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An important timeless idea in The Shawshank Redemption directed by Frank Darabont, is hope. The film demonstrates how hope is so significant in life. Frank Darabont indicates the idea that hope is still important in our lives because having or lacking in hope, affects people personally, nationally and worldwide. The film techniques; narration/dialogue, symbolism and lighting were used by the director to enhance this important idea of hope. Through these film techniques the director helps the viewer think about how having or lacking hope can affect our lives and helps the viewer conclude that having hope, “is a good thing”, Andy Dufresnes conclusion as well.

During the closing scene when Red finds and reads Andy’s letter, Dialogue is used as a film technique to portray the inspiring idea of hope. Dialogue helps create the effect of encouragement and comfort. Andy’s letter to Red says, “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” This use of dialogue is heart felt advice from someone who has experienced great hardship. Andy believes that hope is not only ever lasting; it is also the greatest possibility to aspire towards. This dialogue helped me understand the timeless idea of hope because Andy in his letter accurately writes that hope is a good thing and that good things never die (timeless/generation). Those who have the ability and the willpower to hope are those who will be redeemed.

The technique of Symbolism that the director uses effectively portrays the idea of hope, through the poster of Rita Hayworth pinned to Andy’s cell wall. The poster of Rita Hayworth represents the door to freedom and Andy’s desire to escape to a normal life. The poster of Rita Hayworth not only conceals the chiselled hole but also symbolizes life outside of the prison and the hope of a normal life again. For example Rita Hayworth was one of the most popular actresses of that time desired and admired by millions of people. She represents the outside world and the American dream. Rita Hayworth helped me understand the timeless idea of hope because as an attractive famous woman she instils hope for those without hope especially Andy who is imprisoned. Often people (no matter what generation) who are without hope find comfort in a known person. In Andy’s case his desire towards Hayworth parallels his desire to escape. Reminders of the outside world have comforted throughout time. Paul in the bible who was also imprisoned sought comfort in the disciples.

The last technique used to emphasize the idea of hope is lighting. The director uses lighting to reveal the hopelessness of life within Shawshank prison. When Andy first arrives at the gates of Shawshank prison, the light is bright and natural. This lighting represents Andy’s last glimpse of the outside world, that of freedom. As Andy walks into the main door of Shawshank prison, the light rapidly fades into darkness. This use of fading light displays how dark and ominous Shawshank prison is, and contrasts the outside world. This scene also suggests it is the beginning of Andy’s personal hope descending. For example the dim lighting reflects Andy’s mood as he enters the prison. The emotion on his face is sadness, fear, disappointment and grief. This suggests Andy’s spiral into hopelessness. Frank Darabont helps the audience understand the lack of hope is relevant throughout time because most prisoners would feel a degree of despair knowing they are no longer free people and furthermore if they are innocent like Andy the misery and disbelief would be even more traumatic.

Hope is the driving force to happiness and freedom. Without hope we will not be able to overcome great difficulty particularly when all odds are against us. The director Frank Darabont has shown us through the character Andy that his hope is intangible and unbreakable.


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