I’m not sure how most people feel about Stephen King, as he’s one of those authors that people either love or hate because of the genre he writes in throughout most of his career. I do, however, think that The Green Mile is an exceptional book that transcends all genres and touches on ideologies that are continuously prevalent in today’s society.
The Green Mile was published as a serial novel in six parts back in 1996 and is told through the eyes of Paul Edgecombe. He is the death supervisor at Cold Mountain Penitentiary and until 1932, hadn’t thought too much about miracles and innocence. But 1932 was the year of John Coffey, a giant black man of a simple mind, accused of raping and murdering two little girls. And yet, through Coffey, we see what miracles truly are and what it means to live and die in a world so full of evil and hate, even among men who are supposed to keep order, like we see in Percy Whetmore.
It’s hard not to fall in love with these characters, and hate others. Even with Edward Delecroix, I found to be charming and simple creature, which makes his death even more horrible. And with others, like Percy Whetmore and William Wharton, I couldn’t help but feel vindictive for what happened to them, as they were truly horrible people who deserved what they got. And John Coffey, a man who only wanted to help, who shouldn’t have had to die at all, but wanted to leave a world so full of hate. With all these characters, the author begs the question of life, death, and who can decide who goes into what camp? A lot of men and women deserve to die for their crimes, but is it up to the rest of us to decide how they die? And what of those who shouldn’t have to die in the first place?
The Green Mile is a book that everyone should read, regardless of whether or not you’re for the death penalty. It makes you think, and it makes you care about characters that you wouldn’t have thought you’d care for, and cheer for those who got what they deserved in the end. It doesn’t offer you a solution to the death penalty or incarceration in general; in fact, it just tells you what happens to Paul Edgecombe as the supervisor on the Green Mile and his reaction to it and let’s you make up your mind about how to feel.
Have you read this book by Stephen King and what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!