Shawshank Redemption Practice Essay Analyse how BOTH internal and external conflict were important to the text as a whole. Note: “internal conflict” means conflict within a character, and “external conflict” means conflict between a character and other individual(s) or group(s). Conflict is not rare (is prevalent or recurring? ) in the film ‘Shawshank Redemption’ directed by Frank Darabont. Throughout the film Darabont uses many effective film techniques and camera shots to portray the theme of corruption.

Darabont shows Andy Dufresne, a banker who spends nearly two decades in Shawshank State Prison for the murder of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of being innocent. During his time at the prison, Andy finds himself protected by the guards after the warden begins using him in his money laundering operation. External conflict is shown between the guards and prisoners constantly throughout the film. External conflict is also exposed during the film, between Norton – the warden, and Andy, also between Andy and Bogs, the prison ‘rapist’.

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Internal conflict occurs also in Andy, when he first arrives at the prison. Both internal and external conflict is important to the film because they show how much little (just little? ) control Andy has over his life. This needs to link explicitly to the “conflict” in the question. State how it links. (External prison/prisoners or staff prisoners? – unclear. Stick with one or the other…) Near the beginning of the film, when the prisoners are arriving to Shawshank Prison, helicopter shots, and vertical shots are used when first introducing the prison.

This is to show the expanse of the prison and how small and restricted the prisoners are. Mid shots and close ups are used constantly at the beginning of the film to show the emotion on the prisoners faces to the audience. Dark lighting is regularly used behind Norton, and the prison guards, to show power and authority. In the prison and when Andy is arriving in the prison bus, the lighting is nearly always harsh, and the light is coming from outside, showing that freedom is in the past. When Andy is in his cell, dim, grey lighting is used to show loneliness.

Continuously throughout the film, swearing and profanity is shown by the guards towards the prisoners. Language like ‘you eat when we say you eat, you shit when you say we shit, and you piss when we say you piss’ shows the guards have immediate control over the prisoners. This external conflict between? is very important to the text as a whole as it shows an instantaneous hierarchy in the prison to the audience – where Norton has put himself on top. (“Your ass belongs to me…”) Again – what other conflict are you now about to discuss?…

Introduce it…This paragraph is retelling, not analysis of conflict… When Norton – the prison warden, see’s Andy as a smart man – he seizes the opportunity to use him to his aid his biggest weakness, corruption. Norton is extremely hypocritical, he believes in following the Bible, although he himself does not follow his own rules. After months of earning some sort of ‘trust’ in the prison among the guards and Norton, Andy disrespects himself and the warden, by breaking the rules and losing his praise when he locks himself and a guard in the warden’s office.

When Tommy Williams, A young convict arrives at Shawshank, Andy’s life changes. Tommy, has been at many prisons before Shawshank, and knows of a man who really killed Andy’s wife and lover. When the warden hears about this, he knows Andy is innocent, but he cannot let Andy go, as he is too valuable and there is the risk he would let slip that Norton is breaking the law. Money is very important to Norton; and this is shown by his actions when Andy confronts him about his wealth. Norton sends Andy to the ‘hole’ for 2 months for this – which portrays his anger over money and how it affects his attitude.

Lighting techniques are used to show his frustration over money, mostly midshots and close ups were used on Norton, to show his facial expression and minimal surroundings. This external conflict (1st mention of relevance to question) between Norton and Andy is important to the text as a whole because it shows power is not everything – in this case. The warden needs Andy to help him, but Andy doesn’t need the warden to survive in prison. He does not need him at all. Bogs is the prison rapist, he is also the leader of the ‘gang’ ‘The Sisters’, where they beat up and rape other prisoners.

Andy was Bogs’ target when he first arrived, and for two years, Andy fought them every time they came looking for him. This conflict between these two characters shows strength, both Andy and Bogs are fighting for what they want, Andy wants to be free of this burden –having to hide and continuously fight off the gang. But Bogs wants Andy, he likes that he plays ‘hard to get’ and will not stop until he gets him. The warden eventually finds out and Bogs is only sent to the ‘hole’ for a week or two. This is a short amount of time for an act such as this, but in the prison – like RED says, it’s to be ‘expected’.

You need film techniques here – otherwise you are discussing conflict but without detailed evidence… Internal conflict is experienced throughout the entire film by Andy. He is forced into new surroundings, and is unaware of what to do with himself. For over a month Andy talks to nobody, and just wanders around the prison, lost and alone. This is shown by the camera and lighting techniques Darabont uses when filming Andy. Using a dark surrounding and light foreground shows hope is in Andy – Also, the close ups and long shots show emotion and surrounding.

Andy, unlike the other prisoners, believed in Hope. When he comes back from being sent to the ‘hole’ for playing opera music in the warden’s office, he said it was the easiest 2 weeks he had ever done. However, RED, believes ‘ Hope is a dangerous thing, it can kill a man’. You might want to discuss the external conflict between Red and Andy plus the internal conflict that each prisoner has/used to have – that of hope. Red has given up, Andy believes in hope and your last quote shows. In conclusion, conflict, both internal and external is one of the main themes in the film ‘Shawshank Redemption’.

Frank Darabont uses the example of Andy Dufresne, a used-to-be successful banker, to show to the audience that redemption can be found in the darkest of corners. ‘Get busy living or get busy dying’. Potential here – you need to link each paragraph (the first sentence of each) to the question to show that you are being relevant and not just telling the story. I’d say this will pass with the recommended changes. It needs to be restructured slightly and refer directly to the question to reach Merit and above. Well done – have a good weekend. Miss Needham



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