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Projecting the prison: the depiction of the uncanny in The Shawshank Redemption

Projecting the prison: the depiction of the uncanny in The Shawshank Redemption

Fiddler, Michael ORCID: 0000-0002-0695-6770 (2007) Projecting the prison: the depiction of the uncanny in The Shawshank Redemption. Crime Media Culture, 3 (2). pp. 192-206. ISSN 1741-6590 (doi:10.1177/1741659007078546)

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Abstract

The space of the prison is no longer on the margins in relation to societal `centres', but instead acts as an adjunct to the urban environment. With the disappearance of the Gothic prison from the archi-texture of contemporary cities, the meaning conveyed by its façade has lost much of its potency. It is now contemporary prison drama, as opposed to the physical façade, that represents the interface between the public and the prison. This article explores a dramatic representation of the prison (The Shawshank Redemption) through the lens of Freud's (1919/1955) notion of the uncanny and Bachelard's (1958/1994) poetics of domestic space. Incarceration, as depicted in film and television, reinforces the `place myths' of the prison (Shields, 1991). Contemporary prison drama portrays the prison as a marginal space in much the way that the Gothic façades of the 19th-century prison projected a particular message. The prison, as depicted on screen, is a simulacrum. It is a facsimile of an architectural idea that only ever existed as a façade - a façade that occluded as much as it projected.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: prison architecture, prison film, space, uncanny,
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Humanities & Social Sciences > Law & Criminology Research Group
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:04
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/1382

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