After spending a few months in solitary confinement, Andy Dufresne tells Ellis Redding that it is time to “get busy living or get busy dying.” This is a quote from the movie, Shawshank Redemption which was adapted from a short story written by Stephen King. Shawshank State Prison is a beautiful, yet eerie building in New England, not to far from King’s home. You just have to write a story about it, right?
Anyway, this quote is the moment in the film where the prison break plot by Andy Dufresne is set into motion. The movie itself is done very well, acting is superb and the typical esoteric questions of Stephen King seem to be hovering around every corner. The quote is something special, however. If your are going to live or die, then you might as well get busy doing it. The movie captures it, but the book does a much better job. The real story is not the prison break of Andy Dufresne, but the struggle that Ellis “Red” Redding has in dealing with post prison life. This is juxtaposed with the character of Brooks Hatlen who quickly commits suicide after struggling with the adjustment of post prison life.
You cannot help but to start to think of what our own personal Shawshank maybe. What prison do we find ourselves trapped in. I am not talking obvious things here, I am talking a level of comfort that we have lulled ourselves into where we are no longer really living but actually slowly just waiting to die. Perhaps, we need to come to the same conclusion as Andy. Sometimes, you just have to crawl through 500 yards of shit to break free and really start to live.