Shawshank Redemption Analysis - Kohlberg and Maslow connection!

Essay by Stronty August 2004

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Lawrence Kohlberg, a famous psychologist, developed a theory which entailed six stages of moral development. The aim of his theory is to allow individuals to be characterised into one of the stages, based upon their moral & ethical well-being. Life experiences usually allow further development, thus moving the individual to advance to higher stages. On the other hand, Abraham Maslow developed a different theory based on human's most basic needs which is represented in a pyramid type figure containing five levels. The most basic of needs appear at the bottom of the pyramid and the needs concerned with mans highest potential at the top. Both of these theory's can be used to analyse Andy Dufresne, the main character in the movie studied in class, Shawshank Redemption.

Andy Dufresne was a banker who was convicted of murdering his wife and her lover and sent to Shawshank prison. Andy eventually becomes good friends with a fellow inmate named Ellis Boyd Redding (Red) who has a large impact on his moral & ethical development.

The film follows the prison life of Andy Dufresne who uses his intelligence and knowledge to aid others. In his time at Shawshank, his energy and determination helped many people and the welfare of the prison. His campaign of one letter a week to he State Senate provided a number of books and records, along with money which aided in the construction of the prison library. This allowed Andy to educate a number of his fellow inmates and help them to achieve their high school equivalency. Andy used his previous knowledge of banking to his advantage by doing the tax returns for the majority of the guards and others as well as keeping the financial books for the warden's ill-gotten gains. This advantage allowed him much...