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The consequences of fighting for justice in the movie, The Shawshank Redemption, are...

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aliabu | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 7, 2010 at 7:23 AM via web

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The consequences of fighting for justice in the movie, The Shawshank Redemption, are always positive. Do you agree?  

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 7, 2010 at 9:16 AM (Answer #2)

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The term that gives me the most amount of challenge in the statement is the word, "always."  I think that the film is fairly powerful in showing that the striving for justice is an uncertain journey that has little in way of guarantee.  Certainly, Brooks fought for justice and believed in it, but the results in his case were not guaranteed.  When Tommy decides to fight for justice in trying to exonerate Andy, he is gunned down by the prison authorities.  Certainly, his fight for justice is not entirely positive.  The idea of fighting for justice is depicted in the film as one where hope, faith, and redemption are quests far from guaranteed, but journeys worth undertaking for they help to define who they are and in what we believe.

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 7, 2010 at 9:19 AM (Answer #3)

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I don't agree. Although the movie ends in "redemption", along the way, the fight to achieve such redemption was very difficult. Along the path of the justice fight, many negative consequences had to be endured. Did the success of Andy's escape plan and exposure of corruption make up for Tommy's death? Did it make up for all of the other injustices inflicted on the prisoners by the corrupt guards and the warden?  Perhaps, but like this story, history is paved with examples of negative consequences in the ultimate pursuit of justice. As the story unfolds, the observer gets angrier and angrier at the injustices. This makes the ending (the redemption) all the more satisfying.

RED: I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight, and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that - but prison is no fairy-tale world. He never said who did it, but we all knew. Things went on like that for awhile - prison life consists of routine, and then more routine. Every so often, Andy would show up with fresh bruises. The Sisters kept at him - sometimes he was able to fight 'em off, sometimes not. And that's how it went for Andy - that was his routine. I do believe those first two years were the worst for him, and I also believe that if things had gone on that way, this place would have got the best of him.

Andy suffered both mentally and physically while carrying out his "plan" - and I believe he must have achieved personal satisfaction knowing that he was planning something that would result in justice, but the consequences were not always positive.

See the link below for other quotes from the movie (you asked about the movie, not the novel) - beware, though. Some contain strong language. You may find other helpful comments on the Stephen King group here on eNotes.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 7, 2010 at 12:32 PM (Answer #4)

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On the contrary, those fighting for justice against great odds, as they all are in this movie/story, usually suffer negative consequences.  While this doesn't change the overall degree of justness in their struggles/causes, it doesn't mean they end with positive results.

Brooks survives his entire 50 year incarceration only to find that when he is released, he cannot survive in a non-prison world.  He wins the struggle, but suffers negative consequences.  Tommy, a career criminal, enters the struggle for justice to free Andy and pays for it with his life.  The movie is actually full of such examples of struggle against injustice with negative consequences.

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lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted February 7, 2010 at 12:41 PM (Answer #5)

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No, they are not. To add to what the two previous posters have said, Andy's fight for justice in the form of tunneling out of prison came after he tried to get justice in acceptable ways. He worked hard for the warden, using his expertise to produce excellent bookkeeping for the prison. He thought this might help get the warden to listen when he had evidence of his evidence. Instead, the warden did listen--and had Tommy killed. Andy's redemption came in spite of the "system", and the way it is supposed to work. He was found guilty of a crime he didn't commit, betrayed when he found a way to help prove it...so no, the outcomes of the fights for justice were *not* positive. I guess it sounds like your question implies that a fight for justice changes things, and Andy's did not change the basic corruption, even though he gained his freedom and brought the warden down.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted October 15, 2010 at 8:18 AM (Answer #6)

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Perhaps considering the discussion prompt from a different perspective might help. I have a poster in my classroom that says "The right thing is not always easy, but it is always the right thing." Fighting for justice might not always be positive, but fighting for justice is always right.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 17, 2012 at 10:11 PM (Answer #7)

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I would agree that fighting for justice didn't turn out well for most people in the movie.  When Andy's student realizes that he had uncovered the mystery behind Andy's incarceration, he offer asks the warden to "give him that chance" to fight for Andy in front of a judge.  He ends up getting murdered to cover up the secret.

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