By Frances Pheasant-Kelly
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Extra info for Abject Spaces in American Cinema: Institutional Settings, Identity and Psychoanalysis in Film
Their normative heterosexual relationship appears to be unstable and difficult and pivots obsessively around Hargenson’s appearance (both cosmetic and sexual). Hargenson, in particular, is malevolent, and represents the threat of the castrating vagina dentata46 through the visual and narrative emphasis on her mouth. This is suggested in the car scene with Billy Nolan in which she is both seductive and aggressive. She repeatedly and unnecessarily applies her lipstick, and there are frequent close-up shots of her open mouth.
The other students recoil in disgust and then symbolically stone Carrie with sanitary products, shouting, ‘plug it up, plug it up’, while Carrie, appearing unaware of the process of menstruation, cries hysterically. Creed notes the stoning metaphor,24 which supports her view of Carrie as a monstrous witch. Furthermore, Carrie’s supernatural capability, signalled by the shattering of a light overhead, parallels the onset of her menstruation. The shattering of the light transforms the dream-like quality of the locker room into a harsh reality, with its disorderliness exacerbated by Carrie’s telekinetic display.
The headmaster, simultaneously viewing Miss Collins’s bloodstained shorts, shown in close-up, appears both shocked and disgusted. He sends Carrie home, telling her to take care of herself. The film therefore suggests the feminine body as offensive and out of place, since within the context of the school bodies are made to move predictably and with control. Any aberration of the physical or social body is seen as deviant and other. While spaces of order are associated with the school, and often men (the classroom and the headmaster’s office), spaces of disorder relate to femininity (the prom, the shower scene and the Whites’ house), best exemplified by the locker room scene.