1st September 2017

Shawshank Essay

Analyse how motifs were used to develop one or more ideas in the visual or oral text(s). Note: “Ideas” may refer to character, theme, or setting.

In the Visual text “Shawshank Redemption” directed by Frank Darabont motifs were used to help me develop ideas relating too freedom, the motifs that relate too freedom are firstly the Harmonica that Andy Dufrense gives to Red as a gift, the next motif we see in the visual text is the Bird Jake that Brooks the librarian finds when Jake is young. The last motif we come across is the water which Andy comes across once he has escaped prison.

In the visual text “Shawshank Redemption” the first motif we see is the Harmonica that Andy gives to Red as a gift, Red played the Harmonica back when he was on the outside so the Harmonica represents freedom and hope to Red, throughout the film music is often used to represent freedom so this Harmonica scene is another representation of freedom, freedom is a main idea in the film because it represents feeling normal for the prisoners. When Red has the Harmonica he looks at it as a symbol of hope and freedom for himself. The audience looks at the Harmonica as a symbol of freedom, as well as something from Red’s past brought into his prison life. The night Red receives the Harmonica he blows it once then smiles holding it with his institutionalised hands, this shows the viewers that for a moment Red had hope but only to dismiss it. When Red was given the Harmonica it reminded him of life on the outside as that was when he played it.

The second Motif that develops ideas in the visual text is the Bird named Jake that is found as a newly born by Brooks the Librarian, Brooks finds Jake who had fallen out of his nest by the plate shop, when we firstly see Jake he is living in Brooks pocket and survives of the remnants of his food. Jake’s weak voice represents how something fledgling needs love to strengthen it. In the film Jake represents freedom, hope as well as time. He firstly represents freedom because he is the only bird in Shawshank and he has the ability to leave at any time, Jake represents freedom to Brooks because it makes Brooks feel like he is free as having a pet inside is like being on the outside. Jake then represents time in the film because the director shows Jake as a baby bird when Andy has just arrived but then later on when Jake is released the director shows a scene where Andy explains how long he has been in prison for. Brooks releases Jake from his library after being notified that he is getting released, he lets jake Fly away because “he cannot take care of him anymore”, this symbolises how hope has to be released and set free. Later on in the film when Brooks is on the outside the viewer see’s a scene where Brooks is in a park and he says “i hope one day, jake will come say hello, but he never does”. This shows us that Brooks is lonely and struggling without Jake as he was a friend to him.

The last Motif that the viewer recognises in the Visual text is Water which is influenced when Andy escapes from Shawshank Prison, after 19 years of being stuck behind high concrete walls and steel metal bars Andy Dufrense decided to escape prison the night of a big storm. Andy escapes after crawling a mile through a sewer tank and the end result is him being free, Water develops ideas to do with freedom as water acts as a purification for Andy this is not only physically but also mentally and spiritually, Andy is now truly free. The water also acts as if Andy has been baptised and now ready to start a new journey in his life and just forget about the past and release fears. When Andy is found missing from his cell a massive search party is sent out in the heavy rain and the only evidence found is Andy’s prison clothes. Once Red is released from prison he makes his way down to a small Mexican town by the Pacific Ocean, he goes here because Andy tells Red that’s where he will be. Red and Andy find each other and the film ends. By having the ocean at the end scene it suggests the limitless possibilities for Andy and Red now they are free.

In conclusion the three of these Motifs all impact key ideas in the Visual Text “Shawshank Redemption, firstly the Harmonica represents hope and freedom to Red as it reminds him what life was like on the outside, this is because he played the Harmonica on the outside and music is seen as a sign of freedom. The Bird Jake is seen also as a symbol of hope and freedom because he is a friend to Brooks and makes him feel like he has hope. Jake symbolises freedom to Brooks also becuase

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