Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption

by: Stephen King

Red

Red is the lifeline of the prison, the man who can smuggle almost anything into Shawshank from the outside world. By making himself indispensable to the other inmates, Red affords himself protection and an esteemed place in the pecking order of the prison yard. He forces the other men to do business on his terms and knows full well the need to defend his own interests in a world where violence and exploitation are the norm. Ultimately, however, Red’s hardened stance conceals his fear and insecurity as he struggles to make sense of his life both in and out of prison. Even though Red’s narrative focuses on Andy and his eventual escape, Red admits that the story is really all about himself. Andy’s inner confidence and sense of self-worth represent the part of Red that Hadley, Norton, and the other prison authorities never managed to crush. Although Red has undoubtedly thought of escaping numerous times during his thirty-eight years in prison, it is Andy’s resolute sense of hope that Red admires. Red knows that hope is what keeps him and every other inmate alive.