“Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” by Stephen King is a single short story in a three story book, The Different Seasons. Shawshank Redemption is such a well written, and curling novel that a film adaptation was later created. Stephen King published Different Seasons in 1982, the film wasn’t created till October 14, 1994. The majority of the story takes place in a prison located in Maine, Shawshank. The narration of the story are detail memories from an inmate at Shawshank. The narrator is an inmate named Red. Red was put into Shawshank with a life sentence for disabling his wife’s car brakes causing her to crash, and kill a neighbor along with her child. Another main protagonist in the story is Andy Dufrense a high class investor and banker. Andy was thrown in Shawshank after being held guilty with the murder of his wife Linda, and the man she was having an affair with pro tennis player Glenn Quentin. When Red first meets Andy he is surprised with his rather calm demeanor of this man. Soon after Red believes Andy is a innocent man because, Andy’s strong will for hope for freedom.
Red becomes interested in Andy when he arrives at prison. Red is interested in Andy’s hope that he will be free one day. Red and Andy relate to each other through their similar thrifty, and hardworking demeanor. Red first meets Andy with the request for a hammer, polishing equipment, and later a Rita Hayworth poster. Red is skeptical at first, but finds out Andy is a rock collector. Andy stays low for awhile, because having these tools is prohibited in prison. Then crucial information is told to Andy by a new inmate Tommy Williams. Tommy claims a man named Elwood Blatch confessed to killing pro tennis player Glenn Quentin. When Andy goes to the warden of the prison Warden Norton, Andy is denied a retrial. Andy becomes highly introspective after this huge set back to his freedom. Andy then tells Red his friend set up a false identity for him and invested $14,000 dollars, which has since raised to $37,000. Andy claims he would be exposed if he claimed this money, and has a dream of moving to Mexico, and being a small hotel owner. He tells Red on the countryside, under a volcanic rock near a local bank, the key to the bank account was there. Red believed this plan was ludicrous. Until years later guards find Andy’s cell empty with a big hole leading to the sewers behind the Rita Hayworth poster. The Warden Norton commits suicide after the escape, and years later Red is put on parole. Red searches for the volcanic rock eventually finding it with a postcard. Along with $1,000 with the offer to join Andy in Mexico. The story ends with Red seeing his old friend running a boat rental company, but ends before they encounter each other.
I believe this story has two themes Stephen King wants you to learn from Shawshank Redemption. The two major themes are freedom, and hope. The theme of freedom is more or less about the lack of freedom present in Shawshank. These themes tie together as Andy’s inspirational hope which echoed through the prison, is what got him out the hell hole. “I tell you, those voices soared. Higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man at Shawshank felt free ” (King 65). This quote depicts how Andy’s hope spread like wildfire in Shawshank and includes how this sense of hope made the prison inmates feel a sense of freedom.
Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption has many ideas relating to government including; improper justice systems, abuse of power. Many believe the U.S. justice system is an improper justice system. Evidence backing their claim consist of many people such James Frazier, Joshua Horner, and in Shawshank Redemption Andy Dufrense. All these people have something in common. These people were sentenced to life without parole, or the capital offense of the death sentence. That’s not all they have in common – they all were also later found innocent of their crimes. The activist against our justice system use these cases where innocent humans had their lives destroyed through our flawed justice system. The statistic in America for innocent individuals put on death row is 4%. Many people believe this percentage is rather low. Although, those 4% were all inhumanly killed, which is unconstitutional. Abuse of power is a contagious disease, which has shaped our past, and present. In Shawshank Redemption the man with the most power is Warden Norton. Norton used his power to make Shawshank a living hell. Warden Norton abused his power through sending Andy in solitary confinement for requesting a re-trial, allowing his guards to beat inmates, and money laundering out of the prison. “Corruption is acting on opportunities, created by virtue of one’s authority, for personal gain at the expense of the public one is authorized to serve” (King 86). This quote illustrates how warden Norton doesn’t even bother denying his corruption, and actually glorifies it. My recommendation on how we the people can resolve these issues is protest against the death penalty. Why people should protest the death penalty is because its a strange ,and unusual punishment which doesn’t give the opportunity for people to change and fix their mistakes. “Faith leaders, community organizers and individuals from all across the country had gathered in protest of capital punishment on a day marking 40 years since the first execution” (Mennonite 1). This quote depicts how protesters, along with faith leaders came to the U.S. Supreme Court to abolish the death penalty. If the people of the U.S. can make this protest a movement such as the gay rights movement, or women rights movement. We will see change in the death penalty. 29 is the number of U.S. states, which to this day still operate with the death penalty. Although, the people could change that number to zero states if a movement begins. The few 21 states without the death penalty should be looked at as a hope for change in the U.S. The death penalty will be abolished, time will tell when this happens.