Monday, October 26, 2009

Karma in Shawshank? ~ Julie Thompson

We know the law as trustworthy, dependable and innocent, but what we see at Shawshank prison is the guards and Warden doing more bad things than some of the prisoners who are in the prison. The guards would beat their inmates and the Warden was quite okay with their wrongdoings. He basically even supported the uncalled for behavior. What the Warden and his guards did not realize is that Karma is a bitch. What goes around comes around and it was coming back their way.

In the prison, the Warden allowed the guards to beat and even kill their prisoners at Shanwshank. He is suppose to represent justice but when he found out that he had the chance to free Andy from false accusations, he got rid of the evidence (which happened to be getting a man named Tommy killed) Andy was devastated when he realized there was nothing he could do to get justice.

Karma came around in a huge way when Andy escaped the prison. Andy sent a letter to the local newspaper explaining the unfair treatment and murder that took place at the prison. Police and journalists showed up within the hour of the information being read. This was such a shock and a scare to the Warden that he corrupted and killed himself.

The Warden was played off as a Christian man in the beginning of the film. He made sure the prisoners at Shawshank had bibles and he also made his favorite bible verse well known: “Salvation lies within.” Andy and the Warden had conversations about this bible verse but Andy interpreted it in a very motivating way. When the Warden finds out Andy had been hiding the tool that helped him escape in the bible, his jaw dropped. You never know how people will react to what you tell them, and how the exact opposite could be what sets them free.

In the end of this happening, it seemed like everyone got what they deserved. The guards and the Warden were punished in a kind of harsh way but some people would say the got what was coming. You can’t dance through life doing wrong things to others and treating people badly and expect you life to work out perfect. Andy was an innocent man and he redeemed himself to live a free life; the life he deserved.

How Life Really is ~ Alison Malcolm

Its a lonely life in prison, you forget how it is in the real world. You come to believe that this is how life should be. With rules, schedules, a daily routine. You slowly create friendships with others to fill the rolls of the ones you loved at home. In Shawshank Redemption we see how life really is in prison.

Andy was one of the new prisoners in Shawshank. It took him a while but soon enough Andy finds himself friends he can talk to and trust.They begin to trust, love ad respect one another in a place where those things were hard to do. Red is Andy's best friend in the prison, they're bond becomes so strong that even after Andy has escaped the prison he still looks after Red.

Tommy was like a son to Andy. He tought him how to read and wright showed Tommy that he could really change his life around when he gets out. When the warden has Tommy killed Andy feels as though he has lost a child. Brooks represents a grandfather to everyone in the prison. He worked at the library and brought everyone their books to read. When Brooks got his parole everyone was happy for him yet at the same time sad to see their good friend leaving. When and and the others find out about Brooks's death they all fee as though they really lost a family member.

Different scenes in this film remind us viewers of family moments. The scene where Andy watches his fellow inmates on the roof drinking ice cold beer with a big goofy smile on his face is like your parents watching you in joy something that you've been longing for for quite some time. When Red tells the others to look for rocks to give to Andy once he gets out of solitary. He's like a brother almost, getting everyone to pitch in and help out his little brother. Getting him something nice before he comes home. My favorite scene in this film would be close to the end after Andy has escaped shawshank. All his friends back in the prison sit around at lunch some days and just remember the good times. The time Andy stood up to a guard. How Andy sent hundreds of letters to get his way, resulting in building the prison a decent library. How since the day Andy arrived he had a plan to escape his tiny cell. This scene is like when a family member leaves home to go make their 'fortune'. The family sits around remembering all the good, funny and even sad times they had as a loving family.

These men did not have the blood connection that you could almost mistake them having. What they had was almost just as powerful. They had the power of their experiences together. The good times, the hard times. what they went threw pulled these men together to form that unbreakable bond.

So is it really true that blood is thicker than water? Or are they equal?

Literary Devices are not Only Found in Written Text ~ Katelyn Armstrong

Many different literary devices and techniques were used in the film The Shawshank Redemption in order to give it a deeper meaning. On the surface this movie seems very simple, yet if you pay attention to the techniques, including lighting, colour, symbols etc, you will realize it is anything but ordinary.

One of the main components of the film is foreshadowing. While watching the film you believe they are talking about the current event, when actually they’re talking about things that are going to happen much later in the film. For example, the posters Andy had in his room was thought to be an ordinary decoration when actually it was hiding the secret escape route which finally led him out of prison. A famous quote from the film “salvation lies within”, said by the warden, was also another method of foreshadowing. For viewers who were watching the movie the first time, they wouldn’t have thought anything of it; however, later in the film it plays an important role. It is literary devices like these that make the movie so memorable.

Not only did the literary devices play an important aspect in the movie, but the filming techniques as well. Colour is one of the most important factors, or lack thereof. Throughout the movie there is barely any colour what so ever. Prison is always imagined as a very dark and gloomy atmosphere, and that’s exactly what it was in the movie Shawshank Redemption. The only time you see colour in the movie is when Brooks is set free and at the end of the film when Andy and Red are both in Mexico. When Brooks was released into the world, there was a surprisingly large amount of colour, and light as well. The lighting is extremely important. A good portion of the movie occurs in the dark. Light can be referred to truth in this movie. Seeing as how they are in a prison and there is no truth, there is no light. However, at the end of the movie there are no shadows what so ever. It is just Red and Andy on the beach in the sunshine, able to see everything for what it really is.

At the beginning of Shawshank redemption, the audience thinks that the movie is going to be mainly about Ellis Redding, or Red, seeing as how he is the narrator. Even though Red does not turn out to be the main character, I find him to be the most interesting one. When you first look at him, he doesn’t seem very intimidating. However, he still manages to control almost everyone who lives inside of Shawshank. You could be the smallest person in the prison, but if you can transport things inside from the outside world, then you are in control. This gives a perfect comparison to Shawshank and actual prisons. Not many people want to get into an altercation with the one who supplies them with everything they need. Red is also the character that portrays hope as hopeless, which is a very important aspect in this movie. Red had told Andy that “hope is a dangerous thing”. By saying this he is trying to tell Andy that hope is the one thing that he has left and if he gets that taken away then he will have nothing. Red gets his hopes up continuously throughout the film when he repeatedly gets rejected for release.

Although there was a large amount of violence in the film, I would highly recommend it to anyone that is willing to watch. Any small minor flaws that may be in the movie is definitely counterbalanced by the astonishing techniques that were used. Shawshank Redemption has been nominated for countless awards and has extremely high ratings. I find it strikingly difficult to find reasons why someone should not watch The Shawshank Redemption.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Persona of a Man ~ Jessie Michel

On day three of the questions we were given in class, we are asked the question How has Andy’s look changed since the beginning of the film? When answering this question, the logical response is that Andy just isn’t taking care of himself, but when you think deeper into your answer you realize that it is not just his look that has changed, but also how he portrays himself. This begs to ask the question, how exactly has Andy changed his look since we first saw him at the beginning of the film, and why is this so significant?

The film starts as Andy is being questioned at his trial to prove whether or not he murdered his wife. His outfit consists of a fine pressed suit with a tie, making him resemble a high class person who would be on their way to an important meeting, rather than on trial for murder. This persona of Andy is what we believe he is, but as the film continues, we see his need to look put together and his reasons for caring to look good deteriorates.

Not only is this transformation happening on the outside, but also on the inside his personality is changing. When we first meet Andy, he is a shy banker who keeps to himself but as the film moves onward, we see him form into the kind man who takes care of his inmate friends and is very sociable. Now, the question that is needed to ask is what happened to change Andy so dramatically? As we all know from watching the film, prison life changes you and turns you into a person you would never think you could be outside prison walls. This is what happened to Andy, he went from a shy high class banker who kept to himself to a well known person who is well known and well liked, and loyal to his friends.

Now that Andy look both on the outside and on the inside has changed, we are seeing his character change as well. The “old” Andy would not have ever done work with the devil – who was also known as Hadly – just so the other inmates could take a break and drink a beer. The “old” Andy would have never sent so many letters away just so the prison could have better funding for their library. These are all things that Andy would have never done if he hadn’t been in Shawshank prison, so in a way you could say that prison could help someone become a better person. Not all prisoners come through and change completely, but the special few who do are the people that matter.

We now see how exactly Andy’s appearance has changed from the beginning to the end of the film. Andy has changed for the better, and what he has learned in Shawshank prison will stay with him for the rest of his life. Andy is one of those special few who have come out on the other side doing better than he did when he first began his journey. He was a wrongly convicted felon who saw the brighter good things rather than the depressing dark which can so easily overtake us. Andy will love the rest of his life knowing that he is a better person.

Violence - Colton Morehouse

Violence plays a major role in the movie Shawshank Redemption and has a big effect on what happens during and at the end of the movie. Andy gets beat up and doesn’t really try to defend himself or tell anyone about it to try to stop it. This portrays him as a weak person and makes it seem like it just wants to serve his time and get out. But in the end it sets him up so he can plan and make an escape without being noticed by his “family” or any of the guards which makes the ending that much better and surprising for the audience.

The music in the movie suited all of the violent scenes. Every time the sisters were going to fight Andy and when Tommy was shot the music would change to a ominous, mysterious type of music and you could tell that something bad was about to happen. This makes the audience really pay attention in those particular scenes because you knew something interesting was going to happen.

I think that Andy’s character in particular was well played because he seems like the smart business type of guy who wouldn’t plan and make and escape. Like when he made up a fake person, he had to be smart but no one would have expected him to use it for an escape. He also seems very weak because when the sisters beat him up he doesn’t try to do anything about it. This adds to how the ending is so surprising when he makes his escape because it’s totally unexpected from him.

If I was to rate this this movie out I would give it a five out of five. It shows what prison life is like and that it can make you institutionalized like Brooks. He spent most of his life in Shawshank and when he got out he didn’t know what to do so he killed himself. I would highly recommend this movie because it teaches you a lot about what prison life is like and what it can/does to you.

There might not have been that much violence in the movie but it ends up to be a important element to the movie. It portrayed Andy as weak, showed that prison institutionalizes you when Brooks kills himself, and when Andy finds hope when Tommy tells him the story about the guy he met in another prison, Tommy is shot. That’s one of the reasons I find that this movie is so good, some of the smallest things end up playing a big role in the end.

Sometimes You Can't Pick Your Family; It Just Happens ~ Laura Broz

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines family as the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children. However, who is to say this is the only definition of a family? A family is a support system; a person or group of people who care, love and are always there for you. In Shawshank Redemption, many of these qualities were evident within the prisoners’ relationships. Overall, I believe that the movie highlighted the bond shared between the inmates was much stronger than friendship; but the basis of a family.

In the film, many of the inmates would help one another in different situations. They would warn each other about other inmates and strict officers and help each other cope with the dangers of prison life. Protection is definitely one aspect that a family offers an individual One strong example of this was when Andy was getting beaten on by one of the inmates and Red figured out a way to get him in trouble with the officers, getting the inmate what he deserved. This shows that some of the prisoners have created such a strong bond with one another that they will do whatever it takes to protect them, just like someone would do for their own family.

Many of us can agree that it would be hard to live without our families. This very point was reflected in Shawshank when Brooks was released on probation after many decades in prison but then soon after committed suicide. In the outside world, he was given everything he would need; a job, food and a place to live. However, what the outside world did not have were his fellow inmates that he had bonded so closely with. I think that Brooks decided to kill himself, not because he did not have a fairly good life in the real world, but because he was lonely and life just wasn’t the same without the family created during his time in Shawshank. I also believe that this might be why Red and Andy were able to have an easier transition. Unlike Brooks, they had each other to lean on. It’s reasonable to say that when a family is so close-knit, like the family the men in Shawshank created, leaving it can be extremely difficult to cope with.

At the end of Shawshank when Red was released from prison, he lived in the same transition house and worked the same job as Brooks. It was obvious that both of them did not enjoy this lifestyle. However, when Red found Andy on the beach, it was clear that this was his first moment of happiness since he left prison. It was evident by his expression that seeing Andy again meant the world to him. I think that the whole moment was comparable to someone reuniting with a long lost relative. Though prison seems like an unorthodox place to create a family, it certainly happened for Andy and Red, creating a brotherhood like no other.

After watching Shawshank Redemption, I think it is pretty clear that blood relation plays a menial role when it comes to family. To me, family is having people in your life that you care, protect and cherish. I believe that all his aspects of a family were highlighted between many of the characters in the film. The inmates spent so much time together that they were bound to become this tight-knit family. They say that you can’t choose your family. I believe that after watching Shawshank, I think that I’d have to agree. You can’t choose your family; sometimes, it just happens.

Shawshank's Family ~ Chad Parker

Shawshank’s family

Is it a necessity to be blood related in order to call one’s group a family? Or can you form your own family without having legal records of being a family all along? In Shawshank Redemption I believe a very close, non-blood family has been created. This consists of the main characters Andy, Red and their inmates in who they spend every day together. These men have all met in Shawnshank, Andy being the latest addition to the clan. I’m sure these men had no further knowledge on each inmate other than well they have all been sent to this prison for a reason. I feel these men have come together to build a strong relationship towards each other, strong enough to consider themselves as somewhat of a family.


These inmates have been through a lot together, majority of events taking place while in shawshank being not so pleasant. Yet they stick together and seem to pull through, help each other and make things not so difficult to deal with. I felt that this family of inmates really came together while working on the roof as Andy decided to try and help Hadley with his thirty-five thousand dollars which he was given from a passing of a family member. Andy really put himself in danger here just to make a few friends. He simply gave Hadley some advice about the IRS and how to deal with the money in which he received, while at the same time being terrified over his life, held millimeters off the edge of the building by Hadley’s firm grip. Once Hadley had got the message that Andy was giving truthful advice he had let him go. All Andy asked, was for three cold beers for each of the other inmates working with him at this time, in return for Andy’s help filing the IRS papers.

This was a highly respected act of Andy as he had nothing on his mind but the others. This was common for Andy; he seemed to always have the other’s on his mind, never doing things selfishly for himself, always for his friends he had made. Throughout the movie these men become closer as a group, almost enough to say they had formed their own little inmate family. Later on in the movie Andy is sent to infirmary after being beaten by Boggs. While Andy is recovering, the rest of the group looks for rocks for Andy’s rock collection to make his chess pieces. This is a nice act on the other’s part as they feel he really deserves this for his actions on the roof with Hadley. This just comes to show that these men really do care about each other.

This group of inmates showed their passion about each other throughout the movie as their feel for each other becomes stronger, and more comfortable. They continue to spend whatever free time they have together, even when one has transferred to new work in the prison they seem to find a way to make sure the other’s are brought into the new work as well. For example, during the tax season Red and the others are helping Andy out with the hectic schedule being his assistants. When I think of a family, what comes to mind is a group of people who live together, share the same values, respect each other a great amount and have a love for each other.

Although they may not show their love for each other, I feel they do have a different kind of love ; it’s like a family/friendly love. All in all, my opinion on this group of inmates is they have came together to form what I would definitely call a family. From the beginning they may have not all known each other too well, but they seemed to put that to the side, and got to know each other extremely well. So when I think of a family, I would say hands down, I could say this group of inmates have a strong connection between each other, strong enough in which I would consider them a family.