Study Guide

The Shawshank Redemption Lies and Deceit

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Lies and Deceit

RED: Yes, sir. Absolutely. I've learned my lesson. I can honestly say I'm a changed man. I'm no longer a danger to society. That's the God's honest truth. No doubt about it.

We honestly don't blame the panel for rejecting Red's appeal for parole. He's obviously putting on a show. This guy did not graduate from Juilliard's acting school, we'll just put it that way.

The funny thing is…he really shouldn't be acting. Based on everything he says to Andy—and we believe him—he has learned his lesson. He is a changed man, and no longer a danger to society, so why doesn't he sound genuine? Could it be that he's just been forced to lie to survive for so long, and now that's all he knows? So even when he's telling the truth it sounds like a lie?

ANDY: I'm a rock hound. At least I was, in my old life. I'd like to be again, on a limited scale.

It's unclear whether Andy intended to tunnel his way out from the start, or whether he came up with the idea when he was carving his name and realized such a thing was possible. We're going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say those wheels were probably turning from the get-go. In that case, Andy doesn't start out his friendship with Red on the best foot since he kicks it off with this whopper. A "limited scale?" Right.

ANDY: I wouldn't say "friends." I'm a convicted murderer who provides sound financial planning.

This is in reference to Andy "making nice" with Captain Hadley and the other guards. He wants to clarify that, while the men have started engaging in a mutually beneficial relationship in which he's using his banking know-how to scheme up a storm, there's nothing "friendly" about it. He's still what he is—a convicted felon. Even if he didn't do anything felonious to get there.

ANDY: It's amazing what you can accomplish by mail. Mr. Stevens has a birth certificate, social security card, driver's license. They ever track those accounts, they'll wind up chasing a figment of my imagination.

Ah…Andy's grand plan begins coming into focus. For years he's been setting himself up for a nice little retirement, and Norton's going to have no idea what hit him. At this point though, that's all Red knows. Andy doesn't reveal to him that he intends to withdraw the funds himself after making a daring escape. You always have to keep a little something extra under your hat.

NORTON: Terrible thing. Man that young, less than a year to go, trying to escape. Broke Captain Hadley's heart to shoot him, truly it did.

Andy may have his dirty little secrets, but they're nothing compared to the warden's. He doesn't seem very remorseful about them either. Yeah, Tommy's a criminal, but no way did he deserve the fate that the warden sentenced him to. For the first time in the kid's life he was trying to do the right thing, and he earns himself a couple of bullets through the chest.

Moral of the story? Don't ever stick your neck out for anyone. (Wait a minute, that can't be it…)

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