Stephen King

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In "Shawshank Redemption", what happened to Andy in 1963?

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Hello! In 'Shawshank Redemption,' Andy Dufresne has been accused of murdering his wife and her lover. Even though he calmly and quietly insists he is innocent - under unrelenting cross-examination in court - he receives a life sentence. In the late winter of 1963, Red tells us that something terrible happened to Andy Dufresne. Red relates that Samuel Norton, ' he of the Testaments and the thirty-year church-pin, was passed a good many thick envelopes under the table during his fifteen-year tenure as Shawshank's warden.' In other words, Norton abused the 'Inside-Out Programme' for his own profit; he made money on the backs of prisoners who worked as cheap labourers. Andy helped him by laundering the money. Red insinuates that Andy is not proud of his part in the corruption, but notes that the prison library was always stocked with high quality books and resources as a result of Andy's cooperation.

When a new prisoner, Tommy Williams, is sent to Shawshank, he takes a liking to Andy. After he discovers what Andy is in prison for, he is flabbergasted. He knows who really killed Andy's wife and her lover: his former cell-mate, Elmo Blatch. Seeing this as a chance for freedom, Andy rushes to the Warden and begs him to confirm Tommy's story, but the Warden flatly refuses. Instead, Andy is thrown into solitary confinement for twenty days. It is a horrendous and dehumanizing experience. When Andy gets out, he presses the Warden again. Once more, the Warden refuses to help. He puts Andy back into solitary confinement for thirty days, telling him that if Andy ever exposes his extortion schemes in the Inside-Out prison programme, he will personally see to it that Andy suffers. He will call off the guards who have been protecting Andy from prison rape and see to it that Andy no longer gets certain privileges he has come to depend on. In other words, Andy has no choice but to do what the despicable Warden wants if he wants to eliminate physical torture from his daily experience.

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