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Theme:  Mongrel vs. Miracle, The Long Suffering Servant


From the moment we get a glimpse of his huge black feet, we are spell bound by a man named John Coffey. The mystery of this man captures us as we follow his story through the film, The Green Mile.

Who is John Coffey?  To the many, he is a convicted child killer. Condemned to death, he awaits execution on death row of Louisiana's State Penitentiary, Cold Mountain.  To the few, namely the prison guards, he is an innocent man and one of God's true miracles.  What make this film so powerful is this paradox between the Mongrel1 and the Miracle; between those who see John Coffey with their eyes and those who see him with their heart.

This question of how one perceives John Coffey extends to the viewing audience as well.  Many people will watch this film only with their eyes. They may be entertained or they may be repulsed, but all they will see is a movie. A few people will see the film with their hearts, and their eyes of faith will explain exactly whom John Coffey represents.  His name is "just like the drink only not spelled the same".  John Coffey is a Christ figure.  Jesus Christ is the drink!  (John 7:37-38).

  • He comes to the very least (Death row - Louisiana Penitentiary - Depression Era)

  • He is gentle and meek

  • He is broken hearted over evil

  • He reveals himself to a few

  • He has a miraculous gift of healing

  • He takes evil back upon himself

  • He knows the stars by name and is intimate with the creation (earth and fireflies)

  • Evil spirits recognize and fear him

  • He can see into men's hearts

  • He is accused of a crime that he is innocent of

  • He is condemned to death

  • He accepts the condemnation

  • One who believes in his innocence tries to talk him out of being executed

  • He has a prisoner to each side of him; one that repents (Delacroix) and one that does not (Wharton)

  • He knows the Father by name

  • Before his execution, he is ministered to by angels (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the flicker show)

  • He is mocked by those waiting to see his execution

  • His execution is both public and gruesome

  • A few who know the truth about him attend his execution and are broken hearted

  • The law is fulfilled in his execution

  • He has "infected" others with life

"Who has believed our message?  And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?  
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground;  
He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, 
nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and like one from whom men hide their face, he was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; 
yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted."
                                          Isaiah 53: 1-4

Scripture: Isaiah 53


1.  Mongrel  -  John Coffey's public defender, Burt Hammersmith, equates him with a  mongrel dog.

2.  Name -  In both the screenplay and the book, his last name is spelled Coffey.

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