Shawshank Movie Analysis

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This movie shows us the hope that Andy Dufresne had with him the whole time he was in prison. It is the hope that we find Søren Kierkegaard and Albert Camus talk about – existentialist hope. After having read on the philosophies of the two existentialists, I started to realize how I could see that hope being portrayed in this movie.

Existentialism is focused on human existence and how to become fully human. For Kierkegaard, to exist means to stand out which was exactly what Andy did a few months after he entered Shawshank. He was not afraid to stand out and to be different from the other prisoners who always stuck to a routine every day. Andy Dufresne did not want that and could not accept that his life was going to be like that in prison.
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Although they both, Søren and Camus, touch similar topics and diverse topics, there is one thing I have read from Camus’s philosophy that I can very much relate to the movie.

Albert Camus, speaking of both pacifism and dualism, also speaks of finding satisfaction and happiness in life despite its meaninglessness. Camus, being a pacifist, does not see the use of suicide as an escape to life’s meaninglessness. We see this being contradicted in Brooks’s suicide. Brooks, having lived in prison for 50 years, was so accustomed to life in the Shawshank prison that he could not find any use or meaning in his life outside of it.

We also find this confirmed in Dufresne’s building the library. It was something he enjoyed – writing those letters of request and putting the construction of the library into action. He found joy and satisfaction despite the meaninglessness of life. What would he have gotten out of building the library for the prison? He wouldn’t have a shortened parole. What was the purpose of his building that library if he was still going to be in that prison for many years? He did it anyway. This is what Albert Camus calls the absurdity of life. We do not know the point in living, yet we try to find meaning in life. That is what is

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