In Carrie by Stephen King, I am captivated by the mysterious story behind the character of Margaret White. In relation to the plot of the story, Margaret’s influence on Carrie’s life has played a critical role in the way Carrie conducts herself. The most obvious antagonist in the story is the group of kids who continuously torment Carrie. However, more indirectly, Margaret is also an antagonist. I find it very interesting to see how she indirectly affects the conflict that Carrie faces against her classmates. Therefore, I think that analyzing Margaret’s character and her background would give a lot of insight into the reasons behind Carrie’s actions and as a result, reasons for her victimization. Margaret’s radical and extreme beliefs are described by a teacher of Carrie’s, “She told Mrs. Bicente, God rest her, that the Lord was reserving a special burning seat in hell for her because she gave the kids an outline of Mr. Darwin’s beliefs on evolution” (King 22). As evident by this passage, Margaret White’s morals can be perceived as intense. Therefore, her life is consumed with micro-managing Carrie’s every move. I think an analysis of Margaret’s past and character can lead to a deeper understanding of the main conflict in this story.
Throughout the story, King utilizes flashbacks to explain the development of Carrie’s character and the conflict in the story. I think this rhetorical strategy is brilliant for the reader’s understanding of the plot. By incorporating this technique into the story, the reader can understand how deeply rooted the hatred for Carrie is and how impactful the bullying has been over the course of Carrie’s life. The reader realizes that this torment has lasted far longer than her incident in the school locker room. King’s descriptions of Carrie’s childhood show how her mother’s values were instilled in her brain and how she developed the tendencies that she is mocked for daily. This flashback device helps the reader understand the conflict on a much deeper level and I appreciate that background knowledge of Carrie’s life because I can fully understand how this conflict developed.