A sense of redemption

Imagine spending 20 years in prison for something you didn’t do. In Frank Darabont’s, “Shawshank Redemption”, we are taken on a trip through Andy Dufresne’s life which reveals the  unfortunate sequence of events that results in numerous years of prison. Andy was the vice president of an American bank in Portland, Oregon. Although he was young, he was a smart and successful man.  

The beginning of the movie introduces the trial in which Mr. Dufresne is accused of two counts of murder. In 1947, Andy’s wife, Linda, began taking golf classes with pro golfer, Glen Quentin. Mr. Dufresne and his wife were at a rough time in their relationship and things were not clicking. Andy gets suspicious and thinks that Linda may be cheating on him. Linda denies the allegations, but Andy is not convinced, so he follows her. 

Turns out that Andy’s wife had been sleeping with Glen Quentin for quite some time. The film shows Andy outside a cabin, and inside Linda Dufresne and the golfer are making love. Andy sits in his vehicle drinking whiskey, thinking about what he is going to do. After anxiously sitting for awhile, Andy pulls a gun out of his glove compartment and begins putting in the bullets. After prepping the firearm, the film shows Andy getting out of his car, breaking his whiskey bottle, and walking away. 

We do not see where he goes. All of this information gives Andy a clear motive, and makes it seem like he has to be the one who committed these actions. The director did an outstanding job making the viewer believe that he could possibly be the one who does it. This move made by the writers and director creates the suspicious and mysterious atmosphere that brings up many questions regarding what happens next. This move also keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat. 

In Andy’s early days in jail, he does not complain about being falsely accused. He knows he is innocent but continues to live life without losing hope. There are many reasons why this might be the case. Being in jail is not currently affecting him because other things are running through his mind. 

Andy seems to stay level headed throughout the film. Andy makes friends easily with the inmates and guards. His banking geniusness allows him to save a guard thousands of dollars during a special roofing project. This then leads to some of his inmates and himself to have a few beers on the roof of a prison building. 

“Get busy living, or get busy dying” 

The man closest to Andy is Red, played by Morgan Freeman. An older man, in jail for murder, that takes interest in Andy the minute he steps foot in Shawshank. He is Andy’s mentor, and helps him adapt to his new life behind bars. Red helps Andy obtain certain tools and accessories that allows him to eventually escape prison. 

Early on, Andy finds that the wall structure in his room is old and falling apart. Andy uses a small rock hammer, given to him by Red, to dig a long and winding passage that eventually leads to a sewage tunnel. They form a strong relationship that lasts a lifetime. 

This amazing film reveals the long and painful experience an innocent man has to go through, and how he overcomes the system that is built completely against. The guards and warden use Andy for his brain to run and under the table illegal system that helps them get rich. The people within the system did everything in their power to keep Andy behind bars, this includes murdering another inmate named Tommy, because he had the real murderers confession. This story has many meaningful attributes. With all odds against an innocent and determined man, he never lost hope and was always planning. This movie was one of the best I’ve ever seen, and is one of the most popular movies in American film history. 

Author: Patrick Toal '20

Pat Toal '20 is a student in the Journalism seminar. He is interested in sports and politics. His favorite subjects are English and history. He will be playing Division-I baseball at La Salle University next year.