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Carrie

A novel of a girl with a frightening power.

Carrie is a novel written by Stephen King. It was first published April 5, 1974.

Plot

Part 1 – Blood Sport

Ever since grade school, Carrie White has been the subject of abuse both by her unstable Christian fundamentalist mother, Margaret White, and her classmates at Thomas Ewen Consolidated High School. At the beginning of the novel, Carrie has her first period while showering after gym class. Carrie is terrified, having no concept of menstruation, and believes she is bleeding to death. Instead of sympathizing with the frightened Carrie, her classmates throw tampons and sanitary napkins at her. As Carrie is aided by her gym teacher, Rita Desjardin, a light bulb in the shower explodes. When Margaret finds out about the incident, she beats Carrie, claiming that this is God's way of punishing her, and locks her in the closet for hours to pray for "forgiveness." The next day, Miss Desjardin orders the girls who taunted Carrie to serve a week's detention in the gym. One of the girls and lead bully, Chris Hargensen, refuses to attend and is suspended for three days, as well as banned from Ewen High's prom. However, another girl, Sue Snell, feels remorse for her prior actions and offers to become Carrie's friend. Meanwhile, Carrie gradually discovers that she has telekinetic powers, and learns how to keep them under control. With prom fast approaching, Sue convinces her handsome boyfriend, Tommy Ross, to ask Carrie to prom, as a way for her to finally fit in. Margaret forbids her from attending, but Carrie uses her powers to help stand up for herself. Smarting from being banned from the prom, Chris and her boyfriend, Billy Nolan, hatch a plan to humiliate Carrie in front of the entire school. Chris has Billy fill two buckets with pig blood, and rigs them over the stage on a rafter hidden out of sight. On prom night, Carrie is tormented by Margaret, begging for her not to leave the house. Margaret begins hurting herself, trying to convince Carrie to stay home and pray with her, but Carrie leaves anyway and arrives with Tommy. She is nervous at first, but everyone begins treating her equally. Soon, Carrie begins enjoying herself and Tommy becomes attracted to her. Meanwhile, Sue is at home, continually worrying about what's happening at the prom. At the same time, she wonders if she is pregnant by Tommy.

Part 2 – Prom Night

Carrie and Tommy are elected prom king and queen after Chris' friend, Christina Blake, rigs the prom election. Once on stage, Carrie and Tommy are drenched with the pig blood by Chris; one of the buckets falls on Tommy's head, mortally wounding him. Carrie again becomes the subject of her classmates' ridicule, which also spreads to everyone else. Humiliated and enraged, she decides to use her power to exact revenge upon Ewen High. She locks the gym's doors and turns on the sprinkler system, electrocuting two students; she then sets fire to the gym, leaving almost everyone inside to die. Carrie then goes on a rampage through Chamberlain, blowing up gas stations and setting neighborhoods ablaze. Sue rushes to Ewen High and watches it explode, which destroys a portion of the town.Carrie returns home and confronts a crazed Margaret, who claims she conceived Carrie due to marital rape. When Margaret stabs Carrie, she kills her mother by stopping her heart. Mortally wounded, Carrie makes her way to the local roadhouse where her mother was raped and she was conceived. Chris and Billy, who happen to be making love inside, receive word from Billy's friend of what has happened to Chamberlain; Billy plans on leaving town with Chris. They exit the roadhouse just as Carrie arrives, and attempt to run her down with Billy's car. However, Carrie telekinetically sends the car crashing into the roadhouse, killing Chris and Billy. Carrie then collapses in the parking lot from blood loss. Sue arrives on the scene and finds Carrie in the parking lot. Carrie talks telepathically with Sue and blames her for the prank, but after scanning Sue's brain, she finds out that Sue was not involved and that she had set her up with Tommy to apologize for the gym shower incident. Realizing that Sue was benevolent all along, Carrie forgives and believes her. She then cries out for her mother and dies. Terror-stricken, Sue runs away from the roadhouse and, after distancing herself from it, collapses and has her period, meaning that she miscarried if pregnant.

Part 3 – Wreckage

Four months later, Chamberlain has become a virtual ghost town. The "Black Prom" incident, in which 440 people were killed, is considered a national tragedy worse than the assassination of John F. Kennedy. After interviewing the survivors of the prom, science begins to take telekinesis seriously; many schools across the country start to crack down more on bullying. Miss Desjardin, who escaped from the prom, is consumed with guilt over her own behaviour and also for not reaching out to Carrie sooner, so she resigns her teaching position. In 1986, Sue writes a memoir of her experience, which warns the reader not to forget about the events that took place in Chamberlain, or else something like it may happen again. The book closes with a letter written by a woman in Tennessee, whose daughter is developing telekinetic powers.

Adaptations

Films

Plays

  • 1988 – Carrie, a musical adaptaption
  • 2006 – A non-musical spoof
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