Read this history-making serial novel -- from cliffhanger to cliffhanger -- in its entirety. When it first appeared, one volume per month, Stephen King's The Green Mile was an unprecedented publishing triumph: all six volumes ended up on the New York Times bestseller list --... read more
In a Louisiana nursing home in 1999, Paul Edgecomb (Dabbs Greer) begins to cry while watching the movie Top Hat. His elderly friend, Elaine, shows concern for him and Paul tells her that the film reminded him of when he was a corrections officer in charge of Death Row inmates in state's Cold... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
In a Louisiana nursing home in 1999, Paul Edgecomb (Dabbs Greer) begins to cry while watching the movie Top Hat. His elderly friend, Elaine, shows concern for him and Paul tells her that the film reminded him of when he was a corrections officer in charge of Death Row inmates in state's Cold Mountain Penitentiary during the summer of 1935. The domain Paul (Tom Hanks) works in is called the "Green Mile" by the guards because the condemned prisoners walking to their execution are said to be walking "the last mile"; here, it is a stretch of green linoleum to the electric chair.
One day, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a giant black man convicted of raping and killing two young white girls arrives on death row. Coffey demonstrates all the characteristics of being 'developmentally challenged': keeping to himself, fearing darkness, and being moved to tears on occasion. Soon enough, John reveals extraordinary powers by healing Paul's urinary tract infection and resurrecting a mouse. Later, he would heal the terminally-ill wife of Warden Hal Moores (James Cromwell), who suffered from a large brain tumor. When John is asked to explain his power, he merely says that he "took it back."
At the same time, Percy Wetmore (Doug Hutchison), a sadistic and unpopular guard, starts work. He "knows people, big people" (he is the nephew of the governor's wife), in effect preventing Paul or anybody else from doing anything significant to curb his behavior. Percy recognizes that the other officers greatly dislike him and uses that to demand managing the next execution. After that, he promises, he will have himself transferred to an administrative post at Briar Ridge Mental Hospital and Paul will never hear from him again. An agreement is made, but Percy then deliberately sabotages the execution. Instead of wetting the sponge, used to conduct electricity and make executions quick and effective, he leaves it dry, causing inmate Eduard "Del" Delacroix's (Michael Jeter) execution to go horribly wrong.
Shortly before Del's execution, a violent prisoner named William "Wild Bill" Wharton (Sam Rockwell) arrives, due to be executed for multiple murders committed during a robbery. At one point he seizes John's arm and John psychically senses that Wharton is the true killer of the two girls, the crime for which John was convicted and sentenced to death. John "takes back" the sickness in Hal's wife and regurgitates it into Percy, who then shoots Wharton to death and falls into a permanent catatonic state. Percy is then housed in the Briar Ridge Mental Hospital. In the wake of these events, Paul interrogates John, who says he "punished them bad men" and offers to show Paul what he saw. John takes Paul's hand stating that he has to give Paul "a part of himself" in order to see and imparts the visions of what he saw, of what really happened to the girls.
Paul asks John what he should do, if he should open the door and let John walk away, but John tells him that he is ready to die because here there is too much pain in the world, which he is aware of and sensitive to, stating that he is "rightly tired of the pain" and is ready to rest. When John is put in the electric chair, he asks Paul not to put the traditional black hood over his head because he is afraid of the dark. Paul agrees and after Paul shakes his hand, John is executed.
As Paul finishes his story, he notes that he requested a transfer to a youth detention center, where he spent the remainder of his career. Elaine questions his statement that he had a fully-grown son at the time and Paul explains that he was 44 years old at the time of John's execution and that he is now 108 and still in excellent health. This is apparently a side effect of John giving a "part of himself" to Paul. Mr. Jingles, Del's mouse resurrected by John, is also still alive — but Paul believes his outliving all of his relatives and friends to be a punishment from God for having John executed. Paul explains he has deep thoughts about how "we each owe a death; there are no exceptions; but, Oh God, sometimes the Green Mile seems so long."
“Fragile as blown glass,we are, even under the best of conditions. To kill with gas and electricity, and in cold blood? The folly. The horror.”Paul Edgecombe
“I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head"”John Coffey
“They're still in there. I hear them screaming.”John Coffey
“He kill them with they love.”John Coffey
“Can he carry a tune, Curt?”Brutal Howell
“I'm sorry for what I am.”John Coffey
“John Coffey, like the drink, only spelled different.”John Coffey
“We each owe a death, there are no exceptions, I know that, but sometimes, oh God, the Green Mile is so long.”Paul Edgecombe
“You bet." A smile shone out of his face, so sudden and so simple in its happiness that I felt my heart break for him a little, in spite of the terrible thing he had done. What a world we live in - what a world!”Paul Edgecombe
Part One: The Two Dead Girls
Chapters 1 - 8
Part Two: The Mouse on the Mile
Chapters 1 - 11
Part Three: Coffey's Hands
Chapters 1 - 10
Part Four: The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix
Chapters 1 - 9
Part Five: Night Journey
Chapters 1 - 9
Part Six: Coffey On The Mile
Chapters 1 - 13
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