Lingua Mea Vita

Rollin’ With My Homies

Jane Austen’s Emma was a cherry-popper for me in a few ways. It was the first book that I read on my own outside of required reading in high school. It was the first “old-timey” language book, I read (and trust me, I was petrified that it wouldn’t make any sense). And it was the first Jane Austen book I read.

Oddly enough, despite 95.2% of my female friends in high school being obsessed with finding their own Mr. Darcy, Emma still is the only Jane Austen book I’ve read.

I  read Emma in the first place because my inner-teacher’s pet had been awakened in my 10th grade English class, and I was going to impress my teacher by showing that I had a broad taste in books. I borrowed her copy of Emma and realized it was the same story as one of my all-time favorite movies, Clueless.


Aside from Dionne and Murray, the characters  and plot in Emma and Clueless totally align:

Cher Horowitz and Emma Woodhouse — The pretty, spoiled brat main characters in their stories, both Cher and Emma decide to fix up singles in their high society group after successfully matching up their teachers.

Josh and Mr. Knightley — Like, Cher and Josh, Emma and Mr. Knightley share the awkward is-he-my-brother-though-he’s-not-my-brother relationship. Also like Josh, Mr. Knightley is older than Emma, and irritates her on occasion, but she sees the good in him. SPOILER, BUT SERIOUSLY HOW HAVE YOU NOT SEEN CLUELESS: They end up together in the end.

Tai and Harriet — Both Harriet and Tai are naive, but sweet. Emma/Cher tells her to reject the guy she’s actually interested in, for another disinterested guy. At one point, Harriet wants Mr. Knightley, like Tai wanted Josh, and that makes Emma/Cher uncomfortable.

Elton and Mr. Elton — No parallels here. 😛  These are the guys who Emma and Cher try to set up with Harriet and Tai, but rejects her because he’s a snob and more interested in the “higher class” Emma and Cher. Ends up with Augusta/Amber.

Christian and Frank Churchill — This is where the main difference between the stories occurs. Emma/Cher are trolling for new guys for Harriet/Tai when she stumbles upon Frank Churchill, whom she wants for herself. In Emma, Frank Churchill is really interested in Jane Fairfax, who is pretty much perfect. Clueless does away with Jane and puts a modern twist on it, by making Christian gay.

Mr. Martin and Travis Birkenstock — Both are the guys that Harriet and Tai are initially interested in, but are rebuffed at the assistance of Emma/Cher. Mr. Martin is a farmer and Travis is a stoner.

Mr. Hall and Miss Giest and Mr. Weston and Miss Taylor — The couple that is set up by Emma/Cher in the beginning. In Clueless, both Mr. Hall and Miss Giest were her teachers, though in Emma, only Miss Taylor was her teacher (governess).

And if that wasn’t enough to confuse you, just remember: Emma is the same as Clueless, just instead of Valspeak, they spoke old-timey language.


Though there are other Jane Austen  books on the BBC Book Challenge list, Emma is the only singular romantic-comedy book that made the cut. When you think about it, Emma is the the original “modern” romantic comedy (Shakespeare wrote RomComs, but they just don’t seem to make as much sense as Emma). There are mismatches and mixups but in the end, everyone is coupled up and happy. We know the warming (or groaning) effect that romantic comedies have on women today, imagine the impact of a romantic comedy written by a woman way back when everything was “serious-serious-find-a-husband-or-die-alone”!

So on top of being the original RomCom, Emma really opened the doors for modern romantic comedies. Kate Hudson, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez, you owe your careers to Miss Jane Austen.

I would like to end this entry by giving a shout out to the late Brittany Murphy. I know you’re rollin’ with your homies up there in the sky.

Also, completely unrelated, HOW OLD IS PAUL RUDD ANYWAY?


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