Educating Rita vs. Shawshank redemption Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 8 April 2016

Educating Rita vs. Shawshank redemption

Explain how challenges of venturing into the world can be outweighed by the possibilities that come from personal growth. Barriers of endeavouring into the abyss are not worthwhile to overcome since growth will undermine your perception of ultimate happiness. Since individuals inevitably sacrifice a part of themselves and does not provide ultimate happiness for society. The prescribed text “Educating Rita” by Willy Russell showcases Rita as losing all of her individuality by gaining knowledge. Mirroring the above thesis, my related text,” The Shawshank Redemption” directed by Frank Darabont encapsulates the idea of institutionalisation. Education is a supplement for the old lifestyle giving new ways to live with detrimental side effects. In the play “Educating Rita”, Rita assumes that education is an opportunity for finding herself but she is merely transitioning from one social class to another. Rita’s education has an oppressive effect on her personality.

Frank wants her to ‘discipline’ her mind, but what he means is find a less subjective (personal) way to look at literature. The irony is that this will make Rita less spontaneous and it might hinder her passion for the truth and for life. Education and Alcohol are of both a means of satisfaction for Frank. Giving an education substitutes the need to drink highlighting his futile predicament since by teaching Rita, she is putting ‘nothing of her’ in her essays whereas her previous essay was filled with subjectivity and by drinking he is losing a part of himself and . Consequently, she is conforming to the social class and meeting the needs and wants of that class but that is not ultimate happiness since they are not completely her wants and needs. Therefore, referring to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, as she is gaining self-actualisation she is losing her belonging and love nature since she runs away from Denny and drives Frank away.

Mirroring the above statement for “The Shawshank Redemption”. Convicted criminals are sent to prison to be rehabilitated so that one day they will no longer pose a threat to citizens on the outside. This is not the case at Shawshank Prison. Shawshank, in reality, is a place of permanent confinement since it strives to eliminate the tiniest hope for freedom from their prisoners. The entire Shawshank system is an educational lifestyle all prisoners have to learn or there will be catastrophic consequences. This is seen in the first time when all the “fish” come into their cells for the first time and one of the prisoners starts yelling and protesting he doesn’t belong here, he does not understand the system yet and ends up dying for not following orders. The ironic nature of this system is that ultimately convicts depend on the system to maintain purpose. “These walls are funny…first you hate them, then you get used to them, then you depend on them…that’s institutionalized.” It is therefore useless to try and outwit the system establishing that the challenges are futile and not worth the time. This is reinforced by Brooks leaving the prison system and then committing suicide ­after he lost his Self-Esteem and Belonging which the prison provided him with.

With only Physiology and Safety from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, he has enlightened to his significance to the world which leads to his own demise reinforcing that it is better to live blissfully ignorant than to live detrimentally enlightened. An individual’s possibility of personal growth is solely reliant on their own degree of cynicism. The extent of an individual’s cynicism is the challenge they have to face in order to attain personal growth. Individuals have to be greedy and selfish as it is the only way to develop a better understanding of themselves. Frank is presented initially as cynical since he is only motivated by money derived from Frank and Julia’s telephone conversation. This motivation helps him reawaken his appreciation of beauty in literature and life: ‘I think you’re the first breath of air that’s been in this room for years’. Consequently, Frank develops an attraction towards his “Frankenstein” and wants to be with her. Oscar Wilde said “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing”. However, Frank does not end up with Rita due to the feelings not being mutual.

Rita’s cynicism lies with her desire for knowledge. In the first scence, Rita bursts into his room and tells Frank she wants to learn ‘everything’. Her ambition is alluded with Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and the price that it comes with – her personality. Willy Russell deliberately alludes Frank to “Frankenstein” and Rita to “Frankenstein’s Monster”; Frank to the “King” and Rita to “Macbeth” since she is seen as the hungry ambitious creature rather than the ignorant creator. To become “Macbeth” or “Frankenstein’s Monster” is not worth anyone’s time since it destroys a person’s morals and therefore a person’s judgement on what happiness is. An imitation of the previous statement is also seen in “The Shawshank Redemption”. Since Andy is the only cynical person there is in the Prison, he is the only one that escapes prison. Shown through helping Captain Hadley to gain the likes of his peers and to transition into a less tiring job. It is evident that Andy is fears no one even the Warden. Reiterating Oscar Wilde’s statement, we can see the degree of Andy’s cynicism which allows him to escape prison.

Contrasty, Red serves his full time always disagreed with Andy’s cynicism. After Andy finishes his 2 week stretch in the hole, he explains his theory of hope and how no one can take that away from you. Red argues that hope is useless and that has highlighted that Red has given up his cynicism. Consequently, Andy escapes only after 20 years to venture and find his personal growth whereas Red serves his full sentence. However, Andy has to cheat the system and unethically provide false details to all the banks in order to progress. It is not worth the expenditure of society to allow one man to be economically richer since he cheated the system. This changes a man’s attitude towards life and Andy had to rely on selfish means to get where he is. It is not valuable to attain it in such an unethical method. Ultimately both texts fundamentally show that there are no ways to achieve growth and happiness on the same level since achieving growth undermines the perceptions of happiness. Since societal happiness is always greater therefore an individual can only be selfish and cynical to get anywhere in life.

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 8 April 2016

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