In the novel Emma by Jane Austen and the film Clueless written and directed by Amy Heckerling, the importance of social status is a value that is represented in both texts. It is represented through a number of techniques which all reflect the changing contexts and values between Jane Austen’s time, and the 20th century. Social status was something that was important in the 19th century. People wouldn’t mix if they weren’t of the same class, and it was considered a large thing if they did. This is shown in Emma when Emma is offended and doesn’t want to go to the Coles’ party. Even though the Coles’ are wealthy, they are considered lower class because they are involved in trade. So, Emma was slightly offended when she got an invitation because it disregarded the social rules of her time.
This value is also shown in Clueless when Cher tries to pair Tai with Elton. When Cher and Tai first meet, Cher tries to transform Tai into someone of higher status by giving her new clothes and a makeover and convinces her to turn down any dates from Travis. After this, she then proceeds to pair Tai with Elton because she thinks that they’re of the same social class and would be a good match. They then realised where she fit on the social ladder and realised she would be a better match with Travis, and they could not change her class.
Even though Emma and Clueless both include the theme of social status, the value is slightly different in both texts. This is true due to the fact that in Emma your social status is defined by your wealth, and in Clueless your social status is defined by the things that you have. These two things tie together, but in Emma, your wealth comes from your heritage and your family, and in Clueless you can buy your own material things. This is represented due to the fact that Emma’s family is very rich and they are very high up on the social ladder. And in Clueless, the nicer Cher’s clothes and car are, the more she is loved and respected.
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