What are some of the subtexts in Carrie? What themes are present in the movie?

Expert Answers
MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While the book and movie are not exactly alike, the same themes run through both. Carrie is primarily a struggle for identity, and the pressures one faces when establishing it. For example, Carrie's mother is a religious fanatic, who regularly beats Carrie and locks her in a closet for imagined sins. Of course, this is an extreme, but it is rooted in every girl's deep-seated fear and confusion during puberty. Carrie is unsure of how to be a woman, and thus how to be herself, because her mother sees womanhood itself as a sin, and therefore a thing to be avoided. Carrie's utter terror at her first menstruation, and the other girls' reaction to that, becomes a comment on what roles females play in society, and the ways in which they turn on each other. Of course, pressure on teenagers to conform to societal standards of beauty, and the cruelty that results from these standards is another prevalent theme. Carrie is essentially tortured psychologically by Chris and her boyfriend, and her powers manifest as a result. Carrie is powerless to control her abilities, in much the same way that all people are powerless to control the forces acting upon them. There is much social commentary here about the divisions in society. Carrie is looked down upon for being weird, for being poor: for being everything that the other girls fear they may become.

Read the study guide:

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question
Related Questions