Literature Study GuidesItPart 2 Chapter 8 Summary

It | Study Guide

Stephen King

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It | Part 2, Chapter 8 : June of 1958 (Georgie's Room and the House on Neibolt Street) | Summary

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Summary

Richie crosses the Derry town line while remembering his Voice of the Irish Cop, which he develops after Mr. Nell catches them with the dam in the Barrens. Ben tries to take the blame for the dam and is delighted when the others won't allow it. They stand together.

Mr. Nell isn't mad so much as impressed with Ben's engineering skills and is amused by Richie's attempts to imitate his voice. He was sent to see if a tree was blocking the Kenduskeag because some drains are backing up in town. He agrees to keep the truth quiet if the boys dismantle the dam. He tells them they have no business in the Barrens and cautions them to stay together "all the time."

Later Richie goes home with Bill and reflects on Ben's and Eddie's stories about It. They think the dead kids would have had similar stories if they had escaped. Richie thinks the killer might just be a guy in a clown suit, but this doesn't explain what happened to Georgie's picture. Bill thinks the photo is Georgie's ghost. Richie thinks ghosts are plausible because they appear in the Bible, but Richie doesn't understand why Georgie would want to scare Bill. They decide to go to Georgie's room to take another look at the photo album

Georgie's school photo is missing, but they see themselves and Pennywise in an old street scene that starts moving. Bill tries to touch the picture and cuts his fingers as they dip into the surface. Richie pulls Bill's hand away and sees cuts on Bill's fingers. The photo stops moving, but they can see a balloon by the canal wall in the image.

On the following Saturday, Richie invites Beverly along as he goes to meet Ben to see a double feature with a film about a Teenage Frankenstein and one about a Teenage Werewolf. Henry Bowers's gang tries to get them after the movie, but Ben throws a trashcan at them, and he, Beverly, and Richie escape. "The Losers' Club Gets Off a Good One!" Richie declares. They go to the Barrens and meet Bill. Richie senses they are all together for some purpose. He also notices Ben's crush on Beverly and Beverly's crush on Bill.

A week later, Bill convinces Richie to ride with him on Silver to investigate the house on Neibolt Street. Richie reluctantly agrees. They enter through the basement, and a Teenage Werewolf comes down the stairs and attacks them. Bill shoots it with his slingshot, but Richie fends it off with his Irish Cop Voice—"Git back in yer place—boyo!"—and sneezing powder. They scramble out of the basement and run to the street with the werewolf chasing them. Silver outruns It, and when Bill looks back the street is empty.

Analysis

Mr. Nell is one of the few adults in Derry who treats the children with any semblance of benevolence. This benevolence is evident in his name. He is Mr. Nell, not Officer Nell. He reflects the adults' growing concern about the children's safety with the unidentified killer loose in their midst and provides some evidence there are good people in Derry who want the city to be safer. He also understands the dam and Richie's terrible Voices are just evidence of kids being kids, and he indulges both these infractions accordingly. When Richie imitates Mr. Nell, it appears to be a sign of affection rather than mockery.

For all his joking Richie displays remarkable powers of insight and understanding of his friends. He comforts Bill with a very logical observation about Georgie's relationship with Bill: Georgie and Bill were brothers who generally got along well with each other. If Georgie is a ghost now, there is no good reason for him to want to haunt and frighten the brother whom he loved and who loved him. Richie doesn't dismiss the existence of ghosts in general. He has a child's imagination and belief in magic and all sorts of other implausible possibilities because he has learned about them in church. He believes the things he learns at church are true, so ghosts, demons, and other phenomena are possible. Therefore, while Richie doesn't believe Georgie is a ghost, he is open to the idea a nonhuman entity killed Georgie and is killing other kids.

This belief and imagination allows Richie to save himself and Bill from the werewolf at the house on Neibolt Street—a fear It manifests based on his film viewing with Ben and Beverly. When Richie and Bill depart for Neibolt Street, Bill's slingshot seems the more powerful weapon against whatever they encounter there. Sneezing powder looks like an absurd means of defense. Yet Richie's sense of humor—with his prank powder and spontaneous silly voice—pains It, a creature with no capacity for or understanding of laughter and joy.

Richie also originates the name the group of seven kids who stand against It will adopt for themselves, the Losers' Club. It is a fitting name, since each club member is a misfit in some way. Bill has a stutter. Ben is fat. Richie wears thick glasses. Eddie is sickly. Stan and later Mike are misfits in Derry because Stan is Jewish and Mike is black. Beverly is a misfit not simply because she is a girl but also because she is not an especially feminine girl. She prefers smoking and joking with the boys and playing in the muddy Barrens to whatever the other girls in town are doing—the reader doesn't know because those girls don't come to the Barrens.

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