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Comparative Essay On Emma By Jane Austen And Clueless By Amy Heckerling

1687 words - 7 pages

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 similar society, which values wealth and popularity over personal integrity. The text shows the rise in feminism and the change of power away from men. The fast passed consumer driven society redetermines the way in which power and position are determined and held. The various changes that can be seen occurring in society in the early 19th century can be seen to be completed and again changing in late 20th century America. Technology and materialism now controls society. Values and attitudes have changed and what people value is shown to be beauty, wealth and material possessions.Both texts primary purpose is for entertainment. Whilst this can be said about both texts they also provide the responder with an insight into the top of the social hierarchy and use satire and irony to ask the responder to question the values and attitudes they present within their texts. Austen uses gentle satire to make the responder think about how the characters and events are presented. 'she would notice her, she would detach her from her bad acquaintances and introduce her into good society' is one such example and asks the reader to question if it is right for Emma to be able to change and better Harriet, who a...

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