In The Shawshank Redemption, Andy is courageous, optimistic, and preserverent. What are 3 example for each from the book or movie?

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cynthiadawn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Andy is a strong and stoic character in both the film and novella of Stephen King's Shawshank Redemption. Even after he is sent to prison for the murder of his wife and her lover, Andy continues to claim his innocence, though nobody believes him. Throughout the entire story, Andy sticks to the truth and never falters. This unfailing honesty shows a strength of character that is courageous, optimistic, and perseverant. Even though decades pass before anyone believes his story, he continues to believe in the good of people and chooses to see past their cynicism and disbelief.

One act that Andy does that is particularly courageous is playing a record of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" on the prison PA system, knowing that it will result in him being sent to solitary confinement. It seems a ridiculous and trivial act, but by playing this music, Andy stirs up hope in every prisoner at Shawshank. For a brief moment, the prisoners remember what it is to feel free. This sense of freedom is something that Andy never loses and works hard to share with his fellow inmates.

The greatest act of courage, optimism, and perseverance that Andy commits is escaping Shawshank altogether. At the beginning of the story, Andy asks Red for a rock hammer for his geology hobby. At first, Red suspects Andy of trying to escape, but when he sees the hammer, he believes it to be impossible. After twenty years of incredible labor, Andy does manage to dig a hole through the wall and into a sewage drainpipe. Andy never stops believing that one day he will gain his freedom, and he overcomes the most incredible odds to make that dream a reality.

lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some of the things Andy does are examples of all three; in other words, his actions in general demonstrate all three of these qualities. I did read the short story long ago, but am more familiar with the movie, so I'm not sure if all the elements I'm going to mention were also in the written form.

Andy spends many years tunneling with a rock hammer. To do such a thing shows perseverance, optimism and courage; he doesn't know for sure that he will ever be able to break all the way through, it takes him many years to do it, and he could be caught at any time, if the guards ever take down his posters.

Andy continues to push for improvements to the library. Again, this shows all three character traits. He has to try repeatedly in the face of refusals, and he risks bringing down the wrath of the warden for continuing to try.

Andy buries the box by the fence after he escapes. He has to trust that his friend will be released, that he will believe Andy enough to find the box, and be courageous enough to stick around long enough to bury it.

Last but not least, Andy always continues to believe that he will be a free man, and finds a way to bring down evil (the warden) as well.