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American Novel Into Film: Carrie Essay


Boris Yanakiev ? 354

Professor M. Danova

American Novel into Film



By Stephen King

Nowadays, it turns out that good plots and an epic dimension translate well from page to screen. But the attempt to scale this model by making midsize movies from literary novels has been an ugly disaster. For my work I choose Stephen Kings novel CARRIE. This novel was the first book ever published by Stephen King and ever written so it had to be on the list, although there are many other books that got better reviews. Again the book got to be screened in two different projects, the first one in 1976, directed by Brian De Palma, two years after the book being published, which was actually much more appreciated than the second one released in 2002, directed by David Carson, but the argue is still the book or the movie, and if you ask me I like them both.

Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine, in September 1947. His father left the family while Stephen was very young, and his mother supported them with a variety of low-paying jobs. After moving several times, the family moved to Durham, Maine, where Stephens mother took care of her aging parents. Although Stephens father was not a part of his life, he influenced him by leaving behind many fantasy-horror fiction books. A lonely child who wore thick glasses and was not good in athletics, Stephen preferred the solitary activities of listening to horror stories on the radio, reading scary books, and watching science fiction movies. As a youth, Stephen read avidly and enjoyed a wide variety of books by authors such as John D. MacDonald, Ed McBain, Shirley Jackson, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ken Kesey, Margaret Mitchell, Andre North, Jack London, Agatha Christie, and Thomas Hardy. By the time Stephen was in high school, he was writing short stories modeled on the books he had read. They were set in small towns and included horror and suspense. He began sending them to science fiction magazines, and although none were published, he did win first prize in an essay contest. He was also developing other interests and becoming more social. He played football and the guitar with a rock-and-roll band. After graduating from high school, he received a scholarship to major in English at the University of Maine at Orono. While in college he had to work several part-time jobs to support himself. In 1971 he married Tabitha Jane Spruce whom he had met at the University and remains married to today. By the time Stephen graduated from college, he had published two short stories for which he received a total of $70. However, he could not support himself and Tabitha by writing, and he continued to work at one of his part-time jobs. Finally, he found a job teaching English at Hampden Academy, a private co-ed secondary school. Whenever he could find time, he wrote fiction. Periodically, he would sell a short story to a magazine; however, the young couple barely had enough money for food and other bills. Discouraged, he threw away a book manuscript. Tabitha, always supportive of his writing, retrieved it and urged him to send it to an editor at Doubleday who had shown some interest in his efforts. Sure enough, Doubleday decided to publish his first novel, Carrie, and the novels paperback rights were sold for $400,000. Horror readers loved it, and his career was born. In 1976, Brian De Palma turned the novel into a financially successful movie. A paperback tie-in was released along with the film and over four-million copies were sold. Stephen was able to stop teaching and devote full time to writing.

Carrie is the story of a girl with telekinetic powers that gets pushed too far and makes everyone regret that. The book is pretty similar, but there are a number of differences between the book and the movie. One of the major differences is that the book is written from multiple people's viewpoints, including some transcripts from court hearings, eyewitness testimonies, etc. The movie tells the story from the "omniscent third person" point of view. As a result, the movie doesn't tell quite the same story as the book, and doesn't go into as much detail about some things as the book does. The main characters in this story are Carrie,her mom(Mrs.White), Chris Hargenson and her boyfriend Billy. Carrie is a very shy and nieve girl.She is often terrorize by the other girls at school.She is tired of being mad fun of and realizes she has mental powers. Mrs.White is a religious phanatic who is basically crazy. Carries mom takes everything out on her. Chris Hargenson is a girl Carrie goes to school with, who is very snotty, and like the other girls, makes fun of Carrie. The setting takes place in a small town in New England during the 1980s. The story mainly takes place in Carries home and school. She turns her town into a tale of terror. One day Carrie is at school in the gym locker room and she gets her menses.Well, shes not sure what it is and she starts screaming and crying for help. The other girls start making fun of her because they know what it is. Because they made fun of Carrie so horribly, they have to run laps after school. When they got to gym detention, Chris refused to run. The gym teacher gets very upset so she decides to take Chriss prom tickets away. Now Chris hates Carrie. Chris and the other girls make up in evil plan to make Carrie look rediculous at the prom. The plan is to vote Carrie prom queen and hummiliate her by droping a bucket of pigs blood on her. Chris sneaks into the gym right before the prom and sets the bucket of pigs blood above the rafters. The prom starts and Carrie and her date are called up for prom king and queen. As Carrie walks up to get crowned,the pigs blood falls on her head. She is so upset now that she uses her mental powers to trap every one inside the gym and light the school on fire. The theme is that Carrie uses her new found mental abilities to get revenge against her peers for embarrasing her.


1. Sue - One of Carrie's classmates at Ewen High School who participated in the shower incident. She later felt bad about what she did and convinced her boyfriend Tommy Ross to take Carrie to the prom. Bad idea!

2. Tommy - Sue Snell's boyfriend. He took Carrie to the prom and was killed when a bucket fell on his head.

3. Chris Hargenson A girl with who Carrie goes to school.

Main differences between Stephen Kings Carrie book and the film:

The main difference is the book was portrayed as a documentary like police interviews in the aftermath of what happened, also the appearance was changed. In the book she is slightly overweight with long, dirty blonde hair and many pimples. In the novel, the school was called Ewen Consolidated High School, but in the film it was changed to Bates High School. In the book, Chris and her boyfriend do not wait around after drenching Carrie with blood, and only find out what happened sometime later. In the film, Chris and Billy watch Carrie wreaking havoc straight after they drenched her, another thing is that Carrie's mum is large, fat and ugly with white hair and glasses, but in the film she's quite pleasant looking with brawny-red hair. In the film, Carrie's mother is killed by kitchen knives and potato peelers. In the book, Carrie uses her powers to slow her mother's heart to a stop. If you have watched the movie and read the book you would find out that in the book after Carrie has blood spilled on her she runs out of the school before closing the doors and turning on the fire sprinklers. She then causes an electrical fire, and then leaves them to burn to death. She then walks across town, using her powers to strip the hydrants, blow up gas stations and bring down electrical wires and kill many more than she did in the movie. In the novel, Carrie is also gifted with telepathy and she unknowingly broadcasts her thoughts to onlookers throughout the city and Billy tries to kill Carrie, while in the film, Chris tries to kill Carrie. Both the film and the book see Carrie dying for guilt of what she did to her mother, but the film has her death set up from debris falling on her head. In the book, Carrie leaves her mother and goes into town. It is then that Chris and Billy try to run her over, but she swipes the car aside and kills them both. She has then overused her powers and put stress on her body, and she collapses. Sue then comes up and has a telepathic conversation with her and invites Carrie into her mind to prove that she was innocent. In the book Carrie's death is the result of blood loss, shock and coronary occlusion because of the stress her powers put on her circulatory system.

In the novel, the father of Chris had a conversation with the principal and had a fight with the principal. It was never shown in the movie.Chris encouraged Sue to do nasty stuff for the prom but Sure rejected her. Again, not shown in the movie.When Tommy asked Carrie to go to prom, he never went to Carries house, it all happened in the school. In the novel, Tommy went to Carries house in order to force her. Chris wasnt with Billy when he took pig blood with his friends. His friends are also not aware as to why Billy needs the pig blood. In the movie, Chris went with Billy and Billys friends they were all enjoying what they were doing. In the end, Momma (Margaret White) died first before Chris and Billy, but she was able to stab Carrie in her shoulders. In the novel, Carrie killed Chris and Billy the last. Carrie died in the hospital and Sue found Carrie wounded at the scene where Billy and Chris died. In the movie, Carrie was stabbed by momma at the back and then she killed mama by attacking momma with tons of sharp stuff all thorough her body. Both Momma and Carrie died when Carrie made their house burn down, which again, didnt happen in the novel. I think the book has a good theme ,because it discusses the ordeals teens have with thier peers.It tells the readers what really happens when kids in school show violence. The mood is very depressing and upseting because she is mad fun of so much.It is also very gory and terrifying when everyone is burned to death. The authors purpose was to shock and stune the readers by holding so much suspense and horror in each story.He also likes to prove that kids should watch out about what they say because what goes around comes around. Stephen King is one of the most popular authors of the latter half of the Twentieth Century, having most of his works turned into either a feature film or a made-for-tv movie or miniseries. In my opinion, you would be hard-pressed to find someone in the modern world who does not know who Stephen King is, but still it is always very interesting to see how are Stephen Kings novels screened and my advice is, if you have enough time read the novels and watch the movies.

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