Stephen King

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What is the theme of hope in "Shawshank Redemption"?

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Hope is an overriding theme of The Shawshank Redemption. The story centers around Andy Dufresne, a banker who despite his protestations of innocence is convicted for the murder of his wife and wife's lover. Shawshank Prison is presented as a brutal place in which many prisoners quickly despair. However, the hope of escape sustains Dufresne through years of enduring the cruelty of the warden and guards as well as attacks from other prisoners.

Dufresne manifests his hope by working on his escape plan for many years, patiently chipping away at the wall of his cell with a tiny geological rock hammer. His determination is a reflection of his hope. His refusal to despair, even though he directly and indirectly faces many atrocities, eventually causes a group of prisoners to admire and be drawn to him, notably the man who becomes his close friend, a convict named Red. Through his persistence, he even manages to expand the prison library, allowing some of the convicts to study and earn their diplomas.

His positive attitude, the respect of his circle of friends, and the expansion of the library are all due to his hope that someday he will be able to escape to a lovely seaside village in Mexico where he can live a quiet, stress-free life. He clings to this through all of his hardships, and in the end he overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles and realizes his dream.

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