Comparative essay on Emma by Jane Austen and Clueless by Amy Heckerling

Essay by kj324High School, 12th gradeA, July 2008

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There is a difference between transforming and transplanting. For transformation to occur there should be a reassessment of values, not just a new time and place.

The process of transformation makes a modern text more powerful than a classical text that has simply been transplanted into a new medium. In a transformation of text the reassessment of values and attitudes for the modern audience from early 19th Century texts allows the new viewer to understand and participate in the new text. Clueless has successfully achieved these ideals with Heckerling's transformation of Jane Austen's 19th Century Emma.

The novel, Emma, set in early 19th century rural England, shows the rapidly changing world of Regency England. Set in the worlds superpower of its time it shows a closed male dominated rigid society which was rapidly changing. Written during the time of industrial revolution the text shows how the genteel were being affected by the various changes in society.

The rise of the middle class, who were now gaining money and wealth through trade and industry, the change in values and morals within the community and the shift of power away from those who were traditionally the top of the social hierarchy. The text highlights and examines how the genteel responded to these changes in society. Austen draws upon these changes to create a text which addresses universal and timeless values and attitudes of human nature.

Clueless, however has been transformed into a late 20th century American teen flick. The text is still set in the superpower of its time, America, but more importantly it is no longer set in a closed society but one that is being constantly viewed and looked to from the rest of the world. Heckerling has transformed the values and attitudes of Emma into a...