Shawshank Redemtion Essay, Research Paper
There is nothing more pathetic than a man without hope. In The Shawshank Redemption, Andy is a man that is imprisoned for a crime that he did not commit. He sentenced to life in prison and with this verdict he is raped of all hope for a normal life. Once a successful investment banker, Andy uses the skills he learned on the outside, to make life more bearable on the inside. Despite his imprisonment, Andy had a plan not only to succeed in life but also to help those who befriended him while imprisoned and more directly to persecute those who tormented him in Shawshank prison.
h Discuss the opening scene in which Andy is wrongly accused and show how the director sets the stage for the audience to pity Andy.
h Show the effects that the prison has on Andy i.e. the way he acts, the friends he makes, and the enemies that he makes.
h Discuss Andy s plan and how it begins to take action. Include the difficulties he faces establishing the trust needed to get away with his scheme as well as the set backs he encounters, both internally and externally.
h Show how prison can permanently change a man and make him virtually useless to the free world.
h Show how Andy executed his plan, and why it is so ingenious.
h Discuss the meaning of the title and what it leads the audience to believe versus what it actually stands for.
There is nothing more pathetic than a man without hope. In The Shawshank Redemption, Andy is a man that is imprisoned for a crime that he did not commit. He is sentenced to life in prison and with this verdict he is raped of all hope for a normal life. Once a successful investment banker, Andy uses the skills he learned on the outside, to make life more bearable on the inside. Despite his imprisonment, Andy had a plan not only to succeed in life but also to help those who befriended him while imprisoned and more directly to persecute those who tormented him in Shawshank prison.
The story opens during the conclusion of a murder trial, in which Andy recalls the events of the night in which his wife was murdered. From the start of the novel the audience is aware of Andy s innocence. The purpose of this scene is not only to show the reason for Andy s imprisonment but also to intensify the sense of the pity that will cause the audience to like Andy Dufresne. This pity is important throughout the novel in order to make the audience sympathetic to his situation and also to make Andy s vindication at the end of the story more powerful.
The story begins to introduce Andy s hardships in prison. At first he is quiet and keeps to himself, he is attempting to get use to life on the inside without any confrontations. At this point in the book the audience is introduced to several of the inmates serving time at Shawshank Prison. One of these inmates was Red. He becomes the narrator of the story and also Andy s first, and best, friend at Shawshank. Red and Andy develop a friendship that enables Andy to gain the trust he needs to actualize his plan.
According to Red prison is routine . Andy s routine was not an easy one. Despite the friends that he had made, the sisters , men who had turned to other men for sexual gratification while locked up, constantly raped Andy. His routine was fighting to maintain his dignity and most times ending up in the infirmary and then starting the routine all over again. He was permanently looking over his shoulder to avoid another confrontation with these frolicsome men.
Thanks to the help of Red s connections on the inside, Andy is able to work outside the prison tarring the roof of a nearby library. It is in this scene that Andy will gain the trust of the prison guards, which will be the stepping stone for the remainder of the plot of the novel. Andy gave advice to the head guard that enabled him to keep 10,000 dollars that was left to him by his deceased brother. Once he had convinced the guard that he was telling the truth Andy set up the deal for him. After this incident Andy began to file tax returns for the staff of Shawshank as well as other local prisons. This assignment to file tax returns for the guards and the warden free of charge made Andy an extremely popular man with the staff of Shawshank prison. He was so popular in fact that the next time the sisters tried to rape him, was the last time. After he fought his way into one month s worth of infirmary time, the guards beat the sisters so badly that they never touched Andy again.
It was right about this time that the warden instituted a plan to benefit the community and also to fatten his wallet. He used the inmates to do various jobs throughout the community such as highway construction and demolition. With this pool of slave labor he could underbid any contractor in the state and he did. The dirty money started flowing through Shawshank prison; Andy Dufresne laundered every bit of that money. Andy set up several bank accounts that the warden used to hold his corrupted cash. One of my favorite points in the story is when the plot begins to unfold, when Andy informs Red of how he has set up the bank accounts under a fake name and how he has conjured up a man out of thin air. He has obtained a social security card, driver s license, and birth certificate by utilizing the cracks in the system. What makes it my favorite part of the novel is the coincidental aspect of the entire story, the fact that on that on the outside Andy was a straight arrow, never having broken a law, it was not until he went to prison that he became a crook.
The plot continues to lead toward vindication for Andy when one day, while Andy and Red are outside in the courtyard, Andy reveals to Red that should he ever get parole that there is a field in which Andy has buried something that he wants for Red to have. Get busy living, or get busy dying are the last words Andy ever says to Red inside the walls of Shawshank prison. The next morning, Andy Dufresne is gone! He has disappeared overnight. He had tunneled through the wall of the prison and then crawled through the septic line that drained into a river over 200 yards away from the jail. As Red put it he crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other end . The following day, a man no one had ever seen before walked into half a dozen banks in the area and walked away with 500,000 dollars of the wardens dirty cash. He then mailed a letter to a local newspaper that described in detail the events that took place inside the walls and the ways in which the money had been laundered. This additional plot twist really adds a sense of fulfillment to the story. The next morning the police came to take the warden and several guards into custody. The warden was never going to be taken and put into the jail that he had run for so many years. Before the officers could arrest him, he took his own life.
Months later, Red received a postcard from South Hancock, Texas, the southern most point in before crossing the border into Mexico. He knew where to find Andy. The following chapter is of Red s parole hearing, in which he states his remorse for the crime he committed some 50 years before and how he wished he could go back and talk to himself while he was still young. He was released and he went to find the treasure that Andy had wanted him to have. After hours of searching along the stone wall where Andy had told him he would find it, Red found what had been there. A small lunch box that contained money and a letter addressed to Red. Andy was so sure of his escape that he had told Red to find something that at the time did not exist. Red met Andy on the coast of Mexico looking over the Pacific Ocean, and the two friends were united after so many years. It was also an incredible feeling of contentment to see the two friends together again.
The title of this novel foreshadows the outcome of the story. Yes Andy Dufresne was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit and yes he lost the better part of his life to this incarceration, however, Andy was redeemed for his lifetime of suffering. The Shawshank Redemption was not only Andy s escape from prison and his retribution for time served; it was Andy s understanding of the value of freedom and friendship.
This novel truly interested me because of its original plot line and the creative fictional course that story follows from start to finish. I would recommend this book to anyone that interested in the criminal justice system. It shows not only the imperfections of the system but also the ways n which people can take advantage of those flaws.