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June 22, 2024
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Shawshank’s Redemption

I still remember when I was in college, I saw the Shawshank Redemption movie for the first time. The feeling at that time is still unforgettable. It is a mixture of shock and agitation. There is a vitality in the whole film, which makes people feel empowered again. Later, I saw it almost every few years, and each time I had a new experience. Later, I read the original work of Stephen King, and I admire this writer who is famous for his horror novels even more. Today, I opened it again and found the meaning I didn’t expect.

If I use a few keywords to describe this work, I think of: hope, faith, simplicity, calm, creativity, desire, freedom.

Hope is that you can see the beautiful scenery when you are sitting on it when your dream has not been written off; Faith is to firmly believe what you haven’t seen yet; Simplicity is to put aside all the feasible and infeasible reasoning that bothers you; Calmness means knowing which hand to use to pull the trigger when a tiger blocks the way; Creativity is a game heart that is willing to make every day different; Desire is the pursuit of death if you don’t get it; Freedom is the loss of separation. Even if you are in prison, you don’t think there is any difference between inside and outside the prison.

When Stephen King conceived the character Andy, he did not mean to give him all the above beautiful characteristics. I can’t help but imagine that when he closed the computer and watched Andy walk onto the screen from the text and stand out from the screen story, which has been shocking and inspiring people all over the world for more than ten years, did he feel that this person really exists in the space and time of the universe? And he just spread his story to the world we live in.

Nothing new under the sun. Reviewing this work again, what I see is not a new theme, but because of the growth of age and accumulation of experience, I have jumped from a busy industry to another industry that is not easy. I always struggle to find the career I really love. Especially after the changes in my family, the whole person seems to be described in the song sung by Huang Lei when I was young, The song said that he wanted to change the world when he was young, and then found that he could only let the world change himself. I see that many people in society, including myself, are going through life more and more like “going to prison” day by day. People choose to change to avoid fear rather than hope. Like I used to be deeply involved in my first job, I was too busy and painful to extricate myself, but when I finally changed to a job that I thought would be very comfortable at that time, the job began to become very painful again, so I was scared and confused, and I didn’t know where to go. Is it to quit my current job or to explain that the problem is not what to do at all? So every day, we seem to be unable to do what we want for some reasons, but in fact, these reasons are just prison for our hearts. Wherever we go, as long as we have no freedom in our hearts, we will not feel free.

I can’t help imagining myself as Andy. If I am in his position, can I be like him? As Stephen King described it: “The feeling of freedom is like an invisible cloak wrapped around Andy. He has never cultivated a mental state of being in prison. His eyes have never been dull. He has never dragged a heavy step back to his cell to face another endless night like other prisoners at the end of the day.”

For Andy, the situation in prison is full of uncertainty and danger every day, especially the plan to escape from prison. He has to worry about the possibility of being found every minute. But although he is full of hope, he is not the kind of crazy desperate. He knows to hold the best hope, but it is so simple to prepare for the worst. As long as you are prepared for the worst, it doesn’t matter to keep optimistic expectations. Although he longed for freedom, he was not eager for success. He did not let himself despair, and every day he made some small changes within the scope of his influence. Although complete freedom was a dream to him, he thought about how to use his existing resources to exchange even a little freedom every day: he used financial knowledge to declare taxes to all prison guards in exchange for a moment when he could invite prison mates to share a box of beer; He used the radio amplifier in the broadcasting room to play music for all prisoners to realize the rights of free people; He exchanged his position in the prison library for a cell where he could live alone in order to dig a tunnel to escape. He also knows that everything takes time. If a person knows how to use time, even if he has only a little time at a time, he can do a lot of things cumulatively. So he spent 27 years smoothing two small hammers and successfully gained freedom.

But then I thought, in fact, it is not the restriction of the iron window that can destroy a person most, it is not the permanent loss of freedom, but what Stephen said is “institutionalized”. When people are restrained by the external and their own restrictions for a long time, they will gradually adapt to this state of loss of freedom, just like the hostages will eventually sympathize with the hijacker’s Stockholm syndrome, and the prisoners will eventually no longer desire freedom because they adapt to the lack of freedom. Thinking of this, I really took a breath of cold air, right? Will I do the same? When I have been restricted by life or what I think is the limit for a long time, will I no longer be willing to pursue the life as I want? Or, like some elderly people, they think that life is a self-sacrifice, and people come only for suffering. I don’t know.

Taking myself as an example, I was eager to study abroad when I was young, but because of various limitations and lack of courage to break through them, I finally chose to work directly after graduation. After working for four or five years, I had a certain amount of financial resources and began to very eager to study abroad, and then I was depressed because of some things. Now, although I am still young, I do not want to study abroad from my heart, I feel like I don’t know how much I can get back from wasting money.

However, I am very grateful to see that in the book, Stephen’s Andy’s letter to Red wrote: Hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing in the world.

As Red said, some birds are born to be caged. Their feathers are too bright, their songs are too sweet, and they are too wild. So you can only let them go. Otherwise, when you open the cage to feed them, they will also find ways to fly away.

Maybe Stephen King wants to use Shawshank Prison as a metaphor for all the circumstances in the world. Life has never been a prison. Although we may live as if we were in prison now, as long as we have hope and don’t let the iron window grow in our hearts, one day, maybe now, we can fly out of the prison and live freely.

Knowing this, my heart is at peace.


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