Tom Smilovich ENG 2150 Professor Martinelli 2/25/13 Isolation, Imprisonment, and the Power of Hope In his novella, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption , Stephen King writes, ‘“Why, they mean the same thing to me as they do to most cons, I guess, he said. Freedom. You look at those pretty women and you feel like you could almost . .. not quite but almost step right through and be beside them. Be free’”. King’s metaphorical comparison of the posters in Andy Dufresne’s cell reflects some important themes of his novella which include isolation from society, imprisonment, and the power of hope. Both of these themes and motifs are portrayed by the stratification of power and the suffering within Shawshank prison, as well as by the actions and inspirations of Red and Andy Durfesne. The themes of isolation and imprisonment are relevant throughout the entire story. Although Shawshank prison is isolated from the outside world, the prison is a microcosm of society. Each inmate has a specific role within the prison, ranging from working in the cellblocks to having a prestigious reputation such as Red. The inmates of Shawshank are trapped and isolated not only physically but figuratively as well. The effects of isolation and imprisonment result in the inability of the inmates to function and to have a role in the society that exists outside prison. Brooks Hatlen is unable to adjust to the outside world after being imprisoned for nearly fifty years because all he identifies with is the
Rita Hayworth And The Shawshank Redemption
There is a staggering amount of corruption in the prison system that is caused by pressure on the inmates as well as the employees in Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King. The aforementioned corruption contributes greatly to many of the main plot points in the story such as; the harassment of the prisoners, the smuggling of contraband items into Shawshank, and the prisoners making their own lives easier by using the corruption for their own purposes.
Corruption is a main cause of the harassment and exploitation of the prisoners. This is exemplified by the Inside-out Program, initiated by Samuel Norton. It is described as being slave-labour, which has never been described as fair. Without the corruption in the program, Norton would not have earned as much money as he did (under the table) and the prisoners might not have been as exploited for their labour. Red mentions that “The construction businesses in the area were deathly afraid of Norton’s Inside-out program, because prison labour is slave labour, and you can’t compete with that.” (King, 57) This proves that the prisoners agree that the labour is very unfair compared to the work put in by regular construction workers, and is unfair to the construction workers too. Furthermore, Norton refused to allow Andy to have a new trial after hearing the evidence which would have made a very convincing case, which was a corrupt and unjust thing to do, based solely on the fact that Norton did not want to lose Andy as an asset, also that he was afraid of what Andy could say in court about his corrupt dealings. When Red gives his opinion, he says; “and I’m convinced that what happened happened because Norton didn’t want to lose his good right hand. I’ll go further: it happened because he was scared of what might happen, what Andy might say against him- if Andy ever got clear of Shawshank State Prison.” (58) This proves Norton’s hypocrisy, and how unfair his actions are against Andy. Also, after Andy is raped by the sisters, and Bogs Diamond is found beaten up in his cell, it is mentioned that someone (probably Andy) paid off some corrupt guards to keep their heads turned while Bogs was beaten. On this topic, Red says that: “A guard could have been bribed real easy to let someone-maybe two or three someones-into the block, and, yes, even into Diamond’s cell.” (35) Even though Bogs would be known to everyone as something of an antagonist, harassment is still evident, and it is obvious that the easily corruptible guards-pressured by bribes-allowed him to be harassed. Therefore, it is evident that almost all of the prisoners at Shawshank seem to have encountered some sort of harassment do to corruption in the system.
Red’s whole reputation in Shawshank is only possible because of the corruption in the system. He wouldn’t be able to smuggle supplies into the prison without his network of corrupt officials who are willing to help. These corrupt guards work in many different forms,...
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