Hope Springs Eternal and The Shawshank Redemption


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     “I hope I can make it across the border. I hope I can see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.” (106)

     Hope Springs Eternal is a story that demonstrates how important it is to keep hope alive. Throughout the entire story, Andy was different from most everybody else, especially the other inmates. This was something readily picked out by the minister/warden. He had accused Andy of walking around as if he where at a “cocktail party”. Red explained it better when he described some of the qualities in Andy that made the warden say what he did. He always walked light footed and always kept his shoulders squared. He never developed that kind of hazy dead look that the other inmates had. Nor did he adopt their hunched over sluggish walk when it came time to go back to their cages. The thing that constantly beamed from him, and differentiated him so much from everybody else was the thing he never gave up; hope.

     Andy didn’t know from the get go that he was going to escape from a hole he dug in the wall. In fact he didn’t know he was going to escape at all. But he always had hope that he would leave the Shank. This is evident in how he had taken his money and saved it from getting washed away by the on coming hurricane. Also, he had his good friend set up a bank account for his new identity. He kept this hope of getting out although it changed a few times. At first it was just hope of getting out somehow, then it was escaping, for a brief time it came back to getting out legitimately when he met Tommy Williams. It got to Andy when the warden crushed that hope by transferring Tommy, but he didn’t give up. His hope went right back to escaping through that little hole he dug.

     If you gave up on hope, then you gave up on life. In the Shank the inmates gave up hope pretty early, and that is why they developed those bland, dead eyes. They were not living; they were merely going through routine. It’s probably for that reason that so many inmates last such a short time in the outside world. They would shrink away in fear when confronted with life, because they had been so long without out it.

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Routine was all that they had. Red witnessed this first hand. When he got out of Shawshank, he became a bagboy in a grocery store, and could not adjust to being his own man: “That’s what a whole life in prison does for you, young man. It turns everyone in a position of authority into a master, and you into every master’s dog” (pg102). Red even caught himself a couple of times thinking about what he could commit to get sent back to the Shank. He almost no hope left at all, except for one thing; finding that stonewall. The stonewall was the one place that he felt like a free man. It is probably safe to say that that wall did set him free; or rather the letter he found from Andy at the wall set him free. He had regained his hope, and in doing so he began to live once again.



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