The Green Mile

The Green Mile is a fantastic book, as well as a brilliant movie.  Another Tom Hanks film, the Green Mile is set in the  1930’s and tells the story of Paul, a prison guard supervisor.  Paul encounters all kinds of men in his line of work, but the story is based on one special man who has been placed on death row.  The man, a towering, muscular black man is brought in one day for a crime too heinous for Paul to understand.  Upon speaking to the man, Paul finds a gentle, kind soul.  Although confused by the man’s mismatched character and alleged crime, Paul admits the man, John Coffey, into one of the 4 cells on death row.

It’s not until later that Paul realizes how selfless and special John Coffey really is.

John reveals to Paul that he has a special gift that allows him to take pain and badness from people.  He proves this to Paul by relieving him of a terrible bladder infection.  He just takes it away.  Paul is amazed by John’s gift and he wonders how and why he could have committed such a terrible crime.  It’s not until later that John shows Paul with his gift that it wasn’t him who committed the crime, but the man staying the the cell just across from him on death row.  This man was on death row for violent crimes, not including the one that John was charged with.  John shows Paul the incident and how he was related.  He was trying to take away pain when he was caught at the crime, but because of his race and introverted personality, John was charged for the crime and placed on death row.

The end of the movie shows Paul as an old man reliving the day he placed John, the miracle man, on the electric chair and called for the on-switch.  Paul wanted to save John from this end, but John wanted freedom from his gift.  All he wanted was for Paul to do his job, and to take his pain away.