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Abstract


EXPLORING IRONY IN JANE AUSTEN’S EMMA AND AMY HECKERLING’S CLUELESS

Emma, by Jane Austen, is a novel based on youthful hubris and romantic misunderstandings and a comedy of manners shedding light to the lives of genteel women in Georgian-Regency England. Exploring the different issues of marriage, age, sex, and social status, the novel has been adapted for several films. Although Amy Heckerling’s movie Clueless wasn't a specific adaption of Jane Austen’s novel Emma, its plot closely dovetails to the novel. In Heckerling’s smart and funny movie adaptation the protagonist Cher loves playing the matchmaker, and decides to bring two nerdy and low-grading teachers together. This successful attempt prompts her to do more good works for others. However, her new project backfires when Elton clearly rejected Tai and intended to seduce Cher instead. While trying to give Tai a makeover, Cher makes lots of mistakes like Emma and steers Tai away from the right person Travis to the wrong person Elton. Likewise, Cher is not aware of her feelings for Josh until Tai asks for her help in dating Josh. Being disheartened, Cher is lost and clueless about her own desires and emotions, Cher realizes that she is interested in Josh himself. Fraught with irony and misunderstandings both the novel and the movie adaptation highlight the spoiled and meddlesome protagonists that carry out charitable projects to make their lives more meaningful but they are frustrated because of their conceit or self-delusion. Their imagination, perceptions or high pretensions to judgment often lead to mistakes in Emma and Cher’s life. Stressing the importance of raising one’s social status which was crucial to women for social advancement through marriage, the novel and the movie suggest that marrying too far above your status leads to conflicts. The aim of this paper is to suggest how precocious Emma and Cher make serious mistakes in matchmaking due to their ironic behaviours and lack of experience despite their strong sense of social class.



Keywords
irony, Jane Austen, Emma, Amy Heckerling, Clueless, Cher, marriage, matchmaking



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