Emma/Clueless Transformation Essay

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Clueless is the modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. Both focus and satirise human follies and foibles. While Emma is set in the nineteenth century gentry of Highbury and Clueless is set in 20th Century Beverley Hills they focus on the same general concepts of matchmaking, romance and social status. While there are many differences due to the rigidity of time barriers Heckerling has proven Austen’s Emma to a malleable and flexible text making Clueless into a rather effective film in portraying the weaknesses of humans. Clueless is a modern teenpic and hence follows the typical conventions of focusing on teen issues such as boys, drugs, high school relationships and others. These factors are incorporated into the film with the main ideas of Emma through the clever manipulation of film techniques. The setting of the two pieces is vastly different, with one set in the nineteenth century gentry and the other set in the modern 20th century. Due to this time discrepancy the original cannot be paralleled but only have main ideas kept. One similarity however is that Emma and Cher are both settled in a rich and established family however Mr Woodhouse earned his money through inheritance of land while Mel had to work day and night continuously to earn money. In one scene Cher and her father are eating at the dinner table and in the shot Mel’s work and telephone can be seen. Such placement of these objects emphasise the importance of work to earn money reflecting on the priorities of society and the importance of wealth. Not only is wealth important, so is rank and this is evident in both Emma and Clueless, however while Emma holds a social hierarchy Clueless holds a high school hierarchy which is based on how “cool” you were rather than your birthmark or inheritance. Many changes in the film are due to the rigidity of time boundaries for example the age of Mr Knightly is

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