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The Tiger

The Student News Site of Elmwood Park High School

The Tiger


A comparison between the book and films


Carrie is a horror novel written by Stephen King that was published on April 5, 1974. It follows 16 year old Carrieta White, a severely bullied student at Bates High in Chamberlain, Maine. There she lives with her abusive and religious mother who has tried to shelter her her whole life. She discovers that she has telekinetic powers, and after a cruel prank held at prom, she decides to do something that her town will never forget. There have been two film adaptations, and changes have been made to both. Some of the changes were small and didn’t have an impact on the plot, while others changed the story along with its characters.



I really enjoyed Carrie. It was a short but entertaining read. The characters were done very well, especially with Carrie herself, Tommy, Carrie’s mother, and Chris. Carrie is a great character. You feel bad for her from the start because she’s relentlessly bullied and is alone. Her mother is abusive and has sheltered her her whole life so she doesn’t know a lot of things that she should. She has telekinesis and uses that to her advantage for revenge after getting publicly humiliated at her prom. Tommy stuck out because he was kind. Everyone made fun of Carrie and ostracized her from everything, but he didn’t do that. He didn’t talk to her and only knew about her from what others said. When he took her to the prom he wanted her to be comfortable and have a good time. While at the prom he’s also thinking about whether it was even a good idea because he doesn’t want to make her feel worse.


Chris was unlikable and a bad person from the beginning and was a great antagonist. She didn’t have a motivation that could justify her actions; she was just cruel and she knew it. Carrie’s mother was a very interesting person. She was very religious and used that to control and abuse Carrie. A lot of the reasons that Carrie got bullied in the first place were due to her mother’s views and isolation. She physically and emotionally abused Carrie her entire life, which included locking her in a closet for hours on end to make her pray for her sins. She also has had some terrible experiences which bring a little bit of sympathy, such as her husband dying, having to give birth alone, and the conception of Carrie being against her will, but she immediately removes the sympathy by what she does to Carrie.


1976 Movie

This rendition of Carrie was done very well. There were multiple scenes that felt like they were taken directly from the book. As close as the movie was to the book, there were certain scenes that were different, which changed their context. During the first scene when Carrie is showering in the locker room before she gets her first period, she is supposed to be uncomfortable. She’s supposed to be off in the corner standing awkwardly, but the movie made her comfortable, and had unnecessary closeup shots of her body, making the nudity gratuitous, especially given the character’s young age. Another change was the closet that her mother put her in for hours when she wanted to punish her. In the book the closet was locked while in the movie it was not, thereby removing the severity of the situation. What made the closet so frightening for Carrie was that she couldn’t get out, but that was changed in the movie as she could just leave whenever she wanted to.


The largest changes were the ones made to the prom scenes and the aftermath. At the prom Tommy is pushy with Carrie and tries to get her to participate in the event even when she doesn’t want to, which is very out of character for him and makes the appeal of him to Carrie strange. After Carrie leaves the prom, she goes home and tries to apologize to her mom and pray, which is the opposite of what she did in the book. She didn’t feel that she had anything to apologize for and didn’t want to live under her mother’s oppressive rule anymore. She ends up killing her mom and then dying after making her house cave in on itself without seeing Sue again. A part of what made Sue different was that even after the events of the prom, she still tries to help Carrie and make sure that she’s okay, but she just didn’t do that.

Pictured above is Carrie in her mother’s arms apologizing after the prom. It was uncharacteristic of her to be apologizing to her mother since during the events leading up to prom she was thinking more for herself and pushing back against her mother’s views.

2013 Movie

This more modern take on Carrie was done really well. It took place in 2013 so certain things were changed, but it made what happened to Carrie more intense. To add to the isolation that her mom has put her in, she also doesn’t know how to use technology and has to get help when using a computer. When Carrie is getting made fun of due to getting her first period and being scared, it’s now being recorded. Due to it being more modern, it was also posted onto YouTube. So when they dumped the blood on her at prom, they also showed that video to add to the humiliation of it all. 


A change that they made to one of the characters was making Tommy better. He originally was the only person who didn’t make fun of her and that she allowed herself to trust. Here, when she reads a poem to the front of the class and the teacher calls it “disturbing”, he defends her and says that he liked the poem. After the blood gets dumped on Carrie at the prom and the video from the locker room starts playing, he gets upset that someone is doing this. Him being kinder to Carrie makes it more painful to her when the bucket that holds the blood falls on his head and kills him. When it came to her telekinesis, I liked that when she knew what was happening they made her use her hands to try and help control her actions because it helped show that what she was doing was intentional and not just a reaction.

Pictured above is Carrie getting ready for prom. While Chloe Grace Moretz and Sissy Spacek both portray her well, they don’t fit her physical description. She’s supposed to be “a frog among swans”, but that wasn’t shown (King).



Overall, I prefer the 2013 film to the 1976 version. It did have a more modern setting but it was done well and it made it stick out more. Plus, when certain changes were made, they still made sense for each character.


De Palma, B. (Director). (1976). Carrie. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

King. S. (1974). Carrie. Doubleday.

Peirce, K. (Director). (2013). Carrie. Sony Pictures

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About the Contributor
Victoria Schaefer
Victoria Schaefer, Staff Reporter
Hi! My name is Victoria Schaefer and I'm a senior at Elmwood Park High School. After graduating, I'm planning to attend Triton College in the fall.
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