The Green Mile

The Green Mile

by

Stephen King

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Green Mile can help.
Wharton, who thinks of himself as “Billy the Kid” but is nicknamed “Wild Bill” by the guards, is a violent inmate who takes pleasure in scaring and hurting other people. Paul is amazed by Wharton’s sheer persistence in committing violent actions, even when he has no hope of escaping punishment. Wharton is later discovered to be the true rapist and murderer of the nine-year-old Detterick twins. He is killed in his cell by Percy Wetmore after Percy has seemingly come under the supernatural influence of John Coffey.

William Wharton Quotes in The Green Mile

The The Green Mile quotes below are all either spoken by William Wharton or refer to William Wharton. 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 6: Chapter 8 Quotes

“He kill them with they love,” John said. “They love for each other. You see how it was?”

Related Characters: John Coffey (speaker), William Wharton, Kathe and Cora Detterick
Page Number: 459
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Green Mile LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Green Mile PDF

William Wharton Character Timeline in The Green Mile

The timeline below shows where the character William Wharton appears in The Green Mile. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 6
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...DOE (date of execution) will come soon, but that before then a new prisoner, William Wharton, is scheduled to arrive. Anderson calls nineteen-year-old Wharton a “problem child,” wild and heartless. He... (full context)
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...prison, and the endless waiting of which each day consists—waiting for Delacroix to die, for Wharton to arrive, and for Percy to leave. (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 9
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...indeed been part of a circus—is the guards’ main attraction for a while, until William Wharton’s arrival. (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 10
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
In the meantime, Delacroix’s DOE (date of execution) is moved forward two days, and William Wharton’s trial lasts longer than expected. During Wharton’s trial, the man tries to claim that he... (full context)
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
The day Wharton is scheduled to enter E block, Paul wakes up with terrible pain from his urinary... (full context)
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...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 enters the warden’s office... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 11 
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
That afternoon, after Wharton’s violent entrance into E block, Dean explains that they all thought Wharton was sedated from... (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
...jumps back in time to explain what happened. Seven guards are in charge of picking Wharton up from the hospital. Harry, in charge of the operation, tries to get Wharton to... (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
The men bring Wharton to the stagecoach. Inside, Wharton continues his act, judging that he wouldn’t be able to... (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
When Dean steps forward to unlock the door, Wharton suddenly comes alive, uttering a shrieking, animal-like cry that Paul, hearing the sound from within... (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Drawn by the commotion, Paul runs out of Wharton’s cell, where he was waiting for him, and recognizes in Wharton’s face the look of... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 1
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...was unable to sleep and that, to change his mind from his memories of William Wharton, he came down to watch TV. A gangster movie came on and, when he saw... (full context)
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...on seeing the face of the actor who made him think so strongly of William Wharton. Instead of trying to sleep, he goes to the solarium to write. (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 2
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Paul goes back to recounting the circumstances surrounding Wharton’s entrance on E block. While Wharton is daring Paul with his eyes to shoot, Brutal... (full context)
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
Three hours later, Wharton wakes up and stands silently at his cell’s bars, scaring Paul, who is writing a... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 3
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
In the immediate aftermath of Wharton’s attack, Percy remains silent except to yell at Delacroix, who desperately wants to know what... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 5
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
The next day, Wharton pees on Harry’s pants from inside his cell and is sent to the restraint room... (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
As the men push Wharton toward the restraint room, Paul gives him a brief speech, saying that the guards will... (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Nevertheless, the next day, Wharton buys a Moon Pie from Toot-Toot and, at night, when Brutal walks the Mile to... (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Racism Theme Icon
Every time such episodes happen, Wharton promises to be good but later ends up playing some new, evil trick on the... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 8
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
...being in charge of an execution—but along the way Percy inadvertently steps too close to Wharton’s cell. Seizing his opportunity, Wharton jumps off his bunk and grabs Percy by the throat,... (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
...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 pointing at Percy, saying he has wet... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 9
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
...and Bill says Delacroix seems unable to fully grasp that his execution is tomorrow, while Wharton has been making jokes. He also remarks that the weather is ominous, making him feel... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 2
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
...at him, asking him what he has done, and Percy walks away. In his cell, Wharton laughs heartily, saying that Percy has taught Delacroix a lesson for making fun of him... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 3
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
...guards threatened him, but Brutal in turn threatens to tell everyone about Percy’s apathy when Wharton almost strangled Dean. (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 5
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
...to Briar Ridge. Harry threatens that, if Percy doesn’t, they would give him over to Wharton—explaining that, since Percy has already proven himself to be incompetent, it would be easy to... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 6
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...feeling exhausted, he sees Coffey’s steady flow of tears running down his face and hears Wharton sing an inventive, sadistic song about Del’s execution. Paul tells Wharton to shut up but... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 4
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
...and to write his report about last night. He then goes to talk with William Wharton. When he calls him “Billy the Kid” instead of “Wild Bill,” Wharton puffs up, proud... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 5
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...it to Paul, who serves it in an unbreakable tin cup and brings it to Wharton’s cell as a reward for behaving that evening. Wharton drinks it up eagerly. Afterwards, when... (full context)
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
After about forty minutes, the men check Wharton’s cell and see that he is lying on his bunk, unmoving, his eyes open but... (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...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 could have thought them capable of... (full context)
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...by the Green Mile. Suddenly, as they get ready to walk Coffey down the Mile, Wharton’s arm shoots out of his cell. (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
Racism Theme Icon
Wharton grabs Coffey’s arm and Coffey’s eyes suddenly become alive, in the same way that Paul... (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
The men wonder how Wharton could have gotten up with such a strong drug in his body and Coffey repeats... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 2
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...quieted down. The men walk toward Coffey’s cell and Paul is relieved to note that Wharton is sound asleep on his bunk. Dean confirms that Wharton stayed sound asleep during the... (full context)
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...is coming back to consciousness, tells Brutal to leave him alone. When Percy walks by Wharton’s cell, though, he suddenly stops, pulls out his gun, and shoots multiple times at the... (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
Paul sees blood dripping from Wharton’s bunk and turns around to see Coffey sitting on his bed, no longer looking sick.... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 3
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...his time in the restraint room and that he has always held a grudge against Wharton because of how Wharton had scared and humiliated him in the past. (full context)
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
...when they were taken. Janice asks Paul if he truly thinks Coffey intended to kill Wharton through Percy, and Paul says he does. (full context)
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Janice then asks Paul to go through the details again of the moment when Wharton grabbed Coffey’s arm. As Paul recounts the story, Janice wonders why Coffey, who had never... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 4
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
...he is supposed to execute Coffey in a week but that it is actually William Wharton who killed the Detterick twins. (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 5
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
...colleagues what he has found out, the men wonder at what point Coffey realized that Wharton was the true culprit. Together, they realize that Coffey discovered this when Wharton touched him... (full context)
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Paul himself began to suspect that Wharton could have killed the Detterick twins because Curtis Anderson had written in his report that... (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
...When McGee came back from his visit to the Dettericks, he was clearly convinced of Wharton’s guilt. Klaus Detterick told him that, some time before his girls’ murder, he had hired... (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
The final incriminating detail, confirming that Wharton murdered the two girls, is the fact that the man told the Dettericks his name... (full context)
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
...or that the guards could lie about the circumstances in which they found out about Wharton’s guilt (without mentioning Coffey’s supernatural powers). The men counter all her arguments with practical considerations... (full context)
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...to grab her arm but she pulls away, calling Paul a murderer no better than Wharton. She leaves the room and begins to sob into her apron. After a while, the... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 8
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...his unbearable suffering. Coffey goes on to explain that he didn’t know the details of Wharton’s crime until he touched him. He reveals that the girls didn’t scream for help because... (full context)