Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is a novella by Stephen King from his 1982 collection Different Seasons, subtitled Hope Springs Eternal. It has been thought to be loosely based on Leo Tolstoy’s 1872 short story “God Sees the Truth, But Waits”.

The film, simply called The Shawshank Redemption, tells the story of an innocent banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murder of his wife and her lover. Over the next 20 years, he befriends a fellow prisoner, Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), and becomes instrumental in a money-laundering operation led by the prison warden Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton).

Peter Ramirez wrote an interesting piece on Quora.com in connection with The Shawshank Redemption, here, and asks: ‘why did Red get rejected in the first two times when he acted compliantly in front of the interrogation group [at his parole hearing] and incredibly got approved when he acted sarcastically in the same condition?’ Ramirez says that the reason was because the [parole] board could tell he really was sorry the last time he said so.

Red’s words demonstrated the resounding heartbreak of having wasted forty years of his life for making a tragic, stupid decision – namely, interfering with the brakes on his wife’s car and causing the death of three people.

The words used were quite different to those presented to the parole board 10 and 20 years before.

It’s why we relate so closely to Red, Ramirez suggests, because most of us know the regret of a long-term decision for which we can never go back and change, yet the results of it ‘mean we have to live with it for the rest of our lives, for better or worse.’

At previous parole hearings Red simply said what he thought the Board wanted to hear:

The dialogue used in Red Redding’s final application for parole, is compelling and believable (see screen shot below and video here):

Comments by Martin Pollins

I loved the film. It’s one of my all-time favourites. A great storyline. Great acting. And a great ending. Everyone gets what they deserved.

If you haven’t seen the film before, I suggest you go out tomorrow morning and buy the video or order it from Amazon here.

Picture Credit: “The Shawshank Redemption” by wnyyqjje26 is licensed under CC0 1.0
Martin Pollins
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