The Green Mile

The Green Mile

by

Stephen King

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The Green Mile: Part 5: Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
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 Moores. He also worries that Hal might never let a convicted murderer inside his house. When Harry finally reaches the Moores’s driveway, Paul, whose doubts have grown considerably during the trip, wants to tell Harry to drive back and abandon the whole enterprise. However, Coffey points out a light that has been turned on in the house and Paul realizes that the Moores are already awake.
Paul’s sudden nervousness reveals his momentary crisis of faith—which lies in the confrontation between ordinary thoughts about the human world (the fact that miracles do not exist) and his acceptance of God’s power (according to which he believes Coffey should be able to help Melinda Moores). His hesitation proves that he is human just like everyone else, prone to moments of weakness and doubt as well as strength.
Themes
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
Harry 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 and steps out in his pajamas, holding a gun in his hand, challenging the intruders to identify themselves. Brutal steps in to reassure Hal and, when Moores realizes that the guards are there, he thinks something disastrous has happened at the prison. Paul, who had planned to do the talking, finds that he is unable to utter a single word.
This confrontation between Moores and the guards symbolizes the gap in faith that separates the two groups. While the guards have accepted that what they are doing serves a moral, divine purpose, Moores is still unaware of this fact and is focused exclusively on the ordinary, practical concerns of human life.
Themes
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
Paul explains that he believes there are good and bad forces in the world—positive ones flowing from God and negative ones flowing from an evil force. Paul says the evil force was probably what was affecting him at the time, making him full of doubts, trying to keep him and his colleagues from completing the good deed of healing Melinda Moores.
Paul explains his own fear in terms of supernatural forces. This emphasizes his trust in the separation between right and wrong, morality and immorality, as well as his understanding of the frailty of human beings, who are susceptible to suffer the influence of either force.
Themes
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
Related Quotes
When Harry walks over with John Coffey, Hal raises his gun and threatens to shoot. Suddenly, Melinda Moores’s voice can be heard behind Hal. She calls him a “fucking cocksucker,” which unsettles Hal for a moment. When he turns around again, he says that he intends to shoot Coffey because he believes the guards are all prisoners of someone who is still hiding in the darkness. Harry then moves up between Moores and Coffey, shielding Coffey with his body. He shouts that everything is all right and that they are here to help. Melinda’s voice rises behind Hal, suggesting in a vulgar manner that he and his friends should have sex with her.
Melinda’s vulgar language serves as a vivid reminder of the valid reason for the guards’ presence on Moores’s property and the need—as Paul had originally insisted to his companions—to help her. Ironically, Moores’s suspicion of the men relies on an interpretation of events that is just as potentially far-fetched and ridiculous as the truth that John Coffey is an innocent man endowed with divine healing powers.
Themes
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
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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 stand up to Moores because the good spirit that lives in John gave him the strength to do so. Coffey tells Moores he wants to help and takes the gun from his hands, while Moores remains speechless, unable to move.
However much Coffey might fear certain dangers such as darkness, he proves unmoved by the danger of death, and is focused on the need to heal another human being. The strength of his resolve hints at the fact that he is benefitting from the positive force granted him by a superior, divine power.
Themes
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
While Melinda is still swearing profusely, 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 the men follow him into the house.
Coffey’s irruption into the house signals the tipping of the balance between human fear and divine control. The characters are literally and symbolically giving in to a higher power.
Themes
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon