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Has your perception of transformations been illuminated by your comparative study of Emma and Clueless? The adaptation of Jane Austen's nineteenth century novel Emma into Amy Heckerling's twentieth century film Clueless has illumi

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Introduction

Tarren Hehir Has your perception of transformations been illuminated by your comparative study of Emma and Clueless? The adaptation of Jane Austen's nineteenth century novel Emma into Amy Heckerling's twentieth century film Clueless has illuminated my perception of transformations as it has allowed me to respond and recognise the constants and diversions made to transform the texts and thus enhanced the meaning of both texts and the meaning of transformation. A Transformation is a reappropriation of one text into another into a recognisable form, but interpreted and presented in a different context rather than simply copying or adapting to another genre. The two texts share some important values such as marriage/love, social class, the status of women in society and most significantly the journey to self-knowledge taken up by both protagonists. However as Heckerling's text is a twenty first century film she had adapted new values of sex, homosexuality, consumerism, drugs and conservation. Heckerling has also modified the context to a Beverly Hills High School to follow the teenpic era and make it more appealing to today's society. There are a lot of significant changes between Emma and Clueless that may barely be recognized by the uneducated mind. However after studying the two texts one can appreciate Emma in its own right and Clueless in its own right, thus the two texts have the ability to illuminate and enhance ones perception or interpretation of transformations, as a process aiming to show the responder. ...read more.

Middle

The journey of self knowledge that both protagonists undertake plays an important role in illuminating ones perception of transformations as the adaptations give reveal a good insight into what transformations really are. Emma is "handsome, clever and rich..." who has an inclination to have "too much of her own way." Emma goes through a journey of self knowledge and comes to realize her vanity and rids herself of these "real evils". Guiding her through this process is Mr Knightley who is the "one of the few people who could see faults in Emma Woodhouse, and the only one who ever told her of them..." Much like Emma, Cher undertakes a journey of self-knowledge with the aid of Josh to help her get "a complete make over, except this time..." she'd make over her "soul". Cher is distinctly more likeable than Emma to ensure the film audience can identify with Cher, the main protagonist. Although Cher's faults and mistakes are not as harshly scorned by Josh as Emma's are by Mr Knightley, they reveal she must reform herself to be worthy enough for Josh. Josh says to Cher "If I ever saw you do something that wasn't ninety percent selfish I'd die of shock". Heckerling has paralleled Emma's traits in Cher to allow one to note how transformations can enable us to see that character flaws still exist in today's society but can be changed after a journey of self-knowledge guided by one. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whilst Austen gives us the impression that women only had the power to reject or accept proposals. Marriage played a very important role in Austen's society as it served as a means to secure property, wealth and land. However, Emma is lucky to be privileged in that "a single woman of good fortune is always respectable". Instead "Sex" is the driving factor for relationships in Clueless. Sex replacing marriage as a pervading theme is further represented by the girls having sex discussions and talking about virginity. Tai questions "Cher you're a virgin?" Cher responds with "God you say that as if it's a bad thing". At the end of the film the girls talk about what they want their weddings to be like suggesting marriage is still important to them. However, one can believe that to them marriage is only a superficial way of getting dressed up. Dion says "I want all the bridesmaids to be wearing sailor dresses with little sailor hats..." It can be seen via a comparative study of Jane Austen's novel Emma and Heckerling's teenpic, Clueless, how certain values are universal and timeless, while societal changes can leave to a shift in other values. This illuminates one's perception of the concept of transformation as a process that unveils similarities and differences in values between different contexts and thus comments on the changing nature of society. ...read more.

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