The Green Mile

The Green Mile

by

Stephen King

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Paul Edgecombe Character Analysis

The narrator and protagonist of The Green Mile. As the supervisor of E block, Paul takes his job very seriously, believing that all prisoners should be treated with compassion and respect so that their final moments of life might be tolerable. He has an acute sense of responsibility, as his desire to atone for Delacroix’s horrific execution leads him to risk his job and freedom in order to heal Melinda Moores’s brain tumor. He also demonstrates his commitment to fairness and truth when he unofficially reopens the investigation into John Coffey’s crime, dedicating time and energy outside of his work to prove the man’s innocence. His feeling of guilt at participating in Coffey’s execution leads him to write down his memories, in the hope that he might right the wrong of Coffey’s unjust death. Overall, he believes in the value of companionship, trusting that love and friendship are capable of defeating the evil forces of the world.

Paul Edgecombe Quotes in The Green Mile

The The Green Mile quotes below are all either spoken by Paul Edgecombe or refer to Paul Edgecombe. 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 1: Chapter 1 Quotes

A left turn meant life—if you called what went on in the sunbaked exercise yard life, and many did; many lived it for years, with no apparent ill effects. Thieves and arsonists and sex criminals, all talking their talk and walking their walk and making their little deals.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), Arthur “The President” Flanders
Related Symbols: The Green Mile
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: Chapter 2 Quotes

In a way, that was the worst; Old Sparky never burned what was inside them, and the drugs they inject them with today don't put it to sleep. It vacates, jumps to someone else, and leaves us to kill husks that aren't really alive anyway.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), Eduard “Del” Delacroix
Related Symbols: The Green Mile
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: Chapter 4  Quotes

I think they would have given a good deal to unsee what was before them, and none of them would ever forget it—it was the sort of nightmare, bald and almost smoking in the sun, that lies beyond the drapes and furnishings of good and ordinary lives—church suppers, walks along country lanes, honest work, love-kisses in bed. There is a skull in every man, and I tell you there is a skull in the lives of all men. They saw it that day, those men—they saw what sometimes grins behind the smile.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), John Coffey, Kathe and Cora Detterick
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2: Chapter 5 Quotes

It was over. We had once again succeeded in destroying what we could not create. Some of the folks in the audience had begun talking in those low voices again; most sat with their heads down, looking at the floor, as if stunned. Or ashamed.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), Arlen “The Chief” Bitterbuck
Related Symbols: The Green Mile
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2: Chapter 6  Quotes

I don't want you to forget him, all right? I want you to see him there, looking up at the ceiling of his cell, weeping his silent tears, or putting his arms over his face. I want you to hear him, his sighs that trembled like sobs, his occasional watery groan.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), John Coffey
Related Symbols: Medal
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3: Chapter 3 Quotes

I helped it, didn’t I?

Except he hadn't. God had. John Coffey's use of “I” could be chalked up to ignorance rather than pride, but I knew—believed, at least—that I had learned about healing in those churches of Praise Jesus, The Lord Is Mighty, piney-woods amen corners much beloved by my twenty-two-year-old mother and my aunts: that healing is never about the healed or the healer, but about God's will.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), John Coffey
Related Symbols: Medal
Page Number: 181
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3: Chapter 4 Quotes

Everyone—black as well as white—thinks it's going to be better over the next jump of land. It's the American damn way. Even a giant like Coffey doesn't get noticed everywhere he goes . . . until, that is, he decides to kill a couple of little girls. Little white girls.

Related Characters: Burt Hammersmith (speaker), Paul Edgecombe, John Coffey
Page Number: 189
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3: Chapter 7 Quotes

This is the real circus, I thought, closing my eyes for a second. This is the real circus right here, and we’re all just a bunch of trained mice. Then I put the thought out of my mind, and we started to rehearse.

Related Symbols: The Green Mile
Page Number: 216
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 4: Chapter 1 Quotes

Smiling at me. Disliking me. Maybe even hating me. And why? I don't know. Sometimes there is no why. That's the scary part.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), Brad Dolan
Page Number: 239
Explanation and Analysis:

It’s as if, by writing about those old times, I have unlocked some unspeakable door that connects the past to the present—Percy Wetmore to Brad Dolan, Janice Edgecombe to Elaine Connelly, Cold Mountain Penitentiary to the Georgia Pines old folks’ home.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker)
Page Number: 216
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 4: Chapter 3 Quotes

Meanness is like an addicting drug—no one on earth is more qualified to say that than me—and I thought that, after a certain amount of experimentation, Percy had gotten hooked on it. He liked what he had done to Delacroix’s mouse. What he liked even more was Delacroix’s dismayed screams.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), Percy Wetmore, Eduard “Del” Delacroix
Page Number: 253-254
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 4: Chapter 4 Quotes

I could hear Del breathing in great dry pulls of air, lungs that would be charred bags less than four minutes from now laboring to keep up with his fear-driven heart. The fact that he had killed half a dozen people seemed at that moment the least important thing about him. I’m not trying to say anything about right and wrong here, but only to tell how it was.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), Eduard “Del” Delacroix
Related Symbols: The Green Mile
Page Number: 269
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 5: Chapter 1 Quotes

Writing is a special and rather terrifying form of remembrance, I’ve discovered there is a totality to it that seems almost like rape. Perhaps I only feel that way because I’ve become a very old man (a thing that happened behind my own back, I sometimes feel), but I don't think so. I believe that the combination of pencil and memory creates a kind of practical magic, and magic is dangerous. As a man who knew John Coffey and saw what he could do—to mice and to men—I feel very qualified to say that.

Magic is dangerous.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), John Coffey
Related Symbols: Medal
Page Number: 314
Explanation and Analysis:

As I went on down toward the kitchen, it occurred to me that the team of Elaine Connelly and Paul Edgecombe would probably be a match for a dozen Brad Dolans, with half a dozen Percy Wetmores thrown in for good

measure.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), Percy Wetmore, Elaine Connelly, Brad Dolan
Page Number: 320
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 5: Chapter 2 Quotes

Hammersmith who had told me that mongrel dogs and Negroes were about the same, that either might take a chomp out of you suddenly, and for no reason. Except he kept calling them your Negroes, as if they were still property . . . but not his property. No, not his. Never his. And at that time, the South was full of Hammersmiths.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), John Coffey, Burt Hammersmith
Page Number: 335
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 5: Chapter 7 Quotes

I believe there is good in the world, all of it flowing in one way or another from a loving God. But I believe there’s another force as well, one every bit as real as the God I have prayed to my whole life, and that it works consciously to bring all our decent impulses to ruin. Not Satan, I don't mean Satan (although I believe he is real, too), but a kind of demon of discord, a prankish and stupid thing that laughs with glee when an old man sets himself on fire trying to light his pipe or when a much-loved baby puts its first Christmas toy in its mouth and chokes to death on it. I’ve had a lot of years to think on this, all the way from Cold Mountain to Georgia Pines, and I believe that force was actively at work among us on that morning, swirling everywhere like a fog, trying to keep John Coffey away from Melinda Moores.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), John Coffey, Melinda Moores
Page Number: 372
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 6: Chapter 2 Quotes

I’ll be okay, they ain’t killers, Percy would think . . . and then, maybe, he’d think of Old Sparky and it would cross his mind that yes, in a way we were killers. I'd done seventy-seven myself, more than any of the men I'd ever put the chest-strap on, more than Sergeant York himself got credit for in World War I.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), Percy Wetmore
Related Symbols: The Green Mile
Page Number: 410
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 6: Chapter 6 Quotes

“My poor old guy,” she repeated, and then: “Talk to him.”

“Who? John?”

“Yes. Talk to him. Find out what he wants.”

I thought about it, then nodded. She was right. She usually was.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), Janice Edgecombe (speaker), John Coffey
Page Number: 452
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 6: Chapter 10 Quotes

Old Sparky seems such a thing of perversity when I look back on those days, such a deadly bit of folly. Fragile as blown glass, we are, even under the best of conditions. To kill each other with gas and electricity, and in cold blood? The folly. The horror.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), John Coffey
Related Symbols: The Green Mile
Page Number: 475
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 6: Chapter 13 Quotes

John saved me, too, and years later, standing in the pouring Alabama rain and looking for a man who wasn't there in the shadows of an underpass, standing amid the spilled luggage and the ruined dead, I learned a terrible thing: sometimes there is absolutely no difference at all between salvation and damnation.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), John Coffey, Janice Edgecombe
Related Symbols: The Green Mile
Page Number: 497
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Green Mile PDF

Paul Edgecombe Character Timeline in The Green Mile

The timeline below shows where the character Paul Edgecombe appears in The Green Mile. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 1
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Paul Edgecombe begins his story in 1932, during his time as death-row supervisor at Cold Mountain... (full context)
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...block—where death-row prisoners must await their fate—is occupied by women and men of all races. Paul relates the story of an inmate he remembers clearly. Beverly McCall killed her abusive and... (full context)
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Thirty-five years later, when Paul sees McCall’s obituary in the newspaper, he realizes that she has spent the last ten... (full context)
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Paul explains that E block is called the “Green Mile” because of its tiles, which are... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 2
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...makes the fall feel like summer. The warden’s wife, Melinda, is briefly in the hospital. Paul himself suffers from illness: a terrible urinary infection. The inmate Delacroix arrives at E block.... (full context)
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...and Harry walk in with John Coffey, an extremely muscular, six-foot-eight-inch tall black man whom Paul compares to a captured bear. Despite Coffey’s imposing appearance, Paul notices immediately that something in... (full context)
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Percy walks in yelling: “Dead man walking! Dead man walking!” but Paul, annoyed, cuts him short. Paul is waiting in John’s cell to talk with Coffey, as... (full context)
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...his cell, his incredible size forces him to duck. Amazed at the inmate’s sheer height, Paul also discovers, after reading through Coffey’s forms, that Coffey’s body is covered in numerous scars.... (full context)
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Despite the fact that Percy has political connections that could threaten Paul’s job, Paul, whose urinary infection has put him on edge, brusquely sends Percy away to... (full context)
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Paul also tells Del—who is watching the action from his cell with his mouse Mr. Jingles... (full context)
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Despite the awfulness of his crimes, Del seems devoid of any malicious intent. Paul explains that this is the worst aspect of Old Sparky’s punishment. While the death penalty... (full context)
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When Harry comes to unlock John’s chains, Paul realizes that Harry is no longer afraid of John. What truly scared him, Paul concludes,... (full context)
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Paul decides that, despite Coffey’s imposing size, the new inmate will not be any trouble on... (full context)
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Paul concludes his speech by asking if Coffey has any questions and the prisoner asks if... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 3 
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As Paul and Harry walk back toward Paul’s office, Harry warns Paul that he is likely to... (full context)
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When Paul asks what his colleagues think about John Coffey, both Harry and Dean concur that he... (full context)
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Paul then heads to the library, a remote room he discovers to be extremely hot and... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 4 
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Paul recounts the story of the Detterick twins’ disappearance, rape, and murder. In the 1930s, a... (full context)
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...sheriff to inform him of the situation. The Trapingus County high sheriff, Homer Cribus, whom Paul describes as an incompetent alcoholic who depends on other people to get things done, calls... (full context)
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...the sounds of the search party that Deputy Robert McGee has put together much faster (Paul says) than the sheriff ever could have. As the group follows Bobo’s dogs, Rob McGee... (full context)
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...than the sound any animal would make, and everyone realizes it is a man’s cry. Paul compares this inhuman cry to the screams some men make on their way to the... (full context)
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...Coffey he is under arrest for murder and spits in his face. At the trial, Paul recounts, the jury only takes forty-five minutes to settle Coffey’s fate. (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 5
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Paul explains that he didn’t find out such details from only one visit to the library,... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 6
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The next day, Paul receives a note from warden Moores summoning him to his office. He knows that this... (full context)
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Paul explains that talking to the prisoners is a vital task that regular guards must achieve,... (full context)
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Paul makes a note about trying to talk to John Coffey. He then reads the account... (full context)
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After discovering this bad news, Paul heads to warden Moores’s office. Paul describes Hal Moores as the most honest of the... (full context)
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Moores then reaches the heart of the matter, telling Paul that he received an angry call from the state capital earlier that morning, for Percy,... (full context)
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Moores also tells Paul that Percy has apparently submitted an application to transfer to Briar Ridge hospital, which will... (full context)
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Despite Paul’s incomprehension, Moores tells Paul that a speedy way to get rid of Percy would be... (full context)
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Before Paul leaves, Moores asks him if he thinks Coffey is going to be any trouble. Paul... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 7
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Paul calls Delacroix’s mouse one of God’s mysteries. He recounts the first time the mouse appeared... (full context)
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Dean wants to get rid of the mouse with a broom but Paul, wanting to save the mouse, stops him. Curious to discover what will happen, Brutal gives... (full context)
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...book and records the mouse’s appearance, calling it “Steamboat Willy,” a reference to Mickey Mouse. Paul laughs, but Dean says Brutal is going to get into trouble for that, since Percy... (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 him. They... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 8
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...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 first saw... (full context)
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Paul recalls how, a few moments before Delacroix’s execution, he promised Delacroix to protect his mouse.... (full context)
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Inside the mouse’s hole, Paul also finds little colored splinters of wood, which have been colored with wax Crayola crayons.... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 1
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Paul describes Georgia Pines, the nursing home where he is spending his old age. While he... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 2
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...of violence can upset inmates, who might then easily turn violent themselves. Dean repeats what Paul always says: that guards need to talk to the inmates, not make them more nervous... (full context)
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The following night, Dean tells Paul that what Percy doesn’t understand is that he has no real power over the inmates,... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 3
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...moment of fright, it returns to E block the next evening, on Percy’s night off. Paul has taken an extra hour to talk to The Chief, whom he can see is... (full context)
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In the corridor, as Dean is telling Paul about what happened with Percy the night before, Toot-Toot, who sells snacks in the prison,... (full context)
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...though, when Toot-Toot offers the mouse a bit of bologna, the mouse refuses it. When Paul gives him a piece from the same sandwich, the mouse eats it, thereby seemingly confirming... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 4
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The date of Bitterbuck’s execution arrives. Paul explains that while everyone calls him The Chief, he is not, in fact, a chief,... (full context)
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...The Chief receives the visit of his second wife and a few of his children, Paul and the guards rehearse his execution. Paul puts Percy in the switch room with Van... (full context)
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...rehearsals, Toot-Toot plays the part of the condemned. While most men find Old Toot funny, Paul sees him as a weaker version of Percy Wetmore, inclined to take pleasure in violence... (full context)
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In Bitterbuck’s room, where they are rehearsing the execution, Paul gives a short legal speech, Dean examines Toot-Toot’s head in order to make sure that... (full context)
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Escorted closely by Paul, Dean, and Harry, Toot enters Paul’s office, where he immediately kneels down to pray. He... (full context)
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...little door that leads to it. Percy asks what he is supposed to do and Paul curtly replies that he should simply observe and learn. When Toot sits on the chair,... (full context)
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...idea of an execution might be, the men cannot keep from bursting out laughing. Even Paul finds the joke funny, but he cannot afford to risk seeing the men laugh during... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 5
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...hair. Under his daughter’s calm influence, Bitterbuck leaves his cell without protest, walks up to Paul’s office where he kneels to pray, and cries calmly. However, most of the witness chairs... (full context)
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...the execution, most people in the audience hold their head down, either stunned or, as Paul suggests, ashamed. (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 6 
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Paul recounts that, at the age of nineteen, he wrote a passionate, four-page love letter to... (full context)
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Paul realizes that his decision to write about John Coffey has led him much farther back... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 7
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...section of the prison. He is murdered twelve years later in the prison’s laundry room. Paul reflects that, ironically, The Pres’s death would probably have been less painful on the electric... (full context)
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...Pres gone, one day Eduard Delacroix is sent to the Green Mile. In E block, Paul, who is waiting on the new inmate’s cell’s bed for him to arrive, suddenly hears... (full context)
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When Paul angrily asks Percy for an explanation, saying that this type of behavior is unacceptable on... (full context)
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Paul goes to Delacroix’s cell to give him his usual speech about life in prison, but... (full context)
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Paul and Brutal both admit that they hate Percy. After reflecting on it, Brutal tells Paul... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 8
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One night, the guards hear Delacroix laughing in his cell and, when Paul hears that Harry is laughing, too, he goes to Delacroix’s cell to see what is... (full context)
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...the same mouse that he chased to the restraint room, which the men confirm, and Paul notices unusual serenity in the man’s face. When Paul tells him that Delacroix wants a... (full context)
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Paul explains that he later discovered the reasons behind Percy’s behavior. Years later, at a dinner,... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 9
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...gives four cents for the cigar box but, when Toot-Toot proves reluctant to sell it, Paul and Dean contribute some more money. Toot-Toot only agrees to sell the box after Brutal... (full context)
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A week later, Delacroix calls the guards to show them Mr. Jingles’s latest trick. Paul arrives to see Mr. Jingles eating one of Delacroix’s peppermint candies, munching at it like... (full context)
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A week later, Delacroix excitedly shows Paul a trick that Mr. Jingles can do with a wooden spool, which Delacroix has bought... (full context)
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...a circus act. Delacroix is delighted to think of his mouse as a circus mouse. Paul sees him so excited that he believes the man has never been so happy in... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 10
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The day Wharton is scheduled to enter E block, Paul wakes up with terrible pain from his urinary infection, which has returned stronger after having... (full context)
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Paul decides to go to the prison early and tell warden Moores to put Brutus Howell... (full context)
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...apologizes, embarrassed at having shown himself so vulnerable. In the emotional chaos of the situation, Paul forgets to tell Moores about his urinary infection and heads to E block, concluding that... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 11 
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...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 to use this... (full context)
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Paul jumps back in time to explain what happened. Seven guards are in charge of picking... (full context)
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...forward to unlock the door, Wharton suddenly comes alive, uttering a shrieking, animal-like cry that Paul, hearing the sound from within the prison, believes to come from a dog. Wharton begins... (full context)
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Drawn by the commotion, Paul runs out of Wharton’s cell, where he was waiting for him, and recognizes in Wharton’s... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 1
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Paul explains that he is writing this story from his nursing home where, despite the place’s... (full context)
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One morning, Elaine joins Paul in the TV room at 4 A.M., unable to sleep because of her arthritis. She... (full context)
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Elaine reflects for a moment and Paul is convinced that she is going to tell him to stop writing but, instead, she... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 2
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Paul goes back to recounting the circumstances surrounding Wharton’s entrance on E block. While Wharton is... (full context)
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Three hours later, Wharton wakes up and stands silently at his cell’s bars, scaring Paul, who is writing a report about what happened. While Paul tries not to show his... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 3
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...Percy remains silent except to yell at Delacroix, who desperately wants to know what happened. Paul realizes that Percy deeply hates Delacroix, for no reason that Paul can identify. Paul sends... (full context)
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As soon as Percy leaves, Paul heads to the bathroom and stifles a scream as he pees, urinating pus. When he... (full context)
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For once, Paul notices, Coffey looks fully present, his eyes awake and without tears. Coffey tells Paul that... (full context)
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From his cell, Delacroix warns Paul not to go in, but Paul tells him to keep quiet. Coffey tells Paul to... (full context)
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...Delacroix is yelling that he wants to know what is going on in Coffey’s cell, Paul notices that Coffey looks unwell. Out of nowhere, Coffey’s mouth opens as though he is... (full context)
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Paul stands up, notices that all his pain is gone, and asks Coffey what he has... (full context)
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When Paul exits Coffey’s cell, Delacroix, who finds Paul completely different, becomes convinced that Coffey has worked... (full context)
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When he goes to the bathroom after a few minutes, his pain entirely gone, Paul knows that he has experienced a true miracle. He believes that Coffey is not the... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 4
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The next day, Paul heads to Tefton, in Trapingus County, to look for Burt Hammersmith, the reporter who covered... (full context)
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When Paul tells Hammersmith he has come to talk about Coffey, who spends most of his time... (full context)
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When Hammersmith finishes his story, he tries to figure out what exactly motivates Paul’s curiosity. Paul decides not to tell him about John’s healing, but merely asks if Hammersmith... (full context)
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Hammersmith asks if Paul has seen Coffey’s scars, a detail which was used during the trial in Coffey’s defense.... (full context)
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To address Paul’s doubts about Coffey’s guilt, Hammersmith tells him the story of his own dog. He compares... (full context)
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...who shies away in embarrassment. However, when his dad forces him to raise his head, Paul sees that the boy’s face is completely deformed. A huge scar runs through his face,... (full context)
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...to feel sorry for what he had done. On his way back to the prison, Paul feels gloomy, carrying the image of Hammersmith’s disfigured son in his mind. (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 5
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As the men push Wharton toward the restraint room, Paul gives him a brief speech, saying that the guards will treat him well if he... (full context)
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...to be good but later ends up playing some new, evil trick on the guards. Paul, who is used to prisoners playing such tricks, is amazed at Wharton’s incredible persistence. He... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 6
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That week, Melinda Moores returns from the hospital and Paul and Janice go to visit her. When they see their friend, the two of them... (full context)
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Hal walks in and takes Paul aside, telling him how hard it is to see his wife like this. When Paul... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 7
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...in charge of a circus. After he leaves, excited at the prospect of the show, Paul gets the guards ready for rehearsal. When Toot-Toot, as usual, begins to narrate everything he... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 8
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After the rehearsals of Delacroix’s execution go well, Paul is impressed with Percy’s behavior and realizes that the reason the young man is behaving... (full context)
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Suddenly, the sound of laughter interrupts the corridor’s silence. Paul initially believes it is coming from Wharton but soon realizes that Delacroix is laughing and... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 9
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The night before Delacroix’s execution, the weather turns unbearably hot and humid. When Paul arrives at the prison, he chats with Bill Dodge about the inmates and Bill says... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 10
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...wall—a trick that the mouse never seems to tire of but which soon gets on Paul’s nerves—Delacroix shares his thoughts with Paul. Paul suggests that they could give the mouse to... (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... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 1
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While Paul has been living at Georgia Pines for two years now, he feels that his sense... (full context)
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For exercise, Paul goes out for walks. He usually grabs toast from the kitchen and sets off toward... (full context)
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Brad tells Paul he should not be wearing the poncho he has on, as it is meant for... (full context)
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Brad asks Paul to tell him what he does on that path, but Paul refuses to answer. Instead,... (full context)
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When Paul gets back to Georgia Pines, shaking, he tries to calm down and goes to sit... (full context)
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Paul asks Elaine if she would read what he has written when he is done. Elaine... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 2
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Paul remembers what Coffey did to his urinary infection and decides to pick up Mr. Jingles’s... (full context)
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...the mouse runs. Delacroix reluctantly obeys, and Mr. Jingles runs with a slight limp—which, in Paul’s mind, only makes what has just happened (Mr. Jingles’s near-death and healing) all the more... (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... (full context)
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Paul announces that Mr. Jingles is fine and, when Percy doesn’t believe him, he tells him... (full context)
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...trick on 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... (full context)
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...agrees to apply for transfer to Briar Ridge the day after Delacroix’s execution. Even though Paul feels that Percy has a funny look in his eyes, as though he’d just had... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 4
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...and the witnesses arrive. However much the witnesses might have joked about the electric chair, Paul notes that as time passes they become serious and nervous. When Paul comes to pick... (full context)
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...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 French. A... (full context)
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Del walks up to the chair, the men tie him to it, and Paul feels a moment of compassion for this man, explaining that his status as a rapist... (full context)
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...he has anything to say. Delacroix apologizes for his crimes and, in a whisper, asks Paul to take care of his mouse. As Paul is reassuring him, Percy reveals to Delacroix... (full context)
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...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 are showing... (full context)
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Suddenly, when Percy is done fitting the cap on Delacroix’s head, Paul notices that he sees no water running down the condemned man’s cheeks. He tries to... (full context)
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...something is wrong when a crinkling sound is heard and a horrible smell emerges, which Paul later understands to be a mix of burning hair and sponge. Paul looks at Dean,... (full context)
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...bursts into flames and Van Hay, completely shaken, asks if he should stop the current. Paul yells back that he shouldn’t. He tells Brutal, who is going to throw water on... (full context)
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While the audience gives in to panic and Paul explains to Curtis Anderson that they have gone too far to stop the process now,... (full context)
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When Del’s body slumps back and it becomes clear he is dead, Paul orders Van Hay to cut the electricity and Brutal to put out the fire. Brutal... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 5
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...rage, goes to hit Percy with a blow that would probably have killed him, but Paul stops him. Brutal doesn’t understand why Paul is protecting him, and Paul says that hurting... (full context)
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Paul says that Del is dead and they cannot do anything about that. He controls his... (full context)
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...was successful—and that Del’s horrible death is poetic justice for the people Del himself burned. Paul tells Curtis that Percy committed a mistake, and Anderson finally agrees the execution could have... (full context)
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...toward Percy and tells him he is an asshole. Using the other men as witnesses, Paul reassures Anderson by telling him that Percy is going to ask to transfer to Briar... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 6
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When Paul goes back to the block to write his report, feeling exhausted, he sees Coffey’s steady... (full context)
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When Paul asks where Mr. Jingles is, Coffey says he went to the restraint room, and Paul... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 7
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When Paul returns home, Janice is waiting for him as she always does on execution nights. Paul,... (full context)
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After Paul and Janice make love, she falls asleep, but Paul finds himself thinking that he and... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 8
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In the morning, while Paul is drinking his third cup of coffee in the kitchen, Hal Moores calls him on... (full context)
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When Paul asks Hal how Melinda is, he says her state is rapidly deteriorating and that she... (full context)
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Paul tells Janice, who has been listening to the conversation, that Melinda Moores is getting worse.... (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... (full context)
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When the men are all sitting around the table, Paul explains that what is on his mind has to do with John Coffey and Mr.... (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... (full context)
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Paul agrees with Brutal, explaining that he feels he has to atone for his involvement in... (full context)
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When Brutal brings up the fact that Percy would never let them do this, Paul reveals the second part of his plan and the men smile at his idea. Harry... (full context)
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The men then discuss practical details. Paul confirms that it makes more sense to bring Coffey to Melinda than the other way... (full context)
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...a final objection about the fact that Coffey is a murderer and could become violent, Paul assures him that this would not happen. As the men press him to explain himself,... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 1
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Paul describes the act of writing as a time machine that allows him to re-enter the... (full context)
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When Paul is done with this episode, around four o’clock, he goes on his usual walk in... (full context)
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Elaine asks if Paul can postpone his walk, and when he says he probably shouldn’t, she devises a plan.... (full context)
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A few minutes after Elaine leaves, Paul hears the fire alarm and, as he thinks about what Elaine has done, he trusts... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 2
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At his home, Paul tells the guards that, after Delacroix’s execution, he gave Coffey his shoe and told him... (full context)
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Paul explains that no one thought of this at the trial. Paul remembers Hammersmith, who compared... (full context)
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To his friends, Paul explains that the only reason he thought about it himself was because of what Coffey... (full context)
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Harry asks what Paul’s second clue was. Paul refers to the moment when the search party’s dogs became confused.... (full context)
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Paul assumes that Coffey was probably not far from the crime scene and, when he heard... (full context)
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The men ask Paul who he thinks the killer might be. Paul says that it is probably someone white.... (full context)
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The three men confirm that they will all participate in Paul’s plan. Paul then announces that Dean is the one who will stay on the block.... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 3
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After the men are gone and Paul is getting ready for work, Janice looks into his eyes and asks him if he... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 4
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When Paul walks into prison that evening, he is convinced that he can still smell Delacroix’s burned... (full context)
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...that is neither too friendly nor too hostile, so as not to make him suspicious. Paul wants to make sure that no one gets hurt, not even Percy. (full context)
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Paul tells Percy to go wash the floor in the storage room and to write his... (full context)
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...room, Coffey says he’d enjoy a ride, as though answering Brutal’s internal thoughts. Brutal and Paul look at each other, certain that, somehow, Coffey knows what they are planning to do. (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 5
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...bunk as though he were waiting for a bus. When Percy returns with his report, Paul reads it and thinks it is an outrageous accumulation of lies but tells him it... (full context)
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When it is almost midnight, Paul gives Dean a sign. Dean goes into Paul’s office to get a Cola drink and... (full context)
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...see that he is lying on his bunk, unmoving, his eyes open but seemingly unconscious. Paul says it is time. While Coffey is watching, standing up against his cell’s door, Brutal... (full context)
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...book he was reading and a smaller book falls out of it—a pornographic cartoon. While Paul feels sad and Harry disgusted at this sight, Brutal laughs loudly and makes fun of... (full context)
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The men succeed in putting Percy in the straightjacket and Percy begs Paul not to put him in Wharton’s cell. Paul feels disgusted at the thought that Percy... (full context)
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Wharton grabs Coffey’s arm and Coffey’s eyes suddenly become alive, in the same way that Paul saw them liven up when he healed his urinary infection and Mr. Jingles. This time,... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 6
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To pass through the little door separating Paul’s office from the storage room, Coffey is forced to sit down, scoot, and get up... (full context)
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Paul makes Coffey lie down on the gurney—which they used the night before to transport Delacroix’s... (full context)
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At the end of the tunnel, Paul opens the steel gate with a special key and, farther down, Coffey helps Harry open... (full context)
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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 set off. Smiling, Coffey spends a... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 7
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During the hour-long ride to Moores’s house, Paul begins to feel nervous and to doubt the very idea that Coffey could heal Melinda... (full context)
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...and Brutal step out the car as more lights in the house turn on, and Paul realizes that they are all terrified. Suddenly, Hal Moores opens the door of his house... (full context)
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Paul explains that he believes there are good and bad forces in the world—positive ones flowing... (full context)
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Unsettled by the situation, Moores begins to waver and Coffey walks up, moving Harry aside. Paul feels that the evil spirit is gone and understands that Harry was brave enough to... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 8
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...substance. When she sees Coffey enter the room, she looks at him with horror, and Paul wonders if she might be possessed by an evil demon. Suddenly, she regains curiosity and... (full context)
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...is covered in scars and Coffey says he doesn’t remember. Hal watches the scene, gripping Paul’s shoulder so hard that he leaves a bruise. Melinda asks Coffey his name and he... (full context)
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...her, she looks absolutely normal, healthy, and many years younger, while Coffey begins to cough. Paul believes Coffey is going to cough out the insects but, despite the men’s encouragements, Coffey... (full context)
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Harry tells Paul that it is getting late and that they should head out. Paul says goodbye to... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 9
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...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 way back... (full context)
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...almost falls over, coughing hard. On the walk back toward the prison along the highway, Paul is convinced they are going to get caught. He is so nervous that he feels... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 1
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In the Georgia Pines nursing home, Paul spends all night writing about Coffey’s escape from prison. When he takes a short break,... (full context)
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...there, grinning by his side and telling him he missed him on his morning walk. Paul feels scared but tries to hide his emotion. He asks Brad what he has against... (full context)
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While Brad is harassing Paul, an authoritative voice suddenly rises behind him, telling him to stop, and Brad jumps back,... (full context)
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Brad finally steps out of the room. Elaine asks Paul if he is all right and Paul asks her to read what he has already... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 2
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...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 realizes, horrified,... (full context)
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Paul tells the men to gather Percy’s belongings so that they can get him out of... (full context)
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Paul imagines Percy reassuring himself that Paul and the other guards are not killers—before realizing that,... (full context)
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Paul tells Percy that he deserved to be punished for what he did to Delacroix, and... (full context)
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...and Percy a speech of his own, meant to be more concrete and crude than Paul’s. Brutal says that if Percy speaks, he and the guards would lose their jobs, but... (full context)
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...again, though, Percy forgets to stick to the central line of the Green Mile. When Paul steps out of the restraint room to try to calm Percy down, he sees Coffey’s... (full context)
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Percy screams and tries to step back, and Paul sees the black flow between John and Percy’s lips. Percy lets go of his baton—forever,... (full context)
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Percy’s eyes are blank, and he takes a few unsteady steps forward. Paul, who believes that Percy is coming back to consciousness, tells Brutal to leave him alone.... (full context)
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Paul sees blood dripping from Wharton’s bunk and turns around to see Coffey sitting on his... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 3
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Paul tells the entire story to Janice in the morning, just a few hours later. Janice... (full context)
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Hal Moores privately asks Paul if Coffey’s visit to his house has anything to do with what happened to Percy,... (full context)
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As Paul and Janice continue to talk about what has happened, Janice becomes lost in thought and... (full context)
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Janice then asks Paul to go through the details again of the moment when Wharton grabbed Coffey’s arm. As... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 4
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Paul calls the aftermath of the shooting a circus, as journalists and investigators attempt to make... (full context)
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The next day, Paul drives to Trapingus County to speak to Deputy McGee. While McGee seems reluctant and almost... (full context)
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Paul returns home and, when he is bed, after having made love with his wife, he... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 5
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The next day, Janice decides to invite Paul’s colleagues over for lunch again, arguing that they already know the worst part—that Coffey is... (full context)
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Paul himself began to suspect that Wharton could have killed the Detterick twins because Curtis Anderson... (full context)
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Paul then relates his trip to Trapingus County, where he told the entire truth to Rob... (full context)
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...since all 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,... (full context)
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...variety of options. She says Deputy McGee could try to convince Sheriff Cribus, or that Paul himself could go, or that the guards could lie about the circumstances in which they... (full context)
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...men’s objections 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... (full context)
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Janice stands up and Paul tries to grab her arm but she pulls away, calling Paul a murderer no better... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 6
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That night, which is Paul’s night off, Janice comes up to him and takes his hand. She apologizes about calling... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 7
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Two days later, the guards rehearse Coffey’s execution while he is in the shower. Paul decides to stand in for the condemned instead of Toot-Toot, who always makes inappropriate, obscene... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 8
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When John returns from his shower, Paul goes to talk to him. Coffey’s calm eyes are, as usual, on the verge of... (full context)
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John then shares with him the longest speech Paul has ever heard him say, explaining that he is tired of the pain and loneliness... (full context)
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As Paul leaves the cell, Coffey tells him that he knows Paul wonders why the Detterick girls... (full context)
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Paul leaves Coffey’s cell and realizes he can hear Brutal’s thoughts, who is debating the spelling... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 9
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...surprisingly calm. After saying that he would not stay to watch this execution, Hal asks Paul how so much good and so much evil can exist inside the same man, and... (full context)
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When Paul, Dean, and Harry go to Coffey’s cell, Paul gives him his official speech. Dean and... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 10
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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... (full context)
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When Coffey turns toward Paul, Paul sees no resignation or peace in his eyes, but rather incomprehension, fear, and misery.... (full context)
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...electric current is so strong that the light bulbs explode, which makes Marjorie Detterick faint. Paul mentions she died eighteen years later in a trolley-car accident. For a second, John opens... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 11
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When Paul returns home, he sits down on his porch and cries, for John and for all... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 12
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After finishing his story, Paul sits looking out the window of the solarium. When Elaine walks in, he hands her... (full context)
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At 4 P.M., when Elaine has finished the story, she joins Paul and says she is sorry for Coffey and for Paul. She begins to cry and... (full context)
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Paul then takes Elaine to go see the shed in the woods. When they arrive, he... (full context)
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Paul says the mouse appeared out of nowhere, showing up at the nursing home one day,... (full context)
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...out and he finally leaves, fearful of Elaine’s connections—and having satisfied his curiosity about where Paul goes when he walks in the woods. He says he will close the shed tomorrow,... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 13
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Paul recounts Janice’s death, which took place on a rainy day in Alabama in 1956. Paul... (full context)
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In that moment, Paul realized there was no difference between salvation and damnation. He recalls the strange force John... (full context)
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Looking back on his writing, Paul thinks about God, who chose to sacrifice innocent John Coffey. Paul thinks of the deaths... (full context)