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The Shawshank Redemption

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by

Melehifo Langi

on 21 October 2013

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Transcript of The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption
CHARACTERS
PLOT
Shawshank Redemption is set in the 1940's, about a young banker named Andy Dufresne who is convicted of the murder of his wife and her lover, and sent to Shawshank Prison for a two life sentences. Over the years, he befriends many inmates, in particular, Ellis Redding "Red". The two become very close as Andy tries to adapt to prison life after years of hard time, with bullying from 'The Sisters', a corrupt warden , Andy has Red to lean on, throughout it all. As well as the torment of the prison, Andy is seen as a influence among the prison as he works to help men learn to read and getting funding for new books in their library and helps the warden do financial scams. Andy is able to maintain his sanity and dignity in prison not by physical force but by mental force. His smarts and confidence keep him going, which is seen when he persists to escape prison. After nearly 20 years of digging a hole through the wall and concealing it with a poster of Rita Hayworth he escapes one night, having to break through a sewer pipe to get out of the prison. After this he escapes from prison he leaves to the sunny coast of Zihuatanejo, Mexico using the scammed money from Warden Nortons. He is then joined by Red, who is finally paroled after nearly 30 years, and they walk into the sunset as the film fades out.
Ellis Boyd Redding "Red"
Red is the "the guy who can get stuff" inside Shawshank, and has a good relationship with the inmates and guards. Red and Andy become good friends over the years they spend together in Shawshank. Their friendship started when Andy asked Red to get him a rock hammer, which Andy later uses to cut his tunnel to freedom. During his many years inside Shawshank Red looses his hope of a life outside. Andy restores his hope in Red, not whilst inside Shawshank, but when Red gets paroled. Instead of following the same path of most inmates, such as Brooks, Red is given a helping hand by Andy. Red goes to a spot he and Andy discussed whilst inside Shawshank, and Red finds money and a brief note from Andy. Red remembers where Andy said he intends to go (Mexico). The novella doesn't reveal if they finally meet, but the movie has a final scene where we see them reunite on a Mexican beach.
Andy Dufresne
Andy Dufresne is the primary character of the story. Andy arrives at Shawshank Prison in 1947, after being convicted of killing his wife and her lover. Unlike most of the inmates at Shawshank, Andy is innocent. Andy settles into his two consecutive life sentences. He befriends Red (see below) and several other inmates. Andy has a passion for rocks, and Red gets him a rock hammer. Andy uses the rock hammer to shape himself the pieces of a chess set. Whilst carving his name onto the wall of his cell Andy realizes that the walls of the prison are not so strong as one would think. During his 19 years at the prison Andy cuts a tunnel through his cell wall, onto the outside. After Warden Norton removes Tommy from the prison, and also any chance of Andy being proven innocent, Andy makes his escape from Shawshank. Once on the outside Andy uses Norton's embezzled funds to make a new life for himself. With his new identify he settles in Mexico.
Warden Samuel Norton is a man who believes in god, and also money. His "Inside-Out" program, which offered cheap prison labor, gained him finances, which Andy "cleaned" and banked. Norton destroys Andy's chance of a re-trial, and possible release, by removing Tommy from Shawshank. Andy gets his revenge by taking all of Norton's embezzled money, when he escapes from Shawshank. Norton believes in the bible, and quotes many passages during the story. Due to his hypocritical nature almost all of the themes of the passages, such as retribution, come back to haunt him. Norton shoots himself when the police come to arrest him after Andy escapes.
THEMES
FREEDOM
HOPE
Hope drove the inmates at Shawshank and gave them the will to live whilst in prison. The theme is ortrayed through Andy and his sheer determination to maintain his own sense of self-worth and escape. This keeps him from dying of frustration and anger in solitary confinement and . A quote showcasing hope is seen when Andy is talking to Red about keeping hope and never giving up, "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of good things, and no good thing ever dies".
INSTITUTIONALIZATION
Institutionalization by definition means to become a part of a well-orgainzed system and follow a rotine. The inmates follow a set routine and dont make any of their own chocies in life. After so long of not being able to make their own desicions, the inmates can start to lose their independent descion making skills. An example of this would be the character Brooks Hatlen who has spent nearly his whole life in prison and become accustomed to the ways of prison. He beomes institutionalized.
Warden Samuel Norton
The theme of freedom is greatly portrayed in the scene seen in the picture above when Andy finally escapes from prison, feeling relieved to be free of the control held upon prisoners in Shawshank Prison. He is finally free from the corruption and cruelty of the prison. Another example of the theme freedom is the 'rooftop scene' where the group of prisoners are drinking cold beers after working on the roof. They all feel a sense of freedom as they sit and take in the moment.
SETTING
The Shawshank Redemptiom was set in Ohio State, Mansfield Reformary. In the movie, the Shawshank Prison is seen to have a gloomy and rather lifeless atmosphere to it, establishing a depressing environment and ambience. The prison held significance to the prisoners because of being confined for so long and how without the security of the walls that surrounded them they felt displaced after spending so many years of being told what to do. When they are set free they no longer think for themselves and are not able to deal with society. This reflects theme of institutionaliozation.
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