What is King saying about ethics in the workplace?

Discussion in 'The Green Mile' started by Joswrita, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. Joswrita

    Joswrita Member

    I'm excited. I've finally had an academic forum except a paper proposal on a Stephen King novel. The theme of the conference is "All in a Day's Work," and I plan to speak about the ethics of employment as presented in The Green Mile. A key passage of course is when Brutal asks how he will account to God for executing John Coffey. "What am I supposed to say? It was my job?" But I also want to look at the compromises the characters make with Percy's behavior because reporting him could put them "on the bread line."

    I have a general idea of what I want to point out (good thing, since the conference is in just under 3 weeks), but I'm looking for ideas from other readers, too. (And I'll credit your remark if I use it, especially if I'm able to develop this into a printable article.)

    One thing I'm wondering is how the sadistic orderly fits into this theme. Does he? Is he a sort of divine retribution against Paul for having tolerated Percy (what goes around comes around), or does he have a very different (and unrelated) role in the book?

    I welcome feedback here. Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. GNTLGNT

    GNTLGNT Why Chew Through The Restraints?

    ...I felt that the orderly was a continued test of Paul's patience, and faith in the magic that was John...in other words the persistence of evil....
     
  3. Lisey Landon

    Lisey Landon Well-Known Member

    I felt like the sadistic orderly just shows that there is always one of those a-holes in every place of work. And that they know how to spot the one who they can attack (a physically weaker man with a secret).

    Welcome to the SKMB, and good luck with your paper.
     
  4. Neesy

    Neesy #1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side

    Welcome to the SKMB. I hope you come back and post some more. By the way, is that Pandora's Box that you have chosen as your avatar?

    [​IMG]
    (Most people remember Pandora’s box as a source of all the troubles in the world.
    In the original version, however, there’s an intriguing element: one thing remains in the box, for which the Greek word is elpis meaning “expectation” or “hope.”)
    wolf and raven.jpg
     
  5. GNTLGNT

    GNTLGNT Why Chew Through The Restraints?

    ...I saw a movie named "Pandora's Box" once....:shock:...guess the rating...
     
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  6. Sundrop

    Sundrop the Great and Wonderful

    I need to go back and reread.....I thought it was Paul who struggled with the job of executing John Coffey. :0:
     
  7. FlakeNoir

    FlakeNoir Beta/Moderator Moderator

    This very thread has spurred me to a re-read too! I'm just starting part II today.
     
  8. king family fan

    king family fan Prolific member

    I am re-reading the Green mile now. Its a winter read for the library . We had to pick a title that has a color in it.
     
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  9. EMTP513

    EMTP513 Well-Known Member

    I used to work in hospital care. I was an Operating Room technician. I had no trouble believing the Percy character, especially since half the doctors would make their kids work at the hospital and most of them lollygagged around chatting instead of working while we did our jobs around them, but their behavior drew no response from their doctor parents, as in they never even became angry about what their children were doing. This one girl was positively horrendous, although she was more lazy than evil. She watched everyone else do the work but stayed there as an employee because her dad wanted her there to keep her out of trouble elsewhere.
    There was only one doctor who had his daughter work there and expected her to do the work, which amazed the daylights out of me but also made me really happy to see it.
    I always thought doctors like the one who expected his daughter to work were the majority, not the minority as was the case here.
    But I never said anything because you simply make no comments about such things if you want future job security.
    I'll never work in in-hospital care again; I work in PRE-hospital care now and will never be unhappy with the work.
     
  10. not_nadine

    not_nadine Comfortably Roont

    What Sunny said.

    I just thought that Percy was arrogant kid who had a secure job because of his family ties. And when he saw what he did..

    Oh, and what he did.

    And I think he realized what he did. too late.
     
  11. Walter Oobleck

    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    Green mile spoilers
    I think the question should be...if King is asking a question about ethics in the workplace, have most readers got it? What do we know? John Coffey is an innocent man wrongly accused sentenced to death. Who is the hero of the story? John Coffey...and Paul. Paul is our hero, our bright and shining star. What does Paul do? He puts John Coffey to death. He goes along to get along and people esteem him. He is great! He is wonderful! He also put John Coffey to death though he knew John Coffey was an innocent man...he continued with an execution through he knew his co-worker did not moisten the skullcap. What do readers come away with? Paul is great! Paul is that snazzy actor fellow we all love! Sorry, I forget his name or I'd post it. I think the tragedy of The Green Mile is not that it is a great story. I think the tragedy is that so many think Paul is so great, given his actions.

    Men to whom God is dead worship one another. We see that time again. Dostoyevsky wrote that as long as man remains free he strives to find another to worship. There is nothing new under the sun. This explains why young boys in humungous pants held skateboards above their heads and cheered when the OJ jury found the man not guilty. This explains the cult of worship that excuses and minimizes wrong time and again, all because those we hold dear can do no wrong. What is King saying about ethics in the work place? As long as your coworkers hold you in high esteem...as long as you put on the armor of nice...and nice is as much an armor as the myriad other human emotions...as long as you go along to get along...all is well and all manner of things are well. Are you comfortable with that? That is also what King is asking with The Green Mile. Are you?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2014
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  12. Neesy

    Neesy #1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side

    Oh right - one of THOSE movies - like that triple X version of the guy who wrote all the Dracula stories - "Bram STROKER" :m_snicker:
     
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  13. GNTLGNT

    GNTLGNT Why Chew Through The Restraints?

  14. staropeace

    staropeace Richard Bachman's love child

    If you are interested in psychology, I suggest you read about Stanley Millgrims experiments in obediance in the workplace. Very interesting stuff.
     

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