Study Guide

Carrie Part 1

By Stephen King

Part 1

Blood Sport

  • Even though this part is called Blood Sport, don't hold your breath for a Jean-Claude van Damme cameo.
  • Before we get to the action, we get a few items of foreshadowing.
  • Item 1: "A rain of stones fell from a clear blue sky on Carlin Street in the town of Chamberlain" (1.2). They hit the house where Carietta White, then three years old, lived with her mother.
  • Item 2: Stephen King bluntly tells us, "Carrie White was telekinetic" (1.5).
  • Item 3: The kids at school haven't ever been nice to Carrie. In grammar school, someone scratched on a desk, "Carrie White eats s***" (1.6). Hey, in her defense, that can't be any worse than yet another Sloppy Joe day in the school cafeteria, can it?
  • Okay, let's get started.
  • Carrie is showering after gym class at Ewen High, and she's kind of spacing out.
  • Her gym teacher, Miss Desjardin, tells her to hurry up.
  • Suddenly, all the girls see "the blood running down [Carrie's] leg" (1.18).
  • The story is interrupted with an excerpt from a book called The Shadow Exploded, explaining telekinesis to us: "the ability to move objects by effort of the will alone" (1.20).
  • Back to the showers.
  • A girl named Chris Hargensen starts yelling at Carrie. She gets all the girls to chant, "Plug it up!" (1.25). Then they throw tampons and pads at Carrie.
  • Right before the gym teacher returns, Sue Snell (one of the girls bullying Carrie) realizes that this might be the first time Carrie's ever gotten her period.
  • Carrie screams that she's bleeding to death. Miss Desjardin slaps her to calm her down. Because that always helps.
  • Eventually, Miss Desjardin also realizes that this is Carrie's first period. She tries to help her when a lightbulb overhead explodes.
  • Another excerpt from The Shadow Exploded gives us some background on Carrie and her family.
  • Carrie was born on September 21, 1963.
  • Her dad died in February of that year.
  • Her parents possess "near-fanatical fundamentalist religious beliefs" (1.71).
  • When Carrie's mom gave birth, she swore that she didn't know she was pregnant; she believed she had "a cancer of the womanly parts" (1.75). Eek.
  • In the assistant principal's office, Miss Desjardin suggests that Carrie be allowed to go home early. That's what you do when you get your first period, we guess?
  • Mr. Morton, the assistant principal, keeps calling Carrie "Cassie," until she yells that's not her name. (Note: Her name isn't Stacey or Jane either.)
  • When Carrie yells, the ashtray on the desk tips over.
  • Carrie says, "They laughed at me. […] They've always laughed" (1.104). Miss Desjardin feels even worse for her.
  • After Carrie leaves, Miss Desjardin explains the situation a little more to Mr. Morton. She tells him that Chris Hargensen started the bullying, and that she still feels bad about slapping Carrie.
  • Carrie is almost home when a five-year-old rides by and calls Carrie "fart-face" (1.151).
  • With a strong glare, Carrie manages to knock his bike over… then she wonders what else she can do. She tries to shatter a window, but fails.
  • Let's read an interview with Estelle Horan, shall we?
  • Estelle recounts a time when she was sunbathing in a white bikini. Her mom bought it for her just to irritate Carrie's mother, Margaret, because Margaret thinks girls in bikinis are whores.
  • While she's sunbathing, Estelle is approached by Carrie, who wants to know what she has on her chest.
  • Estelle explains that they're her breasts. Carrie says she wants some of her own.
  • Margaret comes out of the house during all this boob talk and freaks out. She screams and scratches at her own face.
  • She carries Carrie inside and everything is quiet. Until…
  • Giant chunks of ice fall from the sky. Followed by boulders. Followed by meatballs. Okay, no meatballs. Just ice and boulders.
  • Estelle says that no one was hurt, but Margaret never got any insurance money for it. It was deemed "an act of God" (1.232) by onlookers.
  • Hm, suspicious.
  • Anywho, back to Carrie's story.
  • Carrie goes inside, and she feels conflicted about pretty much everything.
  • She feels foolish for believing that sanitary napkins were for blotting lipstick.
  • And she's scared of Something. Something with a capital S: "Momma had told her there was Something. The Something was dangerous, ancient, unutterably evil" (1.257).
  • What's this Something? Carrie pinches her open nipples and feels good. "Yes, this was the Something" (1.259). Well. There ya go. Sex.
  • Carrie feels guilty for enjoying this Something, and the mirror she's gazing into cracks down the middle.
  • Suddenly, the point-of-view switches to Sue Snell, who just finished making love with her boyfriend, Tommy. She didn't enjoy it very much because it still hurts.
  • Sue is feeling conflicted about being Popular, with a capital P, and doing a "not-so-good thing" (1.277) to Carrie.
  • Tommy tries to convince her to apologize, and also that she shouldn't feel too guilty about what she did. They make love again, and this time, she enjoys it.
  • Back to Carrie. She tells her mom that she had her period. She's mad that Momma didn't tell her about it sooner.
  • Momma slaps her to the ground. She starts raving about Bible stories—all the most gruesome ones—and drags Carrie to her altar.
  • Carrie tells her that she'll make the stones come again if Momma doesn't stop.
  • While her Momma prays, Carrie tells her "I didn't sin, Momma. You sinned" (1.357).
  • Then she busts out a few more choice phrases like "You SUCK!" (1.367) and "You FUCK!" (1.370) This is not okay, Shmoopers.
  • Carrie's mom throws her into a closet and locks the door. Definitely not okay.
  • Carrie's hideaway is kind of like Harry Potter's cabinet under the stairs, except it's filled with as many creepy Bible images as you can think up.
  • Momma lets Carrie out after about six hours. Carrie thinks that she was afraid Carrie would knock the door off the hinges… and Carrie wonders if she could have.
  • On Monday morning, Miss Desjardin tells the girls that they all did "a really s***ty thing" (1.411) to Carrie. They have to go through a week of detention, and if they miss any of it, they'll have their prom tickets revoked.
  • Chris Hargensen rebels, and tries to get the other girls to rebel with her. Sue Snell refuses, so Chris walks out. Guess she's not going to prom.
  • John Hargensen, Chris's father, goes to visit the principal on Friday.
  • He threatens to sue the school for Miss Desjardin's behavior, saying she "verbally abused" (1.450) his daughter.
  • Henry Grayle, the principal, retaliates. He says he'll sue Mr. Hargensen for his daughter's behavior, because she assaulted Carrie by throwing things at her.
  • Well, that was a productive meeting, huh?
  • After school, Sue Snell goes to Kelly Fruit, which is kind of a drugstore-type place where kids hang out and buy sodas. She gets a root beer.
  • Unfortunately, Chris is there, angry that she's not going to prom.
  • She somehow believes that everything is Carrie's fault. Sue tries to convince Chris to get over it, but that just makes her angrier. She reminds Sue that Sue threw tampons too.
  • Sue feels like a hypocrite, so she leaves the store and cries her way home.
  • Back at the White residence, Carrie is practicing lifting her hairbrush to flex her psychic energy. It's not quite the telekinetic version of CrossFit, but she's getting there.
  • That night, Carrie dreams of giant stones crushing her mother and all of her enemies. Um, whatever happened to good ol' flying dreams?
  • Before shifting back to Sue's P.O.V., we get a small excerpt from her book, My Name is Susan Snell. She doesn't seem guilty anymore in the book, writing, "We were kids trying to do our best" (1.560).
  • What is Sue's best? Well, she asks Tommy to take Carrie to prom, and he agrees.
  • He asks her on Thursday. At first she thinks it's a trick, but she eventually says "yes."
  • At home, Carrie is exercising her telepathy a little more, lifting her bureau up and down. If there were a President's Fitness Challenge for telepathic high school students, Carrie would totally qualify for a blue patch.
  • Then Momma calls her down to supper. At the table, Carrie drops the big ol' prom bomb.
  • Momma's reaction: she chucks her tea in Carrie's face. Sounds like she should switch to decaf…
  • They argue, and Momma tries to get Carrie into the closet. Carrie levitates the pie pan with her mind and throws it across the room.
  • Momma calls her a witch. Carrie leaves, and heads to the basement to fetch the material she bought to make her prom dress.
  • We shift to a quick scene in the principal's office, where the principal tells his assistant that he thinks something bad is going to happen. He doesn't say "I've got a bad feeling about this," but he may as well have.
  • Even though Sue isn't going to the ball, she spends the afternoon working on the prom mural. Aw, she's really trying to be "good," isn't she?
  • While Sue's working in the mural, Chris walks by, all brazen and braless. Sue fears that Chris may do something to sabotage the dance.
  • Later, a girl named Tina Blake lets Chris into the gym after it's locked. Chris finds the Prom King and queen ballots and absconds with them.
  • That night, Billy, Chris's boyfriend, heads out to a farm with a band of thugs in tow.
  • These boys are not out for cow-tipping and other shenanigans, Shmoopers. They're going to make some pigs squeal.
  • Billy and his buds slaughter two pigs and fill two buckets with their blood.

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