The Shawshank Redemption, Personal Power Essay and Short Story

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Advanced English
Mary Gordon-Thomson

1) Explain how The Shawshank Redemption represents the personal power 2) Compare The Shawshank Redemption with another text in relation to the power of one 3) Do you agree with how The Shawshank Redemption represents organisational power 4) Compose your own text representing personal power

1. The Shawshank Redemption representing personal power

The entire plot of this film relies on how personal power is striped from the prisoners and the effect that this has on them. With out this aspect the film would have very little or no effect in displaying Andy’s escape. Personal power is represented through out the film in a multiple of ways including scenes such as “institutionalised” and the music scene where Andy finds the record and plays it over the P.A system.

Personal power is taken by a number of ways through out the film but mostly it is by isolation and imprisonment (both metaphorical and literal). The prisoners are living in a world of multiple layers of isolations. Starting from the large enclosed recreation yard to the smaller work crews down to the cellblock, cells, and leading to solitary confinement. Each of these layers are represented both physically and visually as well as through out the spoken thoughts of Red and significant lines by Andy.

Imprisonment both mentally and physically also takes the personal power of choice away from the inmates. It seems at stages the only kind of power Andy or any of the other inmates hold is the freedom of thought and hope. Andy is shown to have much more hope then the other prisoners which is displayed by his “inner light” as Red calls it. “All I know for sure is that Andy Dufresne wasn’t much like me or anyone else I ever knew. . . . It was a kind of inner light he carried around with him.” This was spoken by Red after Andy traded tax advice with Bryon Hadley for beer for his workmates. It is Andys sense of self-worth that gives him the confidence and ability to make decisions such as these.

The idea of institutionalisation is mentioned frequently by Red through out the film. This is the concept of how the prison takes away a persons ability to think independently and places them in a position of dependence on the routines and regulations of the prison. Red has the personal power to over come this feeling of institutionalisation by not following the path of Brookes after making parole.

Personal power is also represented in the music scene, possibly the most couragous (or perhaps just stupid) act Andy does in his time in the prison. By deliberatly disobaying orders from the Warden and continueing the music (a personal choice Andy makes) he puts himself at risk but gives the prisoners a few moments of freedom inside their regulated lives. Of course he pays the price for this but he is able to hold the music in his mind and uses that personal power to over come the pain he faces whilst in solitary confinement for two months.

These are only displays of personal power that are written in the script. Cinematic techniques such as colour, camera angles, contrast, juxtoposition and repetition are all used to highlight and represent different aspects of personal power.

The Shawshank Redemption represents personal power extremely well through out the film in these ways and more. This all in collaboration displays this aspect of power in a clear and obvious way that is able to be understood with out in depth analays like what we have done.

2. The Shawshank Redemption in comparision with Do you have power? By Julius Babarinsa regarding the power of one.

The power of one means the power that one individual has over another person, place or thing. In The Shawshank Redemption it is obvious how Andy has the individual power to not only change his circumstances but also to vastly improve the lives of the other prisoners in Shawshank prison.

Andy is able to (with the power of persistence) create an entire...
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