Similarities Between Emma And Clueless

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Rheotorical Question – How do different contexts change the values in stories appropriated from the classics? Let’s look at Jane Austen’s Emma, written in 1815 and Amy Herkerling’s “Clueless” – a film made in 1995. We find in both, universal themes of marriage and social class – but are these themes similarly valued? The contrast in context is examined through narrative devices such as characterization and ironic omniscient narrators in ‘Emma” and film devices such as camera shots and non-diegetic music in “Clueless’.

Emma Marriage
For Jane Austen, marriage was a permanent affair that conferred financial and social security on a woman. This is due to the fact that women had limited rights such as earning one’s own property and wealth. The significance of matrimony is apparent through her female characters, Emma, Harriet and Miss Bates. Emma aspires to match-make Harriet by marrying her into a higher social position to Mr Elton – “she would detach her from her bad acquaintances, and
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The setting in Emma relies heavily on the class system as it determines the quality of life and social interactions through birth and inheritance. Regency England’s rigid codes of propriety and hierarchy is demonstrated as Emma says, “They ought to be taught that it was not for them to arrange the terms on which the superior families would visit them” in regard to the lack of invitation to the Coles’ party. Austen’s use of characterisation highlights Emma as one to uphold the rules of social hierarchy. Patriarchy is conveyed in the stratified society as it is only through Mr. Knightley that Emma finally comes to understand the immaturity of her tendencies. He says at the Box Hill picnic, “to have you now, in thoughtless spirits, and the pride of the moment, laugh at her”. Austen’s use of dialogue displays Knightley’s authority and superior position over her. Emma’s upper-middle class patriarchal society presents rigidity in
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