Time Burton´s Gothic Fantasy: Representing the Victorian Culture through Animation and Parody

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4.1 Tim Burton’s Gothic Fantasy: Representing the Victorian Culture through Animation and Parody
Film adaptations based on particular works such as Dickens’s Great Expectations are not the only means through which we get a glimpse of Victorian culture and society. Animated films such as Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2005) represent the Victorian era through humor and exaggeration and reveal Burton’s awareness of 19th century English society. In his study Gothic Fantasy: The Films of Tim Burton, Edwin Page argues that Burton’s films are not realistic in nature, but like fairy tales they communicate through symbolic imagery, as they speak of “things far deeper within our conscious and subconscious minds than most films would dare to delve” (7). His films are believed to be personal and reflect dark humor, as he combines elements of fairy tales, the gothic, parody and grotesque. Most importantly, Burton usually identifies himself with subordinate characters in horror films that exhibit grand melodramatic emotion and also finds himself “identifying with the monsters rather than the heroes, as the monsters tended to show passion whereas the leads were relatively emotionless” (13). The monsters in his films symbolize the outsider and the alienated, a figure that defies society and is almost always exaggerated in representation. Significant examples from his numerous films include Edward in Edward Scissorhands (1990), demonic Mrs. Lovett and the blood thirsty barber in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) and the tragicomically grotesque jilted bride Emily in Corpse Bride (2005).
The major issue that runs through the film that I am going to discuss in this chapter is that there are elements of the gothic, grotesque and me...

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...nt the Victorian jilted bride aim to subvert certain Victorian stereotypes and represent them through the postmodern view. My purpose in this chapter was to examine Emily as another Miss Havisham, because I believe that animated films are even more successful than adaptations, since they parody and subvert certain Victorian stereotypes in a subconscious level. Burton manages in Corpse Bride to reveal traditionally criticized issues about Victorian society and especially its attitude towards unmarried women. As it happens in Burton’s films, the social messages always reach the audience through witty songs, dark humor and fairy-tale elements. In contrast to the rest of the films discussed in my thesis, I believe that it is exactly this non-aggressive strategy of animation that helps us digest the film’s point about the fate of unmarried women in the Victorian period.

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