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Hope Springs Eternal: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

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Hope Springs Eternal: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King


A wise man once said, “Memory is the library of the mind.” All of the events in one’s life, ranging from birth to the present, are stored in this complex catalog of experience. There they remain untouched and collecting dust until a time of need, much like the scores of books found in today’s libraries. No matter how obscure, their topics represent the various trials of life that build one’s character and forever serve as the most reliable source of the human psyche. The novella, “Hope Springs Eternal: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”, is part of a collection of stories that comprise Stephen King’s book Different Seasons which was first published in 1983. It is the story of Andy Dufresne, a successful banker incarcerated, despite his innocence, for the murder of his wife and her lover. Leaving behind not only his status, but every known aspect of his life up until this point, Andy is submerged in a culture he knows nothing about. However, he manages to adapt to these unfamiliar surroundings through the use of his former knowledge and keen intellect. King uses Andy’s character as a liaison to convey the concept of memory within the novella. He outlines the stages in Andy’s journey throughout his time in Shawshank Federal Prison by highlighting the many channels in which his wisdom aids him. Furthermore, King shows the reader how this passage develops Andy as a person through the different ways he utilizes this remembrance, both for his benefit and that of others. Andy’s heroic metamorphosis provides a template for the different perceptions of memory within the text; such as that of a self-fulfilling resource, liberating gift to othe...


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...ins the reader in experiencing the transformation of Andy as a character and the unavoidable sentiments that ingrain themselves into the human psyche. By delving into this unique harmony between the feelings of both author and reader, one can come to further comprehend the questions King is bringing to the table and his premeditated goal for this work. What does it mean to truly become a legend and why does Andy Dufresne so beautifully embody this definition? These are queries that we can only begin to answer and are an active ingredient of what makes Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption the literary marvel that it is.


Works Consulted

Cormier, Robert. I am the Cheese. New York: Dell Laurel-Leaf, 1991.

King, Stephen. “Hope Springs Eternal: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.” Different Seasons. New York: New American Library, 1983. (15-107).


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