From “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption," consider the relationship between Red and Andy and why it works.  Examine their similarities and differences. 

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Stephen King was deliberate when he created the subtitle for “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” as “Hope Springs Eternal."  Part of the reason why he affirms that "hope springs eternal" in the novella is because of the relationship between Red and Andy.  The path through liberation from Shawshank in both lies in their friendship.  King asserts that physical freedom can only be found through internal freedom.  The friendship that Red and Andy forms is one where hope is evident, and where freedom can be realized.  Part of this lies in their complementary condition.  Both of them are from different walks of life.  Andy, the mild- mannered banker who is authentically innocent, befriends Red, one who is guilty of violence and criminal activity.  They come from different backgrounds.  However, King affirms the idea that hope can spring eternal regardless of difference.  It is the very idea that individuals are able to find common ground through their divergent paths that enables a sense of restoration to take place.  Both Andy and Red find common ground in their disdain for Shawshank and their acts of resistance towards the institution.  Red runs his "store" while Andy provides a cottage industry of financial advice and dealings.  In both of their actions, common ground is forged and through this, a friendship emerges.  

The relationship between Red and Andy works because both of them complement the other.  Andy is able to trigger the emotive quality of hope within Red, one who sees himself as a man of the institution.  The relationship between both men reflects how "hope springs eternal" in human beings.  No matter what external reality dictates, hope exists between both.  Red has been institutionalized for so long that he demonstrates a penchant for the loss of hope, something that is rebuffed because of Andy's faith in his friend.  Andy is legitimately innocent, and yet he does not lose the quality of hope that is substantiated through his friendship with Red.  King shows that the friendship between both men is where restoration lies, a common denominator that links them despite their differences.  The ethics of friendship are shown as forces that can bring restoration to destructive settings.  It is because of this element that their friendship works. 

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