Study Guide

Carrie Part 2

By Stephen King

Part 2

Prom Night

  • Carrie puts on her prom dress and it looks pretty good, cleavage and all.
  • Momma isn't too fond of the cleavage part. She's angry that Carrie's "dirtypillows" (2.10) are on display. And that the dress is red. Such a sinner.
  • She tells Carrie to burn the dress. But no one can tell telekinetic Carrie what to do anymore. She just slides Momma across the floor and out the door, as though she's on one of those conveyor-belt walkways at the airport.
  • With Momma gone, Carrie paces around, fretting that Tommy won't show up. Every minute he's late (and he's late by three) she becomes more and more convinced that this is all an elaborate practical joke.
  • But he shows up. He doesn't laugh at her. She asks if he likes her and he says, "You're beautiful" (2.86).
  • Now it's flashback time. We travel back to the happy days when Chris first met Billy. Okay, they're more Lost Highway than Happy Days.
  • The first night she's in his car, he speeds and crashes. They're okay. Billy makes her fetch the toolkit, and then he gets horny.
  • Back to the present, Chris has second thoughts about whatever they're going to do to Carrie. But Billy tells her that it's a good idea.
  • Tommy and Carrie arrive at the ball, and Frieda Jason tells Carrie that she really likes her homemade dress. And she means it. Carrie even seems to fit in well with Tommy's friends.
  • Uh-oh, flashback time again. Now we're watching as Billy rigs up the buckets of pig's blood right above where the thrones for King and Queen of the Spring Ball will go. (This is the before the kids arrived at the prom, in case you hadn't caught that.) "Bombs away" (2.180).
  • In the present, Billy tells Chris that he'll let her pull the strings. What a gentleman.
  • While chilling at the prom, a girl named Norma Watson starts talking to Carrie about how lovely and glowing she is… but Norma is totally faking her enthusiasm.
  • Carrie and Tommy don't take that nastiness lying down, however. They are sarcastic to Norma, which puts her in her place.
  • Then Tommy asks Carrie to dance, but she's not ready to admit that she doesn't know how.
  • Instead, he lights the candle on the table and they look at each other over the flame.
  • "And the band played on" (2.218). Dun dun dun. That sounds a lot like we're on the Titanic and it's about to go down.
  • At home, Momma sharpens her knife. She decides that Carrie has the devil in her and she has to kill her. Whoa there.
  • Instead of dancing, Tommy and Carrie walk around to other tables, just kind of scoping the place out.
  • They run into Miss Desjardin, and she tells Carrie that she's beautiful.
  • Carrie tries to tell herself that she doesn't blame anyone for bullying her, but she still does. "She blamed them all and always would" (2.262).
  • Sue sits at home and listens to Jefferson Airplane. That's an okay way to spend prom, we guess, but we wish we could at least go back in time and introduce her to Starship.
  • Oh, and one more thing: Sue's period is late. That's probably not good…
  • As the voting starts for Prom King and Queen, Chris and Billy get into position over the stage.
  • Tommy says that he and Carrie should vote for themselves, so they do. When Carrie marks her vote, the pencil breaks and cuts her finger.
  • The principal counts and discovers there's a tie for the "first time in the history of the Spring Ball" (2.318). They have a run-off.
  • Meanwhile, at home, Carrie's mother has cut herself sharpening the knife.
  • Meanwhile again, at Sue's home, Sue sits in the dark feeling like "the world was coming to an end" (2.361). But she doesn't know why.
  • So much foreshadowing it hurts. Ahem.
  • Finally, we go back to the prom where Tommy and Carrie win by one vote.
  • Hearing the applause and the school song, Chris Hargensen pulls the string. "Inside, the laughter began" (3.396).
  • It's 10:15 p.m. do you know where your children are? Sue Snell is still at home. She hears the town whistle going off and she looks outside. The school is on fire.
  • To figure out what happened, we read an excerpt from Norma Watson's book (that's right, the mean girl wrote a book and capitalized on this) called We Survived the Black Prom.
  • Whee, and then we're back to the present again. Carrie is splattered with pig's blood—bet you knew that was going to happen.
  • One of the buckets falls, hitting Tommy in the head and knocking him out.
  • When the audience sees Carrie open her eyes, they all laugh. Norma writes, "It was either laugh or cry, and who could bring himself to cry over Carrie after all those years?" (2.419).
  • Carrie hops off stage and leaves. The leader of the band, Josie Vreck (no relation to Josie of Pussycats fame) checks on Tommy, but Tommy is dead. Scary stuff.
  • But then it all gets a lot scarier.
  • Carrie returns and barricades the doors so that no one can escape.
  • All the fire sprinklers come on, covering the gym floor with water.
  • Norma hears a scream and looks on stage. Josie Vreck is being electrocuted because the amp is soaked with water.
  • Power switches explode backstage, and high-voltage cables fall down onto the water-covered floor.
  • Sue takes her mother's car and rushes toward the school. She gets there and gets out just as the school explodes. The blast knocks her over.
  • She hears someone screaming, but she can't make out what he's saying… then something else explodes.
  • We get the next piece of the narrative puzzle from Thomas K. Quillan, the town drunk.
  • From his vantage point inside the jail, he sees Carrie White walking down the street. He'd never seen her before, he just knows she's Carrie White.
  • She's covered in blood, smiling, and popping fire hydrants with her mind-force the way some people are poppin' bottles.
  • Then she tears the gas pumps from their hooks, flooding the streets with gas. A guy walks by with a cigarette and throws it, lighting the gas on fire. Boom.
  • We flash back a few minutes to get Carrie's point-of-view.
  • When the blood fell on her and everyone laughed, she knew her Momma was right. Her being invited to prom was an elaborate joke. They were all going to laugh at her.
  • Miss Desjardin comes to help, and Carrie flings her aside.
  • She crawls outside and lies on the grass when she remembers "!! THE POWER !!" (2.553)
  • So she goes back in to teach them a lesson.
  • She turns on the sprinklers, drops the power cords, and watches everyone get electrocuted and catch on fire.
  • Then she goes outside and blows all the fire hydrants so that the fire trucks won't be able to help.
  • Since that's not enough, she starts taking out the gas stations as she walks past.
  • Let's get the Sheriff's opinion on this catastrophe, shall we?
  • He's a little upset that Carrie blew up the whole town. Especially since he was helpless to stop it.
  • He runs into the drunk, Thomas Quillan, and Sue Snell, who tells him that Carrie's the one who made this whole mess.
  • "They've hurt Carrie for the last time" (2.635), she says. She begs him to find Carrie.
  • The Sheriff runs into another student, who gives him more details.
  • People flock into the street to see what all the explosions are about.
  • This is a Very Bad Idea, because electricity. Power lines fall and electrocute all sorts of people in the streets.
  • Carrie makes it home to kill Momma. Only she quickly discovers that Momma is looking to kill her first.
  • Momma tells her how she almost killed herself, and how she's tried to kill Carrie multiple times.
  • Now she's ready because "the devil has come home" (2.733). She stabs Carrie in the shoulder.
  • "Thanks, Mom. Prom was great. Killed a bunch of people. How are you?"
  • Carrie uses her psychic powers to stop Momma's heart.
  • Then Carrie remembers that she has one more thing to do on her journey of vengeance. She heads toward Route 6. (For what? A Dunkin Donuts?)
  • Meanwhile, Chris and Billy are holed up in the Cavalier, a roadhouse on Route 6. (Oh, for that.)
  • After sex, Billy is woken up by a friend telling him that Carrie blew up the school and half the town. All Billy can think about is that he hopes no one figures out he dumped the pig's blood on Carrie.
  • He and Chris run outside and get in his car…
  • But Carrie is standing in the middle of the road.
  • Billy tries to run her over. Instead, the car seems to crash into an invisible barrier around Carrie. Both Billy and Chris are killed. The car explodes, and Carrie collapses in the road.
  • Sue seems to psychically follow Carrie's trail until she finds her lying unconscious in the street. Pretty weird, we know. But it gets weirder.
  • Carrie and Sue have a really bizarre psychic conversation in which Sue can hear Carrie's thoughts and feel her emotions, and Carrie can rummage through Sue's self-conscious. Sweet.
  • Carrie realizes that Sue kind of hated Carrie, but not in a personal way. Whatever that means.
  • Then Carrie dies, and Sue feels it happen, describing it like going through "a long, black tunnel at a tremendous speed" (2.1031).
  • Sue runs away until she can't run anymore. Then she screams.
  • Blood starts running down her thighs.

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