Reply To: Exercise 10

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Joanna Jelen

I’m choosing the Shawshank Redemption and Red as protagonist. Although the book is about Andy, I think it’s Red’s story as well and for me it was easier and clearer to see his character arc (assuming I got it correctly). Red believes in the ‘institutional life’ and just want to survive his life-sentence in prison. When Andy offers his friendship and trust, Red begins to hope as well.

ps. I’m wondering if there is a character change for Andy? He seems for me to be a strong personality from the beginning to the end.

Thematic coherence. 10 p.

The theme is the value/power of hope and friendship that can happen even in the worst place to believe in them, a prison full of ‘institutional men’. Red is one of those men, a cynic who first laughs at Andy’s beliefs, but later changes his view when proven wrong.

An illustration of growth. 10 p

I think the power of one of the conclusive scenes (Red’s first days of freedom) was showing him in the same scenario as another prisoner who couldn’t stand the life outside the prison. To the very last moment of this scene, readers are afraid Red will commit suicide. Defying the fear of freedom, Red shows his grow, standing up to the ‘institutionalization’, and his belief in hope.

Agency 10 p.

The actions and statements that brought the conclusion are both from Red and from Andy. Red overcomes his fears, but the letter Andy left for him helps Red to make the final winning decision. It was encouraging for Red that if Andy made it, Red could make it as well. It’s important, though, that Andy’s letter comes after the scene when readers are afraid if Red hangs himself because it proves that the hardest decision Red made on his own. He completed his arc.

Emotion. 10 p.

In my opinion, the last scenes (especially Red climbing on the chair as Brooks did before) are one of the most emotional, powerful I’ve ever seen. I would even go farther and say that this scene in the movie version exceeded the book, especially with Freeman’s voiceover.

A clear and definite conclusion. 10 p

Red wins over his fears of living outside the walls. He understands that although hope can be dangerous in a place like prison, it keeps you to be a human, not the ‘institutional man’, so it’s worth to believe in it. And in friendship as he finds Andy in Mexico as earlier he promised him and trusted with his plan.




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