Stephen King

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Themes and Colors
Evil and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Domestic Abuse Theme Icon
Fear and the Power of Fantasy Theme Icon
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in It, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Evil and the Supernatural

Stephen King presents Derry, the setting for It, as a sleepy New England town in which terror and evil lurk beneath its placid surface. This evil takes the supernatural form of the monster “It.” It is a presence that hides in dark, underground spaces, first discovered in the narrative by George Denbrough in his basement in 1957. This creature has several names—It, Pennywise the Dancing Clown, and Bob Gray. It can take…

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Friendship and Loyalty

The Losers’ Club—a group of prepubescent social misfits which includes Bill Denbrough, Ben Hanscom, Richie Tozier, Stanley Uris, Beverly Marsh, and Eddie Kaspbrak—is brought back together decades later through a phone call from their sixth member, Mike Hanlon. Mike reminds them of a blood oath they all took in childhood, vowing to return to Derry if It ever resurrected itself and started killing again. When the inevitable occurs…

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Domestic Abuse

Beverly Marsh, Henry Bowers, and Dorsey and Edward Corcoran all have one thing in common: abusive households. Four-year-old Dorsey ends up bludgeoned to death by his stepfather, Richard Macklin, while Henry murders his father, Butch, and ends up in a mental health facility for the criminally-insane. Beverly’s history of abuse compels her to seek her abusive father’s approval through her marriage to Tom Rogan, who also abuses her. The prevalence…

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Fear and the Power of Fantasy

Children’s fears are often vividly evoked through fantasies, particularly those conjured by films and fairy tales. Horror movies and scary fairy tales entertain, but that entertainment can become obscured by real fears of menace and the frequent inability of children to separate reality from fiction. It knows that children believe that the terrors from fantasies can enter reality, and uses this belief to reach into children’s imaginations to terrorize them. King uses characters from 1950s…

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Storytelling and Memory

Each member of the Losers’ Club has a recollection about Pennywise the Dancing Clown, or It, and this shared experience and ability to tell a story brings them all together. Sometimes, the group’s stories are linked to early memories or associations with other victims, which forge a personal connection between It and those whom It terrorizes. The storytelling during the Losers’ Club’s reunion in 1985 is necessary to help them remember all that they…

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