Emma Clueless Patriarchy

671 Words3 Pages
As the context is altered from Jane Austen's 19th century novel, Emma to the late 20th century film, Clueless directed by Amy Heckerling, the initial attitudes towards the existence of patriarchy in society remain of concern but adjust to their new backgrounds. Austen’s novel, through Emma’s self-improvement shows the notions of the importance of marriage, as a subjectification of women and also uses the characters of Emma to challenge society’s patriarchy and Mr. Knightley as the male archetype to whom Emma must impress, whereas Heckerling transforms these ideas to the importance of dating, and Cher’s need for Josh’s approval, with the remaining of both their requirement of improving themselves. Emma makes a statement on the notions of female independence, and subtly confronts the values of her 19th century patriarchal context. Women’s roles in society at this time were solely marital and maternal, with writers such as Rousseau stating the idea that women must be subservient, dutiful and devoted to the men in their lives. The book firmly projects the patriarchal society as the context: “A young woman, if she falls into bad hands may be teased…but one cannot comprehend a young man’s being under such restraint.” This language, although satirical reaffirms a main attitude existent in the context of Regency England. Austen uses the novel's protagonist Emma as a manager of self-determination and although she is a part of high society, she is delicately able through Austen’s narrative, to resist traditional gender roles and concerns. Emma proudly states, when refusing Mr. Elton’s proposal: “I have very little intention of ever marrying at all”, showing her dominant stance yet she is still somewhat a woman of her context as the novel results in her marrying of Mr. Knightley. This reaffirms the fundamental reality of patriarchy as although Emma forms her own opinion, she
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