“The Green Mile” Lacie Conner Grayson Community College Sociology 13 27 October 2012 In the movie The Green Mile there are 3 different sociological theories and concepts that are useful in considering how societies look at behaviors in life within the time and place. One theory you will see is that Emile Durkheim known as the functionalist applies throughout the movie. Terms that you will see in this movie include: conflict theory which is a theoretical framework that views society as an unequal system that brings about conflict and change. (pg. ) Also you will see alienation which refers to a person of powerless, meaningless, and general criticism toward the political process. (pg 259) Lastly you will see segregation which is forced separation because of factors such as race, gender, or ethnicity. (pg 183) The story of this movie is about the execution of John Coffey, a wrongly accused man who has a gift that allows him to heal the wounded and sick. It is called The Green Mile because the floor that went to the execution chair was green. A guard named Paul becomes close to John and realizes the true moral of the story.
The conflict theory is a theoretical framework that views society as an unequal system that brings about conflict and change. John Coffey endures this through the whole movie. Just because he is black he was accused of killing the two little girls without anyone even questioning it or looking to see if someone else might have been to blame. Was he guilty or not? Not one person tried to find out if he had even done it or not. Yes, when they found him he was holding the girls but they didn’t even ask what happened, they just sent him to prison.
He was called horrible names for being black by the people who lived in the town and he never got a chance to defend himself. Along with all of this he had a never ending struggle between life and death. John Coffey may have held the status as “wise fool” yet he holds the power of healing that no one else can. He is a genuinely unique person in those regards. But on the other side of having those powers in this movie he is unable to prevent his own self from dyeing in the electric chair. Based on this you can analyze that a person vs. ature was shown in this movie when John healed Mrs. Moore, the warden’s wife. She had a tumor and he used his gift to take it away and heal her. He also healed Paul by taking his kidney infection away. He was a very shy and emotional person that with the circumstances surrounding didn’t have a chance in the society the way it was then. When he heals those people and was asked how he did it he simply said “I took it back. ” The second topic in this movie was alienation which refers to a person’s sense of powerlessness, meaninglessness, and general cynicism toward the political process.
John Coffey was never tried for the rape or murders of the two girls, he was just convicted and sentenced to death. While Johns stay at the prison a new inmate by the name of Wild Bill arrived and John psychically senses that Wharton is responsible for the crime for which John was convicted and sentenced to death. Everyone was really terrified of John because of his size and due to being a black man. All of the people stayed away from him except for Paul. Paul saw he was a normal person and even realized he was not given the same chance most people are.
Religion was a big point in this movie due to that fact that Coffey kept saying “you can’t kill someone that has the “gift of God” by healing people. ” Percy who was a guard treated him with less than no respect while he was in prison and for the way John was treated he gave Percy the tumor that he took away from Mrs. Moore. Segregation is a forced separation because of factors such as race, gender and ethnicity. During this movie John Coffey didn’t get tried like he should’ve been done because there was so much racism in the south and they never gave a black man a fair opportunity due to the color of his skin.
He was sentenced to death due to the fact he was found with the two girls and the father just assumed he had done it. Normally in an execution only certain people were allowed to witness the death, In John’s case the whole town was allowed to come and watch as he was electrocuted. On the E block of the prison, which is where the inmates who were sentenced to death were held, they only had brick instead of wood and the floor was green linoleum. So even the buildings were different than those of the other inmates.
So in Emily Durkheim’s case the functions of the behavior in the systems confirms that the morals do have boundaries and that it clears up what is right and wrong. This is seen best when the guards take John Coffey off the prison base to the warden house where John can use his gift to save the wardens wife. This brought the group closer together due to they all shared in the same deviant behavior and realized they could even lose their jobs. So in conclusion The Green Mile addressed the conflict theory, alienation and segregation throughout the whole movie. References
John, Carl. Think Sociology. 2nd. Oklahoma City: Pearson Education Inc. , 2010. 1-360. Print. <http://www. pearsonhighered. com/educator/product/THINK-Sociology/9780205777181. page>. Darabont, Frank, dir. The Green Mile. Dir. Stephen King. Warner Brothers, 1999. DVD. 14 Oct 2012. <http://www. wbshop. com/product/code/1000212148. do>. Janet, Maslin. “Movie Review The Green Mile. ” www. movies. nytimes. com. The New York Times Company, 10 1999. Web. 14 Oct 2012. <http://movies. nytimes. com/movie/review? res=9501E4DA1731F933A25751C1A96F958260>.a