Stephen King has published over fifty-nine novels in his seventy-one years of age. Most of these being horror. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption however, is not a horror. It is the first novella in the book Different Seasons which is made up of four different novellas. These books are more serious in comparison to the horror novels that made Stephen King famous.
Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (The Shawshank Redemption for short) is about Andy Dufresne a successful, young banker who is convicted for the murder of his spouse, and her secret lover. Andy is convicted and sent to Shawshank prison. The book is narrated from the perspective of another character in the book which is quite unusual. It makes it so that we as readers never know what Andy thinks or feels. Everything is just guesswork creating mystery around the character of Dufresne. This narrator however, gives us insight into what we may not notice or know about prison life in the 1950-70s. Prisons at the time were horrible, corrupt and the guards often beat people to death for the smallest mistake or misbehaviour. Throughout the book we see Andy building relationships and overcoming hardships. Twisting situations in such an ingenious way that we as the reader never know what to expect from the character in the coming paragraphs or pages. Andy turns these situations so that he can be the one that comes out on top even though we think he is making a mistake or pushing the boundaries. Stephen King manages to toss your emotions around whether it be sympathy for the character or even happiness and fulfillment.
Stephen King manages to make murderers, thieves and rapists look like the good guys. The people holding these convicts are portrayed as malevolent. He makes us feel like these people who have taken the lives of others and ruined the lives of countless more look like the victims, innocent and helpless. We are shown that wherever power is, someone will find a way to abuse it. We see this in the three sadistic wardens that command the prison throughout The Shawshank Redemption. They are constantly mistreating prisoners to gain money or power for themselves. One of the main points of this novella is to show how unjust the justice system can be and that innocent people, in the case of Dufresne are often convicted an unfairly treated.