Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is one of four novellas in Stephen King's Different Seasons. The movie The Shawshank Redemption is based on this novella, but to say "based" minimizes how closely the movie follows the book. Given the movie is one of my top five favorites, has one of the best movie lines ever in it, and was watched by me less than two weeks ago, when this book became available from the library, all my other books were pushed aside to make time for this one.
That's all nice, but I'm really not sure how to explain how powerful this book and the movie are. The differences in details are small enough that it doesn't matter which you consume, both are incredible and worth experiencing. I recommend both of them.
And that best movie line ever?
Get busy living, or get busy dying.
“Yes. I suppose it would. I understand, and you don’t need to worry.”
“I never worry,” I said. “In a place like this there’s no percentage in it.”
In spite of the problems he was having, he was going on with his life. There are thousands who don’t or won’t or can’t, and plenty of them aren’t in prison, either.
An alternative to staying simon-pure or bathing in the filth and the slime. It’s the alternative that grown-ups all over the world pick. You balance off your walk through the hog-wallow against what it gains you. You choose the lesser of two evils and try to keep your good intentions in front of you.
I have told you that he had something that most of the other prisoners, myself included, seemed to lack. Call it a sense of equanimity, or a feeling of inner peace, maybe even a constant and unwavering faith that someday the long nightmare would end.
He had a Bible quote for every occasion, did Mr. Sam Norton, and whenever you meet a man like that, my best advice to you would be to grin big and cover up your balls with both hands.
Things come in three major degrees in the human experience, I think. There’s good, bad, and terrible. And as you go down into progressive darkness toward terrible, it gets harder and harder to make subdivisions.
When you take away a man’s freedom and teach him to live in a cell, he seems to lose his ability to think in dimensions.
Andy wasn’t that way, but I was. The idea of seeing the Pacific sounded good, but I was afraid that actually being there would scare me to death—the bigness of it.
So what did he do, I ask you? He searched almost desperately for something to divert his restless mind. Oh, there are all sorts of ways to divert yourself, even in prison; it seems like the human mind is full of an infinite number of possibilities when it comes to diversion.
After all, you can’t lose if you don’t bet.
Andy was the part of me they could never lock up, the part of me that will rejoice when the gates finally open for me and I walk out in my cheap suit with my twenty dollars of mad-money in my pocket. That part of me will rejoice no matter how old and broken and scared the rest of me is. I guess it’s just that Andy had more of that part than me, and used it better.
Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.
Wondering what I should do. But there’s really no question. It always comes down to just two choices. Get busy living or get busy dying.
I find I am excited, so excited I can hardly hold the pencil in my trembling hand. I think it is the excitement that only a free man can feel, a free man starting a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain.