Study Guide

Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption Cunning and Cleverness

By Stephen King

Cunning and Cleverness

"Andy held them at bay for a while with a scoop of Hexlite, threatening to throw it in their eyes if they came any closer." (87)

Andy thinks on his feet here, using whatever is close at hand as a weapon. Way to go, MacGyver.

"He used the same force of will I'd seen him use on Byron Hadley to get what he wanted for the library." (198)

The term "force of will" is interchangeable with cleverness here. Andy's made his point to Hadley—showing him a way to keep his inheritance. The "force of will" just gives Hadley time to think about it and realize how smart it is.

"There was Norton, skimming off the top. There were a hundred ways to do it—men, materials, you name it. But he had it coming another way, as well." (226)

A recurring theme in this story is criminals who stay out of prison just because they're smart. Case in point: Warden Norton!

"Anyway, as the old barrelhouse song says, My God, how the money rolled in. Norton must have subscribed to the old Puritan notion that the best way to figure out which folks God favours is by checking their bank accounts." (226)

Norton doesn't just get away with all his crimes, he finds a way to really cash out on his schemes. This quote also implies that financial crimes are easier to get away with than murder, since Norton's out and Andy and Red are in. Does that mean that only smart people can conduct financial crimes and get away with it?

"'And where are you going to get the money to buy this fabulous place?' I asked. 'Your stock account?' He looked at me and smiled. (333-334)

You'd think Red would have figured out that Andy's a smart cookie by now. You'd think that…

"Cons who go over the wall are stupid cons." (377)

This is a very important precursor to Andy's escape, since it tells us that there are smart ways and stupid ways to go about a breakout. Andy, as you may have guessed, opts for the smart way.

"Maybe he knew that it emptied into a stream five hundred yards beyond the prison on the marshy western side. I think he did." (452)

Andy's not a guy who leaves a whole lot to chance. We know he knew where that tunnel emptied.

"For all I know, Sam Norton is down there in Eliot now, attending services at the Baptist church every Sunday, and wondering how the hell Andy Dufresne ever could have gotten the better of him." (457)

This passage demonstrates the stakes involved in Andy's escape, and how getting outsmarted has pretty devastating consequences for Norton.

"There are all sorts of ways to divert yourself, even in prison; it seems like the human mind is full of an infinite number of possibilities when it comes to diversion." (472)

We're back to our other themes of pressure and time here. King seems to be implying that if you lock a man up and don't give him anything to do, he might get much smarter and more creative than you think he could be.

"Maybe he had something more than dumb luck going for him even back then." (483)

Red realizes Andy knew what he was doing all along, even way back when he asked Red for his first pin-up poster.