Discuss the ways in which the directors of the 'Shawshank redemption' show hope and despair.

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Discuss the ways in which the directors of the ‘Shawshank redemption’ show hope and despair.

The ‘Shawshank Redemption’ is a powerful film that displays many emotions predominately hope and despair. The directors of this film have used a range of tools to highlight these emotions, they are shown by: camera techniques, lighting, imagery and suggestion. It is possible that what you can’t see suggests a more powerful action that what you can. The despair in this film is from the inmates, their lives and their treatment alongside the hope of the inmates, their lives, their dreams and in some cases their release. For example Brooks was despairing about his release against Red’s anticipation to be released. In Shawshank prison two sorts of people were inflicting this despair; the prison officials and some of the convicts that had been at Shawshank for a long time, for example ‘the Sisters’ who together sexually harassed Andy because he was a ‘new fish’. However they stopped when ‘Boggs’ (the ring leader) was beaten and sent away.

The first time we see a strange contrast between hope and despair is when the roof of the prison is being tarmaced by ‘Red’, his friends and Andy. When the warden is selecting men to work, names are being called out; the atmosphere is light, easygoing and full of hope.  If their name is called out they spend a week outside in the sun, if not they have to return to the ‘woodshop’. The atmosphere could be light because the music over this scene was upbeat and the people chosen (Red and Co) were laughing and genial (under their breath). When the men are on the roof in their blue-grey uniform, sweat dripping down their faces from the heat and over work, we can feel despair for them, but it is a hopeful thing! They can see the sky, the sky is clear and the sun is in the sky, for the inmates this is better than the dull-grey of the woodshop. Being on the roof is more like real life.

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 The roofers realise that their reward is personal not financial, and Andy overhears that the chief guard has a financial problem. Andy realises that he can use this to his advantage and asks the guard if he “trusted his wife?” the guard misread the question and we can see the despair of being misunderstood in Andy’s eyes as he is dangled two hundred feet above the ground. Once Andy has explained his reasoning they make a deal. This shows an unnatural unity between the guard and the prisoner. If Andy had not been so optimistic and hopeful he may not ...

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