Review: Carrie by Stephen King

It’s time for another review of Stephen King’s work. I’m so excited to dive into this terrific read with you all so let’s not waste anymore time and get right to it, shall we?

First and foremost a little background information on the novel. Carrie was King’s debut horror story; the plot revolves around teenage adolescence and a young girl named Carrietta White who discovers she’s got some pretty cool telekinetic powers. I’m sure most people by now know what happens in the story, but for those who don’t rest assured that I won’t be giving out any spoilers. We’ll be talking on a couple of the best features of the novel that I think really make it pop; these would be the flawless stream-of-consciousness King uses for the style, and the use of actual historical events to make the text even more believable.

So, stream-of-conscious writing. What is it and how does King use it in Carrie? The style/technique is one where the reader can actively trace the mental thought process of the character(s) they’re following in the story. In Carrie this happens with a number of characters (Carrie, Tommy, Sue to name a few).

A blood blister was forming under his thumbnail. Hurt like hell. Carrie’s steady, monotonous weeping went on and on.
Miss Fish brought the yellow dismissal slip and Morton scrawled his initials on it with his silver pocket pencil, wincing at the pressure on his wounded thumb.” — Carrie, Stephen King

What’s appealing about this style for a novel is that it tends to flow pretty well if done right. It’s similar to a normal thought process that we have as humans. Writer’s out there, just be sure if you try your hand at this technique that you don’t get too carried away with it. You might find that, in using stream-of-consciousness you end up with scenes that don’t just become long and drawn out, but also confusing. The scene still needs to have a main focus. From the scene above, the topic of conversation is still Carrie.

Something else that King does that I found unique and interesting is that he’ll disrupt the flow of a description with a thought from a character before going right back into that description and finishing out the sentence. I loved when these moments happened because it made scenes feel both sporadic and more intimate with the primary character of that scene. The entire novel is written in the third person with the exception of the moments where we have newspaper or magazine articles such as with Sue or Norma. Third person scenes can sometimes feel distant, so when we have those moments of thoughts breaking through, it closes this distance between the reader and character.

“Carrie drew in a startled, smothered gasp, and Tommy again felt(but for only a second) that weird vertigo in his mind
(carrie carrie carrie carrie)
that seemed to blank out all thought but the name and image of this strange girl he was with.” — Carrie, Stephen King

Another thing that this novel does well are the descriptions. They seem simplistic like in the passage below, but they can grip the reader with the final sentence. Carrie could dominate everyone “if she so desired,” some may say that this is one of the main features of horror. No one else has any control in this situation; it’s a false sense of control, actually, and that’s maybe even worse to think you have something only to have it so easily torn away from your hands.

“She was intimidated but not stopped. Because if she wanted to, she could send them all screaming into the streets. Mannequins toppling over, light fixtures falling, bolts of cloth shooting through the air in unwinding streamers. Like Samson in the temple, she could rain destruction on their heads if she so desired.” — Carrie, Stephen King

Overall, I absolutely loved this novel and I recommend anyone else interested in jumping into the horror scene to give it a read. You can find it on Amazon in the link below. Want more information on the author? Check out his author page. That’s all for this post.

Until next time!

~Shania

Carrie by Stephen King

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