How Heckerling transformed Emma into Clueless

             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 self-deception in her society. Authorial comment creates a distance between character and composer, allowing Austen to reveal the flaws in Emma. Ironic humour is maintained when the narration is from Emma’s point of view, as the responder is able to see through Emma’s eyes, while simultaneously perceiving the wider context that Austen intended. An example of Austen’s ironic humour occurs after Emma has assured John Knightley of his incorrect judgement of Mr Elton’s intentions, in order to comment on Emma’s 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 pretension...

More Essays:

APA     MLA     Chicago
How Heckerling transformed Emma into Clueless. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:20, January 22, 2017, from