In the movie, The Green Mile, I knew instantly that the small, "magical" like mouse had some sort of symbolic meaning but I cannot for the life of me think of what that meaning could be. Does anyone know why or how the mouse is symbolic or have any idea of what the mouse represents?

3 Answers 3


I've always thought of the mouse as a storytelling vehicle to show us a few things: the humanity and kindness that still resides in the hearts of the convicted murderers in the Green Mile (and by contrast the inhumanity and cruelty of Percy) and to allow John Coffey to demonstrate his healing powers.

Del's crimes are heinous, yet he still shows a child like wonder at the mouse's intelligence and adopts it as a friend. The guards know Del's crimes, yet they help him take care of the mouse joined as they are by a bond that is very human. Percy, on the other hand, doesn't share that bond. He may not have been convicted of any crimes, yet his inhumanely cruel nature bars him from bonding with the prisoners and the mouse, as he sees both as targets for him to exercise his power. This is shown by him attempting to kill the Mouse and torture Del on the electric chair.

With the mouse mortally wounded, Coffey gets to show us his healing powers. He not only revives him, but also as we see later on imbues him with a longer lifespan.

  • It is a very common theme of Stephen King's characters to point out the paradox of the stereotypes society places on people because of what they are by pointing out the similarities in who they are.
    – sanpaco
    Aug 12, 2017 at 19:29

The life expectancy of a mouse is normally around two years. Mr. Jingles still being alive at the end of the movie depicts that Paul too will have an amplified life expectancy beyond the grasp of normal human comprehension. Paul is basically being punished for not stopping John from being executed. His punishment is; he gets the luxury of watching all of his love ones die.

  • 2
    Hi @Josh, welcome to Movies & TV. Is this solely your opinion or is it something that comes from an existing source? Either way, you should indicate which one it is, i.e., whether it's your take on The Green Mile or if you indeed did find this somewhere—in which case the source should be cited. Thanks!
    – freeling10
    Feb 16, 2017 at 7:20
  • @freeling10 Paul said this at the end of the movie.
    – Arsak
    Mar 31, 2018 at 21:39
  • Wow... that is dark! (but not surprising for a Stephen King-based movie)
    – m1gp0z
    Aug 28, 2018 at 21:36

First, it should be noted that many people believe "John Coffey"--is a "J.C." initial indicating "Jesus Christ"---even though Stephen King denies this, claiming the character was named after a former college professor.

However, for a "Biblical Literalist" / "Evangelicals"--who believe in "absolutes"---the curse of (Hank's Character) possibly having to "live forever" watching all his loved one's die....is a "Judas like" punishment....and a vast majority of "Biblical Literalist" believe part of Judas' punishment was to walk the Earth for "Eternity"(or until The Apocalypse). Source: ask a "hard liner" Christian. grin

It's (deny J.C.) "root" comes from those who "deny" J.C.(not being cheeky.sticking with initials--per argument above)..those who deny "J.C." will then be denied rewards of eternal salvation


In the case of "The Green Mile", I think it's fair for us to start with the agreement this is a "Country Mouse"(as opposed to a "City Mouse")

T.V. (and Film) Troupe Website defines the use of a "Country Mouse" as Follows:

Frequently depicted as having an inherent superiority in morality, ethics or common sense compared to the people around her.

Can be an authorial voice to deliver An Aesop, or to provide a contrast to the "sophisticated" people with whom she lives or works.

Country Mouse: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CountryMouse

Anecdotal: A mouse represents "sweet innocence"--right? A mose can't harm a human, a mouse lives simple/for simple pleasures--- such as food.

And as one person pointed out..a mouse has a short life span.."The Green Mile", is normally called "The Last Mile"--as Hanks (elder) character explains early in movie.

Kinda by definition (least in those days) death sentences were carried out quickly...SURELY faster than the average life span if a mouse..of 3-years "indoors"(12-months) "outdoors."--source Google.

City Mouse: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CityMouse

  • The Country Mouse and City Mouse trope definitions have nothing to do with being a literal mouse. The tropes could've used "dweller" instead without changing anything about the trope's definition. It's just that tropes are often named after a well known instance of the trope (in this case, Aesop's fables)
    – Flater
    Sep 26, 2017 at 8:05

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