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The Setting of Edward Scissorhands A little bit about American suburbia in the 1950s.

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Presentation on theme: "The Setting of Edward Scissorhands A little bit about American suburbia in the 1950s."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Setting of Edward Scissorhands A little bit about American suburbia in the 1950s

2 Key Questions What was life like in the 1950s? Why was it like this? Where did the concept of suburbia originate from? How was Tim Burton affected by this? How does he show this in Edward Scissorhands?

3 What was life like? Drive ins, McDonalds, Tupperware and convenience food were all new concepts in 1950s America. People prided themselves on their homes, cars, and gadgets. “It seemed like a perpetual summertime,” said Richard Abrams, history professer. “These people don’t want trouble. They don’t want to make waves.” America wanted to show off the promises to a capitalist democracy.

4 Why was it like this? Late 20s- Mid 40s, hard and tumultuous time in America. Great Depression, World War 2. Uncertain, unhappy times. After the war; US emerged as world power with communist Soviet Union. Wanted to show the world that capitalist democracy of US better than Soviet communism. Showed this through maintaining an ideal of affluence and congeniality.

5 Pssst… To put it extra simply: Soviet Union = communist collection of countries. Now dissolved. Communism = living and producing for the good of the state. America (and NZ) = capitalist Capitalism = pursuit of the individual, hard work can make you affluent. Pros and cons to both systems.

6 Where did the concept of suburbia come from? Levittown was one of the first manufactured suburbs. Mass produced, production line homes, 5 styles to choose from, kitted out with all the new appliances. Buyer could choose and buy in three minutes. Made decent housing accessible for working class citizens. Damned for blandness, conformity, racial exclusivity.

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9 How was Tim Burton affected by this? He grew up in the suburb of Burbank in the 1960s. Pastel houses, materialism, superficial priorities, grotesque ornaments on the wall and in the garden. No sense of history/culture/passion for anything. Neighbourhood could easily turn into an angry mob if displeased – no sense of individuality.

10 Quotes “You never see anybody unless there’s something weird going on in the neighbourhood.” “You were never quite aware of what people were feeling – always surface oriented.” Christmas “Decoration and intensity without any real feeling about any real tradition – except assembling a Christmas tree.”

11 Quotes “The pictures my family had on the walls, I never got a sense that they liked them, that they bought them, that somebody had given them to them. It was almost as if they had always been there, and yet no one had ever looked at them. I remember sitting there looking at some of these things going ‘What the hell is that? What are those resin grapes? Where did they get them? What does it mean?”

12 Quotes “You were either forced to conform and cut out a large portion of your personality, or to develop as very strong interior life which made you feel separate.” “…there’s stuff underneath you just don’t know.”

13 Where do we see this? Identify and explain instances where: 1. There is a ‘mob mentality,’ the neighbourhood turning on anything they perceive as a threat. 2. There is unusual or grotesque decoration. 3. The neighbourhood gathers when something ‘weird is going on.’(two examples) 4. Prioritisation or focus on the material value of things (three examples at least) 5. People going along with what everyone else thinks (conformity).


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