Literature Study GuidesItPart 4 Chapter 13 Summary

It | Study Guide

Stephen King

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It | Part 4, Chapter 13 : July of 1958 (The Apocalyptic Rockfight) | Summary

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Summary

While Bill waits at the library to meet the rest of the Losers after their day out in Derry, he remembers how they met Mike Hanlon and became seven. On July 3, 1958, Bill and the others are in the Barrens trying to decide what to do about It. They can't go to their parents or the police. Bill has researched the creature and learned different cultures have names for creatures like It. It is a glamour in Gaelic culture, a Manitou to Native Americans. Himalayans have the Ritual of Chüd to defeat the thing they call a taelus. The ritual involves a person and the creature biting into one another's tongues and telling jokes. Bill has also learned Derry's sewers are an underground maze, and his father has forbidden him to ever go in there.

Meanwhile, Henry Bowers and his friends are stalking Mike Hanlon, Henry's most hated enemy, as Mike goes to church school for band practice in preparation for the Fourth of July parade. Mike has had problems with Henry before because of Butch Bowers's long conflict with Will Hanlon. Henry calls Mike "nigger" and has coated him with mud. Henry also later reveals he killed Mike's dog by feeding him poisoned steak. Today Henry decides to catch Mike and put firecrackers in Mike's shoes.

The Losers also have some firecrackers, and they go from the Barrens to a gravel pit by the city dump to shoot them. There they meet Mike Hanlon, whom Henry has chased through the train yard and the dump, throwing firecrackers along the way. The Losers have heard the explosions and assembled a pile of rocks to prepare for whatever is coming their way. When Mike arrives he pants, "Help ... Kids ... Big kids."

The Losers confront Henry and his friends, saying the Barrens belong to them. The rock fight begins, and the Losers drive out Henry's gang, although the bullies level fresh threats as they retreat. Stan invites Mike to join the Losers in shooting off their own fireworks. Mike accepts.

Analysis

Since other cultures around the world have names for creatures like It, it seems likely the creature is not the only one of its kind, although Chapter 15 only shows It arriving in Derry. Chapter 22 reveals It is a pregnant female, so these other creatures around the world could be its offspring, or they could be other versions of the creature that arrived on Earth separately. Possibly the creatures from other cultures are different creatures entirely or myths. However, the cultural comparisons raise the possibility many of these creatures are scattered around the globe, which is a frightening proposition. Still, the research gives the Losers valuable information pointing them in the direction they want to go.

Henry Bowers has absorbed his father's racism, described in Derry: The Second Interlude. He carries Butch Bowers's grudge against the Hanlon family and takes his hostilities out on Mike. The other Losers don't know Mike or Henry's hatred for him because Mike goes to the church school. Each Loser thinks he or she is Henry's most hated enemy, which illustrates how much hate and evil Henry must spread around town. The depth of Henry's cruelty is best illustrated in his killing of Mr. Chips. He first gains the dog's trust and then feeds it poisoned meat. Henry's willingness to kill the dog hints it's a matter of time before he moves on to people.

When the Losers assemble their arsenal of rocks at the first sound of trouble far away, they show their willingness and ability to move into action as a unit. When Mike arrives in the gravel pit, they take him in immediately. They don't care that he's black or they've never seen him before in their lives. He's a kid who needs help, so they're going to help him. Getting to throw rocks at Henry Bowers is a bonus for the Losers. Mike brings the group's number to seven, the lucky number, the number known in much of Western culture for its mystical powers.

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