Emma and Clueless Essay

1133 Words5 Pages
The transformation of the Jane Austen’s novel Emma into the Amy Heckerling’s ‘teen-pic’ Clueless, involves changing the original text in to another medium set in a different context to allow a re-assessment of the values present in the text thus enabling the audience to gain a greater insight and appreciation of the ideals and concerns outlined by Austin in Emma. The themes presented by Austin in Emma are universal and timeless which enables Heckerling to adapt them to a context a modern audience can reflect and relate to, thus generating a greater understanding of the social commentary made by Austen on social class, marriage and education of the 19th century. Heckerling does not devalue Emma and the essence of what is said is not changed however Heckerling goes further than just a transformation and comments on modern issues such as sexuality, education and social equality relevant to her time. This allows the texts to resonate with each other with the known reflecting upon the new and the new reflecting on the known. Both Emma and Clueless deal with a society in which social structure and values are criteria for assessing people. Austen establishes the society of Highbury a “large and populous village”, to reflect and satirise the 19th century society, highlight the rigid and class conscious values of this context. Social class was determined by a person’s wealth, family and marriage. It was considered unacceptable to marry outside your social class. Austin illustrates the restraints of social class through the establishment of particular relationships and characters. The ‘very pretty’ but not ‘remarkably clever’ Harriet Smith embodies the difficulties in socialising outside ones social class and Emma’s dialogue ‘I could not visit a Mrs Robert Martin of Abbey-Mill Farm’ illuminates the social restrictions of the class hierarchy if Harriet were to marry Mr
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