18 April 2011
The classic film centers on the predicament of Andy Dufresne who is ultimately found guilty of murdering his wife and receives a life-sentence; all of this occurs with little circumstantial detail given to the viewer of his innocence or guilt initially. Dufresne arrives at the infamous Shawshank correctional facility where he seems to take on a positive and optimistic attitude despite his perceived innocence to the viewer and assumed guilt to the inmates; this is peculiar and admirable to those around him given his dire surroundings, especially so to “Red,” (Morgan Freeman) a fellow inmate, who ultimately becomes Dufresnes closest friend. The latter represents symbolic interactionism: people act toward things based on the meaning those things have for them. And Dufresne, conceivably innocent, approaching things positively. Next, functionalism is conveyed through Dufresnes newfound home in the prison: his new societal surrounding consists of various parts that allow it to function—i.e. the prisoners roles, the guards’ roles, the warden’s, the parole officers’, Dufresne’s role both as a prisoner and avid component of the prison library. Finally, the conflict theory presents itselfs through the prison’s power structure: Dufresne and his peers (the subject class) are at the mercy of the courts, the warden, his guards, and the parole officers (all which make up the ruling class)… Dufresnes story at Shawshank Prison, and his ultimate redemption as a innocent man who gains the eventual freedom he so patiently earned and rightfully deserved, is sure to please any avid movie-goer.