A Humanist Approach to the Shawshank Redemption

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A Humanist Approach to Shawshank

Without a doubt, The Shawshank Redemption is my favorite movie of all time. The Oscar and Golden Globe nominated film based on Stephen King’s classic short story is one of the first films that come to mind when I think of film that was meaningful and moving. For the duration of the film the story is told from Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding’s point of view, played by critically acclaimed actor Morgan Freeman. Red is a veteran of Shawshank Prison who has established himself as “the guy who knows how to get things.” It is through him that we learn of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), the character who in which the story is about. Andy was a Vice-President of a bank and has been convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, a golf pro from the local country club. During the trial Andy claims he is innocent but his cool and calm demeanor leads the jury to think otherwise. When Andy arrives at Shawshank the inmates place bets on which one they think will “break” first, Red places his bet on Andy. Andy proves Red wrong though as he actually goes a couple months before saying anything to anyone, that first person would be Red. Andy approaches Red asking him to get a rock hammer for him. Red is a little hesitant at first but Andy convinces him to smuggle in the hammer. This is the start of the friendship we witness throughout the movie. However prison isn’t necessarily an easy place for Andy Dufresne. He suffers through countless encounters with the corrupt guards and warden of Shawshank Prison. There are several incidents where Andy falls victim to homosexual rape by a group of inmates known as “The Sisters.” And then there’s the hard manual labor Andy is forced to do in his starting years at “ the shank.” But as years go on Andy’s power at Shawshank grows when he starts doing financial work such as tax returns for the guards and Warden Norton himself. Because of his work in the finances of Shawshank’s employees Andy lands himself a cushiony...
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