Essay about Emma and Clueless

Submitted By PatrickLao
Words: 1132
Pages: 5

EMMA AND CLUELESS Transformation incorporates the adaptation of a text to a new medium, audience or time. There are four distinct areas of transformation from Emma to Clueless. These are values, morals and ideals, themes, the narrator and literary techniques and devices. The transformation helps us relate to modern day societies and is a demonstration of the complexity of human relationships and how characters are gradually transformed. The transformation has maintained the integrity of Emma whilst communicating it a different way. Through the transformation of Emma to Clueless we gain an understanding of the CONTEXT, which each text was created. For example, the values of each century change. 19thC England focuses on social status, marriage, wealth, education and social etiquette. In contrast, 20thC Beverley Hills focuses on sex before marriage, homosexuality, different races and drug use. These changes relate to our current society, the overt 90’s culture. For example, we gain the acceptance of minority groups i.e. Dione being African American yet she “knows what its like to have people be jealous of her” and her best friend is a Caucasian girl – Cher. Christian, being the “homosexual cake boy” indicates the acceptance of homosexuals. The contrast in pastimes of characters in both Emma and Clueless indicates social change. Austen contrasts expensive cars in Clueless with carriages in Emma, marijuana with malt liquor, a photograph of Tai with a portrait of Harriet, shopping, skateboarding and watching television with walks, visiting friends, backgammon and needlework. These symbols of society and social strata have been transformed to adapt to a modern society. The change in values helps us gain the knowledge that values are the main influence over culture and changing values change aspects of culture. As we have lost the values of 19thC Highbury we have still gained the knowledge that many of the issues in Emma are still the same 180 years on. The transformation has resulted in a modernised film in which the thematic concerns of Emma have been integrated. Deception, social structure, self-discovery, the pursuit of love, pride, happiness from others failure/humiliation, the role of women in society and the tole of the paternal figure are all themes which have been maintained. The transformation illustrates the fact that class systems remain over the past century. In Emma we see her saying she will transform Harriet for the better “Take notice of her, improve her, detach her from any bad acquaintance and introduce her to a good society.” Cher saying she will do the same for Tai “I’m taking that lost soul in their and making her well-dressed and popular, her life will be better because of me”. This shows us that Emma and Cher aren’t helping these people out of the goodness of their heart but to feed their ego and pride. We see the protagonist in Clueless having an overt sexuality which is somewhat missing in Highbury. This is because 20thC LA is a place where what one wears determines wear they fit in. For example, we see the shallowness of Cher’s world when Dione says “Cher’s main thrill in life is a makeover… it gives her a sense of control in a world full of chaos”. From the transformation of Emma to Clueless we lose the distant narrator in Emma who mercilessly attacks her and satirises the social conventions that nurture her. This is illustrated when the omniscient narrator says “The real evils indeed of Emma’s situation were the power of having rather too much her own way and a disposition to think a little too well of herself.” We gain a more humorous piece from the transformation of Emma to Clueless. Amy Heckerling stretches reality through exaggeration and she takes the irony of Emma a step further. This is seen through the high language of the film, the exaggerated wealth and fashion stakes and the colourful, bright and energetic frames of Clueless. The audience laughs at Cher when she realises her love for Josh…