus Christ Superstar in the l970s and its subsequent popularity, filmmakers have felt freer to follow the lead of the visual arts in offering stylized Jesus-figures. Christ-figures in the movies should be interpreted through biblical criteria:
they can be seen as redeemers, saviors, and liberators.

There is a long tradition in the Jewish scriptures of redeemers, those who suffer and die on behalf of others. The most impressive and profound example of this tradition is found in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, in the section usually called “The Servant Songs” (and usually regarded as compiled by the second “Isaiah” to be found writing within the book). Of the prophetic servant Second Isaiah writes: he was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins. On him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed.

The gospel passion narratives rely on familiarity with the Servant Songs of Second Isaiah, often using detail from the songs as “short-hand” for describing Jesus’ suffering. In Isa. 50:6, the servant is struck on the face, spat on, his beard pulled and his back beaten. In this same way, Jesus’ torture is described in the Gospels (Mk 15:16—20). The First Letter of Peter (at 2:21—4) quotes Isah. 53 explicitly. In fact, the author uses the language of the Christ-figure to exhort readers to be Christ-figures themselves: after speaking of suffering (in a passage about slaves being punished justly and unjustly), he states that “Christ suffered for you and left an example for you to follow the way he took”

Another tradition from the Jewish scriptures is that of saviors, those who transform others’ lives or lead them into a new life. They range from Abraham, the patriarch migrating with his clan, to Moses leading the descendants of Abraham out of oppression in Egypt towards the promised land. The climax is the vision in Daniel 7, where the Son of Man, representing the faithful people of Israel, comes on the clouds of heaven to receive the reward for those who had remained faithful to God’s promises to Abraham, those who were faithful to the covenant between God and his people. This term, Son of Man, relates to Jesus’ reference to Caiaphas when Caiaphas asks Jesus who he really is (Mt. 26:63—6). Jesus is the Son of Man who, after suffering like the servant, will be glorified by God and lead his faithful into the new, heavenly, risen life. Saviors empower others to a rising to new life.

In recent times, especially in the countries of Latin America and in the Philippines, theologians influenced by Liberation Theology have been considering Jesus as Liberator. The title combines the aspects of redemption (being saved from suffering) and salvation (being empowered to live a new kind of life) with the liberator, who initiates action for justice and frees people from oppression. Liberation theologians see Jesus as an outspoken activist (for instance, his denunciations of the abuses by the Pharisees in Mt. 23) and as a man whose compassion is especially given to the marginalized (like the outcast leper of Mk 1:40).

Christ-figures, men and women (and perhaps even creatures of fiction like Hobbits) are “analogies” of Jesus, images of Jesus, who can assist us in our attempts to give depth to some understanding of him.

It should be said that theologians who pursue this fruitful exploration of the mystery of Jesus are looking at the Jesus of Faith, the Jesus whom they follow in belief and in commitment. However, many storytellers (especially in cinema) are not believers or committed to Jesus. And yet, many of them use Christ-figures, consciously or unconsciously, in their work.

The way that they look at the Jesus of the Gospels is as a Jesus of culture. Whatever the facts about Jesus of Nazareth and his historical reality, Jesus Christ is admired and his words and actions interpreted by peoples of diverse cultures, inside and outside the Christian tradition. Diverse cultures around the world have absorbed the Gospels into their consciousness and into their imagination and language, enabling any artistically creative person to draw on the stories and the person of Jesus as a metaphor, as a symbol, as an image of values they are exploring. They are religious analogies in the broadest sense. They are not necessarily faith analogies.

The consequent theological insights can be intellectual, remaining at the intellectual level, offering greater understanding or deeper understanding of the truth of the mystery. But the insights are also symbolic, operating on an esthetic level of appreciation of the beauty of the mystery. Insights gained — though insight may not be the best term for this experience, of course — can be on the level of feeling; desire and feelings — an acknowledgment of the goodness of the mystery.

Theologian Anthony Kelly gathers these themes together: As expressed in his human existence, the Word has a history. Jesus is born, lives, suffers, dies, rises. As he enters into the heart and mind of man [sic], the Word becomes a story. As projected into the history of all men [sic], in all times, in all cultures, the Word becomes a story told and re—told. The occasions for such retellings are as frequent as the number of the life-stories of men and women who hope that their story is a good story. The Word becomes the way of telling our story, the way of accounting for how we belong together, from the beginning unto the end.

The Word becomes the story, the Gospel. Jesus does not become first of all doctrine or dogma or theology. Each of these is only part of his story. And so it is essential to note the narrative of how the Word lives amongst us and invites us to listen.

The use of stories, of analogies, means that the Christology we are exploring is “Low Christology,” “Christology from Below.” Theologians make the distinction between “High Christology” and “Low Christology.” “High Christology” takes as its starting point the divinity of Jesus. Jesus comes down to earth from “above,” from “the right hand of the Father” and any theological reflection sees Jesus of Nazareth in this light. John’s Gospel and the New Testament letters of the Apostle Paul offer “High Christology.” “Low Christology,” on the other hand, takes the human Jesus as its starting point, trying to understand how Jesus is fully human as well as fully divine. This is the Christology of Matthew, Mark and Luke — the Synoptic Gospels. “Christology from Below” has its focus on Jesus of Nazareth and his humanity rather than on Jesus as the Christ, the Risen Lord. While this does include Jesus’ deep and close relationship with God, with “Abba,” his father, and the intimations of divinity which are sprinkled through the narrative, the course of his public life shows a gradual revelation of his oneness with the Father and his disciples’ realization that he is the Messiah. This climaxes in Jesus’ death but, principally, when the Father, listening to the “yes” of Jesus given utterly on the cross, reaches out to embrace his dead son and loves him into new, risen, divine life.

This makes the study of Christ-figures more credible. They are not (usually) superhuman beings with whom we cannot identify; they are human beings like us who can reveal something of what the Incarnation is and is like. But the Christ-figure is also something more, someone who can reveal our potential to us. We can see the completion of their stories, their beginning, middle and end, and the directions in which our uncompleted stories might go.

Edward Scissorhands can be seen as a Christ-figure. He is, for some, a redeemer. He is also, for some, a savior. And his story can, by analogy, help us to understand something of Jesus’ experience of incarnation. There is, however, a momentary catch. Edward is not exactly human. For that reason, this is clearly an analogy, but an interesting one. And that is why Edward is referred to as a creature rather than as a human being.

So, what does a viewing/reading of Edward Scissorhands offer for an approach to Christological insights, especially for an imaginative and feeling understanding? Following the plot outline, the following points emerge: –

1 With its fairy-tale opening where “once upon a time” is in a castle on a hill, way above the ordinary world, while, in the ordinary world a little girl questions her grandmother and asks her to tell a story, there is a parallel in the movie with the origins of the Gospels. These were not theological texts. Rather, they originated from the second generation of Christians asking the original disciples all about Jesus. The answers were memories, memories of stories, the wonderful impact of these stories and the beginning of the “myths” of Jesus (in the best and biblical sense of “myth” where the story tells the truth of its subject). The way of storytelling creates an atmosphere that influences our perceptions, giving the central character a heroic status, commanding respect and awe. Edward Scissorhands concludes with the grandmother vouching for the truth of what she has narrated, because she was a witness and what she has seen, she has told and knows it to be true.

On the level of fairy—tale and legend, besides the obvious reference to the Frankenstein story, the main influence is the tale of “Beauty and the Beast.” Edward is seen, at first, as a monster, a beast; he is loved by Kim, the beauty, who is self-sacrificing in allowing him to go back to his castle. Commentators have been reminded of influences from The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera.

2 The relationship of the inventor to Edward has severe limitations as a parallel between the Father and the Son. However, as an analogy, it helps us to imagine something of the relationship. The inventor-father gives everything he has to the creature-son. He has created him, given him life, educated him (including etiquette so that he can deal with human beings with finesse), infused him with knowledge. The father-inventor lives in the son and the son manifests the inspiration and skill of the father.
One can get tangled in the language of John’s Gospel exploring the relationship between the Father and the Son, their oneness, and the Son manifesting the Father. But the screenplay of Edward Scissorhands helps us to imagine something of this union while acknowledging that, of course, it is not like this — above all, because the Father does not, in the Christian understanding of God, die in giving life to the Son.
Another interesting fantasy example of this kind of cinema gospel parallel is found in the first 20 minutes of Richard Donner’s Superman The Movie (1978). Mario Puzo’s screenplay is quite explicit in its use of Johannine language about the relationship between Father and Son as a way of establishing the super-human origins of Superman in Krypton and of how he will be different from human beings as he descends to earth to be one with them.

At the end of Edward Scissorhands, Edward, thought dead, is still alive. His memory (and spirit) lives in those he has touched and transformed. He lives in the memory of Kim who, as grandmother, continues telling the story of Edward. If the dead bones becoming enfleshed and standing up as living beings in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, “when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people . . . and I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live. . .“ (37:14), can prefigure the resurrection of the dead, so Edward Scissorhands’s creator-father who enlivens the son, a son who receives his words from the father, and whose spirit remains with people long after he has left them, can offer some imaginative insight into the Trinity. They illuminate the theological concepts used for trying to understand the relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit. This leads us into deeper, more religious reflections on the movie.

3 The story of the stranger who comes into a community and transforms their lives, sometimes with challenge and pain, a sign of contradiction which is often misunderstood — and who then disappears is an archetypal story. Mark Salisbury, refers to Edward as “another of Burton’s archetypal outsider figures”.

Many of the world faiths recount this kind of tale in their tales of incarnation of the gods. It is a popular device in literature and theatre. It has also been popular in movies, from Terence Stamp’s “angel” in Pasolini’s Teorema to many of Clint Eastwood’s Westerns like High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider (on which, see Chapter 5 by Robert Banks). Intervening angels have been a staple of Hollywood for decades. Benign aliens like E. T. have ensured that this archetype has value for children as well as adults (as did Peter Pan on whom the character of E. T. is based).

So, at the invitation of Peg, the kind Avon Lady, Edward comes down to live amongst the people. He is like ordinary people. He is also not like ordinary people. But his presence challenges and changes their lives. Just as Jesus came to the small and insignificant town of Nazareth (“can anything good come out of Nazareth?” is Nathanael’s skeptical question to Philip in Jn 1:47), so Edward comes to the pretentiously simple (even kitsch) and modern American town, Anywheresville, USA. (As did Superman in Superman The Movie where he arrived in Smallville, was found by his foster-parents, the Kents, adopted and brought up in a hidden life until he was about 30 when he was ready to go out into the world and work.) “Incarnation” is, then, a staple both of religious stories and tales of popular culture.

4 While “incarnation” can be imagined, it is the nature of the incarnation that has taxed the minds of theologians through the centuries. The phrase that emerged from the classical disputes of the fourth and fifth centuries was “hypostatic union.” The hypostatic union meant that Jesus, the person, had both a divine nature and a human nature — but was still the one person. Theologians have grasped at intellectual analogies to express the humanity— divinity union in the person of Jesus. They have adopted philosophical frameworks, philosophical systems and language to try to express the mystery. The faithful have accepted the mystery and try to respond to the person of Jesus in, as the New Testament Letter to the Ephesians puts it, the breadth and length, the height and depth, until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, they are filled with the utter fullness of God (3:18—19).

Edward Scissorhands is a “composite” creature, not a hypostatic union, but a creature who is like us and yet not like us — a creature who can show human beings how to be their better selves. He has been programmed by his father- creator so that he can communicate with people. Despite his puppet-like appearance (and he has been described by reviewers as “marionette,” “robot,” “android,” “punk doll”), he appears as a total person, different, yes, but one who has knowledge and is gifted. At one stage, the suburban women want to make him more like themselves, even trying to use makeup to change his characteristic pale features with their look of pathos. It does not work.

In puzzling over Jesus as a “composite” of the human and the divine, theologian Bernard Lonergan SJ distinguished between “knowledge” and “consciousness.” Jesus, both human and divine, was gifted with divine knowledge. But how did this knowledge enter into his consciousness when he was also truly human, with human limitations of growth in understanding? Jesus had to learn in a human way, learn to express himself in human concepts and language. The profundity of the Lord’s Prayer comes from a deep experience of God as Abba, an intimate term meaning “Dad”! “Papa”! “Poppa.” But it has found human expression and vocabulary from the spiritual heritage, the Jewish scriptures that have been handed down to Jesus from Mary and Joseph.

Director Tim Burton said that a mask can be a device for freedom rather than for concealment. He speaks of masks as a way of expressing himself. A mask can also free people to open up much more than they would in ordinary situations. As early as the first century CE, some Christians declared that Jesus’ humanity was merely a cloak or a mask, covering the real Jesus who was, in fact, divine. This was judged as heretical. But, as we listen to the Gospel stories and note how people responded to Jesus as to no other person, the idea of the freeing mask helps us to appreciate the impact of Jesus and his ability to be different and yet reach people with great freedom. Edward Scissorhands wears strange clothes, has shears for hands Young Kevin takes him to school as a “Show and Tell” project. Edward is able to communicate, revealing sides to his listeners that they have not been aware of till then.

Jesus, seen as a prophet (with the freeing mask of the prophet) is able to preach, to tell profound parables, to heal, to raise from the dead, to hold significant encounters with a range of people, from the marginalized tax collectors and prostitutes to the officials of the land and the religious leaders and teachers. While he might caution his followers from publicizing what he is doing, he is able to show to all who can see and hear what God is really like Chapter 15 of the New Testament Gospel of Luke, which contains the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son, is introduced by the story of how the sinners crowded round Jesus. The officials complain. Luke says that Jesus reacted to these complaints, and “spoke this parable to them, In fact, he told three. Jesus, one with his father, yet human like us, the story of how God is like a shepherd, like a woman, like an extravagantly loving and forgiving father. Jesus, seen (and “masked”) as prophet, has a freedom to what he likes. He can challenge. He can preach. He can reveal the “good

People’s response to Jesus was very mixed. Some were cautious, some re scandalized, some were fearful and begged him to leave them. Many were converted from their traditional religious way of living or non-religious living to an acknowledgement that Jesus was, at least, a prophet revealing God to the people. Their lives were transformed by their faith and they became his disciples.

The suburbanites’ response to Edward was similarly mixed: first caution and fear, then curiosity and attraction. For a while, there is conversion. The story of the woman at the well in chapter 4 of the Gospel of John is one of the longest single narratives in the Gospels. It obviously offers a pattern for encounter with Jesus, the various stages of a conversion experience: a chance meeting, a practical request, hints of deeper meaning in the conversation, defensive reactions, moral righteousness (which is not warranted), a surrender o the fascinating stranger and an enthusiasm to let others know about the experience — and then being fobbed off when others encounter the stranger for themselves. It comes to mind when observing the way the women are drawn to Edward. But it is a short-lived “conversion.” Human pettiness triumphs over all good intentions.

Edward has been the archetypal outsider, the stranger who is the catalyst for change and, for many, transformation. This is true of the kindly foster parents, the do-gooding mother and the laid-back father. It is true of the boy, Kevin, because Edward lets the children come to him. It is true of Kim who learns to love him. As Jn 1:12 says of Jesus, “to all who did accept him, he gave power to become children of God.” Kevin’s and Kim’s encounters with Edward were “faith-encounters.” They believed in him and were changed for the better. They took on some of Edward’s qualities for their own personalities.

7 But the preceding verse in the prologue of John’s Gospel Jn 1:11) tells us that “he came to his own domain and his own people did not accept him.” The incarnation stories, the stories of the archetypal stranger eventually come to their chapters about hostility and suffering and, often, death.

Jim, Kim’s boyfriend, is the betrayer, even persuading Kim for some time to be part of his scheme. He is violent and rude and plans a robbery, inducing the good-natured Edward to be part of it, allowing him to be trapped by security guards with the aim of having him arrested. He would be rid of him. Jim offers Edward his mock kiss. The fickle women turn against him. Their leader, Joyce, regards him lustfully — an episode which echoes the story of Potiphar’s wife and her denunciation of the patriarch, Joseph, who refused to succumb to her seduction (Gen. 39:7—20). This story of the innocent betrayed seems to be archetypal as well. Joyce’s malice spurs the women on. Esmeralda, the strange religious fanatic whom people ignored, is now listened to as she denounces Edward. Jim baits him. Edward’s shears, which have been such an instrument of joy in shaping and designing, now accidentally strike Kevin and the crowd scents blood. Edward is pursued to his castle as the crowd, now a mob, want his blood. One might say he is pursued like a lamb to the slaughter. He was their servant but he is now suffering — bearing the projection of all their inadequacy and hostility (Isa. 53:6). It is not hard to hear the echoes of “Crucify him.” The screenplay makes its parallels with Jesus’ passion quite clear.

8 There is a final conflict. Jim pursues Edward into the castle and a struggle ensues which ends in Jim’s death, a struggle between the symbol of good and the symbol of evil. Evil is overcome. It brings on its own destruction. So, good is vindicated, right is seen to be done, innocence triumphs. Kim, who has witnessed the struggle, tells the people, especially the women, to go home. She tells them that Edward is dead. His life amongst them is over. They wander silently home.

9 Edward has disappeared. He has gone back to his father’s home. For the people, he is dead. But he is alive. He has gone beyond the ordinary world. Edward has no spectacular resurrection story, but it is a new life story, nonetheless.4 Kim does not or cannot stay in Edward’s castle world. She is to go back home as well. But, she knows Edward is alive — and she is to keep his memory alive. But she never sees him again.
The screenplay returns us to where the film began. Kim continues to tell Edward’s story. Her granddaughter delights in hearing the story. And there is a sign of his presence. In his castle, he shapes the shrubs and hedges. But he also shapes ice sculptures, including an image of the young Kim. The ice shavings fall like snow, like grace into Kim’s world — and, in her imagination, a young girl again, she dances in the snow. The telling of the story keeps Edward’s spirit alive and delights those who hear it – that includes ourselves, the audience.

Tim Burton and the screenplay’s author Caroline Thompson would lay no claim to Edward Scissorhands being a theological movie let alone a theological text. However, both of them have drawn on their imaginations. They have drawn on the universal fund of archetypal stories, be they fairy-tales, legends or myths, that fascinate storytellers and story-hearers alike. These stories include the Gospel stories. Joseph Campbell, following Carl Jung in his exploration of the meanings of these stories, uses the phrase, “the hero with a thousand faces.” Jesus is one of these heroes. He has become a universal figure and his life, death and resurrection have become symbols of human experience.’

Edward Scissorhands has many parallels with the Gospel narratives. They can be considered, at least, as literary and cinematic allusions. But, because of the meanings the skilful presentation of the parallels suggests, we can reflect in more religious vein on the movie.

We are in good company, the company of Tim Burton himself, who remarks, “I think the reason I like fairy tales so much as a form — at least my interpretation of the form — what I get out of fairy tales, folk tales, myths, are these very extreme images, very heightened, but with some foundation to them. It means something but is fairly abstract and if it’s going to connect with you it will connect with you, and if it’s not then it won’t.” And he adds something which gives some credibility to what this chapter is trying to do: “I much prefer to connect with something on a subconscious level than to intellectualize about it. I prefer to intellectualize about it slightly after the fact” Christology from a Suburban Fairy-talePeter Malone in Explorations in Theology and Film: Movies and Meaning – ed. Clive Marsh & Gaye Ortiz pp. 73f https://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com/2015/10/10/explorations-in-theology-and-film-movies-and-meaning-ed-clive-marsh-gaye-ortiz/

The Perspective of Director Tim Burton: Edward’s appearance is striking but strange, a combination of the creative and destructive that Burton refers to, an outer manifestation of human duality. Commentators on the film refer to Edward as in some way a “monster.” He is beast of the fairy-tale “Beauty and the Beast.” But monsters are not necessarily monstrosities. They can be both frightening and fascinating — which s how the German philosopher, Rudolf Otto speaks about “the Holy.” Burton himself says: “Every kid responds to some image, some fairy-tale image, and I felt most monsters were basically misperceived, they usually had much more heartfelt souls than the human characters around them”
Kim: Hold me.

Edward: I can’t.

Kim: You’re here… They didn’t hurt you, did they?

[Edward shakes his head]

Kim: Were you scared? I tried to make Jim go back, but, you can’t make Jim do anything. Thank you for not telling them that we…

Edward: You’re welcome.

Kim: It must have been awful when they told you whose house it was.

Edward: I knew it was Jim’s house.

Kim: You… you did?

Edward: Yes.

Kim: …Well, then why’d you do it?

Edward: Because you asked me to.

[last lines] Kim: You see, before he came down here, it never snowed. And afterwards, it did. If he weren’t up there now… I don’t think it would be snowing. Sometimes you can still catch me dancing in it.

The Inventor: [to Edward] Let us pretend that we are in the drawing room and the hostess is serving tea. Now many numerous little questions confront us. Should the man rise when he accepts his cup of tea? May lump sugar be taken with the fingers? No. Is it good form to accept a second cup? Should the napkin be entirely unfolded or should the centre crease be allowed to remain? It is so easy to commit embarrassing blunders, but etiquette tells us just what is expected of us and guards us from all humiliation and discomfort. Mm, yes. Boring. Let us switch to, uh… to some poetry, hm? “There was an old man from the Cape, who made himself garments of crepe. When asked: will they tear? He replied: Here and there, but they keep such a beautiful shape!” That’s right. Go ahead, smile, it’s funny. That’s right.

Edward: I am not complete.

Jim: [after seeing Edward accidentally cut Kim] Hey! Now you’ve done it!

Kim: It was just a scratch Jim, really!

Peg Boggs: What’s going on?

Jim: Call a doctor, he skewered Kim!

Kim: He didn’t skewer me!

Jim: [now bullying and shoving Edward] You can’t touch anything without destroying it! Who the hell do you think you are hanging around here, huh? Get the hell outta here! Go you freak!

Jim: [to Kim] He tried to hurt you.

Kim: No he did not and you know it!

Jim: Are you nuts? I just saw him!

Kim: Jim, I don’t love you anymore I just want you to go, ok? Just go!

Jim: Are you serious? Losing me to a loser like that? He isn’t even human!

Kim: Just get out of here ok, just go!

Kim: [after Jim has left] Dad, did you see where Edward went?

Bill: No, he just waltzed down the street.

Bill: Soup’s on!

Edward: I thought this was shish kabob.

Peg Boggs: Why are you hiding back there? You don’t have to hide from me – I’m Peg Boggs, your local Avon representative and I’m as harmless as cherry pie…

[sees Edward come toward her]

Peg Boggs: Oh – I can see that I’ve disturbed you. I’ll just be going now…

Edward: Don’t go.

Peg Boggs: [sees his scissor hands] Oh, my. What happened to you?

Edward: I’m not finished.

Officer Allen: Will he be OK, Doc?

Psychologist: The years spent in isolation have not equipped him with the tools necessary to judge right from wrong. He’s had no context. He’s been completely without guidance. Furthermore, his work – the garden sculptures, hairstyles and so forth – indicate that he’s a highly imaginative… uh… character. It seems clear that his awareness of what we call reality is radically underdeveloped.

Officer Allen: But will he be all right out there?

Psychologist: Oh yeah, he’ll be fine.

Esmerelda: I can’t believe you sheep have strayed so far from the path of righteousness!

Edward: [Walking towards Esmerelda] We’re not sheep!

Host-TV: Quite a story, yes? Any questions for Edward? Yeah, get way over. Stand right up.

Audience Member #1: What’s been the best part of your new life here in town?

Edward: The friends I made.

Host-TV: Any other questions?

Audience Member #2: Have you ever thought of having corrective surgery or prosthetics? I know a doctor that might be able to help you.

Edward: I’d like to meet him.

Host-TV: We’ll give that name after the show. Thank you very much. That’s very nice. Anyone else? Yes, stand right up.

Audience Member #3: But if you had regular hands you’d be like everyone else.

Edward: Yes, I know.

Host-TV: I think he’d like that.

Audience Member #4: Then no one would think you’re special. You wouldn’t be on TV or anything.

Peg Boggs: No matter what, Edward will always be special.

Edward: Kevin, you wanna play scissors, paper, stone again?

Kevin: No!

Edward: Why not?

Kevin: ‘Cause it’s boring. I always win!

Peg Boggs: My, those are your hands? Those are your hands! What happened to you? Where are your parents? Um… Your mother? Your father?

Edward: He didn’t wake up.

Peg Boggs: Are you alone? Do you live up here all by yourself? What happened to your face? No, I won’t hurt you. But at the very least, let me give you a good astringent. And this will help to prevent infection. What’s your name?

Edward: Edward.

Peg Boggs: Edward… I think you should just come home with me.

[Kevin has brought Edward to his class for show and tell]

Kevin: One chop to a guy’s neck, and it’s all over. [Edward does a karate pose; the class gasps in unison]

Suzanne: [at the dinner table, Edward hands her some meat with his scissors] I can’t eat that, he used his hands. I think it’s unsanitary.

Joyce: [after Edward cuts her hair] That was the single most thrilling experience of my entire life.

Kim: Why can’t you do it?

Jim: Because my father keeps the damn room locked. We need Edward to get us in.

Kim: Well can’t you just take the key when he’s sleeping or something?

Jim: You don’t understand. The only thing that guy hangs onto tighter is his dick.

Joyce: [to Edward] Don’t be ridiculous! You’re not handicapped, you’re… What do they call the… exceptional? My name’s Joyce, and I noticed that you have not tasted any of the ambrosia salad that I made especially for you. Allow me.

Joyce: [to Edward] Oh! Eddie, is there anything you can’t do? You take my very breath away, I swear. Look at this! Have you ever cut a woman’s hair? Would you cut mine?

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Officer Allen: We’re looking for the man with the hands.

Esmerelda: He has been sent first to tempt you. But it’s not too late. You must push him from you, expel him! Trample down the perversion of nature!

Kevin: Man, those things are cool! You know, I bet they’re razor-sharp. One karate chop to a guy’s neck…

Peg Boggs: Kevin…! Edward… would you like some butter for your bread? Great!

Edward: Thank you.

Kevin: Hey, can I bring him to show and tell on Monday?

Peg Boggs: Kevin, I’ve had enough

Jim: Forget about holding her hand, man. Think about the damage he could do to other places.

Jim: I’d give my left nut to see that again.

George: Eddie. The guys and I were talking, we’d like want to invite you to our card game on Friday night. Would you like that? Only thing is, you can’t cut!

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