The Value of Clueless in Evaluating Emma

Jane Austen's many novels contain a complexity of thought and a depth of character that distinguish them from other stories; Emma is no exception to this general rule. In fact, Emma's most winning trait may well be the well roundedness of its characters. Every character displays unique behaviors that reflect the realistic mix of good and bad habits that most individuals have. In fascinating contradiction to this is the one-dimensional character development occurring in Clueless, a 1995 movie adaptation of Emma. Clueless's simplistic approach to plot and characterization both enhances and detracts from the original story of Emma. Regardless, Clueless's concept of the personalities of Emma is effective in that it expands the whole range of possible interpretations of the novel.

Foremost in any discussion of Emma is Austen's interestingly multi-dimensional portrayal of her protagonist, Emma. While Austen claimed to be writing of a character whom "no one" but herself would "much like", Emma nonetheless seems winsome and good. The very first sentence of the novel describes her as "handsome, clever, and rich" and displaying some of the "best blessings of existence" (Austen...

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