Comparing Emma and Clueless (Transformation)

Essay by penlineHigh School, 11th grade January 2004

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The amalgamation of Emma, written by Jane Austin in the context of England in 1815, with the movie Clueless, directed by Amy Heckerling and set in the Beverly Hills context of 1995, results in transformations. These transformations indicate the difference in style between a written text and a movie yet similarities in context such as social setting and entertainment must be acknowledged. The contexts of Emma still exist in Clueless but in a different form. It was transformed from Emma into Clueless through characters and themes.

Transformation is a key factor which leads to the reflection on these two different mediums. It is clear at first glance, that Emma is a written text composed by Jane Austen in the early Nineteenth Century and Clueless is a movie set in the mid-nineties. Being set so, in their respective text types, the question of strengths and weakness arises. The ability of Amy Heckerling to exploit film techniques makes for the strength of the film.

Instant impact is achieved from the moment of the opening credits through movement, colour and music. 'Kids In America', by The Muffs, is a fast upbeat song played in the opening scene. It sets the tone and mood whilst emphasising teenage life. The camera illustrates the wealth of Cher's family through mis-en-scene of her vast house and her amazing wardrobe. Much of the classroom atmosphere is provided by the camera as it pans around the room demonstrating the strength of the visual and the lesser importance of dialogue. Throughout the rest of the film, techniques of dialogue and voice-over enhance the telling of the story and expressing the message.

As Austen is dealing with an entirely different medium, she did not have access to such techniques; nonetheless, her writing skills overcome this barrier. The style of the writing,