When Paul goes back to the block to write his report, 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 grudgingly admits to himself that Wharton is intelligent in his own cruel way. When he goes to talk to Coffey, who seems drained, Coffey laments Del’s terrible death. He says, however, that Del is the lucky one.
The stark difference between Coffey and Wharton’s attitudes reveals the opposition between a mentally weak but compassionate person and an intelligent but cruel one. Intelligence, in this case, does not appear as a good in its own right, since it can easily be used for terrible deeds. Compassion is shown to be by far the greater quality.
When Paul asks where Mr. Jingles is, Coffey says he went to the restraint room, and Paul believes he will be back. However, the mouse, never returns. Paul means to return to his desk but, instead, suddenly inspired, he calls to Coffey and takes off his shoe.
The mouse’s disappearance can be seen as his implicit moral condemnation of what has just happened to Delacroix. Paul’s cryptic request to Coffey reveals that he has a mysterious idea in the back of his head—which he has not yet revealed to the reader.