Clueless And Emma Essay, Research Paper
How does the transformation of Austen s Mr.Elton into Heckerling s emphasize the values and context of each text?
There are basic similarities in the values between the two societies of Clueless and Emma in social level, human relationships and image. However, the context is different, because of the times that the texts are based on. Emma by Jane Austen is set in 19th Century England, as opposed to Clueless which is in Beverly Hills USA in the 20th century. Mr. Elton s status is without low connections and is acceptable due to his profession. Similarly, Elton in Clueless has a high status- that is determined by his wealth and popularity as opposed to profession. But both realise, that to have a high social status and reputation is important. Mr. Elton s values lie in his intelligence, social skills and status within the society of Highbury. These values are transformed in Clueless, into values such as physical appearance, wealth and which determine Elton s status
In the film Clueless, from the beginning the viewer realises the tone is fast -paced and hectic. Heckerling uses techniques such as visuals, careful choice of music and camera shots to convey this. Clueless moves significantly faster then Emma. The world of the film and a few of the character are introduced within the first 15 minutes, where it is much longer in the novel. The first song we hear is kids in America accompanied by a montage. The song Kids in America is loud, fast and conveys a sense of freedom. The lyrics represents what Cher s life is about- partying and having fun. The montage is made up of fast shots that are vibrant and full of colour. The viewer realises that even leisure in the world of Clueless is hard work. The sense of leisure is very different in the novel Emma. The pace is slow and relaxed making the world almost static. Although we meet a lot of characters that are involved in particular professions, Austen never shows these characters actually at work or even considering their duties. She also illustrates this slow paced world by using different narrative modes such as authorial intrusion, Emma s conscious and dialogue. Emma s conscious often gives the reader her point of views, an insight to her character and the values of the society. This is also evident when Austen uses dialogue to show the values of the society at the time.
From the beginning we see many similarities in values and personality between the characters Mr Elton and Elton. Mr Elton is the local vicar of Highbury and is therefore respected. He still has some social status- as he is involved with the Church and is without low connections but is below the Woodhouses as he is a clergyman. In clueless, Elton s status is determined by wealth and popularity. He is the son of a wealth film director and is physically attractive- this gives him a high social status in Clueless. In this materialistic and superficial society, image, money and physical appearance are significant values. This is evident when Cher talks about Elton to Tai, and views him from afar, she says that Elton is one of the most popular boys and that they are the only boys to date.. Already, we see Elton s reputation starting to form through Cher s perspective. The close up camera shot of Elton in
his expensive clothes, while smiling also gives the viewer an impression of a privileged life.
The aspects that are valued in the society of Highbury are manners, reputation and acceptable marriages. Austen makes only the most general remarks on appearance, but goes into great detail on the manners of each of her characters and whether or not it is proper. Through Emma s consciousness and conversations with her family and friends, the reader learns that Mr Elton has agreeable manners and is respected by all people in the Highbury community. The reader mainly learns of Mr Elton s status and reputation through what people say about him Mr Elton is good humoured, obliging and gentle very agreeable..quite the gentleman himself. The first time that Emma mentions Mr Elton, is to her father who agrees that he is a very good young man , which illustrates his good reputation within Highbury.
Both Elton and Mr. Elton are searching for a companion in the film and the novel. However, their method of courtship differs due to the values of the time. Elton is much more direct in his mannerisms then Mr.Elton. Although Elton takes a more subtle approach, he expresses his desires very clearly and is not embarrassed or fazed by his own directness. Here, Heckerling shows the confidence and spoilt nature of teenage kids. This is evident when he often shows affection for Cher in the classroom, and when he demands to take Cher home. Although he is rejected by Cher, he appears more laid back and casual about it then Mr. Elton in Emma. Although Mr Elton does not directly tell her until the proposal scene, this is because of the values of the time. Mr Elton is described as a gentleman, and it was good manners and social etiquette to court a woman for some time before proposing. In the portrait scene, when Emma suggests painting Harriet s portrait we see that Elton is unmistakably in love with Emma even though Emma believes that Elton is interested in Harriet. The reader sees that Elton s lavish compliments and his close study of Emma while she is painting is to show his love for her. Mr Elton fidgeting behind her and watching every touch.. This portrait scene is transformed into the photograph scene in Clueless. Here, is the first time that the viewer sees that Elton has a slight interest in Cher. Though it is subtle, it is still evident through Elton s facial expressions and actions. The viewer sees an intimate shot of Dionne and Murray, while it pans across to Elton, and then Tai, behind Elton. This contrasts the lack of intimacy between Elton and Tai, and makes it even more obvious to the viewer his interest in Cher when Cher s asks him to put his arm around Tai and he does it grudging- and does it only because Cher asks him to. Here, we see that Mr Elton and Elton s way of approach relationships are different because of the values of the time and the context.