A summary of the novel "The green Mile"

11-11-2021

Any summary of Stephen King’s novel “The Green Mile” has to include a little about the famous horror novelist, himself. He published this novel in 1996 as a serial novel, and the first edition actually came out in six little paperbacks, which were later turned into a single novel. King is best known for his horror novels, so as this summary of the novel “The Green Mile” shows, this book, set in the 1930s, is a departure from some of his other works.

Plot

The summary of the novel “The Green Mile” includes the plot and setting. The story takes place in 1932 in Block E (death row) at Cold Mountain Penitentiary in Georgia. It is narrated by the main character, Paul, who is the captain of the prison guards who preside over E Block. “The Green Mile” in the title is the corridor between the cells of the cell block that leads to the execution room. The corridor is covered in green linoleum, hence the “last” green mile that inmates travel to death.

The story follows John Coffey, a large black inmate convicted of raping and murdering two young white girls, and the other two inmates on death row, along with the guards who are watching over them. Coffey is special, as Paul discovers, and has magical healing abilities that become apparent. He befriends a little white mouse, whom he calls Mr. Jingles, and heals the mouse when brutal guard Percy Wetmore tried to kill him. He also cures Paul’s kidney infection, and later, Paul breaks him out of prison to cure the warden’s wife’s brain tumor. Coffey “transfers” this brain disease to Wetmore, the sadistic guard who is disliked by inmates and staff. Wetmore never recovers and spends the rest of his life in a mental institution.

Eventually, Paul discovers that Coffey is exceptional in many areas. Turns out, he didn’t murder the two girls, another inmate (William Wharton) did. Coffey does not want to be forgiven and dies in the electric chair because he cannot bear the cruelties of real life. After his death, Paul discovers that each of the people Coffey has cured has extraordinarily long lives. Paul is 108 at the end of the book, and Mr. Jingles is 64. They have no idea how long they will live, and the novel ends.

Characters

A summary of the novel “The Green Mile” includes the characters from the novel.

Paul Edgecombe – Paul is the main character of the novel. A prison guard, at the end of the story is an old man who narrates this part of his life to a friend who is writing his memoirs.

John Coffey – A nearly 7 foot tall black man, a convicted murderer awaiting his death sentence on death row in prison. He befriends a white mouse and cures people of their illnesses.

Percy Wetmore – A sadistic prison guard that no one likes. He torments the prisoners, attempts to kill Mr. Jingles the mouse, and deliberately spoils an execution in which the inmate suffers terribly. He keeps his job because he is related to the governor.

Eduard Delacroix – A Cajun man convicted of arson, he is essentially a coward. He is the man who suffers a horrible death at the hands of Wetmore.

William Wharton – Another convict, it turns out that he is the one who actually committed the murder attributed to John Coffey. He’s wild and terrifying, and he tries to disrupt the prison as much as he can before he dies.

Mr. Jingles – The white mouse who lives to be 64 and befriends John Coffey.

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