You only can push someone so far before they fight back. Carrie kept taking it and taking it until one night all bets were off—she retaliated. As part of Horror month, Women Who Wow Wednesday salutes Carrie White, Stephen King’s bullied hero.
I’ve spoken before about what goes on in the schoolyards in North America with my post Bully. It’s not fun. Kids picking on kids. Teens beating other teens. These bullies grow up to become superficial abusers of the system unaware the system will eventually catch up with them someday.
* spoilers ahead *
Carrie is an ordinary 17-year-old growing up discovering she no longer is a little girl anymore. She learns from the popular kids in class that her period is a natural phase in her development to womanhood. Although, they don’t really make her feel all that special given they throw sanitary napkins at her telling her to “plug it up” in the girl’s shower. When she returns home, her mother having received a call from school, she runs upstairs. But her mother has other ideas. A radical Christian, she punishes Carrie for reaching that stage in her life in order to remove any impurities introduced by the flow.
If you’re thinking her mother’s an oddball, you must have seen this 1976 feature.
What I find interesting about this movie is some of the actors playing the leads go on to become big stars after this film. John Travolta’s star shined bright in Saturday Night Fever, becoming an overnight sensation dancing disco. Sissy Spacek won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Coal Miner’s Daughter. Virtual unknown, Amy Irving, starred in a bevy of small roles, then married Steven Spielberg only for the marriage to last a short time.
Carrie’s bullying started at home with her mother. A restrictive woman, her mother always dictated what Carrie could and couldn’t do. That is, until one night Carrie reveals a secret to her mother. Thing is, she’s never really told anyone about her secret, which leads her mother to fear her daughter’s doing the devil’s work.
Throughout the story, Carrie blossoms from a fragile teen with very little self-confidence to a beautiful young woman dating one of the hottest guys in school. To watch this wondrous transformation from ugly duckling to beautiful swan makes the story all the more enchanting to enjoy. Of course, when she’s crowned queen of the prom, things don’t go quite as expected.
And this is where I have to stop since I don’t want to give away the whole story.
Carrie White proves bullying doesn’t work. She also rises from her insecure stoop to dominate those who’d teased her over the course of the school year. Yes, her determination for retribution flies in the face of conventional justice. But who’s to say it doesn’t?
How does that saying go? Oh, yes, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”
Have you seen the 1976 version of Carrie? What did you think of it?