The Shawshank Redemption


The Shawshank Redemption is a very unique movie which involves many
different personalities and underlying themes. The personalities of the inmates
are very interesting and when they are combined they create a very fascinating
plot which looks at prison life in a interesting and different perspective than
one normally thinks. The main characters are Andy Dufrense (Tim Robbins) and
Eliss "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman). These characters are well complimented by
the wise and simple old man, Brooks (James Whitmore), and the evil warden. The
personalities of the Shawshank prison combined to form a sort of community. One
never really thinks of a prison as such, but it seems to hold true. This movie
showed a prison not only as a place where murderers and thieves live, but as a
community of people who have had problems and may or may not be rehabilitating.
It seems that some prisoners go in and accept what they have done and try to
make something of an already disastrous life while others give up and really
don\'t care if they commit other crimes (inside and outside of the prison). But
in all reality, the prison was home for the inmates and they made it into what
it was. The demeanor of the characters creates a very unique atmosphere.
The story revolves around Andy who is convicted of murdering his wife
and her lover in 1946 and is sentenced to life in prison. He is sent to the
Shawshank prison, the state prison in Maine which is known for its harshness.
At the beginning of the movie, one does not know if Andy committed the
horrible crime of murder. But what is known is that he is not ready for prison
and honestly doesn\'t seem like a man who would survive. His thinking going in is
just to survive and blend in. He knows that sticking out would not be good for
him. Throughout the movie, Andy undergoes several changes in his personality.
But overall, he seems like a wise man who will deal with what the justice system
has served him. He is normal on the outside but seems full of emotion. His
emotional side is best put by the 4/14/95 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle
which reads, "…Dufrense, a soft-spoken banker with emotions bubbling under the
surface." Andy is a very complex character but one can see that he holds his
feelings inside of him and tries not to let people know how he feels.
Andy\'s friendship with Red begins in a peculiar way because neither of them
have anything in common. Andy asks for a rock hammer which Red gets for him. Red,
knowing that Andy is vulnerable, gets him on the tar duty and seems to take him
under his wing. The friendship is very unique and they both are very energetic
with emotion. Bill Dupre of the News and Observer writes of their emotion
together, "This is a graceful, quiet characterization, and Robbins\' scenes with
Freeman are wrought with depth, delicacy, and precision."
This is where the opportunistic side of Andy begins to be evident. After
overhearing the guards talking, he almost risks his life to tell the guard that
he will help him keep the $30,000 that he inherited. This shows that Andy had
guts and that he wanted to survive. In return for his favor of helping the guard,
he gets his fellow workers ice cold beers on the last day. It is ironic because
he has quit drinking himself. Andy then begins to work in the library because
the warden hears of his talents in finance. This is where Andy first meets
Brooks. He use this opportunity to ask the state for more money to build a
larger library. And finally, the way Andy escapes is almost genius. Knowing that
he is on the good side of the warden, he devises a very interesting and
successful plan of escape.
Overall, Andy blends in with the prison community through the good times
and the bad (the sisters, a group of homosexual rapists). His personality is one
of a person who makes the most of what he has. But he never loses hope that he
will be free one day.
Red is a very unique character in his own right. The prison\'s sole black
inmate, he is the man who smuggles contraband into the prison. He is also a
"lifer" and he says that he is the only man in the prison who is guilty. He has
accepted his fate and is dealing with the