W.W.A.D.D.? What Would Andy Dufresne Do? The Idea of Life After Death in the Shawshank Redemption

Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Casey D. McKittrick

Second Advisor

Sean D. Pickett


Shawshank Redemption, life after death


In the fall of 1994, a film adaptation of a Stephen King novella came out in theaters. This film was The Shawshank Redemption. This film had a magnificently written story, which was aided by beautiful cinematography. These allow both critics and viewers to create their own views on what messages the movie is trying to portray to the audience. Some feel that the movie is portraying a message of self worth. Many interpreters utilize the films many religious allusions to help create their interpretations. With these allusions, many interpretations encompass the ideas of faith and hope.

There are three major aspects to help prove this idea. There is the messiah, miracles, and resurrection. Each of these builds on each other and help to solidify this idea. Each of these have both religious and clips from the scene to establish the relationship between the movie and the words of the Bible.

Andy Dufresne’s life dramatically parallels that of the life of Jesus. Both men continually proclaimed the message of hope to all that surrounded them, even in times of trouble. That even though you feel sadness currently, there is a second life coming that will give you the happiness that you have longed for. This idea is best summed up through the final lines in the movie stated by Red as he is journeying to the promise land, “I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.”


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