Theme of Hope in Shawshank Redemption

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Question: Analyse how specific techniques were used to portray inspiring ideas in a visual or oral text.
In the film, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, directed by Frank Darabont, an inspiring idea of ‘hope’ was portrayed through the use of film techniques. In this essay, I will analyse how the inspiring idea of ‘hope’ in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ is portrayed through the use of both visual and verbal film techniques. The main character in the film, Andy Dufresne was sent to prison with two life sentences for the murder of his wife and her lover. Andy helped to portray the inspiring idea of hope through his words and actions. The film techniques I will explore are dialogue, music and symbolism.

During the closing scenes of the film, dialogue was used as a film technique to portray the inspiring idea ‘hope’. For example, Andy wrote a letter for Red, "Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” The idea that director Darabont is trying to show is that hope is the saving grace in prison. Those who have the ability to hope are those, in the end, who will be redeemed. The fact that it was Red’s decision to go to Mexico to find Andy is the ultimate proof of Red’s own redemption. It was not from his life as a criminal in Shawshank prison, but from his compromised state, bereft of hope with no reason to embrace life or the future.

Symbolism is a key technique, which was effectively used to show the inspiring idea of ‘hope’. For example, the poster of Rita Hayworth pinned to Andy’s cell wall represents the freedom of the outside world, and Andy’s desire to escape to a normal life – hope. The poster conceals the chiseled hole in the concrete cell wall, and as a result Rita Hayworth symbolizes the sense of hope keeping Andy sane and alive. Despite it taking Andy more than twenty years to chisel his way through the concrete wall, the mere fact that he is working towards something...
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