Jane Austen

General Education Capstone Course

Event Details and Guideline Form

Event title: Jane Austen and Film: Investigating Emma and Clueless

Gen. Ed. Category Event should be listed under: Humanities

SCC Competencies addressed by event:


Evaluate the historical, cultural, and social contents of philosophy, literature or language.
Articulate an informed response to popular or classical works in the humanities.

Guidelines for accomplishment of event

  1. You should watch both of these films in their entirety. Make sure you watch Emmafirst.
    1. 1st: Emma (Directed by Douglas McGrath, 1996, Starring Gwyneth Paltrow)
    2. 2nd: Clueless (Directed by Amy Heckerling, 1995, Starring Alicia Silverstone)
  2. After viewing the films, you should explain in a 2-page response how the plot from Jane Austen’s 19th century English novel is translated by director Amy Heckerling into 1990s Los Angeles experience.

You should avoid a simple comparison contrast between the two films. (Don’t just say what is the same and what is different.)

Instead, you should pick at least 3 of the prompts to address in your paper. You do not need to answer every prompt. Each of your answers to the 3 prompts should constitute at least 1 paragraph.

For information about the life and times of Jane Austen, investigate the following websites. If you use any information in the text of your journal, make sure you cite it correctly, and provide copies of the sources you used to turn in with the journal.

Guidelines for the journal entry:

Or, look up literary criticism through the SCC library. Again, if you use any information you find, cite it correctly and provide copies of the sources to turn in with the journal.

Prompt 1: PLOT – Choose a scene that appears in both films and compare/contrast the presentation of that scene. Explain how the modern retelling (Clueless) of that specific scene reveals the changes in societal attitudes and behaviors that have occurred since Jane Austen’s time.

Prompt 2: PLOT – Why do you think Amy Heckerling chose the plot of Emma for her film Clueless? Why do you think the plot of Emma still appeals to modern audiences?

Prompt 3: CHARACTERS – What values do Cher and Emma share at the beginning of their stories? How do they change and what do they learn? Are the “moral educations” of Emma and Cher comparable? In what ways? How does the time period affect their “moral educations”?

Prompt 4: CHARACTERS – Do you believe Emma and Cher are feminist characters? Why or why not? Provide specific examples to support your answer.

Prompt 5: CHARACTERS – How does the lack of a mother influence both Emma and Cher? How does the lack of guidance from their fathers influence their behaviors?

Prompt 6: SETTING – Compare and contrast the two settings in Emma and Clueless. The societies and time periods are obviously different, but how are they similar? How is the society of Emma still apparent in 1990s Los Angeles? Here are some possible subjects to focus on for this prompt: isolation from the outside world, the class system, attitudes toward love, Box Hill versus the mall, purpose of dancing, the mail versus the cell phone, etc.

Prompt 7: SETTING – Think about the societies presented in Emma and Clueless. What values do the societies share? How does the class system affect the action of the stories?

Contact information available on the SCC Sophomore Portfolio (Capstone) website.

SCC Event Creators: Jacqueline Gray and Heather Rodgers


Did essay fulfill SCC competency? YES   NO  PARTIALLY

Did essay fulfill event guidelines?  YES  NO  PARTIALLY