chapter  13
15 Pages

‘Conceal, Don’t Feel’

Disability, Monstrosity, and the Freak in Edward Scissorhands and Frozen
ByDylan Holdsworth

Cultural and historical constructions of the freak and the monster have been almost invariably tied to disability. Regardless of what the image of the freak or monster comes to represent socially, culturally, politically, economically, or theologically, the tensions between the normative and non-normative body remain its fundamental preoccupation. The anxieties about the non-normative Other are expressed through a variety of affective responses such as fascination, curiosity, disgust, and terror. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the freak became a commodity, something exploitable when put on show. Unlike the freak, the monster elicits only negative affects such as fear, hatred, and/or disgust. As the freak or monster moves from one mode to the other, they evoke myriad affects simultaneously. In Edward Scissorhands, Edward becomes sublime when he sculpts an angel out of ice for the Boggs' Christmas party. While Edward's sublimity is short-lived, Elsa's sublimity enables her to move from monster to freak.