For nearly all of her life Carrie, whose father died in a construction accident, was berated and abused by her mentally ill religiously-fanatical mother and was later mistreated constantly by her classmates. Carrie also possessed hidden telekinetic and telepathic abilities that were dormant during her youth, but brought to full force by the time she was in high school. Sadly, when a so-called "revenge prank" at her senior prom pushed her beyond her limits, Carrie used those powers to eliminate everyone who ever teased her before returning home to confront (and later kill) her mother. In at least two iterations of her story, Carrie died as a result of injuries. In the third iteration, Carrie survived the prom night massacre and the trauma associated with it. She then made plans to move to Florida and start her life over.
But regardless of iteration, Carrie has been vilified by the residents of Chamberlain only because she chose to fight back against the constant tormenting in a way that most people do not understand.
In the novel, Carrie White was slightly overweight with pimples on the back of her neck, back and buttocks, and had flat mousey hair. She lived in Chamberlain, Maine with her mother. The abuse that Carrie endured in the book was far more extreme than in the movie. Here are two examples: a boy rubbed peanut butter into Carrie's hair when she fell asleep in study hall one day, and being made fun of by other kids at a summer camp for coming into contact with some poison ivy. Also, Carrie was kicked and shoved into the prayer closet by her mother when she came home after the shower incident (with implication that this was one out of many instances where Carrie was forced into the closet for offenses she might not have even committed).
There are instances where Carrie's powers manifested themselves. For example, Carrie inquired her next door neighbor, a young woman, about her "dirty pillows" and was severely scolded by Mrs. White. Later, a shower of hail fell on the Whites' bungalow while Carrie was being reprimanded yet again by her mother. Following that incident, a rain of stones pelted against their home and a table was nearly sent flying through a window. Carrie was also able to read other people's minds, namely Ms. Desjardin, who harbored both disgust and sympathy for the young woman.
When Carrie was 16 years old, she had her first period. Her mother did not discuss the concept of menstruation with Carrie, and what's more is that this could be the girl's first period did not occur to Carrie's classmates. As with everything else, Carrie was teased mercilessly by the girls in her physical education class until Ms. Desjardin, the gym instructor, came out to stop the spectacle. After slapping the hysterical girl, she then explained menstruation to Carrie (albeit begrudgingly) and even helped to put on her clothes again. This event "re-triggered" Carrie's powers, which were dormant for much of her childhood.
Later on, Carrie was asked by Tommy Ross to go to the senior prom with him. Tommy was the boyfriend of one of the girls who tormented Carrie, Sue Snell, and Carrie had a secret crush on him. Sue herself believed that Tommy was the father of her unborn child. Although originally against the idea, Carrie subsequently accepted Tommy's invitation. She was nervous and happy all at the same time, and even made her own prom gown. However, Mrs. White refused to allow Carrie to go to the prom, but Carrie was determined to fit in and not be looked upon as "funny."
At the Thomas Ewan High School prom, Carrie began opening up to her peers and even made a few jokes with some of the kids. For the first time since she can remember, Carrie enjoyed herself. Of course, her enjoyment was destroyed by a prank initiated by another girl in her class, Chris Hargensen, the leader of the particular lot of the Divagirls who teased Carrie earlier in the book. Chris, her boyfriend Billy Nolan and some of their other friends, plotted revenge against Carrie by placing two buckets filled with pigs' blood above hers and Tommy's heads, and rigging the ballots for prom king and queen to ensure that Carrie and Tommy would win. The couple won, and when they went onto the stage to be crowned, Chris pulled a rope cord and splattered Carrie and Tommy with the pig blood. Tommy was knocked unconscious by a falling bucket. Carrie, overcome with grief, fled from the gym but returned later upon realizing that she had a gift that no one else had. Carrie then set about locking all the prom goers inside, teacher and student alike, and turning a fire hose on all of the girls to ruin their dresses and hair. However, once the water made contact with some electrical equipment in the gym and stared a massive fire, Carrie decided to leave everyone inside to the mercy of the inferno created by her telekinetic abilities. However, a few student escaped via the gym's fire exit.
Later, Carrie's powers initiated a worse disaster in downtown Chamberlain than at the high school gym: she somehow made gas stations explode and power lines snap. The destruction burned all of downtown to the ground. Also, Carrie let loose a side effect of her abilities: "broadcast telepathy," which means that anyone within a certain radius of the disaster area suddenly found themselves learning about the destruction at Ewan High and downtown Chamberlain, and people could home in own Carrie's thoughts even if they did not know who "Carrie" was. During the entire event, Carrie seemed completely catatonic and was believed to even be "smiling" as she moved along.
Carrie returned home that night and her mother told her the story of her conception. Mrs. White, believing that Carrie was completely possessed by Satan himself, stabbed her daughter in the back with a kitchen knife. In return, Carrie used her powers to slow her mother's heart, eventually stopping it completely. She then went to the roadhouse where her father drunk himself into a stupor before raping Margaret and caught Chris and Billy fleeing from within. The two tried to run over Carrie with Billy's car, but Carrie "felt" the car approaching and wrestled control away with her telekinesis to slam the vehicle into the roadhouse. The car exploded, killing both Billy and Chris. After the explosion, Carrie collapsed on the lot.
Sue arrived some time later and invited Carrie into her mind to see that she had no part in planning the nasty evening. Carrie found that Sue was innocent and never really felt any hatred towards her. After forgiving Sue, Carrie died. Soon after, Sue could feel herself miscarrying, though she initially thought that she was apparently having her period. This act could be seen as either mercy or vengeance.
The plot of the movie is close to that of the novel, but certain differences did occur (which will be discussed elsewhere at a later time).
This Carrie was similar to the "novel Carrie," in that she was abused by her mother, Mrs. White, and constantly teased by her classmates. Carrie had her first period while showering after a PE class, and instead of the other girls helping her out, they threw sanitary napkins at Carrie and yelled, "Plug it up!" The gym teacher, here named Ms. Collins, stopped the debacle.
The film Carrie was asked to the upcoming senior prom at Norman Bates High School by the handsome Tommy Ross, boyfriend to Sue Snell, one of Carrie's tormentors. Sue persuaded Tommy to take Carrie to the prom in her place out of guilt for her part in the shower incident.
As the story goes, Carrie's mother would not hear of her child doing something such as going to the prom, for Mrs. White constantly reminded Carrie that boys only want to satisfy their intimate desires with girls, and once that happens it will lead Carrie down a road of endless sin. Carrie, however, had had enough of hearing that everything was sinful. She saw the prom as a new beginning. A further fight with her mother on the night of the prom only fueled Carrie's resolve.
Carrie began to gradually emerge from the shell under which she had lived since childhood as she mingled with the other prom goers. When she and Tommy were called up to the stage later in the evening to be crowned the prom king and queen, Carrie could hardly contain her joy because she had finally felt what it was like to "belong."But it didn't last long. Because while Carrie and Tommy were on stage, Chris Hargensen and her boyfriend Billy Nolan were hiding underneath to keep tabs on Carrie's location so that they could unleash the torrent of pigs' blood upon her when the moment came. When it was over, poor Carrie had blood in her hair and on her gown. Tommy was seething at what happened, but the bucket that held the blood fell on his head, knocking him to the stage floor. While some stood in disbelief, others were mad with laughter, namely some of Billy's crew and one of Chris' clique, Norma Watson. Ms. Collins, who, earlier, had come to relay her prom experience to Carrie, was nearly in tears over this incident.
As for Carrie, she stood alone on the stage as the last threads of her sanity were broken, and had a vision of everyone laughing at her, the teachers too.Finally caving in, Carrie remembered her "gift" and began exacting revenge by locking the gym doors where the prom took place (crushing Billy's friends within); releasing a fire hose and spraying everyone in sight and eventually hitting electrical apparatus and setting off a huge fire. Carrie left the gym at the climax of her revenge. Later, when Chris and Billy attempted to mow her down with Billy's car and effectively complete their plans, Carrie telekinetically threw the car into a roll before causing it to explode, killing both passengers. When Carrie returned home, she found both floor and ceiling was littered with lit candles. She then went upstairs to wash the blood from her body and change into a nightgown. She called out for "Mama," and found Mrs. White waiting for her. Carrie broke down and told her mother about everything that went down at the prom, and in turn Mrs. White told her daughter about the night she was conceived. Mrs. White then brought the child to her knees so that both could pray together. Meanwhile, Mrs. White had "snapped" earlier on and hidden a knife under one of the floor boards to stab Carrie with, having fallen to the belief that her daughter was ruled by Satan. Mrs. White stabbed Carrie and caused her to fall downstairs, backwards. She then stalked the frightened child throughout the house, eventually backing Carrie into a corner. Finally, Carrie used her powers to "crucify" her mother to the kitchen doorway.
When it was over, Carrie was overwhelmed by guilt, grief and rage. She screamed to the top of her lungs and grabbed her mother. However, Carrie's powers "spiraled" out of control and caused the house to collapse around her and her mother. Quickly removing Mrs. White's body from the doorway, Carrie raced for the kitchen closet where she spent many nights being forced to pray for forgiveness and shut the door. Within, Carrie was hit in the head by falling debris and killed. The house was also set aflame due to some of the lit candles falling down, and it eventually sank underground, taking Carrie and Mrs. White with it.
- She also shares similarities to Alessa Gillespie from the Silent Hill videogame series as Carrie and Alessa both possessed psychokinetic powers, have been tormented at their schools by their cruel classmates, and both have psychotically religious mothers.
- She shares a similarity to It and a doctor who is the villain in The Pied Piper. They are all telekinetic.
- She shares a similarity to the dog Max in the horror film Man's Best Friend. They both have been tormented and always get revenge.
- She also shares this similarity to Matilda Wormwood from the Roald Dahl book Matilda as they both use their powers to get back at those who tormented them.