GROUP DISCUSSION: The Green Mile

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cat in a bag

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Aug 28, 2010
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I always thought that John's special ability did not work on the two girls because they were already gone when he happened upon them. That if he had been a few minutes earlier, he maybe could have helped. That is how I always took the "take it back" remark. He tried, but couldn't because they were already gone.

The little bugs that are the manifestation of the sickness just disappeared. The only reason they were able to still get to Percy was because John held them inside himself. And he wanted them to go into Percy. He did not mean anyone any harm, but he knew Percy was bad. And he knew Wharton was who really killed the girls. Two birds, one stone. I think at every other occasion, they just disappeared. Poof. To hurt no more.

My daughter is reading along, she chose the installments. She was very intrigued by that form of the book. She is reading the last one now. She was quite taken with Mr Jingles. I will get more of her thoughts when she finishes.
 

Doc Creed

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Nov 18, 2015
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This is one of those novels where I can see and smell and hear everything so vividly: the colored wooden toothpicks in the beams of the restraint room ceiling, the smell of peppermint, the winter winds blowing outside. The scene where Paul and his buddies help John sneak out to the Warden's home is magical and sad and altogether bizarre. I can't think of anything in literature to compare it to.
 

Doc Creed

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Nov 18, 2015
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I always thought that John's special ability did not work on the two girls because they were already gone when he happened upon them. That if he had been a few minutes earlier, he maybe could have helped. That is how I always took the "take it back" remark. He tried, but couldn't because they were already gone.

The little bugs that are the manifestation of the sickness just disappeared. The only reason they were able to still get to Percy was because John held them inside himself. And he wanted them to go into Percy. He did not mean anyone any harm, but he knew Percy was bad. And he knew Wharton was who really killed the girls. Two birds, one stone. I think at every other occasion, they just disappeared. Poof. To hurt no more.

My daughter is reading along, she chose the installments. She was very intrigued by that form of the book. She is reading the last one now. She was quite taken with Mr Jingles. I will get more of her thoughts when she finishes.
Yes, yes, and yes on the bugs explanation. That is how I saw it.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
87,651
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Another detail I noticed was how striking it was that Paul gained the trust of so many of the convicts. Arlen Bitterbuck, Delacroix, and John Coffey, for example. They tell him very personal things and trust him in their last moments before execution. I think that says a lot about Paul's character. He was a good man. It really comes through when he's writing from Georgia Pines. He just has a trust-worthy tone, I think, which is very important for a narrator.
I wasn't fond of Percy either.He really annoyed me at times.
....Paul and Percy are the quintessential flip sides of the human coin....I work with both kinds in my Institution...guess which ones do the best job?.....it's why I get along with so many like I do....I treat them with respect as long as it's returned.....I never forget where I am, but it makes the job much easier....
 

Doc Creed

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Nov 18, 2015
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I always thought that John's special ability did not work on the two girls because they were already gone when he happened upon them. That if he had been a few minutes earlier, he maybe could have helped. That is how I always took the "take it back" remark. He tried, but couldn't because they were already gone.

The little bugs that are the manifestation of the sickness just disappeared. The only reason they were able to still get to Percy was because John held them inside himself. And he wanted them to go into Percy. He did not mean anyone any harm, but he knew Percy was bad. And he knew Wharton was who really killed the girls. Two birds, one stone. I think at every other occasion, they just disappeared. Poof. To hurt no more.

My daughter is reading along, she chose the installments. She was very intrigued by that form of the book. She is reading the last one now. She was quite taken with Mr Jingles. I will get more of her thoughts when she finishes.
It'll be great to hear a young person's view on it. :encouragement:
 

Marty Coslaw

Low-BDNF Gork
May 19, 2018
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The tragedy of Paul's wife's death gets me every time. So senseless. Paul screaming and crying for John under the interstate bypass, in the rain and hoping against hope for a miracle. I liked their relationship. (Incidentally, she dies just "outside of BIrmingham", Alabama, which is near me.)
“A man with a good wife is the luckiest of God's creatures...”
What did you think about their relationship? It was simple and sweet, unlike the more complicated marriages we've seen King portray in Bag of Bones, Lisey's Story, and...I don't know...Cujo. Thoughts?
The moment where Paul is screaming for John Coffey to save his wife, he saved those others so why won't he save his wife, really changed my perspective on the narrative. It made me realize that Paul was subject to what you might call the "higher powers" at work, just like Wild Bill, Percy, Delacroix, and even Mr. Jingles. In that context, I see the story revolving around John Coffey and his magic, rather than Paul and his experience with the miracle.
 

Doc Creed

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This part was funny too: When John heals Paul of his UTI, Delacroix goes ballistic. "What dat darkie-man do to you? Throw some gris-gris on you?" A little insensitive, I know, but I thought it was funny all in context. King was true to dialect of each character and he was mindful of certain words and attitudes of 1932 which obviously have evolved.
 

Doc Creed

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Nov 18, 2015
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The moment where Paul is screaming for John Coffey to save his wife, he saved those others so why won't he save his wife, really changed my perspective on the narrative. It made me realize that Paul was subject to what you might call the "higher powers" at work, just like Wild Bill, Percy, Delacroix, and even Mr. Jingles. In that context, I see the story revolving around John Coffey and his magic, rather than Paul and his experience with the miracle.
That's a great point. I tried to pay attention to everytime Paul mentions the words "magic" as opposed to "miracle". When he has the guys over to lunch at his house he concedes that John healing him was probably a miracle of God (although he doesn't definitively point to Jesus or any other god) and in other places he refers to the magic in Mr. Jingles and Coffey.
 

cat in a bag

Well-Known Member
Aug 28, 2010
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wyoming
The tragedy of Paul's wife's death gets me every time. So senseless. Paul screaming and crying for John under the interstate bypass, in the rain and hoping against hope for a miracle. I liked their relationship. (Incidentally, she dies just "outside of BIrmingham", Alabama, which is near me.)
“A man with a good wife is the luckiest of God's creatures...”
What did you think about their relationship? It was simple and sweet, unlike the more complicated marriages we've seen King portray in Bag of Bones, Lisey's Story, and...I don't know...Cujo. Thoughts?
Their marriage was simple and sweet. Maybe a sign of the time/setting of the book, but I thought it was genuine. 100% support for the other. I did think it was a bit out of place when Paul's wife threw her little tantrum when they were brainstorming how to get John to the Warden's wife. I thought that was a bit out of place, given the era. But, at the same time, it fit.