Thursday, June 23, 2016

Stephen King: Carrie. pp 1-25

A woman's menstrual cycle. Even mentioning the words starts to flash big red warning signs in front of your eyes. The problem with being a male is that I've never had one, but I've still had to put up with the consequences of them for a large proportion of my life. And yes, while those of the female persuasion start to cry out to me "You don't know what it's like! What it does to your moods and body!" - let me say that that is only partly true. Because who pays the price of this change of seasons every three and a half weeks? Who cops the brunt of the mood swing and the general awfulness that the female will have during this time each month? That's right, the poor old male who was just passing nearby on his way to the fridge for a beer.

The opening stanza of Carrie is confronting in that way. It combines that awkwardness that we may feel about that first period that women have, with a brief look into what is also an awakening of another part of Carrie White's inner consciousness. From King's own memories, it was his wife Tabitha who encouraged him to move ahead with this novel, and that she helped 'correct' some pieces that didn't ring quite true. No doubt the opening scene in the shower was one of those. The confused thoughts of the teacher Miss Desjardin who initially reacts with anger and then with incredulity when she understands that it is Carrie's first cycle, at an advanced age, and that she has no knowledge of them at all. And the fact that the light bulb shattered of its own accord during this, as has happened before, or so Miss Desjardin thinks to herself at that time. As is mentioned in the thesis after the events that are yet to occur, perhaps this should have rung more alarm bells than it did. But then again, when your mother delivers you alone in her own bed, also in a state of stubborn unknowing that she is pregnant, what can you really expect?...

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