The paper boat is a paraffin-lined boat made out of a piece of the classified section of the Derry News. Bill Denbrough makes the boat for his little brother, George Denbrough, who plays with it on the flooded streets of Derry. The boat, which careens along the sidewalks while George chases after it, is a symbol of innocence. Innocence, like the paper boat, is a fragile thing that can be harmed by forces beyond its control, just as George is mortally wounded by Pennywise the Dancing Clown when his boat gets stuck in a storm drain and George goes to retrieve it.
Yet even after George’s death, the narrator says that the boat “was still afloat and still running on the breast of the flood when it passed the incorporated town limits of Derry, Maine.” This suggests that innocence can triumph over evil by enduring. The narrator imagines the paper boat reaching the sea, “like a magic boat in a fairy tale,” and thriving in the indifferent universe that is the ocean. When Bill sends his first book off to be published, he chooses The Viking Press because he likes its ship logo—another sign that he wishes to recapture, in his adult life, the childhood innocence and happiness that becomes elusive after George’s death.
The Paper Boat Quotes in It
Bill marked it as a paper boat. Stan saw it as a bird rising toward the sky—a phoenix, perhaps. Michael saw a hooded face—that of crazy Butch Bowers, perhaps, if it could only be seen. Richie saw two eyes behind a pair of spectacles. Beverly saw a hand doubled up into a fist. Eddie believed it to be the face of the leper, all sunken eyes and wrinkled snarling mouth—all disease, all sickness, was stamped into that face. Ben Hanscom saw a tattered pile of wrappings and seemed to smell old sour spices […] Henry Bowers would see it as the moon, full, ripe…and black.