Understanding one’s social environment is critical in shaping how they coexist in societies full of character diversities. Almost all Jane Austen’s works depict her high regard for sanity within the social sphere. She valued and keenly observed people’s interactions and their diverse behaviors, giving her the motivation and persuasion to pursue the line of literature that earned honorable recognition as one of English Literature bigwigs that ever lived. Her many works, which have attracted unwavering acceptance and support from her time till today, talk about people and their day to day lives. In her rich legacy of literary expertise, many films, novels, short stories and other resourceful pieces of compilations still exist in her golden name. This paper seeks to explore the social themes as Jane Austen brought out through the available book “Pride and Prejudice” and the movie “Clueless”, and how they relate in style and purpose. In spite of their substantial dissimilarities as forms of literature, the pieces of work carry vital lessons about humanity and the character of various individuals in society.
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Many persons express their dissatisfaction with Jane Austen’s works. Some cite her vagueness in driving pertinent information home; others point out blatantly that she lacked the creativity to come up with appreciable stuff worth human consumption, and many more simply post comments claiming that Jane’s work is difficult to understand. For instance, “Pride and Prejudice” is a piece of writing that most people read at least to capture the message that the author intended to convey to her readership, which is an international that has grown through generations. One challenge that is clear, in my view is the need to understand the author before even trying to follow her works. One must understand Jane Austen’s way of communicating in order to understand most messages in her literary works. Most people take the swimmer’s exciting diving style to swim through Jane’s sea of literature. That is useless. It is the main reason for much of the criticism against her work. A good number of readers fail to decipher intelligible truths and meanings in Jane Austen’s numerous treasures of information.
In the book “Pride and Prejudice”, a significant theme that stands out vividly is the essence of environmental influence on responsible care in the development and character formation of young people. Morality is given substantial space, and Jane tries to show that the surroundings do shape the morals of young children as they climb the ladder of adulthood. She created her main character to show that social status should hinder young people’s uprightness. She portrays Elizabeth Bennet as a witty young girl who is used to making serious conclusions about others at first impression. Her love story with Mr. Darcy is a demonstration that people relate successfully in spite of their social standing. Being of from a low class family, she had prejudice against Mr. Darcy. At the end, she came over her undue prejudicial reasoning, while Mr. Darcy overcame the power of his bloated ego (as a wealthy person) and agreed to give the love they had for each other, an opportunity to flourish.
In this same book, another theme that Jane Austen seeks to emphasize is irresponsible parental care. Good parenthood is necessary to guide young people through life. In “Pride and Prejudice,” Jane Austen uses Elizabeth’s family and Darcy’s to illustrate the importance of effective parenting, and the consequences of ineffective parenting. Mr. Darcy comes from a strict family with high moral standards. Although he gives the impression of pride in himself, it is evident that his parents have taught strict manners and discipline. On the other hand, the Bennets have failed in playing their role as roles due to Lydia’s inability to have sound moral judgments. To rescue Kitty from Lydia’s unacceptable influence, they recommend her to spend more time with her older sisters after getting married, which helps grow into a responsible lady.
Throughout “Pride and Prejudice”, the famous author uses her typical free indirect speech narrative technique. Using this style, Jane Austen remarkably enables readers to imagine the actual tone and nature language of characters to indicate the qualities of pride and prejudice. She anchors her choice of the style on a fundamental notion that what comes out of an individual’s mouth is a direct translation of the mind. She captures the reader’s attention to follow Elizabeth’s perspective when she shares her misapprehensions and prejudicial thinking. An illustration of this is from Mr. Darcy’s dialogue with Elizabeth:
“I certainly have not the talent which some people possess," said Darcy, "of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done."
“My fingers," said Elizabeth, “do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women's do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault- because I would not take the trouble of practising...” (p.94)
In another display of Jane’s concern for social uprightness are the resounding themes in “Clueless”, a typical American comedy that follows the characterization and plot of Jane Austen’s book “Emma”. Scott Rudin produced the movie in Beverly Hills, after careful scripting by the meticulous Amy Heckerling. It showed on the screen in the United States in the year 1995. The writer, and director, of the movie employed remarkable satirical power of literature to capture the themes in the original work by Jane Austen’s. She, however, made a lot of significant modifications to the movie a modern look that would fit into modern living.
Like “Pride and Prejudice”, the movie has a central character, Cher Horowitz, who plays a critical role in conveying principal thematic messages of the film. The life of the teenager and her friends in school follow modern trends while maintaining the original style, purpose and plot of the original work. Cher is a young girl born of a powerful lawyer. She leads a lavish life and has an elevated self image due to her life style. At school, Cher is a heroine and celebrity among her peers, though she tops on the list of wayward students in school. She appears to be the ring leader of what happens in the entire since she enjoys the respect of being a girl from a well-off background. She takes charge of a newcomer in school, Tai, whom she starts introducing to their norms of partying and other unbearable activities. In spite of the poor qualities typical of Cher, she shows her positive side by taking care of her ill father.
Education is a significant theme of the movie. Most scenes of the movie happen in a high school where many things happen. It is evident that schooling does not attract appreciable attention among teenagers. When teachers are in class handing in report cards, murmurs and groans are conspicuous because most of the students do not value the entire exercise. On her part, Cher disregards hard work and only strives for decent grades in class to impress his father.
Immorality is rife in learning institution. Unacceptable practices continue unchecked, and in spite of student’s lack of desire to embrace education, there is little concern about what happens from teachers and parents. This, to some extent, denotes the aspect of liberalism in modern society. Cher willingly plays matchmaker with of her lonely teachers so that she could attain superior grades in her examinations. It shows that the system has no moral appreciation. A teacher engaging his or her own student for intimate encounters is a sign of utter moral decadence not only in learning centers but also the entire society. There is also a sign that there is a well-groomed Christian gentleman who turns to be a homosexual. Besides, cases of drug abuse and alcoholism are evident during teenage parties.
Another hot issue of poor parenting is clear in “Clueless”. The wealth lawyer, father to Cher Horowitz, remains undisturbed that her daughter uses unorthodox ways to attain good grades. She is okay with what her daughter does to get her academic credits. It is also obvious that parents neglect their duty of ensuring effective parenting and instilling discipline in their own children. This is a sign of total failure on the part of parents to lead their children to become responsible members of society. Lack of emphasis on education is also another indication of ineffective parental care.
Furthermore, the interactions among students in school are forces to reckon with when dealing with peer-pressure and what individuals can do to determine their colleagues’ characters. It is evident that students psyche up one another to do what they end up doing. Living among bad people may influence one to act in ways they could not attempt if they lived in different environments. The movie, in essence, also justifies Jane Austen’s perspective, evident in most of her works, that the environment has immense influence on people’s way of life.
In the movie, the aspects of modernity emerge in different ways and shapes. Firstly, students live freely and act work with very little supervision. There are also rampant incidents of using drugs and alcohol taking, typical of teenage behavior in the contemporary world. Additionally, it is apparent that even young people crave for driving skills to conform to modern ways of living. All these happen in this piece of work not for the intention of changing the original message of the novel “Emma” but to enhance its relevance for the present audiences.
From the book “Pride and Prejudice” and the movie “Clueless”, the message reaching people is hugely similar. The main themes revolve around social existence of people and their interactions with one another. Cases of immorality have always been in society. The role of parents in shaping the characters of their children is important. Irresponsible parenting is a way that leads to irresponsible living of individuals and a menace to social prosperity within societies.
In a way of bragging and pretending to be superior over others (pride), Mrs. Bennet says “Certainly, my dear, nobody said there were; but as to not meeting with many people in this neighborhood, I believe there are few neighborhoods larger. I know we dine with
The two pieces of work reflect Jane Austen’s unwavering effort to open the society’s eyes to its own misgivings and the dangers that arise from such irresponsible living. She insists that although such unacceptable ways of living may sometimes be beyond people’s control, it is possible to live decently. The society lacks social responsibility, which is necessary to attain any level of social sanity in people’s lives.
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