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The Shawshank Redeption Essay

Essay 2- Analyse how the opening of the text was crafted for a particular purpose

Hopelessness and despair are significant themes crafted in the opening scenes of Frank Darabont’s ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. The themes of hopelessness and despair are prevalent throughout the start of the film through the use of film techniques, which include but are not limited to diegetic sound, sound effects, lighting and camera shots.

Frank Darabont is the director behind his spectacle, which is on the Stephen King novella ‘Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.” Throughout the film, Darabont can showcase the feeling of utter hopelessness which turns into hope

The opening scene of the film is crafted purposely with Darabont’s innovative film techniques which introduce the key theme and human conditions of hopelessness and despair. The opening scenes into the prison are shot on an overcast and dreary day resulting in the person appearing bleak and grey, which produces a feeling of hopelessness and despair. The lighting is dark and gloomy, producing the unpleasant and shadowy setting which symbolises the evil society and the absence of both light and God within the prison. Darabont cleverly uses the film technique of lighting purposely craft the theme of despair and hopelessness.

The opening of the film is purposely crafted to portray the ideas of hopelessness and despair by using camera angles in the opening scenes. The birds-eye view shot, panning the grounds of Shawshank Prison how the dark, gothic, and the evil feel that illustrated the human condition of hopelessness and despair that is prevalent throughout the start of the film.

Another camera angle purposely used to portray the theme of hopelessness vs despair is the low angled shot. As Andy Dufresne( one of the main characters who is in prison for ‘killing his wife, and his wife’s lover) first entered the building. The shot is a point of view shot which mimicked what the character of And, as he looks from a low angle panning up the wall of the tall, gothic, and mossy building to highlight the theme of despair and hopelessness the prisoners including Andy feels. Darabont crafted this shot to make the prisoners look small and helpless as they enter the prison.

Another scene that illustrates the essential themes of despair cleverly; is the beating of ‘Fatass’ (Who’s beaten to death as a new inmate to Shawshank( the same time as Andy), and was dehumanised by never given a proper name). Crafted with many film techniques that include but aren’t limited to; lighting, dejected sound, camera shots to demonstrate essential themes such as hopelessness and despair in ‘fatass’s beating scene’.

The scene of ‘Fatasses’ beating is constructed creatively with many different film techniques that include but aren’t limited to; lighting, dejected sound, camera shots to demonstrate essential themes such as hopelessness and despair. The scene illustrated through a set of silhouetted camera shots accending from a dark, dimly lit corridor in front of the prison cells produces a dark shadowy atmosphere; demonstrating the lack of hope the prisoners have. Both the lighting and camera shot to illustrate the hopelessness and violence which the inmates face.

The film techniques of diegetic sound also intertwined with the camera and lighting techniques. The scene where Hadley( second-in-command of prison, and captain of a prison guard) beat up ‘Fatass’. Darabont used exaggerated sound effects to demonstrate the harshness of Shawshank prison, as there are endless loops of violence which highlight the ideas of hopelessness and despair.

The opening scene demonstrates the theme of hopelessness and despair throughout Shawshank Redemption that has many significant links to the outside world. The world is full of millions of individuals’ who deal with the human condition of hopelessness and despair. The statement’ human condition’ is a term to highlight the feelings that every human face. Andy is an innocent and successful banker who experiences despair when wrongly accused of murdering his wife and his wife’s lover.

The opening of the text creatively constructed to reinforce the key themes of despair and hopelessness through the use of film techniques that include but are not limited to lighting, sound effects, and diegetic sound. Through these techniques, Darabont can illustrate the human condition and the central theme of hopelessness and despair.

Kia ora Nicole1 and welcome to StudyIt!

I’ve just read the essay you have uploaded and hope you are okay with me giving you some feedback.

The main thing I would suggest is to flip the focus of your essay and make sure that the main thrust of the question is what you are basing your answer on. This essay reads like a theme essay that has been manipulated to try and address the question.

Opening scenes will give us a lot of information about who the characters are, where the text is set, genre, and main ideas that will be explored in the rest of the text; in this case, film. Often they can influence us to see things through the eyes of a particular character…and that view can turn out to be wrong by the end of the film. Have a think about whether this is the case in The Shawshank Redemption.

The techniques are obviously hugely important for us to figure out what aspects are being conveyed to the audience. These are the literary aspects that will allow you to look at purpose, and not just themes. Look to get into WHY these techniques have been used and their specific effect. For example, you talk about Shawshank Prison looking dark, gothic, and having a feeling of evil. Dig into this further. Why will it be important to the viewer to know these things about the prison? How will it shape the way we start looking at the rest of the film? What impact will it have on the characters and their relationships?

I quite like the idea of students exploring what I call the “so what” factor. This means that if you are going to start looking at an idea or aspect, keep going into the “so what” of that point. What is the purpose (in this case) of ensuring that the opening of this text sets up the ideas of hopelessness and despair? How will this impact and link to other parts of the text?

Continue to use evidence from the film to support your points. Your knowledge of specific techniques is really clear and this is such an important aspect of analysing texts. Think about making clearer connections between these so that your answer has a greater flow to it. That flow will help you to inject the depth that you need at Level 2 as well.

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Thank you so much! I will write another essay with your feed back!

You’re welcome. Good luck!

You obviously know the film well which is great. Your comments on the techniques are thoughtful and specific, but it would be good to relate a little more to the theme which you have established as hopelessness and despair. How could you extend the comments on this theme? What is despair? How does this affect people? How do people react when they are despairing? Once you extend this you can comment with more thought on how the techniques show it.
eg. The opening scenes into the prison are shot on an overcast and dreary day resulting in the person appearing bleak and grey, which produces a feeling of hopelessness and despair. The lighting is dark and gloomy, producing the unpleasant and shadowy setting which symbolises the evil society and the absence of both light and God within the prison. Darabont cleverly uses the film technique of lighting purposely craft the theme of despair and hopelessness.
Great comments; Think about how the prisoners are brought into the prison and what this tells us about the theme. How does the weather and the lighting show us that despair and hopelessness are destructive? What is negative about being despairing and hopeless?

Thank you :)) I will include this feedback in my next essay! Thank you so much for your help!

Edited version-Is this better?

Essay 2- Analyse how the opening of the text was crafted for a particular purpose

Hopelessness and despair are significant themes crafted in the opening scenes of Frank Darabont’s ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. The themes of hopelessness and despair are prevalent throughout the start of the film through the use of film techniques, which include but are not limited to diegetic sound, sound effects, lighting and camera shots.

Based on the Stephen King novella ‘Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.”, Darabont can showcase the feeling of utter hopelessness which turns into hope.

The opening scene of the film is crafted purposely with Darabont’s innovative film techniques which introduce the key theme and human conditions of hopelessness and despair. The opening scenes into the prison are shot on an overcast and dreary day resulting in the person appearing bleak and grey, which produces a feeling of hopelessness and despair. The lighting is dark and gloomy, producing the unpleasant and shadowy setting which symbolises the evil society and the absence of both light and God within the prison. The weather and lighting create suspense, as the audience is curious about the despairing feeling that is cleverly designed throughout the scene using lighting and the dark grey weather as the new inmates arrive at Shawshank. Darabont cleverly uses the scene to portray the complete loss of hope that many of the characters in the film would have felt as they first arrived at Shawshank Prison shown by the uses the film technique of lighting purposely craft the theme of despair and hopelessness.

Moreover, Darabont cleverly crafted the establishing scene to the film to show ideas of hopelessness and despair by using camera angles in the opening scenes. The birds-eye view shot, panning the grounds of Shawshank Prison highlights how the dark, gothic, and the evil feel illustrated the human condition of hopelessness and despair that is prevalent throughout the start of the film. These techniques demonstrate to the viewers that the setting of Shawshank is a place full of despair and that many of the prisoners are going to feel a complete loss of hope in the years to come in Shawshank. The idea of despair shapes the viewers perspective of what is to become in the film.

Another camera angle purposely used to portray the theme of hopelessness vs despair is the low angled shot. As Andy Dufresne( one of the main characters who is in prison for ‘killing his wife, and his wife’s lover) first entered the building. The shot is a point of view shot which mimicked what the character of Andy, as he looks from a low angle panning up the wall of the tall, gothic, and mossy building to highlight the theme of despair and hopelessness the prisoners feel including Andy who works so hard to feel hopeful. Darabont crafted this shot to make the prisoners look small and helpless as they enter the prison. The idea of Despair continuously shows that both the characters within the film and the setting is a place of despair with a limited amount of hope.

Another scene that illustrates the essential themes of despair cleverly; is the beating of ‘Fatass’ (Who’s beaten to death as a new inmate to Shawshank( the same time as Andy), and was dehumanised by never given a proper name). Crafted with many film techniques that include but aren’t limited to; lighting, diegetic sound, camera shots to demonstrate essential themes such as hopelessness and despair in ‘fatass’s beating scene’.

The scene of ‘Fatasses’ beating is constructed creatively with many different film techniques that include but aren’t limited to; lighting, diegetic sound, camera shots to demonstrate essential themes such as hopelessness and despair. The scene illustrated through a set of silhouetted camera shots accending from a dark, dimly lit corridor in front of the prison cells produces a dark shadowy atmosphere; demonstrating the lack of hope the prisoners have. Both the lighting and camera shot to illustrate the hopelessness and violence which the inmates face. The scene of fatass purposely shows the harshness and despair within Shawshank, which many characters such as Red Redding( a 65-year-old man who has spent a large portion of his life at Shawshank Prison) full into a trap where hope does not exist anymore. They become a person who is institutionalised and has no hope.

The film techniques of diegetic sound also intertwined with the camera and lighting techniques. The scene where Hadley( second-in-command of prison, and captain of a prison guard) beat up ‘Fatass’. Darabont used exaggerated sound effects to demonstrate the harshness of Shawshank prison, as there are endless loops of violence which highlight the ideas of hopelessness and despair. The diegetic sound was creativity shown and exaggerated in this scene to continuously highlight how it would be like as a prisoner to both see and hear that harsh beating demonstrating how harsh it is within the setting of Shawshank.

The opening scene demonstrates the theme of hopelessness and despair throughout Shawshank Redemption that has many significant links to the outside world. The world is full of millions of individuals’ who deal with the human condition of hopelessness and despair. The statement’ human condition’ is a term to highlight the feelings that every human face. Andy is an innocent and successful banker who experiences despair when wrongly accused of murdering his wife and his wife’s lover.

The opening of the text creatively constructed to reinforce the key themes of despair and hopelessness through the use of film techniques that include but are not limited to lighting, sound effects, and diegetic sound. Through these techniques, Darabont can illustrate the human condition and the central theme of hopelessness and despair.

You have done a solid job of incorporating the feedback given!
Look to avoid being repetitive with your phrasing. It is a lot easier to just get into it. It is impressive to see how your analysis is going into greater depth. Find the parts where you have done this and think about how you can inject this more consistently. (The lighting is dark and gloomy, producing the unpleasant and shadowy setting which symbolises the evil society and the absence of both light and God within the prison. The weather and lighting create suspense, as the audience is curious about the despairing feeling that is cleverly designed throughout the scene using lighting and the dark grey weather as the new inmates arrive at Shawshank.)
One of the techniques that would be a real support to the points you have made here would be voiceover. This will also allow you to include quotations. Linking these to what you see as the director’s purpose would be highly beneficial.
@jdewar might have a few other comments to add.

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