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Carrie

AP Lit
by

Liz Westrick

on 4 June 2013

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Transcript of Carrie

Stephen King Gruesome Imagery The struggles of Carrie are further accentuated by King's use of gruesome imagery. As the boys in the book kill pigs to get pig blood for a "prom prank" against Carrie, King grimly describes the dead pig as having "its tongue protruding, eyes still open, potato chip crumbs around its snout." (pg. 118) The gory image of the dead pig revealed the rash measures others took to make Carrie's life miserable. Gruesome images also highlighted Carrie's revengeful destruction of the town. Because of Carrie's telekinetic powers, "high-tension wires fell into the streets in pickup-stick tangles and some of them ran, and that was bad for them because now the whole street was littered with wires, and the stink began, and the burning began."(pg.208) The image of Carrie destroying and burning the whole town displayed what the cruelty of others caused her to do. Symbols, Theme and Allusion to Classic Literature Carrie Throughout Carrie, Stephen King utilizes vulgar diction to emphasize the cruelty Carrie experienced in high school. Because she was different from the other students, Carrie was bullied and called "pig poop"(pg.9), "a dumb pudding"(pg.7) and even "the devil"(pg.218) by her mother. The hateful words hurt Carrie and eventually kindled the flame for her revenge on those who had mistreated her. Vulgar Diction Author's Style Carrie by Stephen King narrates the life of high school misfit Carrie White. Through the use of grim detail King characterizes Carrie's overly religious, controlling mother, the peers that constantly harass and disapprove of Carrie, and Carrie's secret telekinetic powers. King grasps the attention of the reader by illustrating Carrie's unfortunate life with dark imagery. Feelings of sympathy for Carrie are developed in the reader through King's utilization of harsh diction to describe the words of Carrie's peers, such as "Carrie White eats shit."(pg.4) Emotional ties are created between the reader and Carrie due to King's continual examples of the abuse she experiences from both her classmates and her own mother. Discourse of Literature Symbols Religious Symbols are prevalent throughout Carrie due to the avid religious beliefs of Carrie's mother, Margaret. The White's home was filled with religious symbols, such as "a plastic Jesus that glowed in the dark"(pg. 42) in Carrie's room. There was also a "praying closet" in their house, in which Carrie was locked frequently, that was filled with grim religious pictures. Along with the various other depictions of the Lord in the house, the religious objects symbolized Margaret's extreme faith. Symbols Blood was another major symbol in Carrie. Three major turning points in the book were symbolized by blood. In the beginning, Carrie got her first menstrual period in the shower during phy ed., which caused her to be ridiculed by the other girls and sent home from school. Later at the prom, pig blood was dumped on her as she was crowned queen, causing her to seek angry revenge on everyone. In the end of the book, Susan Snell discovered Carrie covered in blood and about to die. Blood symbolized the cruelty of others and the drastic affect it had on Carrie. Allusion to Classic Literature Although allusions to classic literature were not frequent in Carrie, some allusions to Macbeth by Shakespeare were present in the novel. On page 197, Carrie was "scrubbing her bloodied hands against her dress like Lady Macbeth." By comparing Carrie to Lady Macbeth, one of Shakepeare's most villainous female characters, King revealed the monster Carrie became. Dynamics of Characters Carrie White- Carrie was a timid and awkward high school girl. Throughout the novel, she was bullied and excluded by her classmates. To display Carrie's insecurities, King stated that "she hated her face, her dull, stupid, bovine face, the vapid eyes, shiny pimples, the nests of blackheads."(pg. 44) Because she was only harassed by others, Carrie hated herself and longed for acceptance. Through the eyes of others, she was considered "weird" and an outcast. Carrie also frequently endured the abuse of her mother at home. After telling her mom that she was invited to the prom, her mom responded by throwing her hot tea in Carrie's face.(pg.98) Margaret hated the idea of Carrie being accepted by others. Although most of the students felt no remorse for the pain they caused Carrie, Susan Snell was an exception. Susan admitted that she felt sympathy for Carrie, even after Carrie killed many people she loved. The character of Carrie seized the sympathy of the reader because of her innocence and kindness. Overall Message Throughout the book, King utilized gruesome images, a sympathetic tone, and grim detail to reveal how Carrie was bullied by others. She was victimized by her peers, her mother and other members of society. Although Carrie longed to be accepted by her peers, she secretly resented them because "they all hate and they never stop."(pg.22) Carrie was tormented endlessly until she finally reached her breaking point and decided to seek revenge on the entire town. The overall message of Carrie is that bullying has drastic effects, and that everyone should be treated equally, despite their differences. Classic? Carrie was an enjoyable read but it will most likely never be considered a classic. Although the book was dense with literary elements, it was not up to standard with the other classic novels read in AP Literature. Most of the classics had twists in their plots, while almost everything that happened in Carrie was foreshadowed. Carrie was also not up to the standards of a classic because it was very vulgar and full of gore. Carrie is different from other novels because of the captivating character of Carrie White and the chilling tale of her downfall. Use in AP Literature The character of Carrie is very comparable to the character of the beast in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Both characters, misunderstood and rejected by society, leave the reader with an internal conflict. They cause the reader to question whether they should sympathize for them or hate them. Despite its similarity to the classic Frankenstein, Carrie would not be a very useful novel to read in an AP English Literature course. Although it is entertaining, Carrie does not have the literary merit necessary.
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