Quote Analysis from Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
Books and movies say a lot about our culture or the time we live in. Superheroes or ordinary people from the movies or books faced off over the same issues of making the choices that we face in the real world every day, and they find the answers neither easy nor simple. The Stephen King’s novel “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” (1988) and the Marvel’s movie “Captain America: Civil War” (2016) isn’t about violence or abuse of power. It’s about choice. The film resonates the novel in many ways. All human beings received from God our main privilege – free will and freedom of choice. Freedom and Hope, in the final analysis, is the essence of man’s being and existence. It’s a foundation for all the rest human virtue: love, honesty, self-sacrifice and friendship. One of the best and unlike King’s novel, as well as Marvel’s film, touching the same themes of freedom of choice and friendship. Neither book nor movie will remain indifferent by the result of these captivating themes.
In Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, King demonstrates that he can get free from the genre he prevails and create a remarkable piece of modern literature in completely different genre. The horror here is not of the supernatural kind, but of the sort that arises out of realization than decades of a man’s life have vanished into the same unchanging daily prison routine. In the interview Frank Darabont, creator of Oscar-nominated adaptations of two Stephen King novels, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, said, ”there’s a real thread of humanity and humanism in King’s work. King loves people; you can see it in his writing. He loves their nobility and their foibles; he loves the ways in which they can excel and the ways in which they can crumble and fall. He loves the good side and the bad side. He is an analyst of the human soul, if you will, as all the best storytellers are”.
The book portrays all the possible choices that someone may think of and act to implement one. Throughout the novel Andy Dufresne, one of the leading characters, was punished for the double murder he did not commit and he withstand and did not break. He remained sane after years of assault from the Sisters Gang, after months of solitary confinement, after forcing laundering the warden’s illegal transactions, and even after his emerged hope on a new fair trial was shattered. Andy should have broken within a week of prison, the way it treated him, but he remained sane for years in Shawshank without complaint. He had actually proved that in life regardless of all awful situations, we do always have two choices either we “get busy living or get busy dying” (p.).
This novel about holding on to a sense of personal worth in extreme circumstances. At the end, it really didn’t matter whether or not Andy committed the crime. He says Red, ”My wife used to say I’m a hard man to know. Like a closed book. Complained about it all the time… That don’t make you a murderer. Bad husband, maybe. You can feel bad about it if you want to, but you didn’t pull the trigger. Andy Dufresne : No, I didn’t. Somebody else did. And I wound up in here. Bad luck, I guess.” (p.). Obviously, a bad luck paid a visit there, but not only. He was there with the gun outside of the house at the night of the murder. He had the idea in his head to kill them. This story shows that major life lesson is not only about what you did, but mostly who you become and what you do to redeem yourself.
We are looking at Shawshank through Red’s eyes. That’s his story. King uses Andy only as a vehicle for Red’s story of retribution. Red is facing his own choices. Unlike Andy, who cling to the hope from the beginning and always was internally free, Red personifies cynicism and hopelessness. The daily grind of trying to survive in prison has forced Red to accommodate himself to his environment. He knows prison life, he knows warden, the prisoners, in fact, he became ”a man who knows how to get things” (p.). After Red was released from prison after decades being institutionalized, at the most important point in his life, he decides to follow Andy, he chooses freedom. That was a very hard choice for him. Freedom provides the ultimate test. And it comes down again to: “Get busy living, or get busy dying .” Red chooses the way of his friend Andy. He chooses hope. In fact, here are the last lines of dialogue in the novel: “I hope Andy is down there. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope. That’s his redemption.
Despite different contexts of the King’s novel Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and Marvel’s movie Captain America: Civil War, the same central theme of choice can be traced easily. Captain America: Civil War basically drops the political plot for the personal one, hence the introduction of Bucky. This film one of the best releases from Marvel. It’s funny, dramatic, spectacular, emotional, catchy and down-to-earth at the same time. Film has very intricate narrative structure, but surprisingly easy-to-follow. Apparently, Marvel, commit to shift away from superhero action movie to it’s hybrid with the different genres to help the audience to relate themselves with a heroes. Just like the characters onscreen, the men and women in the theater get to choose who’s right and who’s wrong, and ultimately who’s won and who’s lost. The themes of choice, guilt, and accountability are infallible because they have implications not only for government and religion but also for people’s daily lives in terms of the ways we manage our private guilt and responsibility.
In the story, major disasters involving superheroes lead the US government to pass legislation requiring all heroes to register with and reveal their secret identities to the government in order to become accountable for their actions. Iron Man leads the push to support the new legislation among the superheroes, while Captain America leads a resistance effort against it. They debate the pros and cons of the legislation and its impact on liberty and security. Neither hero is dogmatic about their opinion; each hero sees the benefits of both liberty and security but draws the line between them in a different spot. The true heart of the film is not in this polemic, it is in the characters. The superheroes we know due to the circumstances had to fight, draw lines and take stands, and all of them face a very difficult choice. Every single character decision in this movie is deeply personal, deeply emotional. The emphasis on personal choice carries through to the end of the movie, which resolves the physical conflict between Captain America and Iron Man, but not their ideological one.
Captain America is dealing with the choices that connected with individual loyalties. He has a strong loyalty to Bucky and putting his faith in his loyal friends rather than in a democratic or international body. When Bucky is blamed for a terrorist attack in Civil War, Captain America refuses to believe Bucky is truly responsible. He makes it his mission to get to him before the authorities can, while Iron Man decides to help the government catch Bucky.
In the article ”Captain America: Civil War is the emotional pinnacle of superheroes movies” Emily Asher-Perrin points that this version of Captain America ”postulates that the true way to be “the greatest” American is to be an individualist, albeit a truly empathetic one. Steve Rogers really isn’t much of a team player in a universal sense; he’s not a “good little soldier”; he’s only a good leader when backed by a crew that is well-suited to his particular way of doing things. He’s anti-establishment at a fundamental level, which is a refreshing thing to reinforce in a hero whose origins are bound up in nationalism. So he fights to rescue his best friend—who deserves a second chance—at the expense of every other relationship he has forged, because it’s the right thing to do”.
The great illustration of Steve Roger’s individualism is his letter to Stark: ”Tony, I’m glad you’re back at the compound. I don’t like the idea of you rattling around a mansion by yourself. We all need family. The Avengers are yours, maybe more so than mine. I’ve been on my own since I was 18. I never really fit in anywhere, even in the army. My faith’s in people, I guess. Individuals. And I’m happy to say that, for the most part, they haven’t let me down. Which is why I can’t let them down either… So no matter what, I promise you, if you need us – if you need me – I’ll be there.”
The Black Panther faces a series of personal choices, most importantly whether to capture or kill his father’s assassin. He can salvage the theme of vengeance being self-destructive. It is very obvious that vengeance is driving T’Challa. At the end, Black Panther does show some forgiveness rather than vengeance.
The Winter Soldier is the most tragic figure in Civil War specifically because of his lack of choice. Injured and left for dead during World War II, Bucky Barnes was rescued by Hydra and molded into a brainwashed robotic assassin. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he’s mostly presented as a silent, remorseless, and unstoppable killer. In Civil War, we see the actual mechanics of his programming, which is activated by a series of keywords. Once spoken, Bucky is helpless to resist, no matter who says the words or what they want him to do.
Spider-Man’s backstory isn’t seen and is only referred to obliquely in a brief dialogue scene between Tony Stark and the new Peter Parker. Peter never mentions Uncle Ben; instead, when Tony asks Peter why he became a hero, he says “When you can do what I can do and don’t, and the bad things happen, it’s your fault.” Peter doesn’t say that great power comes with great responsibility, because this Peter doesn’t see it as a responsibility; he sees it as a choice. He chooses to fight, which explains why he accepts Tony Stark’s offer to join his team even though he’s wildly inexperienced and totally unprepared for a fight with professional soldiers like Captain America, Hawkeye, and the Falcon.
Iron Man is driven by guilt not grief. In the article of Matt Singer The theme that ties everything and everyone in THE THEME THAT TIES EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE IN ‘CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR’ together” writes, ”What’s impressive about the Civil War, which is surprisingly consistent on a thematic level, is the way all of its myriad subplots and side characters connect back to that central idea of choice. Not every hero has real bearing on the Sokovia Accords; not every character makes a meaningful impact on the ideological battle between Cap and Iron Man. But each one reflects in some way on the importance of personal choice and freedom in our lives.”
February 2, 2023
February 2, 2023