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Jane Austen's Emma And Amy Heckerling's Clueless, An Appropriation "How Does Heckerling’s “Clueless” Sustain Interest In The Values Represented In Austen’s Emma?"

1218 words - 5 pages

How does Heckerling's "Clueless" sustain interest in the values represented in Austen's Emma

How does Heckerling's "Clueless" sustain interest in the values represented in Austen's Emma?

Amy Heckerling's "Clueless" is an effective appropriation of Jane Austen's novel "Emma" from a 19th century classic to a teen movie. Through the transformation of values to suit modern audiences, Heckerling successfully sustains interest in responders. Patriarchy, relationships, social hierarchy and the context surrounding them have been altered, enriching the original text and providing greater insight. Parallels and contrasts can be drawn in various parts within the movie, also engaging responders.

Patriarchy was a predominant value of society, resulting in the clear undermining of women. Austen critiques this male dominance, satirising it through her plotline and characters. Following a heavy scolding, Emma had never "felt so agitated, mortified [and] grieved" where cumulative listing highlights her concern of Mr Knightley's opinion. This demonstrates not only a sense of patriarchal power, but the idea of superior male judgement. Moreover Mr Woodhouse, though a "valetudinarian all his life" is the head of Highbury, consistently the "first object" and always "carefully attended to". Austen, through satire and personification ridicules the supreme male ruling system present within society. Ironically as Hartfield is Emma's home, Mr Knightly is forced to accept that it "should be his likewise". Through his conceding tone, this twist of events also effectively satirises the strict patriarchal values at the time. Austen's "Emma", though possessing criticism of the heavily male dominated society, essentially radiates a patriarchal core.

Within modern society, an increasingly egalitarian world is replacing the formerly prominent patriarchal values. Heckerling has transformed gender roles to reflect current values, rendering it suitable for contemporary audiences. Mr Horowitz is seemingly the terrorising patriarch, barking orders such as "No calls!" . After receiving a call himself however, his initially intimidating tone is satirised and a medium shot of Cher's gleeful face reflects a constant manipulation of him. This is contrasted to Mr Woodhouse's ridiculous yet powerful hold over Emma, demonstrating a progression in favour of female power. Furthermore Mr Knightly's parallel, Josh, has contrastingly no dominion over Cher, instead submitting to her with a sigh, "Okay, okay where are you?". The close-up of his happily resigned face portrays a shift in control within modern society. Josh's importance and influence over Cher has also been downplayed, with her self-understanding and awareness realised alone. Her monologue is complemented with emotive music and a visual...

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