Study Guide

It Themes

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 1,492 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)

Friendship

The most important element of this novel is friendship. Each one of the members of the Losers Club is a loner, a child with no significant friendships or siblings with whom to spend time or tell secrets to. Ben is a fat child who is mercilessly teased on a daily basis. Bill stutters, something that causes him great distress. Bill also lost his little brother the previous fall and feels as though his parents blame him. Beverly, the only girl in the group, is a tom girl who has few female friends as she tends to prefer to read comics and smoke than discuss boys and makeup. Richie wears glasses that leave him vulnerable to teasing and has a mouth that tends to speak before he can think, causing him a great deal of trouble with the bullies in his school. Eddie is a sickly child who suffers from a bad case of asthma. Eddie's worse ailment, however, is his mother who is overprotective and convinced her son is desperately fragile. Stan is one of a small number of Jewish boys living in Derry. Stan's unusual religious background also leaves him vulnerable to torture by the local bullies. Finally, there is Mike Hanlon. Mike is black, a member of one of the only black families living in Derry. Mike's father had trouble with Henry Bowers' father many years before Mike's birth, causing the elder Bowers to breed a hatred of the entire Hanlon family in his son, causing Mike a great deal of trouble with the local bully.

These similarities bring these seven children together in a group they dub the Losers Club. However, it is not only their isolation and their trouble with the local bully that brings them together. These children are drawn to each other because of shared experiences with an entity none of them fully understand. Each child has had a frightening experience with a creature that appears in a different form to each, but has the similar characteristics of a sinister clown. Each of these children survive their encounters with this strange creature and come to realize that it is this creature that not only killed many of the missing children in town, but also killed Bill's brother George. Bill decides he needs to track down this monster and kill it. The other members of the Losers Club decide they too must help, because it seems that this is their preordained purpose in life.

The children are bonded together so well that they manage to keep their fears at bay when they enter the tunnels under the city to search for It. However, after the confrontation, the children begin to give in to their fears, moving apart from one another. In order to bring them back together and to remind them how much they love each other, Beverly takes each one of them into herself. Beverly believes that by sharing with each of the boys her deep love for them, she can bring them together again and help them find their way out of the dark tunnels where they have become lost. This works. However, once the children come out of the tunnels, they do not ever come together as a whole again until twenty-seven years later.

When the children reunite as adults, they find that the love they shared for each other as children still exists. The children are adults now and no longer believe in the magic they believed in before. However, they believe in each other and the love they shared with each other. That bond of friendship is still strong between them and helps them survive the task that lays ahead. The children, as adults, return to the tunnels below the city and face the entity they know as It again. This time, they kill It. However, they pay a terrible price when two of their members die, and one is nearly killed.

Magic

Strange things happen in Derry, Maine. Ben sees a mummy walking across the canal in the dead of winter. Richie sees the Paul Bunyan statue move. Beverly sees blood spray out of her bathroom drain, but her parents cannot see it. Bill sees a picture wink at him. The children who have disappeared or died have seen similar things, as well. The Corcoran boy was dragged through Bassey Park by a sea creature he once saw in a movie. The thing that is killing the children of Derry is somehow capable of becoming whatever scares his victims the most. Bill researches this phenomenon at the library and comes across the word glamour. Bill reads that a glamour is a creature that can become whatever a person most fears. Bill also reads that it is possible to kill a glamour through a ritual called Chud. Bill believes that this creature is what he and his friends have been seeing, and it is what killed his brother. Bill decides he must kill the glamour.

When Bill and his friends fight off It, they use a magic of their own that scares and confuses It. Bill and his friends use the magic of the innocence of childhood. These children believe in the tooth fairy, in Santa Claus, in justice, in all the things that adults come to see as innocent and naive. It is this naivety that gives the children an advantage against It, giving them the power to fight the fear and the insanity that causes the death of all the other children who come into contact with It. Not only this, but the children have the magic of friendship on their side, as well. These children love each other completely, without the conditions often applied to adult relationships. Again, this magic gives the children a power against It that It has never seen before. The author suggests at the end of the novel that childhood itself is magic, that children have a power over evil that as adults they lose. Magic is a theme of this book as it is the clue that holds these children together, that enables them to kill It, and propels the plot to its climactic ending.

Death

The book begins with the death of Georgie Denbrough. Georgie is the six-year-old brother of Bill Denbrough. Georgie is stir crazy after being stuck in the house due to a record rainfall and a flood in Derry. Georgie asks Bill, who is sick in bed, to make him a paper boat. When the boat is completed, Georgie takes it outside and sails it in the water that is flowing in the gutters. However, Georgie forgets that the water in the gutters will eventually go down a drain. When this happens to Georgie's boat, he looks in the drain to find it. Instead, he finds a clown there who wants to show him how everyone floats down there. Georgie reaches for his boat, and his arm is torn from his body. Georgie's death begins a new cycle of child murders in Derry that culminates when Bill and his friends go into the sewer tunnels to find and kill the monster responsible.

Most children have an innate belief that they are immortal. Children have little understanding of the vulnerability of every human life. However, beginning with the death of his brother, Bill begins to understand this vulnerability. When the clown begins to visit him and his friends, Bill knows that the only way to stop it is by killing it. Bill suddenly has a more mature look at the world than a child his age should. This outlook helps Bill to understand that he and his friends are not the only potential victims of the clown, but that the missing children all throughout Derry were also Its victims. It is this knowledge that helps Bill kill It.

The missing and murdered children in Derry are not the only victims of the clown. There are also events in Derry's history that involve the murders of adults by the citizens of Derry. The adults cannot see the clown, and there have been few adult victims of It. However, at the end of every cycle, and sometimes at the beginning, there is always a massive event involving the deaths of multiple people. One was the explosion of the Kitchener Ironworks in the early 1900s. Then, there were the murders of the entire Bradley gang by the good people of Derry in the 1930s. The fire at the Black Spot on the military base in Derry killed a great many people, also in the 1930s. The most alarming of these events, in Mike's mind, was the ax murders of several people in a crowded bar. The people were murdered while some of the good people of Derry drank their beer just a few feet away. It is evil and, when it is awake, death is a way of life in Derry. It is this that makes death a theme of the novel.

This section contains 1,492 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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