It

It

by

Stephen King

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It: Derry: The First Interlude Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
All of the interludes, written by Mike Hanlon, come from “an unpublished set of notes and accompanying fragments of manuscript” stored in the Derry Public Library’s vault. The notes, which are kept in a loose-leaf binder, read like diary entries. The author has entitled the notes as "Derry: A Look Through Hell’s Back Door." The title suggests that he has considered publishing them.
The interludes are the only sections of the novel that are narrated in first-person. Unlike Bill, Mike does not filter his experiences of Derry through fiction, but recalls things as they happened. His prospective title, however, is similar to that of Bill’s adapted novel—both perpetuate the image of Derry as a source of evil.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
In the notes, Mike Hanlon contemplates if it is possible for a town to be haunted. He then considers the meaning of ‘haunted.’ He has become frightened since hearing about what happened to Adrian Mellon and wonders what is “feeding on Derry.” What happened to Mellon seems so much like what happened to George Denbrough. He thinks about calling his old friends, but he hesitates, wanting to be sure that It has started again.
Typically, people think of houses as “haunted,” but not entire towns. However, Derry as a whole is a place where the spirits of the dead linger—both literally and in the town’s collective memory, due to the litany of unresolved murders there.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Mike thinks of all of the cases that have appeared recently. There is the murder of Adrian Mellon, but also the children found dead on Neibolt Street and the Johnson boy found dead “in Memorial Park with one of his legs missing below the knee.” Mike wonders if it is all a coincidence or if it is related to the thing that haunted Derry in 1957 and 1958, and even further back in 1929 and 1930 when the Black Spot was burned to the ground. The thing shows up every twenty years or so, going back as far as 1876.
It operates on a twenty-year cycle. It also has a habit of dismembering Its victims. Though Mike knows all of this, he still refrains from characterizing the deaths as the work of It. Part of this comes from his need to be accurate, but another part is his fear of confronting and being tasked with destroying the evil that has haunted Derry for decades.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Mike decides that he will have to make the six phone calls to his old friends. He remembers Bill Denbrough telling them many years ago how the turtle could not help them. Instead, the group held the hands they had cut open with a shard of glass. He remembers how they all stood in water in the sewer and formed a circle of power.
Together, the group forms a circle of seven members. In some cultures, seven is a number that symbolizes both physical and spiritual completion, which is what helped the group form its “circle of power.”
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
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Mike keeps the notebook to help him make sense of Derry, which has a longer history than what he and his old friends experienced. He goes to Albert Carson in 1980 who directs him to read Branson Buddinger and to talk to Sandy Ives. Carson tells Mike that, though Mike may think that he has encountered the worst of Derry’s secrets, there are more. Mike later talks to Mr. Ripsom, who discusses the murder of his only daughter, Betty—one of the victims of the 1957-1958 murder spree. Ripsom recalls how his wife one day leaned over the drain of her kitchen sink and heard a slew of voices babbling together, announcing themselves as “Legion.”
Buddinger and Ives are the official chroniclers of Derry’s history. By reading and listening to history, Mike unearths Derry’s heritage of violence and supernatural phenomena. Its evil has even Biblical significance. The voices that announce themselves as “Legion” mimic the demons in the Gospel of Matthew who possess two men but declare themselves as part of a “legion” of demons.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Mike goes to see Albert Carson once more, a month before Carson dies. Carson asks if Mike is still thinking about writing a history of Derry. If he is, Carson tells Mike to drop the idea, for no one would want to read it. Carson, however, knows about the twenty-year cycle of It. He implores Mike once again to let the matter rest. There are things in Derry that “bite,” and Mike should beware. Mike, however, cannot let it go. Derry is his hometown but also a place that is overwhelmed with more than its share of violent history. He later asks Chief Andrew Rademacher about all of the children who have gone missing over the years. The chief has no answers and is annoyed by Hanlon’s questioning. Mike surmises that, if anything else happens, he will have to make the calls to his old friends.
Whereas Carson deals in the legends about Derry, Chief Rademacher is only interested in facts and reason, which encourages him to deny accounts about the clown, due to these stories’ lack of sense in relation to what is usually true and reasonable. Carson describes the thing that haunts Derry as cannibalistic—a thing that “bites.” This suggests that Carson is aware of the Its tendency to consume Its victims. Like many citizens of Derry, he seems to think that the best way to avoid evil is to ignore that it exists at all.
Themes
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon