The movie centres on Andy Dufrense, Tim Robbins, a successful banker who is incorrectly sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife and her lover. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Andy embarks on new found journey in the 20 odd years he is at Shawshank prison before his eventual escape. During his time, with the help of Red (Morgan Freeman) and the other prison inmates, he was able to convert a section of prison into a library, he was able to educate a young inmate so that he could receive his General Education Diploma (a test to certify that the taker has high-school academic skills) and personally for Andy to protect him from the other inmates, he became the warden’s private accountant. Although Andy lived a somewhat “better” life than the other inmates, he knew he did not belong in prison.
A memorable scene that gives a glimpse of how Andy eventually escapes, although you would have least expected it, was when Red handed Andy his rock-hammer.
Andy: “Well, if there’s any trouble, I won’t use the rock-hammer. Ok?”
Red: “Then I guess you wanna escape. Tunnel under the wall, maybe? [Andy laughs] Did I miss something here? What’s funny?”
Andy: “You’ll understand when you see the rock-hammer.”
The rock-hammer was 6-7 inches in length and “ALL” it took were the 20 odd years for Andy to dig into the side of his prison wall so that he could escape in a narrow sewerage pipe.
There are many themes that run through this movie but there is one that stands out like a deer in the headlights. The lesson to be learnt from this theme is such an invaluable one so it should be understood by all: even though Andy was sentenced to a crime he did not commit, he was able to maintain his integrity and to even make the best out of the situation no matter how horrid or hopeless the situation he was in. Now if we extend this to life’s other obstacles i.e. failure to meet a partner or dealing with a personal tragedy, realising your self-worth is one of those things that is going to give you light at the end of the tunnel. I’d hate to repeat myself but when push really comes to shove, you’ve got two choices: complain about the situation and never get anywhere or fight-like-hell. If you’re fighting-like-hell, you might as well enjoy the ride.