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Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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DS #1 - Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

Why is Andy Dufresne the type of man with whom one is instantly impressed? Is it his calm demeanor - perhaps we aspire to that? Or is there more involved with our feelings?

Certainly Red likes Andy, he tells us so. How does King use Red as a narrator? He's a confessed (to us) murderer who doesn't even understand what it means to be rehabilitated. Why do we trust him so implicitly?
Stephanie
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scubadms
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎01-04-2007
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Re: DS #1 - Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

I am not sure that "impressed" is the word that I would have used to describe Andy. It took me a long time to even come close to liking him and even then I think that I was more perplexed by him than anything else. It wasnt until we heard the story of the other inmate that admitted to commiting the murders that I really had any sympathy for him or any real belief in his story. All in all I think that it was Andy's determination against the things that are wrong (fighting back against the sisters, trying to stand up to the guards and the warden, and feeling some remorse for helping the warden with the illegal parts of his finances) that helped us to believe in him. Although he was accused of murder he still seemed to be trying to do the right thing even when the wrong thing would have been much easier and not looked upon badly.

As far as Red goes I think that we can believe him because even though we dont directly hear any of the story from anyone else it at least appears that there are others that can back up his story. Also, if it were a real life story there would be things that we could check for ourselves. Also, I think that generally we do not have first hand experience of what life inside a prison is like and therefore have to at least on some level accept his story as true simply because we have no way to argue it. I guess that I belive that his story is true for the most part. My daughter watches a show on television in which the narrator ends each show with the statement, "That's exactly what happened. Pretty much." And I found myself thinking that is probably a pretty true statement of any story that someone tells. Besides, what would it benefit him to lie to us, even though he claims at the end that it is his story it really is mostly about Andy and therefore what would it benefit Red to lie?
Denise
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
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Re: DS #1 - Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

Denise,

Red might lie to tell a good story. What else is there to do in prison?

I found the differences between Andy and the other prisoners to be striking. I think that's one aspect of Andy's character that helps the reader think him innocent. A seed of doubt is also planted by Andy's intellect: Would a man of his intelligence leave such obvious evidence of the crime?
Stephanie
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TeresaF
Posts: 74
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: DS #1 - Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

I found myself liking and believing our narrator Red and his storytelling for similar reasons as to why I liked and believed our narrator Homer from the Death Of Jack Hamilton (coincidentally also known as “Red” Hamilton) from our last book Everything’s Eventual. Neither Red nor Homer thought of themselves as tops in the IQ department and neither came off as particularly confident in their own abilities, but they admired their subjects, Andy Dufresne and Johnnie Dillinger, so much they couldn’t help telling everybody about them.

SK seemed to have fun writing both of these stories and both are tales of admiration and true friendship. Admiration for not exactly politically correct characters, I suppose, but somehow SK managed to make their struggles against the law have a mythic quality for me. A stretch at times, but believable enough to make good stories or at least not make me care if the narrator was stretching the truth. For some odd reason, I want to believe a narrator that is admiring their subject. I liked that both narrators managed to hone special talents in prison – Red could get things and Homer taught himself to rope flies.

Both stories worked for me because of the narrators. I can’t see either one of these working so well if Andy Dufresne or Johnnie Dillinger’s were the storytellers.
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TeresaF
Posts: 74
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: DS #1 - Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

This book club certainly has got me looking at SK’s use of titles. In the regard to why Red and the reader are impressed by Andy Dufresne, I started thinking that the Rita Hayworth poster may be another clue. As Red tells us, the Rita Hayworth poster is a great cover for Andy’s activities and may well have been the inspiration that kept him going, but to Red and the reader, Andy’s appeal is alot like Rita’s. Both Andy and Rita have a few obviously compelling attributes, but we get to fill in the rest because we don’t know enough about them to spoil our picture. Another reason why this story wouldn’t have worked as well for me if it was Andy doing the telling. It would most likely have given the reader too much information and thus ruined my chance to imagine the missing parts. I find it much easier to admire from afar in this situation.
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: DS #1 - Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

Teresa,

I agree, I don't want to be in Andy's head- I like being in Red's though. I think being linked to Andy's thoughts would give me insight that, #1, we don't need, and #2, would be hard to believe. He doesn't have an internal conflict, his conflict is external, so there's also no need to have his thoughts.

Have you seen the movie, by the way?
Stephanie
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TeresaF
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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DS #1 - Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption -- The Movie

Nope, Stephanie, I have seen the movie. I've heard good things about it though. I like the casting of Tim Robbins as Andy and Morgan Freeman as Red. I'll put it on my list, just to see what they did different from the book.
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: DS #1 - Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption -- The Movie

Morgan Freeman is excellent as Red. His voice flows over the story like butter, he's really got the state of mind down pat. I could see the character being done a few ways, but his calm demeanor and matter-of-fact way really works for me.

Tim Robbins! What can I say, he's the only one I'll ever be able to imagine in the role. He's got that 'almost smile' thing that he does - very Andy Dufresne. :smileyhappy:
Stephanie
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TeresaF
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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DS #1 - Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption -- The Movie

[ Edited ]
I always find it interesting to look at the time difference between when a story was published (1982 in this case) and when the movie was released (1994). Makes you wonder about the story behind how it finally got made.

I guessed wrong early on with this story. In the first few pages, Red talks about his wife being pregnant when they were married, and how three people died in the car accident (his wife, the neighbor woman, and the neighbor women’s infant son). So, I assumed that Red had a child out there somewhere and was hoping it was going to play a part in this story. I certainly read too much into that one.

Message Edited by TeresaF on 03-15-200706:38 PM

Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: DS #1 - Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption -- The Movie

I think the pregnant wife and the infant were part of what made Red's such a "heinous" crime. Hindsight is of course, 20/20, although even in a novel you'd like to tell a character, "What were you thinking! Didn't you ever hear of divorce!"
Stephanie
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