Friday, October 26, 2012

Stephen King: Carrie (1974)

I don't know that I really believe in archetypes in any deep sense.  Peruse Dr. Wikipedia's description:  I think that in any semiformal setting (a class, for instance), the farthest I'd go is the literary archetype that's essentially just a stock character.  I wouldn't argue that these are rooted in much more than convention, and certainly not in a collective unconscious or species memory.

I wouldn't argue that because I'm not intellectually persuaded.  But I'll admit that I'm sometimes emotionally persuaded.  Sometimes I'll encounter a character or a situation in a book or a film that seems so deeply rooted in common human experience as to make me believe that there is such a thing as common human experience, that seems like it's tapping into such a deep and strong vein of feeling that I feel, at least while I'm feeling it, that this feeling must be flowing from some place beyond my own autonomous and cellular self

Carrie is one of those characters, and King's success here far outshadows whatever he accomplished with the other two books of his that I've read entirely because Carrie is archetypal.  The menstrual blood, the uncheckable rage, the confidential high-school torment, the religious repression - all the factors that go into making Carrie what she is in this book speak to such primal fears and desires, such essential passions, that she seems to have always been there as a character.  She transcends the page.

She is an archetype.  I already loved her before I met her:  I loved her as Willow in Season 6 of Buffy, I loved her as Phoenix in the third X-Men movie.  And, as in both of those cases, I rooted for her.  How can you not?  How can you not root for her when she's finally making the world pay for everything it's done to all women for all time?  It's incredibly cathartic. 

Carrie rules.

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