Life is what happens when you are making other plans~ John Lennon
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind~Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Green Mile (book)

The Green Mile (book)
One of my favorite books ever, I'm currently reading it... again. I love the book that much!! Plus, it was also my dad's favorite book too, :D

-The Green Mile is a 1996 serial novel written by Stephen King. It tells the story of death row supervisor Paul Edgecombe and his encounter with a mysterious inmate named John Coffey, who seems to be too good to be true, he is sympathetic, and displays a mysterious power of healing. This book is an example of miracles coming true in the weirdest places and at the weirdest times.

-The story is told from the first person perspective of Paul Edgecombe, who is now an old man in the Georgia Pines Nursing Home. It switches back and forth between his time in the Cold Mountain Prison in 1932 and his time as an old man in a nursing home with his fellow resident Elanie Connolly in 1996. The name of the story, "The Green Mile" comes from the fact that the floor of the death row in which he worked at was the color of the floor's linoleum. The year 1932 marks the year of John Coffey, a 6'8'' black man who has been convicted of raping and murdering 2 small white girls named Kathe and Cora Detterick. During his time on the Mile, John interacts with the various other prisoners, such as Eduard Delacroix, a Cajun arsonist who raped and murdered a little girl of 12 years. To get rid of her body, he burned it and ended up burning down the building where she lived and ended up killing 3 other people, William "Billy the Kid" Wharton, a wild acting, dangerous multiple murderer who is bound and determined to make as much trouble as humanly possible. Other prisoners include Arlen Bitterbuck, a Native American convicted of killing a man in a fight over a pair of boots, who is the first to die in the electric chair (or Old Sparky as the guards call it). Arthur Flanders, a real estate executive who killed his half senile father by pushing him out a 3rd story window to collect on his insurance, who eventually gets life instead of death, and Mr. Jingles, a small mouse who Del teaches various tricks.

-Paul and the other guards are constantly bothered by Percy Wetmore, a sadistic guard who gets a rise out of bugging the other prisoners. The other guards have to be civil because Percy is related to the governor by marriage, he is the nephew of the governor's wife. When Percy is offered a position at the nearby Briar Ridge psychiatric hospital as a secretary, Paul thinks it would be a good idea; they would finally be rid of him. Percy refuses to leave until he is allowed to sit in on an actual execution. Paul reluctantly allows him to sit in on the execution of Del. Percy deliberately sabotages Del's execution by not soaking the sponge in brine that sits inside the electrode cap for quick death. When the executioner, Van Hay, is told to throw the switch, the electric causes Del to catch fire and suffer a long, slow, agonizing death.

-Over time, Paul realizes John possesses an unexplainable healing power, which he uses to cure Paul's urinary tract infection. He also revives Del's mouse Mr. Jingles after Percy crushes him. John is empathetic and sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others around him. One night, the guards drug Wild Bill, then put a straightjacket on Perct and lock him in the padded Restraint Room so they can smuggle John out to take him to the home of the prison warden Hal Moore's house. The reason is Hal's wife, Melinda, is suffering from a deadly brain tumor the size of a lemon. The guards think that John may be able to cure her. John cures her and she is restored back to health, and this has Hal crying in happiness that she won't die by Christmas. When they return, John passes the "disease" onto Percy and this causes him to go mad and shoot Wild Bill to death before falling into a coma-like state from which there is no return. He is committed to the Briar Ridge Mental Hospital in a way he didn't want.

-Meanwhile, all this time, Paul has become more and more convinced that John did not rape and murder the Detterick twins. He finds out that it was Wild Bill Wharton who raped and murdered the 2 girls, that John was actually trying to bring them back, but he couldn't. Later, John tells Paul that what he saw when Wharton grabbed his arm one time, how Wharton convinced the girls to be silent using their relationship as sisters. Paul is unsure how to help John, but he tells him not to worry, as he is ready to die anyway, wanting to escape the foul cruelty of the world. John's execution is the last one Paul participates in. Years later, he introduces Mr. Jingles to Elaine just before the mouse dies, having lived 64 long, wonderful years past the events and explains that those healed by John gaines an unusually long lifespan. Elaine dies shortly after, never learning how Paul's wife died in his arms immediately after a bus accident, and that he saw John Coffey's ghost watching him from an overpass. Paul seems to be all alone, now 104 years old, and wondering how much longer he has.

  • Paul Edgecombe — The protagonist and narrator of the book and the death-row supervisor at Cold Mountain Penitentiary. He is 40 years old when the main bulk of the story takes place, in 1932. He is a caring man and takes excellent care of the men on his block, avoiding conflict and keeping the peace whenever possible. He is the first character to discover John Coffey's amazing abilities, when the prisoner cures his urinary tract infection. It is also his idea to take Coffey to try to cure Melinda, Warden Hal Moores' wife, of her brain tumor.
  • Brutus "Brutal" Howell — He is second in command on the Green Mile. He is a tall, imposing man but not violent at all unless necessary. His nickname of "Brutal" is intended as irony.
  • John Coffey — He is a massive black man (6'-8" tall), on death row for the alleged rape and murder of two young girls. He is very quiet and prefers to keep to himself, weeps almost constantly, and is afraid of the dark. Even at the end, during his execution, he asks Paul Edgecombe not to put on the traditional black silk mask used to block the view of the prisoner's face because he fears the dark. Coffey is described as "knowing his own name and not much else" and lacks the capability to so much as tie a simple knot. However, he is convicted of luring the girls away from their home, disposing of the watchdog, carefully planning and using abilities he would otherwise not be expected to have. He is the calmest and mildest prisoner the guards have ever seen, despite his hulking form. He turns out to be innocent of what he is accused of, but chooses to die anyway.
  • Percy Wetmore — He is an antagonist of the story, a young and sadistic guard who is only allowed to stay because he is the governor's nephew. He is very homophobic and attacks Eduard Delacroix for allegedly touching him, although it was an accident caused by Del stumbling out of the prison truck. He is later attacked by "Wild Bill" Wharton, consequently wets himself, and is teased by Delacroix for it. In retaliation, Percy deliberately sabotages Delacroix's execution. At the end of the story he is sent to the Briar Ridge mental institution, originally considered for a job but now as a patient, after Coffey transferred Melinda's disease to him which caused him to kill William Wharton. He eventually lives through a hospital fire and dies in 1965.
  • Eduard "Del" Delacroix — He is a Cajun prisoner with a fairly slow grasp of the English language. He is incarcerated for multiple deaths due to a fire he started while trying to cover up his rape and murder of a young girl. While on the Mile, Del befriends a mouse named Mr. Jingles, who becomes his best friend in his last days on death row. Percy, his enemy, sabotages his execution, forcing Del to die in a slow, gruesome death in the electric chair.
  • William "Wild Bill" Wharton — He is on death row for various crimes. He does not like the nickname "Wild Bill" but prefers to be called "Billy the Kid", a name which he has tattooed on his forearm. When he first arrives he manages to convince the guards that he is in a drugged stupor, only to attack and attempt to strangle to death Dean Stanton when they reach E Block. He continues to wreak havoc on the Mile and plays tricks such as urinating on the guards, amongst other things. He is punished by being placed in solitary confinement, but never seems to learn his lesson. As John Coffey is being smuggled to Hal Moores's house, Wild Bill grabs his arm and Coffey sees that he actually committed the murders Coffey was accused of. Therefore, Coffey gives Percy the "sickness" he took from the warden's wife, causing him to kill Wharton.
  • Mr. Jingles — An unusually intelligent mouse who enjoys eating peppermint sweets. He becomes a friend to Eduard Delacroix in the few days before the man is executed. He is resurrected by John Coffey after being stomped on by Percy Wetmore. This gives him increased longevity and he finally dies 64 years later.

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