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Analysing The Theories Of Social Behavior Sociology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 962 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The Green Mile movie was fundamentally made to show the harm that human beings inflicted on other members of their species, some degree of corruption and high levels of crime in the society that called for large number of executions in Green Mile. Seemingly, there was little or no regard for morality and obedience to social norms governing the society. Greem Mile was a term reffering to death row in Louisiana State Penintiary, where prisoners were held as they waited for their execution. The movie illustrates the true nature of death penalty, showing how cruel and barbaric it was (Darabont).

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The symbolic nature of the film portrays a care-free type of society, whereby Eduard’s adopted mouse represents freedom. The mouse could come and go away without any restrictions. He was never trapped and he seemed to fully enjoy life as clearly seen through his daily circus activities. This clearly shows the level of freedom enjoyed by members of this society, without cultural or social barriers. This is evidently so due to high levels of crime comitted. Too many executions were carried out in Green Mile (Darabont). This is a clear presentation of Durkheim’s theory of functionalism perspective which embraces crime as a normal and functional practice in any society. According to this theory, crime is normal because in every society, there exists some level of crime. It is equally functional as it serves to reinforce social norms, provide the raw material for social change and provide a kind of safety valve for social discontent, where people could simply disobey the law, rather than seeking to change it (Anderson and Kaspersen 158).

In Green Mile, everyone was seeking to harm the other. The society lacked compassion and had no respect for humanity. There was no social order and stability but only a collective will to maintain order through executions. This is a society where killing was the order of the day The parents of a girls believed to have been killed by Coffey had a venom in their minds against him. Percy and Maniacal prison inmate Sam Rockwell sought nothing more than perverse destruction. Even the prison guards had one sole purpose, to kill (Darabont). This is in line with Durkheim’s theory, who insists that crime is both functional and inevitable in any society (Anderson and Kaspersen 28).

Corruption was evident in this society. It was revealed that Percy was a nephew to the governor’s wife, and his powerful political connections got him hired as a prison guard. He had no regard for work ethics. He derived pleasure from frightening, humiliating and hurting other people, contrary to what was expected of him as a prison guard (Darabont). His deviance began with the society as explained by Durkheim’s theory of functionalist perspective. The society’s collective sentiments seem to be too weak to prevent any deviance from the law as clearly seen through corrupt acquisition of his job using political connections. This shows that there was neither constant reaffirming of shared values nor was there passing of the same values from one generation to another, a critical situation responsible for the collapse of this society. People such as Percy and the Governor’s wife do not seem to follow any collective society conscience. They are naturally selfish by all means and only preffer to satisfy their own interests regardless of who is hurt in the process. Even law and primary socialization of the family does not seem to stop them (Anderson and Kaspersen 258).

Coffey’s magic healing power could be said to represent perfect power of God which was at work. Even though the society was going through a period of social strain and dramatic change, religion could playe a key role in bringing back the shared norms and values of the society thus restoring social order as well as helping the society to distigush the good in those around us and resist evil (Anderson and Kaspersen 541).


This paper has discussed Emile Durkheim’s theory of Functionalist Perspective with special emphasis on events witnessed in the movie Green Mile. From issues discussed, the movie seems to have targeted the corrupt leaders and unjust systems of justice that contributed to selfishness as people undermined social expectations that call for respect of rights and needs of others and preffered to look after their own interests regardless of who was hurt in the process. This is evidently seen in unjust execution of Coffey who is believed to have been innocent. People in this society only seem to obey their natural state of greed and selfishness, a condition that has accelerated erossion of society values and led to total disregard for order and harmony. This is anomie which is very dangerous and harmful to all as seen through charcters like Percy and Maniacal prison inmate Sam Rockwell whose main desire was to destroy and kill. The power of collective conscience, social norms and values in this society have been weakened through external shocks. However, through education and religion, society values and collective conscienceness could be restored to bring back the shared norms, values and social order. social systems could be highly valuable in working to maintain equilibrium and to return to it after such external shocks that have disturbed balance among members of this society. Strong emphasis put on socialization of members of the society into basic values and norms of the society could help the society to reach a consensus. A society should be viewed as totally united with all parts of institutions working in oneness and quasiamatic fashion toward achieving overall social equilibrium.


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