Unsettled Boundaries and Insidious Trauma in Stephen King’s Carrie


  • Laura Mulcahy University College Cork


This article examines the concept of unsettled boundaries and insidious trauma in relation to Stephen King's Carrie (1974). Mulcahy argues how the titular character is viewed as monstrous due to her inability to hide abject features of her female body, specifically her menarche. In relation to abjection, the article relies on analyses presented by Julia Kristeva and Barbara Creed, who explain the abject as the border between the rational and the irrational. This article discusses how menarche is presented as a traumatic event due to societal discomfort with the abject female body, how Carrie's body as a feature of the monstrous feminine is heightened by her supernatural abilities (which awaken around the same time as her menarche), and how she views herself as a witch. Mulcahy analyses how Carrie views fitting in with society as a way of escaping from her insidious traumatic experiences, and discusses that, when this attempt to fit in fails, she is unable to overcome her trauma and instead succumbs to the monstrous feminine image as which society views her.