Books Where The Main.Charaxyers Story Is Only.Told Over Christmas A Summary of Stephen King’s "The Green Mile"

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A Summary of Stephen King’s "The Green Mile"

Many people first read the novel by Stephen King, The Green Mile, without actually knowing that it was a book written by the famous author. The novel was first serialized in 1996 but then made into a film in 1999, starring Tom Hanks and nominated for 4 Academy Awards, including the prestigious categories of ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’.

The book was originally published in 1996 as 6 separate short stories, the first in March and then monthly until the last of the series was published in August of the same year. All the stories were published as a single book in May of the following year and 3 years later the book was made available as a hardback.

The story of Stephen King, The Green Mile is set in Cold Mountain Penitentiary, a fictional location although heavily influenced by the Louisiana State Penitentiary. The story is told as a first-person narrative by one of the main characters, Paul Edgecombe, which switches between present day 1996, where he is an elderly resident of a nursing home and his time as a warden overseeing the execution block of Cold Mountain Penitentiary in 1932.

The title of the book comes from the nickname of the building that housed death row inmates; It had a green linoleum floor and was known as the Green Mile. The story revolves around a newcomer to the ‘Green Mile’, John Coffey, an African American convicted of the rape and murder of 2 young white girls, and his interactions with his fellow death row inmates.

King often writes about good versus evil and uses a variety of mediums to depict this ongoing struggle. No one is more cleverly written than the juxtaposition of Coffey, a man 6 feet 8 inches tall and powerful and yet the gentlest and most serene character in the book. He is accused of a terrible crime and yet he seems incapable of hurting anyone. In fact Coffey has a healing gift that Edgecombe learns about and the story cleverly prompts readers to think about morality, learning Coffey’s innocence as well as a sense of justice among other emotions but accepting his fate to escape the violence and darkness of the world.

By the time Coffey arrives at Cold Mountain, we learn about Edgecombe’s colleagues, mostly high-class and decent people doing a tough job. Then there’s Percy Wetmore, a young sadistic guard who’s there through a family connection. The prisoners are mostly remorseful for their crimes, except for William Wharton, who seems unable to feel remorse for his crimes. When all these characters are placed in the high pressure environment of the Green Mile, King is able to truly explore the depths of human nature and emotions.

Stephen King, The Green Mile manages to deliver a thoroughly engaging yet original and heartbreaking story, the prison guards and inmates have a depth of character that makes them sympathetic and completely believable. The Green Mile demonstrates King’s talent as a writer, not just as a horror writer, but as one of the greatest fiction writers of the 20th century.

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