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Violence in Films - The Green Mile

Violence in Films - The Green Mile

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Published by: api-3754905 on Oct 16, 2008
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Violence in “The Green Mile” Plot Summary The Green Mile is a story told in "flashback" by an elderly Paul Edgecomb

in a nursing home. He tells a friend about the summer of 1935 when he was a prison guard in charge of death row inmates. His domain was called "The Green Mile" because 1) the linoleum floor was green and 2) condemned prisoners walking to their execution are said to be walking "the last mile". The star of the cellblock was "Old Sparky," the electric chair, sitting peacefully, waiting for its next victim. One day, a new inmate arrives. He is seven-foot-tall (about 213 centimeters) John Coffey, a black man (wrongly) convicted of raping and killing two young white girls. Coffey immediately shows himself to be a "gentle giant", keeping to himself and being moved to tears on occasion. Soon enough, Coffey reveals his extraordinary healing powers by healing Paul Edgecomb's urinary infection and bringing a mouse back from the dead. Later, he would heal the terminally ill wife of the warden. At the same time, Percy Wetmore, a vicious, sadistic guard who takes pleasure in intimidating and injuring inmates, exasperates everyone else in the cellblock. However, he "knows people in high places" (supposedly he was the nephew of the governor), preventing Paul or anybody else from doing anything significant to curb his deviant behavior. What Percy wants is to be put "up front" for (i.e., in charge of) an execution; then, he promises, he will transfer himself to another government job and Paul will never hear from him again. Notwithstanding Coffey's incredible abilities and the wrongness of his conviction, he ends up being executed, due in large part to geographically-based racial overtones (the movie was set in the American South, during a period of racial segregation). Edgecomb thereafter transfers from death row to another prison. His "fate" for not stopping Coffey's execution was that he would outlive all his relatives and friends; as he puts it, he would have to walk his own "green mile." Violence: In the film, not only physical violence is exerted but also human rights seem to be violated. This is illustrated by John Coffee being sentenced to death, regardless of his innocence. Obviously, prejudices against the black community have played a key role, when reaching this verdict. A great deal of violence is performed by Percy Wetmore. Apart from enjoying to injure the prisoners whenever possible and treating them harshly on a physical basis, he thrives on mocking them and putting them down mentally. His killing of the mouse is maybe the most representative example for this. By and large, violence has always found justification in racial discrepancies and the resulting tensions, particularly in the southern States of the U.S. of the 1930’s. Pat Berger

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