Study Guide

Carrie Setting

By Stephen King


Chamberlain, Maine, 1979

Spoiler alert: Stephen King is from Maine. Shocker, we know; most of his books are set in Maine. But how does Mr. King really feel about the place, we wonder?

Since he's always writing about it, we may conclude that he loves Maine. But he also seems to harbor some deep resentment for it. The more books of his you read, the more people from Maine you witness being slaughtered… and the more small Maine towns you watch getting totally blown off the map.

Carrie is no different. The title character of this book renders Chamberlain, Maine, a ghost town by killing over four hundred people, blowing up all the gas stations, and burning down pretty much all the schools and churches.

You won't be seeing Chamberlain on a quaint Maine postcard sent to you by your aunt and uncle as they check out New England fall foliage. The leaves in Chamberlain are blood-red for a different reason... Ha. Hahaha.

Anywho, Chamberlain is a small town, so maybe that's why all the teenagers there are so gossipy and mean. Plus, it's the seventies, so kids aren't texting and Tumblring, they're going to the local store and having root beers that only cost a dime. (And the assistant principal smokes in his office. How quaint.)

But bullying was a problem, even in those pre-high-tech days. Maybe even a more insidious problem, since most of the adults in the town don't seem to have any idea that this violence is happening to Carrie.

So while, like any small, rural-ish town, Chamberlain has its aesthetic pleasantries and people-who-say-hi-when-you-walk-down-the-street, it sure ain't Pleasantville . Like most places, we guess.

As if you don't have a complicated relationship with your hometown…?

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