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Andy is an enigma to Red and the other inmates, a man they admire but never really understand. An element of fantasy infuses the characterization of Andy: at one point King even refers to the mysterious “myth-magic” that his protagonist seemingly possesses. In truth, Andy is an anomalous figure who stands out from the rest of the inmates at Shawshank Prison, but not for any mythical or spiritual reason. Andy’s calm, cool collectedness govern his interactions with the world around him, and he rarely succumbs to emotion or cheap sentiment. What many inmates take for snobbery is actually reserve and caution as Andy tries to stay one step ahead of his adversaries. Without this strength and inner resolve, Andy would never have survived his twenty-eight years in prison nor managed to escape. Andy emerges as an object of fascination for many of his fellow prisoners, a figure onto whom they project their various embellishments of the ideal man: Andy, the man who can talk down the guards; Andy, the man who can manipulate the warden; and Andy, the man who can escape out from under everyone’s noses.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption!