It

It

by

Stephen King

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Summary
Analysis
At 9:30 AM, downtown Derry floods for the first time since August 1958. Many of the old drains clog or cave in during the freak storm. Local men attempt to stem the flood with sandbags. Later that morning, they hear a giant ripping sound: the Standpipe has fallen. Only Andrew Keene saw it happen. Meanwhile, Richie and Bill are staring It down underground. Its mandibles open and close and Its one good eye looks at them. Bill realizes that It has Its own source of light, but it is flickering, as though It is losing power.
The collapse of the Standpipe signals both the loss of one of Derry’s best-known monuments as well as the loss of the water supply on which the fire department depends. This makes the town more vulnerable. The demise of It coincides with the collapse of Derry, again demonstrating their interdependency.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Bill moves in on It, which tries to tempt Bill by offering him more life or even to give his wife back. With a scream building up in him, Bill charges forward. He plunges his arm into the Spider, up to the shoulder. The spider lashes at them with Its legs, and Bill feels a leg cut him. Suddenly, he hears the sound of Its heart. He reaches his hands into It, seeking the source of the sound. Then, the heart is in the palms of Bill’s hands and he squeezes. There is one final shriek of pain while Its heart explodes. The Spider collapses on Its side, though Its legs are still quivering. Bill then hears a voice—the Voice of the Other—telling him that he did well. Bill cries out for Richie. He cannot find him and there is no response. Bill begins to weep.
It speaks to Bill as though It were the Devil, offering Bill more years to his life and other selfish temptations to convince Bill to let It live and continue to wreak havoc on the town. When Bill plunges his hands into It and finds Its heart, this confirms his sense that It is a living, physical entity. The Voice of the Other could be that of the Turtle or the Final Other, which is the sublime power that created everything. Bill begins to weep because he is worried that Richie is dead, and that the group has failed.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
At 10:00 AM, the steady vibration through Derry’s streets turns into “a rumbling roar.” Windows shatter and plaster ceilings falls. The statue of Paul Bunyan in front of the City Center collapses. It goes through the roof of the Kissing Bridge then hits the ground. At 10:02 AM, downtown Derry collapses. Most of the water from the ruptured Standpipe crosses Kansas Street and ends up in the Barrens, but lots of it rushes into the business district by way of Up-Mile Hill. Cracks open across the surface of Main Street, like gaping, hungry mouths. The sound of Derry’s collapse is like artillery fire.
The death of It signals an earthquake, which is the last manifestation of Its fury and Its intimate connection to Derry. Downtown Derry floods and sweeps out into the Atlantic Ocean, just as George’s boat was swept out to sea years before. King’s comparison of the sound of Derry’s collapse to “artillery fire” alludes to the war between It and the Losers’ Club over the future of the town.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Back underground, Bill tells Ben that he and Richie killed It. Ben shakes Richie, who is unconscious. In the darkness, they cannot see Richie awake, but they hear him go into his Pancho Vanilla voice. Richie asks Bill to hold on to him while he throws up. Ben cries out for Beverly, who still has Eddie’s head in her lap. Bill picks up his wife, Audra, who seems like a waxwork. The place is falling apart, and they have to escape. Beverly says that Eddie can stay. Ben agrees that this is where Eddie belongs now. They put Eddie down and Richie kisses his cheek. When they go out the door, it closes solidly behind them. Richie tells Bill that the mark on the door is gone.
Audra is still caught “in the deadlights,” which means that she is in the catatonic state in which It placed her so that It could feed on her while she was still alive, in the same way that a spider feeds on live insects trapped in its web. Beverly finally accepts that Eddie is gone. Both the sound of the door closing “solidly behind them” and the disappearance of the mark mean that they will never again enter Its lair. Their war with It has ended.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
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It PDF
At 10:30 AM, the glass corridor connecting the adult library to the Children’s Library explodes. The tunnel, which had so fascinated Ben Hanscom, is never replaced. It seemed to blow up for no apparent reason and no one was hurt—but the Derry storm otherwise killed 67 people and injured 320. After May 31, 1985, if one wanted to go from the Children’s Library to the adult library, one had to go outside and maybe put on a coat.
The glass corridor explodes after the town is destroyed, ending the illusion that Derry is a peaceful little New England town and a pleasant place for children to grow up. The destruction of the corridor is symbolic of the fact that young people in Derry endure growing pains like children anywhere else.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Richie offers to help Bill carry his wife as they work their way through the tunnel. The water rises. Bill is holding Audra again and is worried that he will have to “[float] her” so that they can continue on. The bottom of the tunnel is heaped with what feel like bricks. Ben calls out in astonishment—he has found the marquee to the Aladdin Theater! Bill then realizes that this means that the street has caved in. This also means that there has been another flood, given all of the water around them. He flounders ahead with Audra in his arms and the others following him. There are mini-mountains below them, threatening a broken ankle. Bill says that he thinks that most of downtown Derry is in the Canal and is being pushed down the Kenduskeag. Soon, it will all be out in the Atlantic Ocean, and good riddance for that.
The rising water signals that the group has a limited amount of time to escape from the sewer, or they will get trapped and drown. Though Bill was previously pleased to find out that Mike had saved the Aladdin Theater from being torn down by local business leaders, he is now indifferent to the fact that it has collapsed along with the rest of Derry. He views the destruction of the town as essential, for it was the place that harbored the evil that killed so many local children. He regards its destruction as a kind of cleansing that will make room for a better town in its place.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Richie takes Audra back from Bill, and they pull themselves out of the sewer. A woman in the street points to the place where Bill’s head came up from underground. A police officer holds her back, calling her Mrs. Nelson and saying that it is not safe to be out in the street, which could collapse at any moment. Bill recognizes her as the woman whose sister would sometimes babysit him and George. He raises a hand to show that he is okay, and she raises one in response. He finds her presence comforting. A photographer with the Derry News snaps a picture of them coming out and the caption is entitled “Survivors.” Bill later cuts out the picture and tucks it into his wallet as a keepsake.
Richie’s assistance in helping Bill get Audra to safety, despite the risk that they could both drown in the flood, is another indication of his loyalty to Bill. The sight of Mrs. Nelson is comforting to Bill because he remembers her as a sympathetic adult from his childhood. Bill keeps the newspaper photo as proof of what happened in Derry and Bill’s role in it. Despite having this keepsake, Bill will still forget what he did in Derry and will only recall his experience in his dreams.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
At 10:33 AM, the rain stops. The wind also lets up. The people of Derry, particularly Andrew Keene, are interviewed by the TV media to report on what they have seen. Seeing themselves on television talking about what happened in Derry makes the events seem more concrete and less insane.
This is the first instance in which any event in Derry has received national attention. This coverage makes people believe for the first time in the supernatural evil that lurked beneath Derry, as they are taken out of their “bubble” and see just how bizarre the town really was.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Around this time, Richie flags down an ambulance for Audra. Bill says that he is going back to the Town House to sleep for about sixteen hours. Richie asks Beverly for a cigarette, but she says that she thinks she will quit again. Bill tells them that, alas, it is all over. While going to the corner of Upper Main and Point Street, they see a child in a red rainslicker and green rubber boots sailing a paper boat “along the brisk run of water in the gutter.” Bill smiles and steps forward. He thinks it is the boy with the skateboard—the one whose friend said that he saw Jaws in the Canal. Bill tells him that everything is all right now.
The sight of the boy in the red rainslicker and the green rubber boots running after the paper boat is a repetition of the image of George, who wore a yellow slicker and red rubber boots. The return of the image of the paper boat means that, in destroying It, the boy’s innocence will be preserved, which is why Bill tells him that everything is fine now. Bill’s ability to keep this boy out of harm’s way alleviates his guilt over being unable to rescue George.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
On August 10, 1958, the children come out of the sewer one-by-one at dusk. The storm is over, but the Kenduskeag River is still very high. Stanley moves away from the group. His face is blank and thoughtful. Bill watches as Stan picks up a Coke bottle and breaks its neck. Stan picks through the remains of glass and chooses a narrow wedge. Stan looks up at him and Bill understands—it is perfectly clear. Stan cuts both of his hands. There is pain, but not much. The sound of a whippoorwill is somewhere. Its call is cool and peaceful. They all cut their hands, too, and then join hands. Bill holds Beverly’s left hand while Ben holds her right. He can feel the warmth of her blood mixing with his own. Bill makes everyone swear that they will come back if It is not dead. They all swear. They stand there for a little longer, feeling the power of their circle and “the closed body that they make.”
It is Stanley’s idea that they all make a blood oath, promising to return to Derry in case It returns. Stan says nothing, but Bill and the others instinctively know what he is asking them to do. Years later, however, Stanley will be the first to break this promise by killing himself. Stan believed that they would not be able to defeat It, due to his knowledge that It could breed more evil, which the others realized when they saw Its eggs. In this instance, the children are united through their commitment to each other and in their belief in the strength of their imaginations, which convince them that they can defeat It. When Stan grows up, though, he loses this faith in the power of imagination.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
At last, Ben drops his hands. He starts to say something, shakes his head, then walks away. The rest of the group follows him and starts to climb the embankment back up to Kansas Street. They then simply take leave of one another. When Bill thinks about it twenty-seven years later, he realizes that the entire group never did get together again. Bill is the last to leave the Barrens. As he climbs up and over the white fence, he looks down into the brush and sees the Barrens fill up with darkness. He thinks of how he never wants to play down there again. He finds the thought liberating.
After sending It away, the group realizes that they have little reason to remain together, despite the bond that they fostered. Bill never wants to play in the Barrens again because the area is a reminder of the group’s journey through the tunnel and toward Its lair. The Barrens “fill up with darkness” as though the area is being blotted in Bill’s memory.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon