Clueless/Emma Essay Plan

Essay by davidw89High School, 11th grade March 2007

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Introduction-"Emma" by Jane Austen and "Clueless" directed by Amy Heckerling-Fundamentally different, but recurring thematic similarities afford an appreciation of cultural fluidity and the change in ideologies.

-Transformation contemporises Austen's plot, setting, characterisation and gentle irony. Shaping new meaning alongside the universality of Austen-Transformation process allows responder to gain insights they would otherwise fail to realise, and thus enables them to compare the value system of both eras.

Setting-Emma and Cher (Alicia Silverstone) are representational products of their social environment-Emma: microcosm of upper middle-class English society. Patriarchal, class conscious and mono-cultural. Concentrated on rigid codes of propriety, wealth and status.

-Cher: multicultural, individualist and consumerist world of Beverly Hills in LA. Teen cultured world.

Tools-The values embedded within in each text are indicative of socio-cultural conventions of each context.

-Both composers use their respective cinematic and narrative tools with use of irony to satirise absurdity of certain social values and issues.

-Emma: Austen's omniscient narration. E.g: "Emma Woodhouse…seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence;"-Clueless: incongruity between images on screen and Cher's voiceover. E.g: her "way normal life for a teenager" as she proceeds to choose an outfit from a computer program.

Emma-Uses ridicule, mockery and ironic humour to condemn social vices (e.g snobbery) and condone virtue, morality and sincerity.

-Formal elevated language accommodates a more educated audience in 21st century, but norm for Austen and her literate contemporaries.

-Context affects choice of medium: film was a technological advancement yet to be made.

Clueless-Greater purpose to entertain due to context and post modern teenage audience.

-Visual medium allows Heckerling to convey social themes and values through mise-en-scene, audio techniques and symbolism (as opposed to extended dialogue and prose of Emma)Values - Consumption and Social ConductConcepts of consumerism and materialism in Clueless replace class propriety and social etiquette in Emma.