Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hope in Hard Times

So this is by no means a new movie, but...

I think we'd all agree: Shawshank Redemption is a classic.

And as such it's worth saying: The movie inspires hope.

And "hope is a thing with feathers /
that perches in the soul /
and sings the tune without the words / and never stops at all."

In the case of Shawshank, the tune without the words is
the "Letter Duet" ("Canzonetta sull'aria") from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.
(got that from wikipedia - a trusted source, sometimes.)

Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins - who also plays the somewhat ditsy, hell-of-a-thrower minor league pitcher in Bull Durham) pulls that stunt in the middle of the film, reminding me of my all-time fav Life is Beautiful, in which he leans back in the prison guard's chair and plays Mozart over the intercom for the whole prison to hear. And spends two weeks in Solitary as a result.

Like any good drama, there's a fair mix of the comic and the sad.

When the old librarian takes the maggot from Andy at the breakfast table
and then feeds it to his baby pet crow, I laugh.

I also laugh when he later clambers up on the table in his hotel room,
having been released, and he writes up near the ceiling "Brooks was here,"
before kicking the bedside table out from under his feet.
But that's not funny.

I love the quietness and inner strength of Andy's character.
He doesn't always win (at one point, instead of getting a retrial to settle on his innocence, he's put in Solitary for TWO months. and loses his Elvis-esque protégé to a cheap shot), but he never gives up.
I like that.

And when the warden refuses to fund a larger library,
Andy takes to writing a letter a week for six years
until the government gives in and sends him books.
And then he writes two letters a week, to get more.
That's determination. and it's funded by hope.

Where does he get that hope?
He doesn't have much reason for it.
He's in prison for nearly two decades, wrongly accused of killing his wife who was cheating on him.
And some "friends" in prison are a little TOO friendly.
But Andy keeps busy carving a chess set, doing prison guards' taxes, resurrecting the library, getting his prison-mates beers, and just overall making life fuller.
and planning an escape.


I too have hope.
Seems like a good thing to have.
And a hard (as in, sad) thing to lose.
Must take care.

Take Care.

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