The Green Mile Book Summary – Stephen King

The Green Mile Book Summary - Stephen King
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The Green Mile is a horror-thriller novel by American author Stephen King, published in 1996. The original title, The Green Mile, indicates that it is a serialized novel. The book was successfully adapted into a film.

The Green Mile weaves together the meaninglessness of life with moments full of hope through the story of a journey. The narrative revolves around the love between two characters, Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters. It’s a tale filled with the thoughts lingering in their minds, meaningful dialogues, and impactful events during a journey fraught with challenges.

The Green Mile carries a deep meaning, portraying themes of love, hope, and the value of life. The film adaptation, shot between June and August, received great acclaim, achieving the same success as the book. With its inclusion of a bucket list, the story is beloved by many fans. The Green Mile offers readers an emotional journey, allowing them to explore the true meaning of life.

Summary Of The Green Mile

Paul Edgecombe recounts his time as a supervisor in the death row section of Cold Mountain Penitentiary, situated far from the tranquility of Georgia Pines, focusing on the period of time he spent there in 1932. As the story unfolds, spanning from 1932 to the present day, Paul aims to vividly express a period of his career fraught with serious doubts.

In Cold Mountain, Paul is in charge of Block E, where the death cells are located. This section has a long corridor leading to the cells where condemned prisoners await their fate, and it’s known as the Green Mile due to the color of the tiles on the floor. Paul adopts a compassionate approach towards the condemned prisoners. However, his colleagues Brutal, Harry, and Dean constantly complain about the cruel behavior of the young guard Percy Wetmore towards the inmates. This creates a violent and unpredictable atmosphere in Block E.

The arrival of Eduard Delacroix in Block E, following the execution of Chef (a Native American found guilty of killing a man in a drunken fight) and the transfer of The Pres (who killed his father by throwing him out of a window) to another ward, is marked by chaos and bullying. Percy forcefully drags Delacroix down the corridor, insults him, and hits him with his baton. Paul rebukes Percy for his behavior, but Percy, believing his political connections can protect him in any situation, feels no remorse and instead develops a growing hatred towards Delacroix.

One evening, when the guards hear laughter coming from Delacroix’s cell, they realize he’s been playing with a mouse that appeared in E Block some time ago. The mouse initially surprised the guards and showed signs of almost human-like intelligence. Paul later realizes that the mouse was actually looking for Eduard Delacroix. This mouse, named Mr. Jingles, becomes the loyal pet of the prisoner and entertains the guards with various tricks. In particular, Mr. Jingles enjoys chasing a wooden spool attached to the wall of Delacroix’s cell.

Several weeks later, John Coffey arrives in Block E. Paul describes him as a giant – a black man who makes everything around him seem comically small. After giving Coffey the standard speech for new inmates, Paul notices his soft-spoken manner and the fact that he can barely read or write. Paul is struck by the peace emanating from Coffey’s eyes. It’s a strange calmness that makes the man seem absent-minded and lost.

Paul becomes obsessed with Coffey’s demeanor and starts to investigate the details of his crime. He learns that Coffey has been accused of raping and murdering the Detterick twins, both nine-year-old girls. On a summer morning, the girls are found dead outside their bedroom door, and the family dog is found dead, apparently strangled. A search team is called in, and they find John Coffey holding the bodies of the Detterick twins, their heads covered in blood, in a state of constant crying, moving with despair and sorrow. Coffey’s behavior clearly indicates guilt. He is swiftly arrested and sentenced to death for his crime.

Meanwhile, a ruthless killer named William Wharton arrives in Block E. Wharton plays disturbing games that deeply unsettle Paul by frightening the guards with violent acts. Wharton is frequently punished for his actions, put in a straitjacket, and confined to the restraint room for several days, but he never changes his behavior.

On the same day as Wharton’s arrival, Coffey urgently summons Paul to his cell, claiming he needs to talk to him. Paul, dealing with a severe urinary tract infection, sits on Coffey’s bunk to speak with him. Coffey suddenly touches Paul’s groin, sending a painless energy flow into him. Then, Coffey coughs up a black bug, creating a white cloud that dissipates over time. After this event, Paul stands up and realizes that his urinary tract infection has completely disappeared.

A few weeks later, Coffey performs a second miraculous healing in Delacroix’s cell. When Delacroix accidentally throws Mr. Jingles’ spool too forcefully against the wall, Mr. Jingles exits the cell. Percy takes advantage of the situation and tries to crush the mouse violently with his shoe. However, a few seconds later, Coffey tells Paul to give the mouse to him. Paul hands it over, and the prisoner holds the mouse in his hands, breathes on it, and releases a cloud made of black bugs. These bugs turn white and vanish. In the next moment, Mr. Jingles emerges from Coffey’s hands unharmed and alive. The guards watch in astonishment.

That same night, Percy exacts a great revenge on Delacroix. He deliberately sabotages his execution by not wetting the sponge on Delacroix’s head, thus cutting off the electric current. As a result, Delacroix suffers a prolonged and agonizing death by burning in the electric chair. Percy’s vile act angers the guards, and they ensure that Percy submits an application the next day to work at Briar Ridge Mental Health Hospital.

To make amends for Delacroix’s horrific death, Paul decides to use John Coffey’s powers to heal Warden Moores’ wife, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer. By drugging William Wharton heavily and locking Percy in the restraint room, the two manage to take Coffey to Warden Moores’ house. There, Coffey, as he previously healed Paul and Mr. Jingles, heals Melinda. However, this time Coffey doesn’t cough up the black bugs, and the guards notice signs that Coffey has alleviated Melinda’s suffering.

The guards then allow Coffey to return to his weakened state in his cell and release Percy from the restraint room. But just before leaving the Green Mile, Coffey suddenly reaches through the bars of his cell, grabs Percy, and presses his lips to Percy’s, transferring the sickness he had absorbed from Melinda Moores into Percy. Percy’s eyes go blank, and after taking a few uncertain steps, he suddenly enters the cell of William Wharton while asleep and kills him. Percy never regains his sanity and is sent to a psychiatric hospital to work as a hospital orderly.

Following Wharton’s death, the official investigation concludes, and Coffey’s execution date approaches. However, Paul conducts his own investigation and proves Coffey’s innocence. During this process, it is discovered that William Wharton was the true culprit behind the rape and murder of the Detterick twins. John Coffey then reveals to Paul that when Wharton held his arm, he could enter Wharton’s mind and see what he did to the Detterick twins. The revelation of Wharton’s guilt motivates Coffey to kill Wharton and forces Percy to coerce Wharton’s murder in E Block.

Paul is troubled by the idea of executing an innocent man, and he shares what he has learned with his wife Janice and his colleagues. However, it is impossible to justify Coffey’s innocence because, despite reference to his powers, the racist justice system would never agree to reopen the case of a black man. Paul and his friends must accept that they cannot save Coffey’s life. As the guards grapple with the realization that an innocent man with God-given healing powers is to be executed, they experience a heavy burden of guilt. Coffey expresses his willingness to die to escape the cruelties of the world. Paul’s narrative ends with John Coffey

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