Major Themes in "The Green Mile"


The Green Mile by Stephen King is the story of a man with god-given powers of healing sentenced to death for killing two young girls. The themes of compassion and sacrifice can be seen in this movie. One part of this

movie that shows lack of compassion is when one of the prison guards, Percy, kills one of the prisoner’s pet mouse showing how little he cares about other people. Percy in this movie does not show any kind of good towards other people. He does not seem to care at all for anyone but himself.

This movie is about death row in a Louisiana prison. The last walk, from the cell to the electric chair is known at this prison as The Green Mile, due to the color of the floor. One item of special emphasis is that when the condemned man is seated in the electric chair, the prison guard in charge of the execution is supposed to place a wet sponge on top of the head of the prisoner, just before the head strap is secured with one of the main wires for the electrical current. This is meant to speed up the execution on the basis that water is a very good conductor of electricity, and the wet sponge conducts the current immediately into the brain of the prisoner. This kills the inmate quickly, and mercifully (as mercifully as this method can make possible). The preparation for the execution is ended, just before the juice is turned on, with the words: "God have mercy on your soul!"

It was also interesting that, when one prisoner is executed, and the guard in charge fails to use water on the sponge, there is a very ugly, painful and vicious electrocution in which the prisoner does not die immediately, but is badly burned and thrashes back and forth until the body is essentially a pile of charred remains.

This movie has mixed feelings for me. I am saddened when I see the soon to be prisoner holding onto the two girls he had just killed. Seeing him like that with the two girls makes me hate him for what he has done to the girls, and makes me want the worst possible punishment for him even if it is the death penalty. Later on in the movie, he seems to gain the trust of the guards. He makes them think he really is innocent, and did nothing wrong. He makes them think he is God because he heals the one prison guard from a bladder infection, and then heals the warden’s wife. I find it quite interesting that even though he brutally murdered two young farm girls and were found with them next to him, and the girl’s blood on him, that the prison guards think he is innocent as soon as he walks in the prison door. Seeing this movie makes me wonder how prisoners are treated in our prisons right here in our own country, our own county, or even our own city. If the guards treat all prisoners like they treated the prisoner in “The Green Mile”, prison may not seem as bad as some think, or for some, better than the streets.

The camera angles in this movie are at different angles. I believe they had the cameras down low in order to make the prisoner seem really tall which in turn made the guards seem really short.

I am not sure what this movie can teach someone about being human, other than that everyone makes mistakes in their lives whether it is small ones that can be overlooked, or big ones that can cost you your life. I think when the prisoner healed the prison guard, and warden’s wife, that was not human. Humans cannot heal each other like that.

All in all, I think this was a good movie, other than I think it gave people the impression that murdering someone is ok, because you will be treated nicely in prison up until you are electrocuted. You are allowed to do things that you may not be able to do otherwise.

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