End of Summer and Execution in “The Green Mile”

The end of summer is marked by the autumnal equinox, and thoughts turn to shorter days and longer nights.

Story threads of Stephen King’s moving novel, “The Green Mile” are running along memory paths in my head, triggered by the omnipresent news of Georgia’s death row drama, the planned execution of Troy Davis. We are living through the real world experience in the US south, no fiction, via the news, that a black man about to be executed may well be innocent. Attempts to stop the machine appear futile.

A fog descends around me when I think about the approaching final night, like when reading the final pages of “The Green Mile”. In truth, Stephen King is such a great writer, who so completely frightens me with his stories, that I’ve only been able to read one short story, that when I was very young, and the one novel. After both experiences, I was quite certain that his unique gift was one I couldn’t handle psychologically. The man just scares me too much. I hope that the same will not be said of my country.

Back to reality, 600,000 people voiced support for Troy Davis by providing over 600,000 signed petitions to Georgia, to stop the death sentence from going forward in this contested case. Was anyone listening? As the people assemble through social media, news the morning of the planned execution was that the twitter trending topics #toomuchdoubt and #TroyDavis had been censored and were being blocked. Many are working to save the life of the prisoner, and also praying.

It’s the end of summer, I know. But do the trends also foreshadow the end of the Summer of Social Media, a free and open space to express and assemble our views and to help protect innocent? I hope our summer, if gone, will come again as nature promises with her examples time and time again.

As Stephen King says, “Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Related links: you may also be interested in Short Stories “Death and the Dream” available at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/death-and-the-dream-jennifer-j-brown/1104803325 and book retailers world wide, as print and ebook editions.

6 thoughts on “End of Summer and Execution in “The Green Mile”

  1. In order to affect any real change, it’s going to take more than emotional pleas and religious beliefs. It’s going to take a plan. The world has become, for better or for worse, secular, so it’s going to have to be a plan that will affect the social welfare and economic growth of our nation. We will need to show how these condemned men can become productive on some level. I have written a blog that is more detailed, but in essence it adopts the Texas state prison system, which is the only prison system in the world that turns a profit. But it expands and changes to create a social community where prisoners may be productive within their own societies. They provide cheap labor to keep large corporations in the United States instead of going abroad to places like China. So it has an economic benefit to the outside world. These are the kinds of things that affect change, not emotional pleas to a system that doesn’t recognize human emotion as evident for change.. http://www.Sammypage.com.

  2. What a great blog. I am horrified that a civilised nation could put to death one of its citizens. Not only can murder not be justified by the State any more than it can be justified by any one of us, but the age old question arises: this man went to his death claiming his innocence. If in future it is proven that he was innocent – as many people believe – how can justice ever be served? Justice requires that things are made right. Until prosecutors can raise the dead, this is impossible. There can be no justice for any of the people who have been executed and later exonnerated.And the bottom line is: executions set the standard for the whole of society. Many of the world’s most educated and civilised nations have banned the death penalty. Why is the US lagging behind?

    1. Glenys, it is also difficult to understand how the US ignores progress away from capital punishment, even the European Union statement, and the many dignitaries here who are against capital punishment. It is time for progress. I was at the Union Square NYC rally yesterday, but not the march. Many are outraged by the injustice. Troy Davis asked for mercy on their souls, who executed him. It really says something.

  3. Jennifer, I sit horrified about will later occur today. I signed numerous petitions and tweeted endlessly. I keep thinking, “What if that was me?” Thoughts on censorship, capital punishment, the justice system and many others fill my mind. I also feel many emotions. I’m at a loss for words. I wish people had more of an aversion to killing…

    1. Michael, one of the over 600,000 petitions was mine too. It is so difficult to face, for me, and for my family, that we don’t have a justice but rather an injustice in the system. Truth is stranger than fiction, and more painful. I hope this will shine a light on the need to reform in the US and remove the death penalty from all the states.

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