Bullying and Carrie

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Female Gothic Elements in Carrie

In the movie Carrie, many ideas of the female gothic are depicted. This dark and chilling movie revolves around a young girl named Carrie who has an overly religious mother and is an outcast at her school. A traumatizing bullying incident prompts one of her tormentors, Sue Snell, to make her popular boyfriend go to the prom with Carrie in an attempt to make amends. Throughout the entire movie, there are instances of assault, deception, and betrayal, including her mother’s wrath. Carrie has the desire to both stay with her mother and also separate from her due to a sense of fear and danger of being “lost”.

Carrie portrays three female gothic elements, characterized by her mother being a constant but suffocating presence, Carrie’s desire for personal independence, and her yearning for change. These elements are illustrated through various signs of Carrie’s loneliness and her need to break away from her mother. One notable example is the pattern of assault, deception, and betrayal evident in Carrie’s life. This is exemplified when she is punished and abused by her mother for getting her period earlier than expected.

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In the film, the protagonist experienced various forms of abuse from her mother. This included physical violence such as backhanding and kicking, along with verbal assaults where her mother accused her of hiding sin. As a punishment for starting her period, Carrie was confined in a closet because her mother believed it to be a sinful act. After the scene in the shower, Carrie felt betrayed by her mother for not providing earlier education about womanhood and tearfully questioned why she hadn’t been informed sooner: “Oh Momma why didn’t you tell me something, I was so scared.”

Carrie is kept unaware and vulnerable by her mother’s deception, leaving her in a state of ignorance about what lies ahead. Mrs. White’s extreme religious beliefs prompt her to intentionally deceive Carrie, viewing it as a sinful act based on the Bible. During the shower scene at school, Carrie experiences a traumatizing assault when Chris and Billy soak her with pigs’ blood while she is onstage, further betraying her alongside her peers. As an outsider, Carrie endures torment from classmates and becomes the target of ridicule during the performance. Despite longing for closeness with her mother, Carrie also yearns for independence while fearing potential dangers that may accompany solitude.

Carrie desires to please her mother, as her mother is the sole aspect of life that Carrie recognizes. Being in her mother’s presence provides Carrie with a sense of comfort and familiarity. However, simultaneously, Carrie yearns to establish her own identity and distance herself from her mother. Although she receives an invitation to the prom, it takes a few scenes in the movie for Carrie to conquer her apprehensions of losing herself and disregard her mother’s protests, “it’s not too late, you can stay here with me.” Even when Carrie takes a step towards independence from her mother, she still feels obliged to obey her when Tommy questions her about Carrie’s early curfew and states, “I promised.”

Despite the ongoing dialogue, she continues to feel obliged to follow her mother and remain somewhat trapped in their household. Carrie experiences a sense of isolation and a strong desire for transformation, longing to transition from being an outcast to being accepted by her peers. Carrie acknowledges that her mother serves as an obstacle preventing her from living a genuine life, as exemplified by her remark, “You’ll say anymore.” She yearns for social encounters such as prom and is weary of constantly being seen as an outsider.

When Carrie asks Mrs. White for permission to go to the prom, she expresses her frustration with being viewed as a religious oddball like her mother and lacking friends, and she expresses her longing to be like everyone else. As she prepares for the prom, she disregards her mother’s attempts to persuade her to stay, such as self-inflicting harm to elicit guilt, offering to destroy the dress, and attempting to discourage Tommy from going with her. Carrie’s determination to transform her life and no longer feel lonely is so powerful that it surpasses her mother’s overpowering religious beliefs, and she decides to go out with Tommy.

The film Carrie exemplifies multiple aspects of the female gothic genre. Carrie experiences assault, deception, and betrayal from both her classmates and her extremely religious mother. She is deceived and betrayed by her peers who all laugh at her when she is drenched in pig’s blood. Her mother betrays her by keeping her uninformed about her own body, causing Carrie to behave strangely and become the target of ridicule from her peers.

Carrie undergoes assault from Mrs. White who physically attacks her and berates her using bible verses. Despite this, Carrie wishes to remain with her mother but also fears the potential harm. She still longs to be with her mother while desiring to live independently. As the film nears its conclusion, Carrie grows weary of her lonely outsider status and chooses to pursue a change.

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Bullying and Carrie. (2018, Feb 05). Retrieved from


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