The Green Mile

The Green Mile

by

Stephen King

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The Green Mile: Part 6: Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The time for John Coffey’s execution finally comes, on November 20th. The guards feel sick and nervous and Hal Moores is shaking so much he can barely button his shirt, but Coffey seems 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 Paul says that God’s ways are mysterious.
The guards’ nervousness has less to do with their fear that the execution might not go well than with their moral shame at participating in it. Coffey, by contrast, seems to have accepted his fate and is not morally outraged at what is happening to him.
Themes
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Morality and Justice Theme Icon
When Paul, Dean, and Harry go to Coffey’s cell, Paul gives him his official speech. Dean and Harry shake Paul’s hand, apologizing to him. John says he will be all right, and that this is the hardest part. Paul then asks John to give him his medallion, which would be dangerous during the execution. As the men walk toward Paul’s office, John tells Paul he dreamed that Mr. Jingles went to Mouseville and that the two blonde girls were there too. Paul feels that he cannot go on and might break down and cry any moment. In Paul’s office, John and Paul kneel down to pray, asking God for strength. Paul tells John he is sorry and John tells him not to be.
The irony of the fact that Coffey has to give Paul his medal suggests that the medal will be incapable of protecting him, as Melinda had said. It also implies that John is accepting his identity as a mortal human being, capable of dying just like anybody else, whatever God-given powers Coffey may have transferred to him. John’s happy dream only highlights the misery of his current circumstances.
Themes
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon