“the movies most violent transformation of Emma is the elimination of any serious issues, social, moral, or economic, from the affairs of the Beverly Hills teenagers, because these critics are blind to how high the stakes are in Austens novel. Knightley marry Harriet, life in Highbury would be hell for Emma, as she foresees. Trapped with her father, the Ugolino of passive-aggressiveness, Mrs. Weston occupied with her new baby and daughter-in-law away from Highbury, Emma would be left to the egocentric amiabilities of Mr. Weston (close to being a moral retard) and the vulgar triumph of the Eltons over her diminished influence” (Hudson, 1995)Hudson is correct in his assessment, as the Heckerling feature does no dwell upon these more serious angles to the narrative, making the movie more light-hearted and frivolous than what is truly necessary. Clueless, in spite of being a good adaptation of the novel, fails to address the moral and aesthetic angles to the story that is a striking aspect of the book. This is almost inevitable, considering the limitations of the audio-visual medium. As author Judy Stove writes, “That our educationists imagine that students can only read an old novel if bribed with a film, indicates their low expectations. In a stylistic comparison between Emma and Clueless, it is unlikely that either aesthetic or moral issues are going to receive careful consideration” (Stewart, 1993).Also, Clueless should be studied, not just in relation to Emma, but in the context of the whole body of Austen’s work. In many ways, Austen’s story based on a British high school girl, Mansfield Park is. Clueless is the latest cinematic adaptation.
Hudson, Glenda A. ‘Consolidated Communities: Masculine and Feminine Values in Jane Austens Fiction.’ In Jane Austen and Discourses of Feminism., Ed. Devoney Looser. New York: St. Martins, 1995. 101-14.
Stewart, Maaja. Domestic Realities and Imperial Fictions: Jane Austens Novels in Eighteenth-Century Contexts. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1993. 137-68.
Clueless., Writer and director Amy Heckerling. With Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd. Paramount,, 1995.
"Austen Anew." The New Yorker., 21 Aug. 1995: 55.
Ascher-Walsh, Rebecca., ‘EW Entertainers of the Year: Jane Austen.’ Entertainment Weekly 22 Dec. 1995.
Kohn, Denise. "Reading Emma as a Lesson on ‘Ladyhood’,: A Study in the Domestic Bildungsroman." Essays in Literature 22 (1997): 45-58.
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