From Academic Kids

In 1952, a film of Theodore Dreiser's novel Sister Carrie was made under the title Carrie; for that film, see: Sister Carrie. For the digital library see Carrie (digital library).

Carrie (1974) was Stephen King's first published novel.



The book uses fictional documents to frame the story of Carrie White, a teenager from Chamberlin, Maine, who has been bullied at home for years by her vindictive Christian fundamentalist mother.

She does not fare much better at her school, Thomas Ewin High School; at the beginning of the novel, she has her first period while showering after her physical education class. Carrie who is terrified has no concept of menstruation; her mother never spoke to her about it, and she has been a social outcast throughout high school. But the thought that this could be Carrie's first period never occurs to her classmates; instead of sympathizing with the frightened Carrie, they use it as an opportunity to taunt her, throwing tampons and sanitary napkins at her instead of helping. Gym teacher Miss Desjardin sees what is going on and immediately wants the other girls barred from attending the upcoming school prom as punishment.

However, Carrie gradually discovers that she has telekinetic powers. Carrie tries to keep these powers under control, even though she is continually pressed to the limit.

Meanwhile, Sue Snell one of the girls who had earlier teased Carrie begins to feel remorseful for her participation in the locker room antics, takes pity on her and offers to become her friend. With prom fast approaching, Sue sets Carrie up with her boyfriend, Tommy Ross (the class hunk).

However, Chris Hargenson (the girl who hates Carrie and helped instigate the earlier episode in the showers) is incensed that she is unable to attend prom. For revenge, she and her boyfriend, Billy, decide to rig the election for prom queen, then hatch a subsequent plan to humiliate her in front of the prom-goers.

It's a plan that Chris will soon regret. After drenching Carrie and Tommy in pig's blood, Carrie is finally pushed over the edge. Perceiving everyone to be laughing at her (not everyone was), she finally demonstrates the full effect of her telekinetic powers, wreaking her revenge on her terrified classmates.

After causing a massive fire that destroys Ewin High School and trapping almost everyone inside, Carrie gets revenge on Billy and Chris (who had fled). Then, after burning virtually the entire downtown Chamberlin, returns home to confront her mother, killing her by inducing cardiac arrest. Carrie later causes her house to implode, resulting in her own death.

The novel also includes fictional news accounts detailing the town's destruction, the aftermath, "interviews" from survivors and transcripts from court proceedings concerning the investigation.

Carrie draws strong parallels between the onset of the title character's adolesence, especially her menstruation and sexuality, and her psychic powers.

Movie and musical adaptations

Brian de Palma directed a film version of Carrie in 1976 with Sissy Spacek as Carrie. Amy Irving, William Katt, Betty Buckley, Piper Laurie, Nancy Allen and John Travolta are also featured. A much-belated and poorly-received sequel appeared in 1999; it featured another girl with telekinetic powers (who is eventually revealed to have shared a father with Carrie), but the overall plot was painfully similar to the first story. A TV movie remake was released in 2002, but the 1976 version is widely regarded as superior in both technique and fidelity to the source material.

A 1988 Broadway musical, starring Betty Buckley, Linzi Hateley, and Darlene Love closed after only five performances and 16 previews. An English pop opera filtered through Greek tragedy, the show was such a notorious turkey it provided the title to Ken Mandelbaum's survey of theatrical disasters, Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops.

ISBN numbers

External links

Internet Movie Database entries:

fr:Carrie ja:キャリー fi:Carrie de:Carrie


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