Study Guide

Stephen King Writing Styles in It

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 1,316 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)

Point of View

The novel has two different points of view. The first point of view is third person. The novel follows the narration of many different characters, most often the members of the Losers Club. The point of view jumps from present tense to past tense, moving back and forth through time as the narration tells the story of the reunion of a group of childhood friends as well as the events they shared in the summer of 1958. The second point of view is first person. Mike Hanlon, one of the members of the Losers Club, begins keeping a diary when the cycle of mysterious deaths begins again. Mike writes these passages in the first person, giving the reader an intimate look at his thoughts as he relates the horrific past of the town of Derry and prepares to call his friends home.

The point of view of this novel works as it allows the reader to see the story through the eyes of many of the characters, not only the main characters of the Losers Club, but also through the eyes of their nemesis and the monster they have been given the task of stopping. With so many main characters, the third person point of view also allows for the author to switch from narrator to narrator without causing any confusion for the reader. The use of the first person point of view in the Interlude sections gives the reader a break from the format of the preceding and following chapters as well as providing the reader with an intimate insight into the thoughts of Mike Hanlon and the story of Derry.


The setting of the novel is a small town in the state of Maine. Derry is a typical eastern small town, a place where everyone knows everyone else, and parents feel safe allowing their children to run wild in the streets. In Derry during the summer of 1958, children play baseball in empty fields, ride bikes through the streets, and buy candy at the local grocery store. In Derry in the 1980s, children still play in the streets though with a little more caution than before because of the growth of the town. On the outside, everything about Derry makes it seem like a pleasant place to raise a family. However, as the plot begins to unfold, the reader begins to learn about the disappearances of many of the children of Derry. It turns out that every twenty-five to twenty-seven years, Derry has a higher rate of child disappearances and deaths than many of the larger cities on the east coast. Not only this, but the adults in Derry tend toward violence in these same cycles, often participating in outrageous acts of violence or turning a blind eye while others participate.

The setting in this novel, Derry, Maine, becomes a character within the novel with as much importance to the plot as the members of the Losers Club. The creature that has come to live underneath Derry's downtown has somehow become a part of Derry, causing this cozy little town to become something malicious. It has infected all the adults in town causing them to turn a blind eye as children disappear or are murdered right in the middle of the main thoroughfare. It is not just a strange creature, but also a part of Derry. By making Derry a character of the novel, the author enriches the story and increases the tension within the plot that drives the story along.

Language and Meaning

The language of the novel is simple English. The novel takes place in two decades, the fifties and the eighties. During the sections that take place in the fifties, the dialogue includes some slang that was prevalent during this time, giving the reader a better feel for the decade. The author does the same in the episodes that take place in the eighties, maturing the dialogue that is now spoken by adults and adding slang that was common to that period. The author also includes some vulgar language in the dialogue, using it to show emotion from his characters. This language is not overused, but shows up often enough that it may be offensive to some readers. Finally, the author uses the names of popular television shows, retail stores, and product brand names in order to add to the nostalgia of the time period in which the story is taking place. This use of popular names gives the reader a group of landmarks with which the reader can relate, pulling the reader deeper into the narration and better able to identify with the characters within the story.

The use of slang in this novel gives the dialogue a relaxed feel, the same sort of feel an overheard conversation on a bus might give a person. The slang also helps establish the time period in which the dialogue is taking place, helping the reader establish the time period of the specific chapter or passage to avoid confusion within the many changes in time that take place throughout the novel. The use of vulgar language reminds the reader of the age and emotional state of the characters, giving a more intimate look at the characters and their fears. Finally, the use of popular names and brands within the novel gives the reader something they can relate to, adding to the intimacy that draws the reader into the story and keeps the reader involved in the story. All of these techniques of language are important to the story and allows the reader to remain interested in a book whose length could possibly cause difficulty for the reader to remain engrossed.


The novel is more than a thousand pages long. The book is divided into five parts, twenty-three chapters, five Interludes, and an epilogue. Each part deals with a specific set of events that lead to the climax in a linear fashion. Each chapter is divided into several sections, breaking up the long chapters into smaller, easier to digest pieces. The five Interludes are entries in Mike Hanlon's diary that appear between each part. The Interludes tell the history of Derry, Maine and explain Mike's decision to call his childhood friends home. Finally, the epilogue concludes the story and leaves the reader with an optimistic outlook for the future of the characters the reader has come to care about.

The novel is written in two separate timelines. The first timeline is set in the summer of 1958. During this summer, seven eleven-year-olds come together and form a special friendship, bonded together because of shared experiences that they neither understand nor feel they can share with their parents. This friendship not only brings these children together physically, but spiritually as well in a way that makes them strong enough to fight an evil presence that has made Its home under their hometown, Derry, Maine. The second time line is twenty-seven years later, 1985. The children are all adults now, those who left Derry successful in their chosen careers. The friends are called home by a promise they made at the end of that summer in 1958 to face the same evil entity they fought that long ago summer. The timelines intertwine within the plot, moving the reader from one decade to the other sometimes within the stretch of a single chapter.

The novel has one main story line that follows the main characters, the Losers Club, from their first meeting, to the confrontation with It, to their reunion and the death of It. From the main storyline, there are many subplots, each following the personal lives of the members of the Losers Club, the life of Henry Bowers, the history of Derry and thus the lives of the people living there, and the story of It. Each story line interacts with the others, all entwining to create the main plot that propels the novel.

This section contains 1,316 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
It from BookRags. (c)2017 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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