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The Shawshank Redemption

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Andy the Intelligent: Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences

Intelligence is the capacity to think and reason clearly and to act purposefully and effectively in adapting to the environment and pursuing one’s goals. (Nevid p. 274) Intelligence can be classified in many different categories, but it can all so be used as a broad term. However according to Howard Gardner there are seven types of intelligence: Musical, Logical-Mathematical, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Naturalist.

The main character of “The Shawshank Redemption”, Andy Dufresne, is a very intelligent man. The first type of intelligence Andy has is, Linguistic. This type of intelligence would be explained as a person’s ability to understand and use words. It also is how well a person produces it, as in the way they talk and they respond to other’s words. In the movie Andy is teaching an inmate, Tommy Williams to read and write.

Tommy Williams: I don't read so good.

Andy Dufresne: Well. [pause]

Andy Dufresne: You don't read so *well*. Uh, we'll get to that.

- Frank Darabont (Director)

(The Internet Movie Data Base)

He helps Tommy receive his high school diploma. He is also very knowledgeable is the accounting area. This broadens his vocabulary even more.

Before Andy was sent to Shawshank prison he was a highly respectable banker. Being in the banking area and knows his way with numbers also makes Andy has a good intelligence in logical-mathematical. Logical intelligence is being very good with numbers, and the thinking process referring back to the being able to explain things through numbers. It is also being able to comprehend complex problems that are dealing with numbers. In the movie Andy does all of the accounting, banking, and takes for many of the guards and even the Warden. Since Andy is such a good banking, the Warden, Samuel Norton, of the Prison has Andy keeping him from getting caught with dirty money. The warden used the prisoners as slaves to make him money, so Andy made up a “fake person” with a “fake social security number” and he used many accounts to keep the money from ever coming back to him or the Warden.

Andy also portrays musical intelligence in this movie. Musical intelligence can be expressed by being able to understand and read music. Another way to describe it is being able to relate music to everyday things. There is a scene in the movie where Andy Dufresne is the guards’ office and he has just received music from a library, he pulls out a classical piece and plays it for the entire prison. While he knew this was going to cause him to get in major trouble and he knew there would be consequences he did it to make the inmates feel free. Red another character from the movie talks about the music that was played over the intercom:

I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I'd like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can't be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.

- Frank Darabont

(The Internet Movie Data Base)

“Institutionalized”- Operant Conditioning and Shaping

Operant conditioning is the process of learning in which the manipulation of the consequences of a response influences the likelihood or probability of the response occurring. (Nevid p. 194) Operant conditioning is the association between a behavior and a consequence. There are four main consequences: positive reinforcement, positive punishment, positive negative reinforcement, and negative consequence. Positive reinforcement is where something is added that is pleasant. Negative reinforcement is where something that is not so pleasant is taken away. Positive punishment is where some kind of pain or something not wanted is added. Negative punishment is where something that is pleasant is taken away. Shaping is a part of operant conditioning. Shaping can be defined as “the method of successive approximations”. Shaping in Layman's terms can be defined as reinforcing a behavior that is close to that of what the desired behavior would actually by then reaching the desired behavior.

In the movie a man named Brooks had been in the Prison for almost fifty years. During the movie he is going to be let out of the prison, and he is now going to live in the real world. There is a topic that I believe is also related to operant conditioning, it is called institutionalization. A scene in the movie Brooks is going to kill another character named, Heywood. Brooks said that it was the only way that they would let me him stay. Andy Dufresne and Red calm Brooks down and he Brooks lets Haywood go with only a small cut on his throat. Later in the courtyard, Andy, Red, and Heywood are talking about what happened. (There are certain parts left out due to the use of graphic words)

Andy Dufresne: I just don’t understand what happened in there.

Heywood: Old man’s crazy as a rat in a shithouse, is what.

Red: Would you knock it off? Brooks ain’t no bug. He’s just… just institutionalized.

Heywood: Institutionalized, my ass.

Red: The man’s been in here fifty years, Heywood. Fifty years! This is all he knows. In here, he’s an important man. He’s an educated man. Outside, he’s nothin’! Just a used up con with arthritis in both hands.

- Frank Darabont (Director)

(The Internet Movie Data Base)

This scene in the movie talks about how Brooks has lived his whole life not knowing anything else but the prison ways. He has been taught the ways of the prison. He had lived on the outside of the walls but when he came to Shawshank he was shaped into the ways of Shawshank. If he did something that was not approved of



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