Comparative Study of Texts and Contexts
How has the composer of Clueless used Jane Austen’s Emma text to say something new?
Students should present a word processed copy of their response to their class teacher on or before the due date. The response should be a minimum of 1000 words and no more than 1500 words. In their response students should address the techniques, themes, comparative aspects and appropriation in both prescribed texts ‘Emma’ and ‘Clueless’.
Author: Ellen Baker
Transformations occur in many different forms. Transformation of identities and transformation of contexts are examples that are seen in the texts ‘Emma’, by Jane Austen and ‘Clueless’, directed by Amy Heckerling.
Both ‘Emma’ and ‘Clueless’ have similar characters, storylines and themes. The initial transformation of these two similar texts is the appropriation of the original novel to a modern film, as well as the change in contexts. The change in contexts can be seen with the modes of transport in the two texts, as in ‘Emma’, walking and horse pulled carriages are the dominating form of transport, while in ‘Clueless’, the scenes are flooded with cars.
Themes of social classes and popularity, as well as culture and image, are present in both texts and have many similarities as well as differences through the modifications to suit the change in times. These themes are a catalyst for the transformation of the two heroines and protagonists of the texts, Emma and Cher.
The theme of social classes and popularity within the texts is evident through the duration of the story. Emma Woodhouse is of the elite, upper middle, social class in the19th century, which was gained through her birth right and inheritance, which was the main way to gain social status. This elite social status is confirmed by the omniscient third person narrator in the first chapter of the novel.
“The Woodhouse’s were first in consequence there. All looked up to them.” – Chapter 1, Page 9