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Andy Dufresne’s Concept of Hope

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Two life sentences, an innocent Andy Dufresne accused of killing his wife and her lover! The prison doors slam, he’s there for one week, two weeks, three weeks, then four, and eventually a year passes. It’s not looking too good for Andy, it looks as if he could be here for a while. At this point, others would have absolutely no hope as far as their future is concerned. The outside world that they once knew has become completely foreign. However, even with the cards Andy are dealt he remains hopeful. “Where hope would otherwise become hopelessness, it becomes faith” best said by Robert Brault. The use of hope in the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and the movie The Shawshank Redemption proves that people actually can remain hopeful even when they are placed in a hopeless predicament.

The first instance of Andy Dufresne remaining hopeful in the novella would be when he decided to partake in odd jobs to keep his mind sane throughout his sentence. One project after the other. Andy constantly thought of ways to occupy himself. Every step Andy made was towards freedom and no one was ever suspicious of that, in fact that never crossed anyone’s mind. One of Andy’s first projects of Shawshank Penitentiary would be him and a few other inmates tarring the roof. Andy displayed bravery, hopefulness, and that he is very well educated when he is about to be thrown from the roof by butting into the conversation of the guards. It is then that Andy Dufresne talks his way off the edge of the roof and the guards realize that Andy could actually be useful around Shawshank.

On the other hand, Andy remains hopeful by getting in good with the people of higher power in the prison. Andy Dufresne was appointed to handle the guards and the warden’s financial mess or in other words, their taxes. Andy worked and he worked which caused for him to spend less and less time away from him cell. This worked to Andy’s advantage for the fact that he was learning the ins and outs of how exactly the prison worked and the thought process of the guards. However, not only did Andy get in good with the guards but he also got in good with the prison’s main supplier known as Red. Red could practically smuggle anything into Shawshank asked of him. Red and Andy actually became fairly good friends. It was Red who supplied Andy with the rock hammer so he could slowly but surely chisel away at the wall in his cell to plan his great escape. This is yet again showing Andy’s everlasting hope to live life outside of the prison.

Finally, in the novella, one see’s Andy prove himself time and time again. Even after it seems as though Andy has done enough for the penitentiary, he shows us that he is not done yet. Andy works to open the Shawshank library so he can assist inmates with studying for the high school equivalency test. Because of Andy’s persistency he got the library back up and running in full speed like it never had before. It is evident that Andy gave those who lacked a sense of hope, hope, courage and a new found confidence.

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