Andy starts to talk about Zihuatanejo and tells Red about Peter Stevens. What does this say about life in Shawshank and Andy's attitude?How does this compare the Red's attitude about his life on...

Andy starts to talk about Zihuatanejo and tells Red about Peter Stevens. What does this say about life in Shawshank and Andy's attitude?

How does this compare the Red's attitude about his life on the inside?

Asked on by lulu-1222

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

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Zihuatenejo represents a world without bars, without borders, and without confinements.  When Andy starts to talk about this place, he speaks of a world where freedom exists and limitations and constraints are absent.  Andy speaks of a world of freedom and hope, which is the diametric opposite of Shawshank.  Andy's attitude about his time in prison was that, while he was not guilty of murdering his wife, he was guilty of being a bad husband and his realization of this is his reason for his penance in Shawshank.  Unlike Red's belief of how the cruelty of the penal system is that "they give you life and that's exactly what they take from you," Andy believes that his life is not going to be claimed by Shawshank or the Warden.  He believes that while he had to do his time for penance, it is done and he is ready to leave.  His description of Peter Stevens is this world of hope, of promise and possibilities, of freedom.  The fact that Andy has made plans for Mr. Stevens and his new life under such a name only proves that he has seen this time for a while.

Andy is not "an institutional man" like Red is.  When Andy asks Red if he would be interested in working at Zihuatenejo because Andy could use "a man who can get things," Red scoffs and reveals how he, at that moment, is an "institutional man."  At this moment, we can see the difference between the two is the difference between having hope and being devoid of it.  Andy believes in his hope, has made plans to accomplish it, and envisions a world that is replete with it.  Red feels that hope is dangerous because it allows for dreams and with such promise comes inevitable heartbreak and disappointment.  At the moment when Red hears of Andy's articulation of a future, we see that Andy has grown too large for Shawshank, and grown weary of life on the inside.  He never lost his penchant for hope (Perhaps being the reason why he "is the only innocent man at Shawshank.")  By contrast, Red is mired in his situation and has become so accustomed to it that his paralysis of action has become a part of his character.  He cannot conceive of a life outside of the walls of Shawshank, which is why he doesn't understand the full extent about which Andy speaks.

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