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Essay On Self-Respect In The Novel Rita Hayworth And The Shawshank Redemption

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How does a person maintain self-respect through the toughest time of their life? When a person encounters the toughest time of their life, they must make conscious decisions to uphold their self-respect, as Steven King illustrates in his novella, “‘Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption’”. The wrongly imprisoned banker, Andy, makes these conscious decisions during very critical points in the time that he is at Shawshank Prison. He manages to uphold his self-respect by fighting off the sisters, out witting the guards and winning their respect, and developing a prison library over a period of years. First, Andy preserves his self-respect by fighting or defending himself from the rape squad of Shawshank Prison known as “The Sisters”.…show more content…
He outwits them and earns their respect throughout different scenes of the novella. Becoming favored by the guards helps preserve Andy’s self-respect for several reasons. The first reason being that it makes him feel somewhat like a person again. The most prominent example of this would be when Andy steps up to head guard Byron Hadley. Hadley is having some money issues and Andy, having been a very successful banker before coming to prison, willingly steps in and advises Hadley on what he should do. This takes an ungodly amount of guts for Andy to do. Prisoners are normally advised to keep their mouths shut unless spoken to. Typically, if prisoners step over the line like this, Byron could beat them within an inch of their life. But, according to Byron’s normal standards, he handles the situation well and takes Andy’s advice. Not only does Andy give advice to Byron, but also to other guards and eventually the warden. This incident probably helps Andy preserve his self-respect because he begins to do what he loves again, advising people on how to handle their money. It probably also helps that he now knows that he has somewhat of an upper hand with the guards and that they might be more lenient with him. Red even states that he and the other prisoners saw the momentum shift when Byron decided to take Andy’s advice. Red said “‘I have talked to some of the other men who were…show more content…
This venture of his takes years to complete and loads of commitment. One reason why it may help him maintain his self-respect is because he has a project to put forth effort and determination into. Andy is so committed and determined to get the library, that he writes one letter a week to the state senate for funds. Once the senate sends him two hundred dollars to shut him up, he begins writing two letters a week until he is granted what he wants. From beginning to end, Andy turns a one room library into an expansive three-room library. Determination like this is typically only put forth by a person if they are truly passionate about something. Andy’s determination is made visible during his second interview with the warden. Andy is arguing with the warden and the warden threatens him by saying, “‘And while you’re in, think about this: if anything that’s been going on should stop, the library goes. I will make it my personal business to see that it goes back to what it was before you came here’” (King 71). Here, Andy’s determination is put on display by him simply not acting. He chooses to restrain himself and keep everything that he has worked so hard for in the prison. This determination and passion probably takes Andy’s mind off his situation and gives him a purpose to continue to live, thereby boosting his self-respect. Another reason that the library helps Andy maintain his
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