Literature Study GuidesItPart 3 Chapter 11 Summary

It | Study Guide

Stephen King

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It | Part 3, Chapter 11 : Grownups (Walking Tours) | Summary

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Summary

Each member of the Losers' Club goes to a spot in Derry with significance for him or her. All but Bill encounter It in some form.

Ben

Ben ends up at the Derry Public Library, his favorite childhood haunt. The glass walkway between the main library and the children's library inspired his controversial design for the BBC Broadcast Center in England. In the children's library he hears the librarian reading "The Three Billy Goats Gruff," the same story he heard there on the last day of school in 1958. An assistant asks whom he's looking for and seems skeptical when he describes his son; he is really describing his childhood self. In the main library Ben takes a book from the shelf and goes to the desk to get a library card. While the librarian, Carole Danner, looks up his information, Ben sees Pennywise on the landing above him, taunting and threatening him. Pennywise transforms into a gruesome vampire with razor blades for teeth. Ms. Danner and another library patron think Ben looks sick. Ben blames the Chinese food he had for lunch. Ben gets his library card and takes his book outside; he discovers it is the same book he checked out in 1958—the one he lost in the fight with Henry Bowers and his friends.

Eddie

Eddie goes to the former Tracker Brothers trucking depot, where one of the owners, Tony Tracker, used to host informal baseball games on the field out back. Eddie's mom never let him play. Eddie remembers Belch Huggins hitting a ball so hard it knocked the cover off before it sailed into the Barrens. Other memories flutter around the edges of Eddie's mind when he hears a voice say, "Catch, kid." He catches the coverless ball of string Belch hit into the Barrens and sees Belch there on the field, looking like a leper and wearing a tattered New York Yankees uniform. Belch offers Eddie a blow job, just like the other leper. Then Butch disappears, and Eddie sees a decomposing Tony Tracker pop out of the ground at home plate. Eddie runs away and collapses in McCannon Park, where some kids consider reporting him to the police.

Beverly

Beverly returns to her childhood home; she thinks about the poem she got in the mail and how her father would have beaten her if he found it. She thinks about her old love for Bill too. She sees the name Marsh still on her old doorbell and rings it, expecting to confront her father. Instead a pleasant older woman named Mrs. Kersh answers the door, and Beverly thinks she must have misread the doorbell. She lets Beverly look around, and Beverly sees the bathroom has been refitted. Over tea, the scene changes. Mrs. Kersh transforms into a witch who says her "fadder" was Pennywise, and the tea turns out to be sewage. The room transforms to candy, like in "Hansel and Gretel." Beverly runs for the door and sees the witch has transformed into her father, who is saying, "I beat you because I wanted to FUCK you." Beverly runs into the street and looks back to see her father wearing a clown suit. She yells, "The grackles know your real name!" It is injured, and Beverly escapes. When she gets away from the building, she can see it is falling apart and unoccupied.

Richie

Richie goes to City Center, where he remembers a day in March 1958 when he escaped Henry Bowers's gang and ended up on this spot where the giant Paul Bunyan statue tried to attack him. Richie always dismissed the episode as a dream. Today he sees the Center marquee promoting a heavy metal concert, but it changes into a promotion for the "RICHIE TOZIER ALL-DEAD ROCK SHOW." The Paul Bunyan statue turns into Pennywise, who threatens to strike Richie with a variety of diseases. Richie breaks out a new Voice, speaking jive, which makes the giant Pennywise flinch. Richie runs away but finds his eyes burning so badly he must remove his contact lenses, which are lost on the sidewalk.

Bill

Bill walks around his old neighborhood and meets a boy on a skateboard near the drain where Georgie died. Bill asks the kid if he ever hears voices from the drains, and the kid reluctantly says yes. He also tells Bill his friend saw the shark from Jaws in the canal. Bill cautions the kid to stay away from drains, deserted places, and the canal, to stay with his friends, but especially to stay away from drains. Near the Barrens he sees a girl and asks her the best shop in town. She sends him to a secondhand store where Bill finds Silver in the window. He takes Silver back to Mike's house, where the restores the bike using a maintenance kit Mike bought the week before. Mike doesn't own a bike.

Analysis

Ben

The most remarkable aspect of Ben's visit to the public library is how little has changed there. In the children's library the scene appears deliberately staged to imitate what Ben experienced there on the last day of school in 1958, down to the librarian reading the same story at story time. The cautions are the same, with the curfew sign in place. The difference is Ben now looks suspicious in this environment. The assistant questions him because she's on the lookout for strange people in the children's library—one of them might be the killer. Even without the cloud of fear hanging over Derry, unauthorized adults in spaces designed for children typically do arouse suspicion because there are so many dangers to children in the world.

Pennywise's appearance on the library landing makes Ben look uneasy, which may arouse further suspicion of his motives, even though Ben tells Ms. Danner he is sick. This is the creature's first attempt to intimidate the Losers—a sign the creature is afraid of them.

Eddie

Just as It tries to intimidate Ben at the library, the creature tries to scare Eddie at the Tracker Brothers' defunct baseball field. It attempts to double up on the fear by combining the form of Belch Huggins with the leper from Eddie's childhood, throwing on a New York Yankees uniform for good measure. Eddie's preference of baseball team is not mentioned, but the use of the Yankees uniform on the monster appears to be a private joke for the author. King is well known as a fan of the Boston Red Sox, archrivals of the Yankees.

Also like Ben, Eddie arouses suspicion in town. A group of kids see him passed out in the park and think of calling the police, not because they think he needs help but because he might be the mysterious killer. They do not make such a call, perhaps because these kids in 1985 are too lazy to call the police. It's more likely they doubt the police will be able to help them—just as the Losers did in 1958.

Beverly

Beverly's visit to her old apartment shows how much her childhood fears remain part of her thinking. Mrs. Kersh and the apartment transform into the witch and the gingerbread house from "Hansel and Gretel" because this story scared Beverly most as a child. Apparently it still scares her now. The witch transforms into Al Marsh, saying aloud the thought Beverly's mother expressed with her questions to Beverly in Chapter 9, a thought Beverly may have suspected herself as she grew older; whether or not her father's beatings had a sexual connotation, the thought taps into Beverly's fear of her father. If Beverly's fear is rooted in her childhood, her remedy for this fear is as well. The line she shouts to stop It and get away is lifted directly from Stan Uris's defense tactics in Chapter 9. Stan defends himself against the creature's ghouls by naming birds, and Beverly follows his lead without knowing it.

Like the gout of blood in Chapter 9, Mrs. Kersh represents another fear somewhat specific to Beverly as a woman—the fear of aging. Beverly is in her late 30s when she comes back to Derry. Before her eyes, Beverly sees an attractive middle-aged woman transform into a terrifying crone, indicating Beverly's own unspoken fear of aging just as the gout of blood indicates her unspoken fear of puberty.

Richie

When the Losers were kids, Richie was the only one who didn't have a story about an individual encounter with It. His only encounters with It take place in the presence of other Losers. Only when he returns to Derry does he remember a memory he had cast aside even in 1958. Even after all he sees and experiences in their first round of battle with It, only now does Richie realize his encounter with Paul Bunyan was not a dream. Richie's long denial and acceptance illustrates the power of the human mind to revise events as it sees necessary and fit.

Bill

Another indication It is afraid of the Losers' return to Derry is the creature doesn't attempt to intimidate Bill right away, even though he is the leader of the group. As Chapters 21 and 22 indicate, Bill is the one who went toe-to-toe with It in 1958 and did the most damage to the creature. Yet Bill wanders through town and gets a feel for the ways Derry remains intimidating and dangerous for small children.

Instead of confronting an old enemy, Bill finds an old friend, Silver. Bill's conversations with the two kids he meets indicate an attempt to get in touch with his childhood self, and it pays off by leading him to his old bike. Silver's presence in the shop window is so vanishingly unlikely it implies the bike and his old owner are meant to be reunited. The sense of destiny intensifies when Mike reveals he bought a maintenance kit "just in case."

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