Carrie Summary

Stephen King

Carrie

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Carrie Summary

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Stephen King’s novel Carrie, his first published book, appearing in 1975, propelled him into the public consciousness. It tells the story of an abused girl who discovers her latent power of telekinesis and uses it to punish and destroy a town.

The novel begins with Carrie, a 16-year-old living in Chamberlain, Maine, experiencing her first period in the shower of the school’s locker room. Her mother, a fanatical Christian who abuses Carrie, has never told her about menstruation because she believes it to be a sign of sin. Carrie thinks she is bleeding to death, as the girls in the shower pelt her with tampons and sanitary napkins.

The gym teacher, Miss Desjardin, finds her and is frustrated at first with Carrie’s refusal to deal with the situation. She quickly realizes that Carrie has no idea what is going on, and Miss Desjardin reigns in the girls as a light bulb shatters over her head. Once alone, she helps Carrie clean up and tries to explain to her what is happening.

When Carrie gets home, her mother finds out what happened, and locks Carrie in the prayer closet. She believes that Carrie’s period is the result of some unknown sin and is her fault. At school, Miss Desjardin tries to get all the bullies suspended and revokes their right to go to prom. Mr. Hargensen, the school’s lawyer and the father of the lead bully, Chris, overrules her. Henry Gayle acquiesces and gives the girls a boot camp style detention with Miss Desjardin so they can earn the right to go to prom.

When Chris refuses to attend the detention, she is suspended and banned from prom. This time, her father cannot come to her aid. Carrie gradually uncovers her abilities, discovering that she has had them since birth, and after the onset of her period, they have reappeared.

Another popular girl, Sue Snell, feels bad about teasing Carrie and decides to make it up to her. She convinces her boyfriend, Tommy, to ask Carrie to the prom. Carrie is suspicious but comes around and says yes. She makes a red velvet dress, but her mother is horrified that she would do something so sinful as going to a dance. She believes sex is sinful even after marriage, and she reveals that she has known about Carrie’s powers all along.

Chris and her boyfriend, Billy, vow revenge. At first, the prom is good for Carrie, but Chris and Billy rig the prom election so that Carrie and Tommy are elected King and Queen. When they come to the front to accept their crowns, two buckets of pig’s blood fall on their heads. One of the buckets hits Tommy on the head, killing him.

Carrie runs from the building as everyone laughs at her. When she gets outside, she remembers her abilities. At first, she only intends to lock the doors and turn on the sprinklers, but they react with the electrical speakers and electrocute two people. She then causes a massive fire that kills almost everyone inside.

As she walks home, she causes massive fires by breaking power lines and causing gas stations to explode. She gets home, and her mother tries to kill her to stop what she believes is the devil’s work. She reveals that Carrie’s conception was the result of marital rape; Carrie kills her mother by stopping her heart when her mother stabs her with a kitchen knife.

She goes to destroy the roadhouse where she was conceived, but she sees Chris and Billy. They try to run her over, but she wrecks the car and causes a fire that kills them. The whole time, she gives off “broadcast telepathy” letting all the citizens know what is causing the destruction. Sue has been following the broadcast and finds her in a parking lot dying. Carrie understands through telepathy that Sue and Tommy had nothing to do with the prank, and she dies calling out for her mother.

Miss Desjardin survives and resigns stating she will never teach again. Henry Grayle also resigns in remorse. The surviving students attend a grim ceremony, and the city becomes a ghost town popular with tourists who are fascinated by her abilities.

Some see her as a folk hero, and others as a monster. The school begins to take better precautions against bullies, and the government becomes more interested in telekinesis. At the end of the novel, there is a letter from a woman in Georgia expressing her love and fascination with her new baby’s telekinetic abilities, and we understand that Carrie may have been reborn into the family she deserves.

King has called Carrie a work of feminism. His purpose in writing the novel was to outline the ways that women come into a power that are frightening but compelling. Carrie is symbolic of the experiences women go through with masculine power, being taken advantage of and treated as objects of amusement.

She is a local girl, but she is also a woman feeling her power for the first time. She uses her talent to set right what she believes is a destructive and hurtful society. At the end, she is both a hero and a monster depending on who is talking, and her actions bring about good change to the school and the town.

Stephen King’s novel Carrie, his first published book, appearing in 1975, propelled him into the public consciousness. It tells the story of an abused girl who discovers her latent power of telekinesis and uses it to punish and destroy a town.

The novel begins with Carrie, a 16-year-old living in Chamberlain, Maine, experiencing her first period in the shower of the school’s locker room. Her mother, a fanatical Christian who abuses Carrie, has never told her about menstruation because she believes it to be a sign of sin. Carrie thinks she is bleeding to death, as the girls in the shower pelt her with tampons and sanitary napkins.

The gym teacher, Miss Desjardin, finds her and is frustrated at first with Carrie’s refusal to deal with the situation. She quickly realizes that Carrie has no idea what is going on, and Miss Desjardin reigns in the girls as a light bulb shatters over her head. Once alone, she helps Carrie clean up and tries to explain to her what is happening.

When Carrie gets home, her mother finds out what happened, and locks Carrie in the prayer closet. She believes that Carrie’s period is the result of some unknown sin and is her fault. At school, Miss Desjardin tries to get all the bullies suspended and revokes their right to go to prom. Mr. Hargensen, the school’s lawyer and the father of the lead bully, Chris, overrules her. Henry Gayle acquiesces and gives the girls a boot camp style detention with Miss Desjardin so they can earn the right to go to prom.

When Chris refuses to attend the detention, she is suspended and banned from prom. This time, her father cannot come to her aid. Carrie gradually uncovers her abilities, discovering that she has had them since birth, and after the onset of her period, they have reappeared.

Another popular girl, Sue Snell, feels bad about teasing Carrie and decides to make it up to her. She convinces her boyfriend, Tommy, to ask Carrie to the prom. Carrie is suspicious but comes around and says yes. She makes a red velvet dress, but her mother is horrified that she would do something so sinful as going to a dance. She believes sex is sinful even after marriage, and she reveals that she has known about Carrie’s powers all along.

Chris and her boyfriend, Billy, vow revenge. At first, the prom is good for Carrie, but Chris and Billy rig the prom election so that Carrie and Tommy are elected King and Queen. When they come to the front to accept their crowns, two buckets of pig’s blood fall on their heads. One of the buckets hits Tommy on the head, killing him.

Carrie runs from the building as everyone laughs at her. When she gets outside, she remembers her abilities. At first, she only intends to lock the doors and turn on the sprinklers, but they react with the electrical speakers and electrocute two people. She then causes a massive fire that kills almost everyone inside.

As she walks home, she causes massive fires by breaking power lines and causing gas stations to explode. She gets home, and her mother tries to kill her to stop what she believes is the devil’s work. She reveals that Carrie’s conception was the result of marital rape; Carrie kills her mother by stopping her heart when her mother stabs her with a kitchen knife.

She goes to destroy the roadhouse where she was conceived, but she sees Chris and Billy. They try to run her over, but she wrecks the car and causes a fire that kills them. The whole time, she gives off “broadcast telepathy” letting all the citizens know what is causing the destruction. Sue has been following the broadcast and finds her in a parking lot dying. Carrie understands through telepathy that Sue and Tommy had nothing to do with the prank, and she dies calling out for her mother.

Miss Desjardin survives and resigns stating she will never teach again. Henry Grayle also resigns in remorse. The surviving students attend a grim ceremony, and the city becomes a ghost town popular with tourists who are fascinated by her abilities.

Some see her as a folk hero, and others as a monster. The school begins to take better precautions against bullies, and the government becomes more interested in telekinesis. At the end of the novel, there is a letter from a woman in Georgia expressing her love and fascination with her new baby’s telekinetic abilities, and we understand that Carrie may have been reborn into the family she deserves.

King has called Carrie a work of feminism. His purpose in writing the novel was to outline the ways that women come into a power that are frightening but compelling. Carrie is symbolic of the experiences women go through with masculine power, being taken advantage of and treated as objects of amusement.

She is a local girl, but she is also a woman feeling her power for the first time. She uses her talent to set right what she believes is a destructive and hurtful society. At the end, she is both a hero and a monster depending on who is talking, and her actions bring about good change to the school and the town.