Friday, June 16, 2017

Stephen King's Carrie: Monster or Victim?

Please note that this is not a review but merely a discussion. Any books I discuss here I strongly recommend because I love reading and I believe that everyone interprets a story differently. These are my thoughts; please note that the following may contain spoilers. Proceed accordingly


First of all, I have to mention that this is up there as one of my favourite Stephen King works. Admittedly, I haven't read much by him. Misery still being my favourite book of all time. This book, Carrie, is roughly 300 pages so I found this a very quick read. The writing style is a lot like a report. I find Mr. King's writing style very engaging and almost bewitching. I encountered the same problem I had when I read Misery, where I couldn't put the book down even if I wanted to.

 The story centers around Carrie White, the school's punching bag, town outlier and the constant abuse she faces. Due to a rare genetic anomaly she has telekinetic powers and can move physical objects with her thoughts alone.

One could easily argue that Carrie isn't the only monster in this story. Between her Mother's psychotic obsession with religion, the town's indifference of her abuse and Chris Hargenson's complete lack of empathy for her.

I view Carrie White as a victim of extreme circumstances and as a host to the leech that is her telekinetic powers. As the story progresses, the parasitic nature of her powers is revealed almost putting itself as a FORCE or even a character itself with it's own motives and agenda.

Carrie's tormentors at times feel COMPELLED and justified in their actions. How much of it is influenced by her TK abilities and how much of it is personal characteristics is up for debate. It is noted however, that her abilities can influence the minds of other people. An extreme case of this can is seen whilst re accounting the events of the Black Prom where witnesses whom had never met Carrie before that point, knew exactly who she was. Susan Snell also briefly mentions losing a sense of control when she discusses the shower event with Chris Hargensen.

Who's to say that these people, a town full of unassumingly ordinary people (with no noted prior cases of telekinetic episodes) are not being subconsciously influenced by Carrie's powers. She is not the only one bullied by Chris and her crew, yet even amongst the outcasts she is a lone misfit. The likelihood of no one reaching out to Carrie seems unusual.

Even Miss Desjardin, a teacher who has witnessed Carrie's abuse firsthand recounts that she wanted to shake her during the shower incident.

I'm sure it's no coincidence that Carrie's mother and other carriers of the TK gene show early signs of dementia. Being raised by a fanatic mother would also create the perfect habitat for something that feeds on negative to grow. With no stable relationships with friends, family, or even authority figures (such as teachers) to reach out to leaves Carrie in perfect social isolation. She has no distraction to work on her psychic techniques nor any examples of remorse or empathy.

As someone who was bullied in school I find Carrie's story relatable. Thankfully I didn't have telekinesis and instead I had some kind of support system from friends, family and authority figures. My case of bullying was also mild in comparison. Even outside of Carrie's role this book tackles a lot of aspects and emotions that adolescents go through: bullying, herd mentality, acting on impluse, hating someone for no describable reason and dealing with helplessness. Carrie turned to her TK abilities because it gave her a sense of accomplishment, strength and most importantly it gave her a sense of control in a world were she was helpless.

Carrie's inevitable rampage is a reaction to living her life in a loveless world, a world that was created for her.

Thanks to anyone that sticks around to read this. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this book. A thank you to Stephen King for writing such amazing works, I plan on reading Night Shift next. I had lots of fun writing this so please look forward to more in the future!

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