Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption Study Quesions
Keep a file with answers to each question, or handwritten answers on notebook paper or on this sheet. The pages are approximate.
1. In what state is Shawshank Prison?
2. Who narrates the story?
3. What was the narrator’s crime? Sentence? At what age does he go to prison?
4. What is rehabilitation? Has the narrator been rehabilitated?
5. What is the narrator’s unofficial role at Shawshank?
6. In what year does Andy Dufresne come to Shawshank?
7. Describe Andy. How old is he when he first comes to the prison?
8. What did Andy do for a living “on the outside”?
9. What was Andy’s crime? Sentence?
10. Do the facts of Andy’s case point to guilt or innocence? What does Red think? What does Andy say about his guilt or innocence? Why does this not surprise Red?
11. How many times a year does Andy drink alcohol? When specifically? What does Red assume this means about Andy?
12. According to Red, when a man is given a life sentence, what is also taken?
13. Who is Jake and what happens to him? What is the point of this anecdote?
14. What is the first thing Andy asks Red to acquire for him? Why? How much does he pay?
1. Who are the sisters?
2. How does Andy deal with the sisters?
3. Who is Bogs Diamond and what happens to him? Why?
4. In what year do Andy’s altercations with the sisters stop?
5. What’s the second thing Andy asks Red to acquire for him?
6. Who is Byron Hadley? Describe him.
7. Who is the warden from 1950-1953? Why does he lose his position?
8. Who becomes warden in 1953? Describe his tenure as warden.
9. What question does Andy ask Byron Hadley that almost gets him thrown off the roof?
10. What advice does Andy give Byron Hadley? What does he ask for in return?
1. How is the roofing job connected to Andy’s conflict with the sisters?
2. What is Andy’s official job in prison and with whom does he work? How long does he hold this job? What does he accomplish?
3. What happens to Brooksie?
4. What’s Andy’s unofficial job in the prison? How does Andy benefit from this job?
5. Who becomes warden in 1959? Describe him.
1. What terrible thing happens to Andy in 1963?
2. How does Andy help Tommy Williams?
3. What does Tommy know that is of interest to Andy?
4. Who is Elwood Blatch and why is he of interest to Andy?
5. What information does Andy communicate to Warden Norton? How does the warden respond?
6. Why does he respond in this way?
7. How does Andy offend Warden Norton when he tells him what Tommy knows? What punishment does he receive?
8. Describe solitary confinement. How many stints does Andy do in solitary in 1963 and for how long each time? Why?
9. What happens to Tommy Williams?
1. How has Andy changed?
2. When does Andy’s dark mood break?
3. What is Zihuatanejo and what is its significance?
4. How has Andy prepared for “the hurricane” and how well prepared is he?
5. Who are some of the prisoners who made it out of Shawshank and how?
6. Who escapes in 1975?
1. When specifically is Andy’s absence discovered?
2. What was so important about the posters Andy kept in his cell? Who discovers this fact?
3. Why is Red sent to Solitary?
4. Describe the path of Andy’s escape according to Red. When does Red think Andy started to execute his plan to break out?
5. According to Red, geology is the study of what two elements? How does that apply to Andy’s escape?
6. Besides dumb luck, what else helps Andy in his quest to escape?
7. Discuss Red’s use (and Stephen King’s use) of the offensive term (n-word) at the end of this section.
1. If Andy could have escaped in 1967, why does he wait until 1975?
2. What is significant about McNary, Texas?
3. What prompts Red to take up his narrative again after he records the story of Andy?
4. When does Red get out of Shawshank? What kinds of adjustments does Red have to make when he is finally released?
5. So do Red and Andy reunite? Why leave the ending open? What’s the meaning of the title? Is this a happy story? What do you believe is the main theme?
The Shawshank Redemption
Directions: Write your answers to the following questions on this sheet; complete the following questions as you watch the film or after you watch it. 1. a. What did you think of the quality of prison life?
b. Which conditions would you consider unacceptable?
2. a. When Andy first arrives at Shawshank the current inmates refer to the new arrivals as “new fish.” How do the current inmates haze the new arrivals?
3. a. Andy earns the good graces of most of the guards by offering tax advice and other financial planning. In what ways did that benefit him?
b. Was that ethical?
c. Why or why not?
4. a. Captain Hadley avenges Andy by severely beating Bogs. Was that justice?
b. Why do you think he did that?
7. a. In Stephen King’s novel, Morgan Freeman’s character, Red, is a Caucasian Irishman.
b. What did you think of the decision to change that character to an African-American?
c. Does it add to the story?
8. a. Andy and Red develop a close friendship throughout the film, during a period in time (1950- 1965) when segregation was still common. What aspects of each of their character do you think helped bring them together?
9. What items in Andy’s cell represent his character?
10. In the movie, Brooks is referred to as an “institutional man.” How can the concept be applied to college life and students entering “the real world,” or faculty that remain on campus?
11. What symbolism does Brooks’ pet bird, Jake, stand for?
11. a. Why do you think Andy locked himself in and broadcast the Mozart music?
b. Do you think it was worth it?
c. Why or why not?
12. a. Andy helped Warden Norton create a fake person, Randall Stevens, and helped him fix the books, illegally laundering money. Given that he was a prisoner and would be punished if he didn’t, do you think it was ethical for him to do so?
b. Why or why not?
c. Did he have a choice?
d. Why or why not?
13. a. Was it ethical for Andy to take the money the Warden had intended for himself?
b. Why or why not?
14. a. At what point in the movie did you believe that Andy was innocent?
b. Why did you draw that conclusion?
15. a. Since the Warden wouldn’t listen to him and he was innocent, do you think it was ethical for Andy to escape?
b. Why or why not?
16. Why did Norton have Tommy killed?
17. a. Why did Red change his speech to the parole committee the last time?
b. Do you think he would have been freed if he hadn’t?
18. a. What happens at the end of the film?
b. What message does it send to society?
19. a. What scene in The Shawshank Redemption was the most meaningful for you?