How Heckerling transformed Emma into Clueless

Length: 4 Pages 899 Words

Both the novel Emma, by Jane Austen, and the film “Clueless”, directed by Amy Heckerling, contain elements of satire, used by their composers to comment on their respective societies. Due to the transformation of context and text type, the content of this satire and the techniques used to portray it vary. While Emma is set in the patriarchal society of 19th Century rural England, its setting in “Clueless” has been transformed to become Beverly Hills in the 1990s. Heckerling transforms Emma in order to comment on her own society. Within the transformation, the values of society have changed, however the current values of the setting are still the basis for judging people. Although Heckerling comments on similar themes to Austen, the changing context of their societies means that Heckerling is able to present a different viewpoint. In Emma, Austen uses a distinct style in order to portray her satire. Third person narration from the protagonist’s point of view allows the responder to gain insights into the thoughts of the character, while remaining removed, in order to appreciate the comment Austen is making through this character. For example, through the character of Emma, Austen comments on social manners, vanity and Continue...


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Due to the changing context of setting between the two texts, Heckerling was able to use the story to say different things. In order to use the plot of Emma in "Clueless" to effectively comment on her society, Heckerling used a variety of cinematic techniques. " (pg 107, chapter 13)Similarly, in "Clueless", Heckerling satirises aspects of her society through her protagonist, Cher. An example of Austen"tms ironic humour occurs after Emma has assured John Knightley of his incorrect judgement of Mr Elton"tms intentions, in order to comment on Emma"tms self-deception: "Walked on, amusing herself in the consideration of the blunders which often arise from a partial knowledge of the circumstances, of the mistakes which people of high pretensions to judgement are for ever falling into. The fact that Christian expresses his sexuality openly does not mean that he is free from discrimination. Through this shift in theme, Heckerling is able to satirically comment on what is important in her society. The song "Fashion" plays during this scene to provide further emphasis. During the makeover scene, the upbeat music "Supermodel" plays in the background to further emphasise the weight society places on appearance. This is also evident when Cher is being robbed, as she is more concerned for her dress than her life. Ironic humour is maintained when the narration is from Emma"tms point of view, as the responder is able to see through Emma"tms eyes, while simultaneously perceiving the wider context that Austen intended. A fluke accident during a routine liposuction. Authorial comment creates a distance between character and composer, allowing Austen to reveal the flaws in Emma. The comment Cher makes that she has a:"way normal life for a teenage girl"is juxtaposed with her choosing her school clothes using a computerised wardrobe programme.

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