How Do Composers Transform Texts to Suit Their Context? Jane Austen's Emma / Amy Herckerling's Clueless (Film) Comparison

1099 Words5 Pages
Amy Heckerling has transformed Jane Austen’s novel Emma to create Clueless, a film set in 90s America thatx appeals and is more relatable to a contemporary audience. Both stories are essentially about the personal development of their protagonists Emma and Cher as they reach self-realisation however there is a slight difference of values that relate to the different contexts in which the stories are set. Through different techniques, we see how Heckerling has retained the story of Emma as well as the way she has adapted it to suit more modern values and concepts. Social order is a prominent idea in both texts Clueless and Emma. Jane Austen presents the importance of family wealth in Regency England, as it is the defining factor of one’s position in the social hierarchy. It is made evident early in the story that Emma Woodhouse’s family is powerful, “The Woodhouses were first in consequence there. All looked up to them”. Social order is important in this novel as it is the cause of Emma’s initial inflated ego. Emma is pretentious and snobby as a result of her position in society. She has a false sense of intelligence as a result of her power and Austen gently mocks this using irony, ‘The real evils of Emma’s situation were the powers of having too much her own way.” Due to her higher position, she feels charitable when she befriends Harriet and she feels inclined to interfere with the lives of others. Knightley, Emma’s neighbor, does not care for Emma’s social status and thus is immune to her influence and does not hesitate to criticize her, “Mr. Knightley, in fact, was one of the few people who could see faults in Emma Woodhouse, and the only one who ever told her of them”. It was his constant scrutiny and Emma’s many failed matchmaking attempts that pushed her to realization. It is through this that we see that although social order is definitely imperative, it
Open Document