Literature Study GuidesItPart 4 Chapter 14 Summary

It | Study Guide

Stephen King

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It | Part 4, Chapter 14 : July of 1958 (The Album) | Summary

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Summary

Each of the Losers brings alcohol to the meeting at the library. They piece together more memories about how they defeated It in 1958. Mike goes to his office fridge to get a six pack and finds a flood of balloons and Stan Uris's head with Pennywise's eyes and voice telling him the Losers can't win. The head disappears with a pop, but the others see the blood it leaves behind and the balloons. Mike remembers how he joined the Losers' Club on July 6, 1958, just showing up in the Barrens and being accepted.

Mike finds them planning to dig a hole to build an underground clubhouse. The Losers share what they know about It with Mike, and Mike says he saw Pennywise the Dancing Clown handing out balloons at the Fourth of July parade, handing out balloons in two different locations along the route. Mike feels physically ill at Pennywise's presence. Then Mike tells them about the giant bird at the ironworks. Mike thinks he recognizes Pennywise from his father's old photographs.

After Mike goes home to help on the farm, the other Losers talk about Mike's story as they walk around town. Stan says they all now share each other's personal monsters, and Stan thinks they need to act soon because It knows they know about It. Based on the movies, they decide the best way to eliminate It is with a silver bullet. They go to the library to research how to make one.

Mike brings his father's photo album to the Barrens a week later. The underground clubhouse is almost finished. The Losers shore up the hole with boards and listen to rock 'n' roll on Richie's radio. When the whole group is assembled, they look at Mike's photo album. They see a woodcut from the 1700s showing Pennywise juggling for a group of children on Main Street. A political ad from 1856 shows Pennywise in the background. He appears in a newspaper clipping from the Kitchener Ironworks opening day and a few other photos. A photo of a parade celebrating the end of World War II begins to move. Adults in the photo ignore the clown "as if they felt a draft or smelled something bad." Pennywise climbs a lamppost and presses his face against the surface of the photo, shouting "Try to stop me and I'll kill you all!" Then he changes into the werewolf and then the leper. Stan shouts "No!" and slams the album shut. He denies what they have seen, but the others convince him to stay with them.

Analysis

Stan's head in the refrigerator represents another of the creature's attempts to intimidate the Losers into abandoning their fight, as well as another indication the creature fears them. The presence of the head also raises the idea Stan's body has been desecrated or disrespected, because there is no way of knowing if the head is real or a replica. The popping sound it makes when it disappears means the head is solid, but it otherwise creates a mystery for the Losers whether their friend's head has been appropriated by an evil creature.

Mike becomes the seventh member of the Losers' Club immediately. The kids instinctively know they all belong together, and they share their stories about It without fear they will be judged or mocked. The group circle is a safe space, and they build an even safer space in their underground clubhouse. The clubhouse is something the Losers have in common with It. They know, as It knows, it is easier to avoid detection and to remain safe if one is out of sight and underground.

Mike falls into the same role he will play for the Losers as an adult; he is the historian, the keeper of records. He presents the group with the photos and illustrations from his father's album because he knows that to defeat It, they need to understand what It is. They need to understand the creature's past and the role it played in Derry's past.

Pennywise shouting in the moving photo is the first indication It fears the Losers in 1958 and tries to intimidate them and scare them away. The adults who ignore Pennywise in the photo show Derry's capacity for denial is nothing new. Stan's strong reaction to the moving photo shows he finds it harder than the other Losers to believe what is happening. His thoughts are orderly. His worldview is logical. In Chapter 9 he can't put into words how It offends his sensibilities because the creature should not exist in the logical universe. Here he moves to flat denial of these extraordinary events.

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