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The Theme of Hope in the Shawshank Redemption

The Theme of Hope in the "Shawshank Redemption"

“A romantic hero is a man that is superior in degree to other men and his environment, whose life is a sequence of adventures.” Andy Dufrene in Stephen King’s “Shawshank Redemption” is a romantic hero according to Northrop Frye’s theory, which is derived from Jesus Christ. It describes the development of a romantic hero in six stages: Birth of the hero, innocence of the hero, achievements of the hero, maintenance of innocents, contemplative withdrawal from world, and the death and resurrection of the hero. It will be made evident that Andy’s entrance into prison symbolizes the birth of a hero, and his innocence is shown by his interactions with the ‘sisters’. Despite his powerless situation Andy acquires many achievements and manages to maintain his innocents. Doing time in solitary confinement gives Andy a chance to contemplate his escape, this he accomplishes by tunneling out of the prison. By using specific references to the plot of the play and Frye’s theory, the foregoing statements will prove to be valid.

“She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” The first two stages in the development of a romantic hero are, birth and innocents of the hero. Like a new born child the hero is coerced into a new environment. For Andy Dufrene the new environment was prison, and his entrance was similar to the birth of a child. “They march you in naked as the day you were born.” The imagery of his first day is similar to the symbols of birth. Before the inmates can actually enter the general population, they are stripped naked, washed down, and deloused. Water is the symbol of the beginning and the end of a cycle. The beginning of Andy’s adventure was symbolized by him entering prison naked and dripping wet. What is more innocent than a new born child? Maybe the question that should be asked is. What is more tempting to homosexuals in jail, than a weak naked man?

This is the second phase in Andy’s development, his innocence. Being naive to prison life, he is taken advantage of by a group of homosexual men called the sisters. “Because of his small size and fair good looks, the sisters were after Andy from the day he...

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