Carrie Recaps: Part Nine

by thethreepennyguignol

It’s that time of the month again – no, not that one, where I manifest evil powers because I’m bleeding out my vag. It’s time for another Carrie recap! We left off last time with Sue setting up for the prom with her friends and discussing the fact that she encouraged her boyfriend, Tommy, to take Carrie to the prom with him.

Her friends mention that Chris Hargensen and Billy Nolan will be furious about the turn of events, and that Chris hates Sue’s guts:

“Susan nodded, surprised to find the thought both distressed and excited her.”

Ugh, right from the off, I just want to say for the dozenth time in these recaps that Sue Snell is by far the most interesting character in Carrie. There so much bubbling under the surface – she wants to be thought of as a good person above all, but there’s a deviance buried inside her that’s way more compelling to me than pretty much anyone else in this novel – exemplified here by the fact that she actually likes the fact that Chris hates her. Chris passes through the gym, and Stephen immediately goes and shoots himself in the foot:

“She was wearing wine-coloured velvet hot pants and a silky white blouse – no bra, from the way things were jiggling up front – a dirty old man’s dream, Sue thought sourly […]”

Look, I get this is meant to be from Sue’s point of view and the narration does call Sue out for thinking about Chris’ outfit in a slut-shamey way, but come on. I’ve said a dozen times before on this blog that connecting a woman’s body to her morality is one of the most stone-cold stupid tropes that I still see so many authors invoking, Stephen King here dives right on to that bandwagon, with Chris, one of the villains of Carrie, walking around without a bra on and daring to be sexually attractive, right after several other characters have been talking shit about her and what a bad person she is. I’m sure Billy Nolan will get a whole segment where we go into detail about his dick bouncing around in his shorts, right? I’ll keep an eye out for it. I’m sure it’s coming.

There’s a little aside taken from Sue’s autobiography, where she discusses how the other men involved with Chris’ prom-plan were easily led and even suggests they could be regarded as “unfortunate victims” which, hmmm, alright. Considering the way Chris’s entrance to this scene has been framed, there’s a little bit too much of the “stupid innocent men are helpless in the face of evil sexy lady” going on here. One of the co-conspirators is described as having the intellect of a child, which yeah, okay, might make him less guilty than the rest of them, but the others simply have criminal records or dropped out of high school early. They’re not stupid. They’re just as culpable as Chris, and yet it’s Chris, with her bralessness and sexual relationship with Billy, who is fingered (pun fully intended) as the culpable one.

Anyway, we get a whole segment from Chris’ point of view as she stalks around the set-up for the prom and looks out the names of everyone nominated from prom King and Queen, and it sheds dissapointingly thin light on who Chris is or why she’s doing this. Obviously, she wants to take revenge on Carrie, but I really want to know what drove someone from such an apparently high-ranking family in the town to run with a group of unrepentant assholes. And I really, really hope that her bralessness and open sexuality isn’t an attempt to explain that away.

There’s a long sequence as we follow the Bad Squad of the town (Billy, Chris, and various other ne’er-do-wellers) as they go to get the pig’s blood to carry out the prank at the prom. Now, this scene is interesting, because I’m not sure whether it’s meant to undercut everything the excerpts previously in this chapter said about Chris being the driving force behind the incident at the prom, but it follows the boys as they kill a pair of pigs in order to collect the blood they require. It’s a pointedly violent scene (maybe just because I’m a bleeding-heart vegetarian, but still): Billy and the other boys seem to somewhat enjoy killing the animals, despite a small amount of initial protest before they arrive, and it seems to contradict the earlier excerpt that described the boys as basically led by the nose into this by Chris. And I’m not sure whether it’s an intentional critique of the culpability placed on Chris or not. Hmmm.

Billy and the rest of the boys flee the scene, and we come to the end of our particularly short, Carrie-free chapter for this week. As ever, thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed this recap and want to see more stuff like it please consider supporting me on Patreon!