The Green Mile

The Green Mile

by

Stephen King

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Brutus “Brutal” Howell Character Analysis

Nicknamed Brutal because of his size, Brutus is a sensitive, thoughtful guard who assists Paul in some of his most challenging tasks and only uses force when it is absolutely necessary. Brutal believes strongly in the ideas of justice and retribution, for he feels that God will send him to hell for murdering John Coffey, who is a gift of God. He decides to transfer out of E block after Coffey’s execution, proving that his moral and spiritual qualms about the electric chair are sufficient to make him leave his job.

Brutus “Brutal” Howell Quotes in The Green Mile

The The Green Mile quotes below are all either spoken by Brutus “Brutal” Howell or refer to Brutus “Brutal” Howell. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Pocket Books edition of The Green Mile published in 1996.
Part 4: Chapter 5 Quotes

As for your witnesses, most of them will be telling their friends tomorrow night that it was poetic justice—Del there burned a bunch of people alive, so we turned around and burned him alive. Except they won't say it was us. They'll say it was the will of God, working through us. Maybe there's even some truth to that. And you want to know the best part? The absolute cat’s pajamas? Most of their friends will wish they'd been here to see it.

Related Symbols: The Green Mile
Page Number: 286
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 4: Chapter 9 Quotes

“[…] But none of those things are the reason I want to help save her, if she can be saved. What’s happening to her is an offense, goddammit, an offense. To the eyes and the ears and the heart.”

“Very noble, but I doubt like hell if that's what put this bee in your bonnet,” Brutal said. “I think it's what happened to Del. You want to balance it off somehow.”

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), Brutus “Brutal” Howell (speaker), Melinda Moores
Related Symbols: The Green Mile
Page Number: 305
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 6: Chapter 7 Quotes

“I mean we're fixing to kill a gift of God,” he said. “One that never did any harm to us, or to anyone else. What am I going to say if I end up standing in front of God the Father Almighty and He asks me to explain why I did it? That it was my job? My job?”

Related Characters: Brutus “Brutal” Howell (speaker), John Coffey
Related Symbols: The Green Mile
Page Number: 454
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Green Mile LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Green Mile PDF

Brutus “Brutal” Howell Character Timeline in The Green Mile

The timeline below shows where the character Brutus “Brutal” Howell appears in The Green Mile. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 2
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...temporary guards known as “floaters.” The regulars include Dean Stanton, Harry Terwillinger, Brutus Howell (nicknamed “Brutal” because of his size, despite his utter gentleness), and, finally, the cruel, idiotic Percy Wetmore. (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 6
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...the time to go over Brutus Howell’s report of the previous night. In the report, Brutal mentions that Delacroix cried a bit before going to bed but that he took his... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 7
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...mysteries. He recounts the first time the mouse appeared on E block. From the hall, Brutal had called Dean and Paul, who were in Paul’s office, with an urgent voice. As... (full context)
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...but Paul, wanting to save the mouse, stops him. Curious to discover what will happen, Brutal gives the mouse a piece of his corned-beef sandwich. For the next few seconds, the... (full context)
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Brutal opens the “Visitors” book and records the mouse’s appearance, calling it “Steamboat Willy,” a reference... (full context)
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The next night, Brutal and Paul search for Steamboat Willy in the restraint room but are unable to find... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 8
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...after these events have passed and Percy has already left the prison for Briar Ridge, Brutal calls Paul saying he has found the spot where Mr. Jingles was staying when they... (full context)
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...also finds little colored splinters of wood, which have been colored with wax Crayola crayons. Brutal and Paul realize that the mouse saved pieces of Delacroix’s colored spool in order to... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 4
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...as a weaker version of Percy Wetmore, inclined to take pleasure in violence and meanness. Brutal is in charge of placing the cap and ordering the “roll on two” when the... (full context)
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...make if he attacked them with his legs, which has happened a few times. After Brutal has secured Toot’s wrists, he calls out: “Roll on one!” On the night of the... (full context)
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Brutal gives Toot a short legal speech and asks him if he has anything to say.... (full context)
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Once the laughing fit has passed, Brutal places the mask on Toot’s face and the wet sponge and steel cap on his... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 5
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...determine its source. The men see that The Chief’s braid is on fire and, refusing Brutal’s fire extinguisher, Paul slaps The Chief’s braid to put out the fire. (full context)
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A few seconds later, Percy imitates Paul’s gesture and slaps the dead man’s cheek. Indignant, Brutal tells him severely not to do that, for Bitterbuck has paid his due. Percy cuts... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 7
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...of struggle, ultimately manages to shove Delacroix into his cell, but it is only once Brutal grabs Percy by the shoulders that the beating stops. Percy looks a bit scared at... (full context)
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...the new prisoner spends the whole time crying. After this, Paul goes to talk to Brutal and Brutal expresses his anger and disbelief at what has just happened with Percy. Paul... (full context)
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Paul and Brutal both admit that they hate Percy. After reflecting on it, Brutal tells Paul that he... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 8
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...conversations with Percy about his behavior, decides, as a last resort, to tell Percy that Brutal doesn’t like him and could potentially handle the matter in a more violent way. The... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 9
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...Paul and Dean contribute some more money. Toot-Toot only agrees to sell the box after Brutal reminds him that, in light of Delacroix’s execution, this would merely be a loan, not... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 10
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Paul decides to go to the prison early and tell warden Moores to put Brutus Howell in charge of Wharton’s reception. When he arrives at the prison around six o’clock, he... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 11 
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...Wharton was sedated from hospital drugs. Harry agrees, and even Percy grudgingly nods to confirm. Brutal glances at Paul and the two men agree, without words, that the guards will have... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 2
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...Wharton’s entrance on E block. While Wharton is daring Paul with his eyes to shoot, Brutal suddenly enters—by some miracle—and hits Wharton on the head with his baton. Dean crawls away... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 5
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...pants from inside his cell and is sent to the restraint room as punishment. When Brutal walks in, making Wharton think he is going to attack him, he suddenly moves to... (full context)
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...While the other guards think Wharton might actually be suffering from a real physical problem, Brutal reassures them, saying he will be fine. When the door opens after twenty-four hours, Brutal... (full context)
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Nevertheless, the next day, Wharton buys a Moon Pie from Toot-Toot and, at night, when Brutal walks the Mile to check on the prisoners, Wharton spits a long stream of liquid... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 7
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To make Delacroix leave his cell for the guards to rehearse his execution, Brutal takes Delacroix and Mr. Jingles to perform their tricks in front of a group of... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 10
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...aunt or to one of the guards. However, Delacroix rejects all of Paul’s suggestions, and Brutal enters the conversation, suggesting that Mr. Jingles could go to Mouseville, a famous tourist attraction... (full context)
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While Paul is wrapped up in Brutal’s fantasy, Percy slowly approaches Delacroix’s cell. Suddenly, when Delacroix throws the spool a bit too... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 2
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...Coffey did to his urinary infection and decides to pick up Mr. Jingles’s broken body. Brutal objects, but Paul tells him to keep quiet. He places Mr. Jingles in Coffey’s hands,... (full context)
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...his whiskers, and Delacroix laughs and cries when he holds him in his hands again. Brutal brings Delacroix the spool and asks him to throw it, to see how the mouse... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 3
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When Paul and Brutal enter the storage room about twenty minutes later, Percy is busy polishing the wooden parts... (full context)
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...up. Paul is furious and tells Percy he should be glad the mouse is alive. Brutal joins in with a threatening attitude, and Percy fearfully says he has contacts that can... (full context)
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...him, having exchanged the dead mouse for a living one. To intimidate Percy, Paul and Brutal force him into the electric chair and force him to promise that, the day after... (full context)
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...funny look in his eyes, as though he’d just had a good idea, Paul and Brutal shake hands with him, sealing their agreement. (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 4
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
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...his mouse one last kiss, which puts the guards on the verge of tears, Dean, Brutal, and Paul escort him to Paul’s office where he says a Catholic prayer in Cajun... (full context)
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...electricity to flow through the man’s head, he places it dry on Delacroix’s head. Neither Brutal nor Paul—who is still upset about Mouseville—notices that anything is wrong. Nevertheless, Dean and Brutal... (full context)
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...running down the condemned man’s cheeks. He tries to communicate what he has seen with Brutal, but his colleague doesn’t understand. Paul violently grabs Percy’s arm and Percy’s face reveals the... (full context)
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...a popping sound is heard underneath Del’s mask. Paul runs to stop the electricity, but Brutal, extremely pale yet perfectly in control of his thoughts, grabs his arm, telling him not... (full context)
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...asks if he should stop the current. Paul yells back that he shouldn’t. He tells Brutal, who is going to throw water on Del to stop the flames, to go get... (full context)
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...it becomes clear he is dead, Paul orders Van Hay to cut the electricity and Brutal to put out the fire. Brutal shoves the fire extinguisher into Percy’s arms, telling him... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 5
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After the guards successfully get Delacroix’s body out of the execution room, Brutal, moved by uncontrollable rage, goes to hit Percy with a blow that would probably have... (full context)
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When Curtis Anderson walks in, screaming, asking what happened, Brutal makes a joke that makes all of them laugh, deflating the atmosphere. Brutal tries to... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 9
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Paul calls Brutal, Dean, and Harry to invite them for lunch, noting that neither of them seem sleepy,... (full context)
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When the men hear Paul’s answer, they remain silent. Brutal says they could all lose their jobs. He mentions that none of them, except for... (full context)
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Paul agrees with Brutal, explaining that he feels he has to atone for his involvement in what happened to... (full context)
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When Brutal brings up the fact that Percy would never let them do this, Paul reveals the... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 2
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...thinks the killer might be. Paul says that it is probably someone white. Any man, Brutal realizes, could have been strong enough to break the dog’s neck by taking it by... (full context)
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...plan. Paul then announces that Dean is the one who will stay on the block. Brutal supports this decision, reminding Dean that he, unlike the rest of them, has two young... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 4
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...that must be an illusion, since people have been cleaning the room all day. When Brutal arrives, followed by Dean, Paul asks Dean if he can go get him a heating... (full context)
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...“Wild Bill,” Wharton puffs up, proud at seeing his status as an outlaw finally recognized. Brutal and Paul make sure the restraint room is locked once instead of twice, so that... (full context)
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Throughout the evening, Coffey seems unusually alert. When Brutal glances at Coffey’s cell on his way back from the restraint room, Coffey says he’d... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 5
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...accumulation of lies but tells him it is fine, and Percy walks away. Dean and Brutal pretend to be absorbed in a game, but they are all aware that the suspense... (full context)
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...is because it is filled with drugs that will leave Wharton unconscious for forty-eight hours. Brutal gives Percy a Biblical reply about Paul being overly compassionate. Percy, who doesn’t understand Brutal’s... (full context)
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...Paul says it is time. While Coffey is watching, standing up against his cell’s door, Brutal grabs the straitjacket and Paul, Harry, and Brutal walk up the Green Mile toward Paul’s... (full context)
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...only want to talk to him, he tries to run away. Harry blocks him and Brutal reveals the straitjacket. Percy tries to run again but Harry stops him by grabbing his... (full context)
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Brutal then tells Percy to enter the straightjacket, as Percy’s lips are trembling and he is... (full context)
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...men re-enter the Green Mile, Dean fakes surprise and indignation at what is happening and Brutal tells him to shut up—a dialogue they scripted ahead of time so that Dean might... (full context)
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...speech, Wharton tries to stop them and Coffey tells him he is a bad man. Brutal separates Wharton’s hand from Coffey’s arm and the tension suddenly dies down. Brutal tells Wharton... (full context)
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...strong drug in his body and Coffey repeats that he is a bad man. When Brutal asks Coffey if he knows where they are going, Coffey says they are going to... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 6
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When they finally find the car, Harry and Brutal sit in the front while Paul sits in the back with Coffey, and they all... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 7
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Harry and Brutal step out the car as more lights in the house turn on, and Paul realizes... (full context)
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...Coffey says he wants to help her. When Hal objects, saying she cannot be helped, Brutal says they want to try. In that moment, Coffey takes control of the situation and... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 9
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
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...stop by the side of the road to pee, Coffey remains in the car and Brutal tells Paul that, since Coffey swallowed Melinda’s sickness, he will probably die soon. On their... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 2
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...to die very soon. Harry goes to check that the storage room is empty and Brutal and Paul help carry Coffey through the door, all the way to Paul’s office. Paul... (full context)
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...have succeeded in removing it within an hour, which would have allowed him to scream. Brutal lifts Percy up and, when Paul draws near, he can smell Percy’s sweat, which he... (full context)
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...going to talk. When Paul tears the tape off Percy’s mouth, the peeling sound makes Brutal wince and Percy’s eyes water. Percy begins shouting for Paul to get him out of... (full context)
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Before removing the straightjacket, Brutal digs his thumb into Percy’s cheek gives and Percy a speech of his own, meant... (full context)
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...John has made the entire floor shake, a lightbulb explode, and has released Percy. When Brutal yells at Paul asking for an explanation, Paul says that John has given Percy whatever... (full context)
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...few unsteady steps forward. Paul, who believes that Percy is coming back to consciousness, tells Brutal to leave him alone. When Percy walks by Wharton’s cell, though, he suddenly stops, pulls... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 5
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...they have to do is show the Dettericks a picture of Wharton. However, Paul and Brutal tell Janice that what they have found out does not constitute legal proof, only a... (full context)
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...and suddenly sends everything flying off the table. She begins to yell at Paul and Brutal, telling them they are cowards and are going to let an innocent man die, consoling... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 7
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...to cope, suddenly asks to be let out of the chair. On the way back, Brutal tells him that he is afraid to be sent to hell for killing a gift... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 8
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Paul leaves Coffey’s cell and realizes he can hear Brutal’s thoughts, who is debating the spelling of a word. Brutal says that Paul looks unwell... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 10
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...spits on the platform and insults John, wishing him to die and suffer. John tells Brutal, who is waiting on the platform, that he can feel the hatred coming from the... (full context)
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When John sits down in the chair, Paul and Harry attach his ankles, Brutal attaches his wrists, and calls “Roll on one.” While Marjorie Detterick is screaming insults, her... (full context)
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...Paul sees no resignation or peace in his eyes, but rather incomprehension, fear, and misery. Brutal comes forward with the mask but John, who is terrified of the dark, begs him... (full context)
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Brutal then calls “Roll on two” and the electric current is so strong that the light... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 12
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...attack. Writing retrospectively, Paul says he loves her and misses her, along with Janice and Brutal and everyone else. (full context)