Study Guide

Carrie Guilt and Blame

By Stephen King

Guilt and Blame

There's a lot of guilt in Carrie because there's a lot of wrongdoing. The real source of each character's guilt is somewhat different, however. Margaret feels bad for sinning—like, for having sex, for example—and liking it. Sue Snell feels guilty for bullying Carrie. Miss Desjardin feels guilty for not protecting Carrie better. And we're not sure if Chris Hargensen is capable of feeling guilt, but she definitely blames Carrie for everything that's wrong with her life. Carrie blames everyone around her for her life being terrible, but doesn't seem to feel guilty about her own violent crimes. So where does all this guilt and blame get us? Not very far, really. And we think that's Stephen King's point. It's easy to point fingers and sit around feeling bad for yourself. It's much harder to take action and try to make things better.

Questions About Guilt and Blame

  1. Does Carrie feel guilt about anything she does? Who does she blame for her problems, and what's her rationale?
  2. Why doesn't Chris Hargensen ever feel remorse for anything she does?
  3. How are Sue's and Miss Desjardin's feelings of guilt similar? How do they each try to atone for what they feel they've done?

Chew on This

Sue Snell's guilt is entirely selfish—it's about making Sue Snell, not Carrie, feel better.

Sue later absolves herself of guilt by playing the "we were just stupid teenagers" card. She never takes nor assigns any blame for her and her peers' actions.