Emma and Clueless Connection

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Extended Response – Emma and Clueless
Both Emma and Clueless have almost identical values. Life for women during Emma was all about who you married, what family you came from and the amount of wealth you and your family had. Clueless highlights some of the values that Cher and her friends have, including who you go out with, the amount of money you had and could spend on items, and for Cher in particular the importance of family. The context of the novel and the film are completely different. Emma was written in the early 19th century by novelist Jane Austen and through the context the reader can understand what life was like for upper class women. Clueless was directed by Amy Heckerling set in the 1990s shows the “way normal life” for rich American teenagers.

Marriage is one of the most important values in Emma as it defines your status and where you sit in society. It was needed for stability, safety, gave a young woman independence from her family and was a mean of supporting yourself. Women during the early 1800s needed to marry as a way of dictating their status. They weren’t educated as well as men were. Women didn’t work, unless they were a maid or a governess and were reliant on men for an income. Men often looked for ‘suitable’ wives, women that came with a dowry. Mr Elton is an example of such behaviour. He proposes to Emma because she is rich and when she rejects his offer, goes off and marries Mrs Elton. Mr Knightley talks of Mr Elton as “acting quite rationally” and that Mr Elton “will not throw himself away.” Emma’s view on Mr Martin’s proposal to Harriet as Mr Martin not being her “equal” and advises Harriet to refuse because “I could not have visited Mrs Robert Martin.” This shows how marriage was a sign of status.

Clueless has updated marriage to fit into the context of the film. Marriage has been replaced with relationships. In modern times, it isn’t as important to marry, women work, are equally educated and the cementing of a...
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