It

It

by

Stephen King

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It: Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In 1958, Bill holds them all together as the Spider races down from Its web. Richie stares at the web and thinks that he sees Eddie near the ceiling, with both of his legs and arms gone. Beverly and Mike cling to each other like Hansel and Gretel, as the Spider reaches the floor and scrabbles toward them. Bill goes toward It—not running but walking fast with his fists cocked. It rears up on Bill and buries him in Its shadow. Richie runs toward Bill and the shadow. It squats down on its hind legs. Bill stares up at It, his blue eyes fixed on Its orange ones.
Richie has a premonition of Eddie’s death. Bill cocks his fists to demonstrate that he is not afraid. When he does this, It becomes somewhat subdued and sits down, as though to address Bill as an equal.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
It asks Bill who he is and why he has come to It. Bill says that he is there because It killed George Denbrough. Bill is now going to kill It, which announces Itself as “the Eater of Worlds.” Bill repeats the rhyme that stops him from stuttering. It commands that he stop. Bill senses another shape in the dark—a power that overwhelms Its power. He sees a great Turtle. Its shell is plated with many blazing colors and its eyes are kind. The Turtle says that it made the universe when it had a bellyache, and it takes no stand in matters between humans and It. Bill also feels the power of a “Final Other” that dwells in a void beyond this one and that is, perhaps, the creator of the Turtle, which only watches, and of It, which only eats. The voice of the Turtle then fades.
Its announcement of Itself as “the Eater of Worlds” is a declaration that it lives by feeding off of others. This is both in the literal sense of eating bodies, as well as the metaphorical sense of consuming images from people’s minds and using them to sustain Itself. The Turtle, which also appears in King’s Dark Tower series, feels more powerful because it created It. King’s introduction of a “Final Other” could be described as God or some sublime power that is the origin of all others.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
It screams with noxious laughter. Its voice is beginning to fade and swell simultaneously. Bill realizes that, however repulsive It might be, in Derry, It is physical and anything physical can be killed. The Turtle says that there is only Chüd, and that Bill is doing very well but time is running out. The Turtle tells Bill not to talk to It or to himself but to bite his tongue. Bill bites in—not with his teeth but with his teeth in his mind. He feels It scream in his mind in frustrated pain. Bill feels It writhing in him, trying to push him away and get rid of him.
It has supernatural capabilities, but It is still a physical entity. The realization that It is a physical thing that was born and thus can be destroyed as well gives Bill the strength to believe he can kill It. Bill imagines himself biting down on Its tongue, which is part of the ritual. By imagining this and believing, Bill causes It to scream out in pain and frustration, due to Its inability to speak or to free Its tongue.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Bill begins to laugh in the darkness and hears It scream again. Bill literally flies through the dark and pulls past the Turtle, whose head has withdrawn into its shell. The voice of the Turtle fades and there is only the dark. Bill continues to chant the rhyme, and It begs to be let go. It is screaming in death agony—or so Bill believes. Bill lets It go and It scrambles away. Mike tells Bill to look out because strands of the web are coming down. Bill wonders where the Spider is, and Richie says that the lights are going out. Ben yells for everyone to get back because the spiderweb is collapsing. Mike shouts for everyone to get out, but Bill worries that It might not be dead yet. Eddie insists that It is and Richie grabs for Bill. Bill insists that they have to make sure as they listen to the “tenebrous whisper” of Its web falling apart.
Bill is still imagining that he is biting down on Its tongue, which is why It begs to be let go. Bill is also actually chanting the rhyme, which gives him control over his stutter. Bill believes that Its cries of frustration mean that he is killing It, so Bill lets go—that is, he stops imagining himself biting on Its tongue. Other signs that Bill has gotten   the best of It are the dimming of the yellow-green light and the collapse of the web. However, Bill has the feeling that It has only escaped; he has not yet destroyed It totally.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
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Somewhere in the void, the adult Bill confronts It and again reminds It that It killed his brother. This time, Bill insists that he will not leave It until It is dead. He senses Its voice rising. Bill concentrates his entire being on seizing Its tongue. The other four watch the replay of what occurred when they were children. Richie glances up at the new web and there are new bodies there, some half-eaten and half-rotten. Richie sees a woman in the web who looks like Beverly. Spittle dribbles from her chin. Richie sees another body crumpled near hers, which bears some “subconscious resemblance” to Henry Bowers. The man has blood around his eyes and caked in foam around his mouth and chin.
Bill repeats his speech to It, which he first gave in 1958. However, Bill insists that now he will complete the ritual of Chüd and destroy It. Bill focuses his mind on imagining that he is biting down on Its tongue. Richie looks up and sees Audra trapped in the web. She is the woman who looks like Beverly. He also sees the body of Tom Rogan, who bears a “subconscious resemblance” to Henry from their merging in a dream and also their mutual viciousness and psychopathy.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Richie’s gaze moves from Bill to the Spider. Bill’s face stretches in a curious way. Then, blood bursts from his nose in a foam. His mouth is writhing in an effort to scream. Richie realizes that It means to kill Bill’s body while his mind is elsewhere. Bill begins to think that the Turtle really is dead, as It said. Richie then steps forward and does his Irish cop impression, as part of the ritual of Chüd, and the Spider laughs. The Spider then stops laughing and Richie feels growing pain and “a rising howl of anger” in his head. Its cries are like a furious hive of bees. It is trying to shake Richie loose, for Richie has control of Its mind. Richie laughs and bites harder on his tongue—a necessary part of the ritual. The Spider screams and shakes furiously.
Bill has lost concentration due to his sudden lack of faith that he can destroy It. By believing Its lie that the Turtle is dead, Bill feels abandoned and gives up hope. When this occurs, It “seizes his tongue” and causes Bill to become incapable of speaking or emitting any sound at all. In this instance, Richie steps in and uses his talent for impressions to get the Spider to laugh. This gives Richie control over Its mind and time to help free Bill from Its control.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Richie feels overwhelmed by darkness and calls out to Bill. It is hurting badly now and Richie realizes that he has caught It by surprise. Richie senses Bill tumbling and offers his hand. Bill’s fingers close over Richie’s. Richie senses them drawing closer to the real world. He bites down frantically on Its tongue, which is becoming flimsier. Richie thinks that he may be losing hold of It.
Richie struggles to maintain concentration so that he can perform the ritual of Chüd. However, he also does not want Bill to get hurt. His tongue is becoming flimsier, meaning that his ability to control It through jokes is getting weaker.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Eddie is half-aware of what is happening. He saw the Spider try to impale Bill with Its stinger. Then, Richie ran forward, doing the ridiculous Irish cop voice, which has improved. Time passes, but Eddie has no idea how much. Richie and the Spider stare at each other. Bill lies on the floor with his nose and ears bleeding and his fingers twitching. The Spider is bleeding in four or five places. Richie’s head begins to turn slowly from side to side. His body seems to ripple inside of his clothes. Eddie runs forward with his aspirator and hears the warning voice of his mother, which he casts aside. He leaps at It, which screams in agony. Its huge eye begins to flatten out like bloody egg-yolk. Eddie triggers the aspirator again, calling Bill back home. The spider’s mandibles then sink into Eddie’s good arm, ripping it from its socket.
 Eddie sees that Richie has saved Bill from being killed, but now Richie is losing control over Its mind, which is indicated by Eddie’s sense that Richie’s body is “[rippling] inside of his clothes.” Eddie, out of loyalty both to Bill and Richie, attacks It with what he believes to be the source of his strength—his aspirator. He is inhibited by the voice of his mother, which reminds Eddie of his fear of illness and other forms of mortal harm. His ability to cast aside the voice signals personal growth and a better understanding of his strength and courage.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Fear and the Power of Fantasy Theme Icon
Eddie falls to the floor. His ragged stump is spraying blood, but he sees Bill begin to come back to consciousness. Eddie feels his life-blood running out of him. He looks up at Beverly and sees that she is crying. His last words are to Richie: “Don’t call me Eds.” He starts to say something else, but his eyes close before he can finish, and he dies.
Eddie sacrifices his life to save Bill and dies peacefully when he sees that Bill is still alive. Eddie’s love for Bill is unconditional, showing his admiration for the boy he nicknamed “Big Bill” and also a possible crush. Eddie’s last words also show his close connection to Richie, which was powerful despite its sometimes teasing nature.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
By 7:00 AM, the wind in Derry has picked up to about 37 miles per hour. A stroke of lightning strikes the steeple at the Grace Baptist Church, and every toilet and drain in the city reverses itself. At 7:32 AM, Aloysius Nell suffers a fatal stroke. A series of explosions rock the Derry Mall and money flies out of the local bank, blowing about $75,000 away.
The city undergoes apocalyptic destruction as It fights for Its life. The sewage system, on which both It and the city have depended, is destroyed and the rest of Derry’s infrastructure collapses. In keeping with this, one of the town’s best-known police officers also dies suddenly.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
At 4:15 PM in 1958, the Losers’ Club is allowing Eddie to lead them through the tunnels. They have been here for an hour. Bill feels a sense of panic. Another thing that troubles him is that he feels the bond between him and his friends dissolving. With It seemingly vanquished, there is little to nothing to hold them together. Everyone asks Bill if he knows what to do next, but he does not. Then, Beverly says that she has an idea to help solidify their bond, to help ensure that they remain more than just children. She begins to undress.
Bill worries about their bond dissolving because he does not want to lose his friends. After his parents’ neglect, they are his only source of love. Bill also has less of a sense of his own leadership and purpose now that It is apparently gone. He is having somewhat of an existential crisis. Beverly’s solution to Bill’s fear, as well as her solution to her father’s attempt to control her body, is to make love to the group.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Back in Its lair in 1985, Bill sees It getting away again. Beverly cradles Eddie’s head in her lap and prompts Richie Tozier to go with Bill, to ensure that It does not get away this time. Bill looks up and sees Audra sagging again in the web. He calls out to her. Bill decides to run after It, leaving Audra to swing in the numbing cocoon.
Beverly insists that if It gets away this time, Eddie will have died in vain. Bill does not want to leave Audra, but he also knows that he cannot save her if he does not first kill It.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Bill and Richie follow Its trail of blood. They encounter the eggs and stomp on them. It can sense them coming and can feel Its life force draining out of it. It does the only thing it can think to do: It turns to fight.
It is a mother who relies on Its ability to reproduce in order to perpetuate evil. When Bill and Richie start stomping on the eggs, It defends Its potential progeny.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Beverly is alone in the darkness with Eddie’s body. She does not want to leave him here. She tries to remember August 10, 1958, when she became the first love of each of the boys. On that day, Eddie comes to her first. He is the most frightened. She shows him what to do. The pain of his love-making fades from her. He stops, stiffens, and makes a sound. She feels no physical pleasure, but she senses a closeness. Mike comes to her next, then Richie. She feels some pleasure now. Then, Stan goes to her. Ben and Bill are the last. She then holds their hands and they form a line, moving through the dark. They return to their homes.
Beverly loves Eddie and initially feels that, by leaving him behind in Its lair, she and the others would be abandoning him. This indicates that she does not want to accept his death. She retreats to her memory, in which he is the first boy to whom she loses her virginity. With Eddie, she has her first experience of intimacy. By making love to the group, she ensures their physical connection through her body, and also takes a stand against her father, who sought to control her body for his own purposes. They also all move as a group from childhood to adulthood, losing their virginities together and solidifying their connection in a symbolic way.
Themes
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon