Shawshank Redemption

TOPIC: Analyse how the presentation of at least one setting helped develop an important theme.
The dictionary defines redemption as “A man’s deliverance from sin and damnation”. Many believe that it is not possible for criminals to be redeemed and that the only solution is to put them in jail and “throw away the key”. In The Shawshank Redemption, directed by Frank Darabont, the setting of Shawshank Prison is a powerful one where several of the main characters achieve a form of “redemption”. First, many prisoners, through the impetus given by Andy’s Shawshank education programme, are redeemed through fulfilling the promises interrupted by the crimes they committed as stupid and wayward young men. Second, the character of Red redeems himself by finally coming to terms with his crime and accepting responsibility for his actions, after having served a long sentence. Finally, the main character, Andy Dufresne, is delivered from “sin and damnation” through the sewage pipes of the prison. The director uses the setting to develop the theme through the features of dialogue, camera shots and angles and lighting.
The New England prison, known as Shawshank, is the central setting for the film. Most of the stories are told within the prison and the attitude of the judge, the warden and the parole officer at the beginning of the film make it clear that prisoners are at the bottom of the food chain, worthy of nothing but contempt. The prevailing opinion of the day was that these violent prisoners should be locked up until they were of no further use (or threat) to society. Shawshank Prison was a very unlikely place for anyone to achieve redemption. Yet, this is a key theme that resonates throughout the film, with Shawshank as the backdrop.
Many of the prisoners in Shawshank were high school “dropouts” – that is, had not finished high school and were often functionally illiterate. Andy began an individualised reading programme as an...