Narrated by Red, an inmate of the Shawshank Prison. Red recalls, his reason for being incarcerated – he plotted to kill his wife by tampering with her car. Which incidentally not only killed his wife but also a neighbor and child resulting in his life sentence. Red also documents the arrival of Andy, a banker accused of the murder of his wife. Despite the convicted evidence, Andy still claims his innocence.
Andy is frequently attacked by a gang called the Sisters, who rape and beat him. He often tries to retaliate but that lands him a few nights in the infirmary or solitary confinement. Andy soon befriends Red who is a known smuggler. Andy sent in requests for a hammer and rock (because of his love for geography) and a poster. Red is able to deliver.
Later, after overhearing a guard with financial issues, Andy offers his professional services which the guard reluctantly accepts but is then glad he did. After Andy’s advice panned out he receives the respect of all who were involved. The prison warden Norton, then took a special interest to him. Resulting in Andy becoming the prison librarian, protection from the sisters and even his own cell. Andy enjoys his position and worked fervently to expand the library for the next few years.
But on the darker side of his new responsibility, Andy finds himself not only filling taxes but money laundering for various wardens. Andy doesn’t mind, I mean he is already in prison but what he doesn’t realize is that this can hinder his chances of every leaving Shawshank.
Tommy Williams, a newcomer to Shawshank informs Andy that at the prison he was transferred from, another inmate Elwood Blatch, admitted to killing Andy’s wife. Andy then speaks to the warden concerning a retrial. This results in Andy being thrown in solitary confinement and Tommy being transferred to another prison.
After his unpleasant confinement, Andy informs Red of a plan he had for if he was to escape. Complete with a false identity, cash from the money laundering, and where he would escape to. Red thinks nothing of this until a few years later when Andy’s cell was found empty! Behind the poster was a hole Andy dug using the stone and Hammer provided by Red.
Norton soon has a nervous breakdown and resigns his position as warden. News of Andy’s escape soon spreads through the prison giving the prisoners hope and drive. Not only to escape but also to keep their spirits up. Red later passes parole and finds his way back to Andy.
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