The Green Mile

The Green Mile. This is a death row where prisoners are held until it is their time to be executed, and then they walk on a green floor to the electric chair. Death row is not where one would expect to find a life-affirming message. But this is not a usual film. It is the last mile a person walks before dying.

Paul Edgecomb is one of the officers in charge of the “Green Mile”. John Coffey is wrongfully convicted of raping and murdering two little girls. However, the officers realize later that he’s actually god in human form. He has the power to heal people. The movie shows us the cruelness and selfishness of people around us.

“I’m rightly tired of the pain I hear and feel, boss. I’m tired of bein on the road, lonely as a robin in the rain. Not never havin no buddy to go on with or tell me where we’s comin from or goin to or why. I’m tired of people bein ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head. I’m tired of all the times I’ve wanted to help and couldn’t. I’m tired of bein in the dark. Mostly it’s the pain. There’s too much. If I could end it, I would. But I can’t.”

This is what John Coffey says when Paul asks how he can help him escape the prison. John is the true embodiment of goodness who gives everything with nothing to look for in return, he is ready to sacrifice his life for the guilt of another because he has failed to save something that others have spoiled. Stephen king has portrayed how lonely people actually are. True feelings rarely exist anymore. Even though the movie is old, humankind has become worse and the movie still holds significance. The amount of pain, loneliness, and ugliness has increased in this world. Most people are tired of pretending. Life has become a struggle and people are just running in the rat race. John’s incapability to help people depicts the extremes to which people have gone.

The excessive hatred prevalent in today’s world is represented in the movie through various instances: Wild Bill’s (the one who did rape and murder the two girls, whom John was trying to save) viciousness and Percy Wetmore’s heartlessness.

The movie is in flashback with old Paul narrating the story to his friend Elaine. When Paul tells her that John gave him the gift to live long, Elaine exclaims, “He… what? He infected you with life?”. Paul thinks of his gift as an atonement for killing a miracle of god. This illustrates that life, which was supposed to be a gift to mankind, is now nothing but a curse. Paul who has lived in the agony of watching his friends and family die, already wishes to die, but is unable to end his misery. Stephen King makes us question if the immortality is such a desirable gift after all.

There is an ultimate moral lesson to the film in the sense that if once again God decided to send his son to us to atone for the sins of humans, things would not be different from what they were before. He would still be executed by humans for being beyond their capacity to comprehend, and accused even when innocent. We would judge for what we see with our eyes, much like in the case of John Coffee who was accused by default just because of his race. Still blinded from the obvious truth by prejudices, we all are just as likely today to commit mistakes as we were every time good lost to evil. And this is the end to this story.

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