The Impact of Portrayal on Actions and Intentions College

Jane Austen’s novel Emma and Douglas McGrath’s film interpretation of the same name share many key similarities. Important transferred elements and cardinal functions are sustained in the jump from novel to film, rendering the plot, atmosphere and characters familiar to the reader. However, the overall impact of the same underlying story is vastly different when told utilizing these two independent mediums. While both book and film explore the life of Emma and her meddling ways, main narrative and character elements of Austen’s novel leave readers with the sentiment that Emma’s attempts at matchmaking were carried out with the best intentions, and that by the end of the novel she is humbled and realizes the error in her ways. The film, on the other hand, utilizes characterization, portrayal, and cinematic enunciation through visual elements to impart viewers with the notion that Emma’s intentions in matchmaking were far more self-serving than they were magnanimous, and that she has not learned a lesson or matured by the end of her antics.

One of the most evident reasons that the film and book differ in impact is in their overall portrayal of the power Emma holds in society and how she ultimately uses it. Austen’s novel starts...

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