Study Guide

It - Part One, The Shadow Before: Chapter 3, Six Phone Calls (1985) Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 90 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of It.
This section contains 1,788 words
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Part One, The Shadow Before: Chapter 3, Six Phone Calls (1985) Summary

Patricia Uris has a wonderful life and a wonderful husband. Patricia and Stanley met in college, married soon after graduation despite their parents' disapproval, and began to make a life. Stan is a successful accountant who has built a strong business seemingly through luck and his amazing sense of intuition. The only dark spot in their lives is the fact that they cannot conceive. Patricia and Stan have tried to get pregnant for many years. They even went to a specialist who told them there is no reason why they cannot have children. Patricia has learned to accept that there will never be a child, but Stan seems to feel guilt that he cannot give her what she wants.

On a quiet night, Stan and Patricia are watching television as they often do. Patricia is sewing a button on one of Stan's shirts when the phone rings. Stan answers and talks for a few minutes. When he hangs up, he seems a little disoriented, but calm. Stan goes upstairs to take a bath. After a while, Patricia begins to worry as Stan is taking too long. Patricia goes upstairs to check on him and finds the bathroom door locked, something Stan has never done before. Patricia retrieves the key, unlocks the door, and finds that Stan has killed himself by cutting his wrists. On the wall in his own blood, Stan has written, "It".

In Los Angeles, Richie Tozier, a popular DJ, is on the phone with his travel agent. Even as he makes arrangements to fly to Derry, Richie thinks over the phone call he just received from Mike Hanlon, trying to remember everything he can about his childhood. Richie is surprised to find that he can remember very little about his childhood and what he does remember scares him deeply. As Richie begins to pack, little things come back to him, like the names of his friends and memories of being tortured by the school bully, Henry Bowers. As the memories begin to come to him, Richie feels his fear rise until he begins to vomit uncontrollably.

Ben Hanscom, a successful architect, walks into the neighborhood bar a few days early, catching the bartender by surprise. The bartender likes Ben and always looks forward to his regular appearance every Friday and Saturday nights. However, tonight the bartender is frightened when he sees Ben. Ben is pale and clearly upset. The bartender asks Ben what he can do for him, and Ben says he wants whiskey in a beer stein. This is a lot of hard liquor for one man to drink, but the bartender does it as Ben is a good customer. As Ben drinks his beer, he tells the bartender that he got a strange phone call calling him back to his hometown. Ben says that he had forgotten most of his childhood until this phone call and now suddenly he is remembering things he would rather have remained forgotten. To prove the point, Ben lifts his shirt and shows the bartender a scare in the shape of an H on his stomach. Then Ben finishes his beer, leaves three silver dollars on the bar for the bartender to give his children, and says goodnight. The bartender watches him leave, thinking that Ben is suicidal and that he will most likely never see him again.

Eddie Kaspbrask is packing every medication in his medicine chest. Eddie does not like to be too far from the medications that make life livable. Eddie's wife is following him through the house, crying, begging him to explain why he is leaving. Eddie cannot explain it to himself, only knowing that when Mike called he knew he had to return to Derry. Eddie carefully explains to his wife that she must take over driving duties in their limo business the following evening, something that upsets his wife more than his leaving. Eddie's wife is an ample woman who would rather not be forced into wearing a chauffeur's uniform that has grown too tight, especially since their customer that night is a famous actor. However, Eddie manages to calm his wife enough to sneak out the door.

Beverly Marsh Rogan is a fashion designer with a successful company that she runs with her husband, Tom. Beverly and Tom are in bed together when the phone rings. Tom is annoyed, because he has a hangover coming on and wants to sleep. Instead, Tom goes downstairs to get a drink of water. When he returns, Tom finds Beverly packing a bag and smoking a cigarette. Tom has told Beverly before not to smoke in front of him. Tom decides Beverly needs to learn a lesson. Tom gets his belt and begins to chase Beverly around the room. For the first time, Beverly fights back, defending herself. Beverly overturns a dressing table on Tom and runs out of the house.

Bill Denbrough, a successful novelist, is in England for the filming of a movie based on one of his books. Mike's call comes early in the morning. Bill is stunned to remember the death of his brother, stunned because he realizes he has not thought of George for more than twenty years. Bill packs and tries to explain things to Audra, his wife. However, Bill remembers so little he cannot explain things to Audra in a way that either of them can understand. Bill stresses to Audra that she cannot come with him, worried about her safety but unable to tell her why. Audra listens to Bill's story, becoming more and more upset as Bill begins to stutter, something he has not done since he was a child.

Part One, The Shadow Before: Chapter 3, Six Phone Calls (1985) Analysis

This chapter introduces the seven main characters of the novel. The first is Mike Hanlon. Mike is a librarian in Derry who has been given the task of calling his friends when the signs that they need to come home appear. Mike's phone calls are met by a group of friends who do not remember a whole lot about their childhoods, causing the reader to wonder why Mike remembers, and they do not. It is possible Mike remembers as he remained in Derry, but the reason Mike remained is also unknown to the reader at this point. In fact, there is a lot about Mike's phone calls that are not known to the reader just yet but will most likely be made clear later in the novel.

The first phone call is made to Stan Uris. Stan is an accountant with a perfect life that is marred only by the fact that he and his wife have not been able to have a child. Despite the fact that a doctor has tested them both and discovered that they are both healthy and should have no problem conceiving, Stan is convinced that whatever is causing this problem is his fault. However, Stan and his wife are perfectly content in all other areas of their lives. That is until Stan receives Mike's call. This phone call for some reason sends Stan upstairs where he kills himself in the bathtub. The only explanation for this action is a single word Stan wrote on the wall, "It'. The reader is left wondering what Mike could have told Stan that would cause him, a perfectly happy man, to kill himself.

Richie Tozier is introduced next. Richie is a single man who is a successful DJ in Los Angeles, a notoriously difficult market to break into. However, despite the fact that Richie's success suggests he is a strong, solid man, Mike's phone call has him vomiting in fear. Ben Hanscom also meets this phone call with deep fear, drinking a great deal of alcohol at his local bar. The fear these two men display makes the reader wonder what could possibly have happened to these men as children that could cause such fear in an adult. The introduction of the homicidal clown in the first two chapters is the only clue the reader has at this point to the secrets of these men's past, causing a great deal of anticipation in regards to the unfolding plot in the following chapters.

Eddie Kaspbrak is introduced next. Eddie is a hypochondriac who is married to a woman who reminds him of his mother. These things alone tell a story to the reader about a man who is somewhat wimpy and weak, unable to stand up to the women in his life, let alone play the hero in any situation. Eddie too is afraid to go to Derry as Mike has requested, but he seems to welcome the opportunity to stand up to his wife and escape a marriage he is not even sure he wants. This is a contradiction of the immediate impression of Eddie, suggesting to the reader that there is strength in Eddie that the reader has not been allowed to see just yet but will at some point later in the novel.

Beverly Rogan is a successful fashion designer, but she is also a battered woman. Beverly has a history of demurring to her husband and taking the beatings he meets out without conscience. However, something about Mike's call empowers Beverly and allows her the strength to fight back. The strength the reader sees in Beverly here suggests a deeper strength and sense of self that will help her through whatever trouble might come up later in the novel. Finally, the reader is introduced to Bill Denbrough. Bill is a strong, soft spoken man who also appears to have his life together. Bill is married and has a successful writing career. In fact, Bill is in the middle of supervising the filming of a movie based on one of his books. When Mike calls, Bill drops everything and begins to pack, explaining things to his wife as best as he can. However, Bill can remember very little about his past and what he has remembered since Mike's call frightens him. Bill cannot understand why he has not thought about his dead brother in more than twenty years or why scars on his hands suddenly appeared within minutes of Mike's call. The most frightening thing is that Bill has begun to stutter, something he has not done since he was a child. This last also frightens Bill's wife who insists on going to Derry with him. Bill will not allow her, but Audra, Bill's wife, is so frightened and so connected to Bill that the reader must wonder if it is not possible that she will make him change his mind.

This section contains 1,788 words
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