Talking Cultural Diversity

a discussion board for cultural and diversity issues by Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis

Stretching It: When the Story Stops Making Sense

By Thomas Kochman - 01.25.2011

As most folks, I love movies. One thing I always check for is whether the story line makes sense given the characters and situation.

For example, in Shawshank Redemption, one of my all time favorites, Andy Dufresne is planning his escape. In his last conversation with his fellow inmate, Red,

Andy offers his friend one more thing to remember to do when he is eventually released – something buried in a hayfield in Buxton [is it his gun? – or something else?]:

There’s a big hayfield up near Buxton…One in particular. It’s got a long rock wall, a big oak tree at the north end. It’s like something out of a Robert Frost poem. It’s where I asked my wife to marry me. We went there for a picnic and made love under that oak and I asked and she said yes. Promise me, Red. If you ever get out, find that spot. In the base of that wall, you’ll find a rock that has no earthly business in a Maine hayfield. A piece of black, volcanic glass. There’s something buried under it I want you to have.

When Red is finally released from prison he goes to the place that Andy told him about and finds the box that Andy buried. He also finds a letter with it. It reads as follows:

Dear Red,
If you’re reading this, you’ve gotten out. And if you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further. You remember the name of the town, don’t you? I could use a good man to help me get my project on wheels. I’ll keep an eye out for you and the chessboard ready. Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well.
Your friend,

Ok. Here’s the problem.

Since Andy did not know Red existed when he originally buried the box, we can only believe that the letter was written after he got out of Shawshank. That would mean that Andy had to find time –in the midst of his escape—to write the letter, rebury the box, make it look like the box had been buried for the nineteen years he was in prison, all the while –dressed in a suit– visiting “nearly a dozen banks in the Portland area that morning” and having to get as far away as soon as possible to stay beyond the reach of those looking for him.

In the realm of possibility?

It’s a stretch.



What’s your take on all of this?

Got any of your favorite movies that at one time or the other fail to make complete sense?

One Response so far

Intriguing. I never considered this, and Shawshank is one of my favorite movies of all time. One of my favorite “what…?” plot lines: Back to the Future. They just don’t get time travel quite right. I don’t understand how his parents do not recognize that he looks like “Calvin Klein,” a random stranger who profoundly impacted each of their lives in the 1950s.

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