Study Guide

Sling Blade Jerry Woolridge (James Hampton)

Jerry Woolridge (James Hampton)

Mr. Deeds

Jerry is the administrator of the mental hospital, but he appears to care for a Karl in a way that exceeds his typical duties. Jerry helps Karl find work and a place to stay and even checks in on him. All that work is going above and beyond the line of duty.

We don't get to know Jerry beyond seeing his good deeds; for all we know, he would work this hard for any of his patients. But he still goes the extra mile for Karl when he lets him spend the night in his own home, with his family. We doubt Jerry would let creepy Charles Bushman, for example, spend the night in his home. But Jerry trusts Karl. Do you think Jerry feels betrayed when Karl ends up committing another murder in the end?

In a world of Nurse Ratcheds, Jerry Woolridge shows us the softer side of hospital administration. The state itself may be failing Karl by dumping him out onto the streets without any sort of support system, but Jerry does his best to pick up the slack and to do the best he can for him.

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