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They're all gonna laugh at you!
~ Margaret White's most famous quote.
Sin never dies.
~ Margaret White
This isn't your fault Carrie. It's mine. You know the Devil never dies. He keeps comin' back. You've got to keep killin' him over and over again.
~ Margaret White preparing to kill her daughter Carrie in Carrie (2013).

Margaret White (née Brigham) is the main antagonist of Stephen King's novel Carrie, its film adaptations, and the Broadway musical. She is the opprobrious, vituperative, domineering, dangerous, abusive, insane (she shows possible signs of untreated schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder), and fanatically religious mother of Carrie White, who has the power of telekinesis. She thinks almost everything, especially things to do with the female body and sex, is sinful.

She was portrayed by Piper Laurie (in 1976), Patricia Clarkson (in 2002), who also portrayed Ava Paige, and Julianne Moore (in 2013), who also portrayed President Alma Coin in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2, Mother Malkin in The Seventh Son and will go on to portray Poppy Adams in Kingsman: The Golden Circle.


The wife of the late Ralph White and the mother of Carrie, Margaret lived with her parents, John and Judith Brigman, in Motton, Maine until 1960, when she moved to Chamberlain Center with Ralph White. The two married on March 23, 1962; shortly after, on April 3, Margaret was admitted to Westover Doctors Hospital for a suspected miscarriage. She last wrote to her mother on August 19, 1962, and later became pregnant in December that year, though she was convinced that she was afflicted with "cancer of the womanly parts".

Her husband died in February 1963 in a grisly construction accident, and she gave birth to her daughter alone on September 21, 1963. On August 17, 1966, her house was deluged with stones from the sky brought on by her daughter's telekinesis after she punished the girl particularly hard.

Margaret White was very emotionally unstable and suffered from untreated mental illness. She was an extremely abusive and religious zealot who punished her daughter continually for any and all "sins", viewing her as a demonic child and showing no remorse over severe emotional and physical abuse. She also heavily believed herself to be continually under assault from evil forces.

In the novel's climax, Margaret was killed by Carrie, ending her reign of terror, sadly before this occurs, the abusive Margaret is able to stab her daughter - this would later prove to be fatal and Carrie died a short time later in the arms of one of her few friends, Sue Snell. In the movie, Carrie died along with her mother as their home crumbled on top of them due to Carrie's telekinetic powers gone awry.

Media Portrayals

In the original 1976 film adaptation, she died after having been stabbed and crucified by the kitchen knifes unleashed by the stabbed Carrie's telekinetic powers.

Carrie & Margaret White

Patricia Clarkson as Margaret White in Carrie (2002 remake).

In the 2002 TV film, she died because of a massive heart attack brought on by Carrie's power (according to the novel Carrie) when she tried to drown her daughter in a filled bathtub while reciting the "bedtime prayer".

In the 2013 remake, this version of Margaret was similar to her 1976 counterpart but was less attractive and harmed herself more severely, cutting her arm and scratching the wounds until they bled. She also banged her head against a wall and a door. She was just as mentally unstable and just as abusive and domineering towards Carrie as her 1976 counterpart, but was portrayed as slightly more sympathetic (hardly much more, though). Margaret was killed in the same way as her 1976 counterpart.

The Broadway musical portrays Margaret to be a much more complex and sympathetic character who genuinely loves and wants to "save" her daughter. She shows remorse after beating and locking Carrie in the cellar following the shower incident. In the first act finale, "I Remember How Those Boys Could Dance", Margaret reveals that Ralph had sweet-talked and raped her, then left her while she was pregnant with Carrie.

According to the 1976 film's sequel, The Rage: Carrie 2, Margaret's ex-husband Ralph, long before his death, had another wife, Barbara Lang, who had in the same way, given birth to her daughter Rachel, Carrie's half-sister.


2013 film

Help. Help me! Help me, Lord. I'm dying. What is this? Cancer? Mother Mary, full of grace, protect me and guide me in my hour of death. It's a test. Cut it down. Cut it down. Shh.
~ Margaret giving birth to Carrie
Oh, Lord, help my child. She's lost. (Carrie: Mama, stop it. Mama! I don't want to upset you.) So, you're a woman now. And God made Eve from the rib of Adam. And what, Carrie? Say it. (Carrie: No, Mama.) Say it. (Carrie: Talk to me. Please just talk to me.) And Eve was weak. (Carrie: I just want you to talk to me.) And the first sin was the sin of intercourse. (Carrie: And the first sin was the sin of intercourse. Why didn't you tell me, Mama?) And God visited Eve with a curse. And the curse was a curse of blood. (Carrie: I'm not going to say that. That's not even in the Bible. It doesn't say that anywhere.) Oh, Lord. Help this little girl see the sin of her days and ways. Show her if she had remained innocent, the curse of blood would not have come upon her as it did on Eve. (Carrie: I'm not Eve, Mama. I didn't sin.) You showered with those other girls. You had lust-filled thoughts. (Carrie: Everyone has to shower, Mama. Everyone. That's just the rules.) You must be different, because He can see you. (Carrie: I don't want to be different, Mama. I want to be like them.) He can smell the sin on you. And He will punish you. I will not let that come down upon you. I will not. Lord have mercy. (Carrie: No. "The Lord is good. His unfailing love endures forever, and his faithfulness continues through all generations". Psalms 100, verse 5.) I'm going to keep you away from that school. (Carrie: You can't.) We'll pray. We'll pray together. To save our women-weak, wicked, sinning souls. (Carrie: You didn't tell me and they laughed. I didn't sin. You sinned.) I did not. I did not sin. Go to your closet. (Carrie: No, Mama.) Go to your closet and pray. You pray. (Carrie: No. No! No! Get off me! Mama! Stop it!) Go to your closet and pray for forgiveness. (Carrie: No!) You pray. (Carrie: Mama! Help! No, Mommy!) Come on. (Carrie: Please! Help!) You pray, little girl. Pray for forgiveness. (Carrie: Mommy, let me go! Let me out! Mom! God, you suck!) Help me. Help me.
~ Margaret scolding Carrie for showering at school (believing menstruation is a sin) and demanding she enter her closet and pray for forgiveness



  • She shares a similarity to Mrs. Carmody from Stephen King's The Mist, as both deeply religious.
  • She also shares similarities to Dahlia Gillespie from the Silent Hill videogame series, as they are both fanatically religious and abuse their own daughters.
  • Piper Laurie's portrayal of Margaret earned her nominations for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture.