In both John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and Stephen King's The Green Mile, men are depicted in desperate situations. George, Lennie, and their fellow ranch hands live in the unrelenting financial desperation of the Depression era, which impacts their emotions in different ways. Paul Edgecombe and his fellow wardens of E Block bear witness to the emotional desperation of the prisoners awaiting their imminent deaths.
Some of the characters in Steinbeck's novella will remind readers of characters in The Green Mile. For example, George and Paul Edgecombe both feel what it is like to be responsible for another man's death. Lennie and John Coffey also share similarities: both men are exceptionally large and intimidating in terms of their physical stature, both men are childlike in their manners and outlooks, and both men have been found guilty of committing acts of violence against women.