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Exploring Themes Of The Shawshank Redemption English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1657 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Life is a mystery for those who find it hard to live it their own way, for those who live it as if the fate has chosen it for them. That is more of a compromise rather than a choice that people make to their lives driven by the awful situations that life put on them. Few find it hard to survive, few find it hard to sail against and there are few who remain stagnant for a while busy preparing a ship all those days waiting to sail through the streams moving in the favorable direction one day leading to a way to a new life of their own choice.

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The movie portrays all the possible choices that someone may think of and act to implement one. No one actually could imagine what life has for him or her in the next moment. Things may be worse and even dreadful to imagine. Sometimes, we are bound to accept the thing that comes to our way. People left with no choices rather than to accept it as it comes. However, that is not the end of it. They are free to create an opportunity with their creative instinct.

The lead character in the movie have actually proved it to many in there, The Shawshank Prison that in life irrespective of all awful situations, we do always have two choices either we get busy living or get busy dying. Life has several options for everyone. It is up to people to identify the options and be strong in their mind to find a way to get busy living. All that matters is the choice you make and implement your strategic moves silently and carefully to own your dream in reality.

Freedom is not just the physical presence that we make in the outside world; it is as versatile in its nature as our mind or heart is. Music brings your soul to harmony as it stays in your mind as well as in your heart. Music provides you with a way to attach yourself to your soul, to listen to your mind and set yourself free inside away from all worries.

The movie talks about the life in prison and the choice that prisoners do make. Few cage their minds forever in the dark of prison. It is because of the fear or most often because they lost their hope of living in real sense forever. They forget to trust their abilities or perhaps never realize that they have the potential to do different things. However, those who remain open to hope and do not let the fear of circumstances rolling over them, makes it worth out of their knowledge and cleverness.

Part 2: Analysis of how the movie presents the message or theme:

By creating the film’s solid groundwork, the carefully chiseled screenplay paved the way for this film’s success. Frank Darabont outdoes himself with the extraordinary adaptation of Stephen King’s equally noteworthy novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. In this novella, King demonstrates that he can break free from the genre he dominates and still produce a splendid piece of modern literature. The film mirrors the novella in many ways. While maintaining some of the poetic and touching dialogue of the novella, Darabont also proves that a film’s score can breed a great pact of emotional reaction from its audience, as dialogue does.

The tale instigates with the trial of a young banker, Andy Dufrense, offended by incidental evidence, resulting in a conviction for the murder of his wife and her lover. After a quick conviction, Andy finds himself serving a life sentence at Shawshank prison, with no hope of promise. He exists in this prison only in outward show, keeping his mind free from the monotonous walls around him.

Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

His quite way about anything along with his professional excellence results in the gaining of respect from his fellow inmates as well as the Warden and security men, but most of all from Ellis Boyd Redding.

Norten(the warden): You enjoy working in the laundry.

Andy: No. Sir, not especially

Norten: Perhaps you can find something more befitting a man of your education.

(Andy associated Brook’s in Shawshank prison library)

The Shawshank Redemption. Dir. Frank Darabont. Wri. Stephen King, Prod. Niki Marvin.Columbia Pictures, 1994

Ellis, generally referred to as Red perhaps because he was an Irish, finds lucrative use of his commercial spirit within the drab walls of Shawshank by dealing in contraband and commodities rare to the boundaries of prison. Andy’s character and undeniable sense of hope causes Red to take a deeper look at himself, and the world around him. Andy proves to Red and the other inmates that he could thrill the conservative walls of Shawshank prison with music and at times with a hope to live and to drill a hole big enough to reach out as a freeman.

Andy: I had Mr. Mozart to keep me company. [Points and taps his head.] It was in here [Gestures over his heart]. That is the beauty of music. They cannot get that from you. Haven’t you ever felt that way about music?

Red: Well, I played a mean harmonica as a younger man; Lost interest in it, though. Didn’t make too much sense in here.

Andy: No, here is where it makes the most sense. You need it so you do not forget.

Red: Forget?

Andy: That there are places in the world that aren’t made out of stone. They cannot get to something inside. They cannot touch. It is yours.

Red: What are you talking about?

Andy: Hope.

The Shawshank Redemption. Dir. Frank Darabont. Wri. Stephen King, Prod. Niki Marvin.Columbia Pictures, 1994

While both Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman shine as Andy and Red, respectively, the true display of acting lies within the plethora of remarkable supports from actors who easily disappear into their roles. James Whitmore, who portrays the elderly Brooks Hatlen, a man imprisoned for an unstated crime for so long that he finds himself attached to the Shawshank and the daily life he has lead. He finds it hard to manage with the outside world when set free from the prison. He commits suicide.

Andy & Red had a conversation over this & Andy concluded.

I guess it comes down to a simple choice.

“Get busy living or get busy dying.”

The Shawshank Redemption. Dir. Frank Darabont. Wri. Stephen King, Prod. Niki Marvin.Columbia Pictures, 1994

Andy had secret dream of getting away from the life of prison and he was continually gaining faith of the security men for almost 20 years with his financial tax saving tips along with the revival of Shawshank prison library. Nobody would have ever dreamt of what plans he carries on his mind. For 20 years, he kept digging a passage in his cell in night using a rock hammer and everything he did in those 20 years actually was a part of a long-term plan with the only objective of freedom. To live as a freeman was his right as he was innocent. He made his choice and lived up to it.

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Not only he planned things for him but also he did have a lot on his mind for his friend Mr. Red. Red has not been able to convince Rehabilitation officer of his innocence for last 20 years but after Andy proved his dreams to him. Red realized his abilities and been able to convince the officer with his mighty words.

Rehabilitation Officer: Ellis Boyd Redding: your file says you have served 40 years of a life sentence. Do you feel you have been `rehabilitated?

Red: `Rehabilitated? Well, now, let me see. You know, I do not have any idea what that means.

Rehabilitation Officer: Well, it means that you are ready to rejoin society, to-

Red: I know what you think it means, sonny. To me it is just a made-up word. A politician’s word, so that young fellas like you can wear a suit and a tie and have a job. What do you really wanna know? Am I sorry for what I did?

Rehabilitation Officer: Well, are you?

Red: There is not a day goes by I do not feel regret. Not because I am in here; or because you think, I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are but I cannot. That kid is long gone and this old man is all that left. I have to live with that. `Rehabilitated? It is just a bullshit word. So go ahead and stamp your forms, sonny, and stop wasting my time.

The Shawshank Redemption. Dir. Frank Darabont. Wri. Stephen King, Prod. Niki Marvin.Columbia Pictures, 1994

Part 3: Presentation of Analysis:

An excellent piece of work by Mr. Frank Darabont, the proud director of a film with the name “The Shawshank Redemption” with a wonderful plot, a wonderful theme, the prominent music, visual script and acting. The Shawshank Redemption defines a genus, defies the odds, obliges the emotions, and brings an epoch of artistically high-ranking films.  To produce something of this scenery, a director must approach it in a most scrupulous manner, due to the delicacy of the process. Such an intimidating task requires an extremely capable artist with an indisputable managerial capacity and an acutely developed awareness of each element of art in the film to form a harmonious union, because this fusion determines the fate of the artist’s work. With work from vast display of talented scene designers, costume designers, composers, cinematographers, and various other Hollywood artists, the cast of The Shawshank Redemption had a muscular basis to work with.

Anyone who trust his abilities and strongly desires to live his dreams and do have the courage to create an opportunity out of complex situations with the help of his skills win over the worst circumstances.

The movie was a huge success as it got nomination for Oscars along with another 12 wins & 13 nominations. In USA, the movie generated a gross income of $28,341,469.


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