Literature Study GuidesItPart 4 Chapter 16 Summary

It | Study Guide

Stephen King

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It | Part 4, Chapter 16 : July of 1958 (Eddie's Bad Break) | Summary



Eddie remembers how he broke his arm as a kid—something he has been unable to explain to his doctor as an adult. The other Losers lack exact details, but they know it happened a few days after the Smoke-Hole Ceremony.

On this same day Mr. Keene, the pharmacist, talks with Eddie about his asthma medicine. He tells Eddie the medicine is just water and camphor, a placebo. Eddie's asthma is psychological, not physical. Eddie's mother has convinced Eddie he is sick and delicate, but there is nothing wrong with him. Mr. Keene also correctly guesses Mrs. Kaspbrak doesn't like Eddie's new friends.

Eddie doesn't accept this news readily. Only after he leaves Mr. Keene does he understand the significance of the "administer as needed" label on his aspirator. Eddie realizes real medicine would not come with such loose instructions. Still, he resists the urge to throw the aspirator away.

Eddie goes to the Costello Avenue Market to buy a soda and candy bars. Henry Bowers, Victor Criss, Moose Sadler, and Patrick Hockstetter intercept Eddie as he emerges and begin beating him. Mr. Gedreau, the market's owner, tries to intervene, but the bullies scare him away. Mr. Gedreau calls the police, and his intervention gives Eddie a chance to run. Henry catches Eddie and breaks his arm, leaving Eddie on the sidewalk when they hear sirens approaching.

Mr. Nell finds Eddie and gets him to the hospital. Mrs. Kaspbrak arrives and interferes with the doctor trying to set Eddie's arm. She later says the hospital's visiting hours shouldn't apply to her and sends the Losers away when they attempt to visit Eddie. She blames them for his injury.

When he regains consciousness, Eddie protests Mrs. Kaspbrak sending his friends away and confronts his mother with the truth about his asthma. She offers no explanation for misleading him but agrees Eddie's friends need his good influence. He waits until she leaves to use his aspirator; he doesn't care why he needs it—it works.

In the evening, the Losers visit Eddie and tell him they have a plan to make silver slugs to try to kill It. Then they sign Eddie's cast as a storm gathers outside, but no rain falls.


Until Chapter 16, Sonia Kaspbrak is a sympathetic if overbearing figure. She is raising a son on her own after her husband dies. She fears for Eddie's safety, having already lost one loved one to a mysterious ailment that shut down his body. She is overprotective to the point of neurosis, but this behavior is understandable even if it can't be condoned. Chapter 16 reveals Mrs. Kaspbrak as manipulative and controlling to the point of danger.

When Chapter 5 hints Eddie's aspirator is filled with water and "a dash of camphor," it is possible to imagine Mr. Keene is an unscrupulous pharmacist selling Mrs. Kaspbrak and Eddie a placebo for profit. Mr. Keene's conversation with Eddie implies Mrs. Kaspbrak has been complicit in maintaining the illusion Eddie has asthma. By convincing Eddie he is sick, Mrs. Kaspbrak can keep him under her control. She has not acted to protect Eddie but rather to protect herself from being alone. This fear also moves her to try to separate Eddie from his friends.

In fact Mrs. Kaspbrak's desire to control every aspect of Eddie's life places him in danger. Her interference with the doctor trying to set his broken arm creates the danger of greater complications from the break. Were she successful in separating Eddie from his friends, his isolation would place him in danger from It.

Eddie stands up to his mother for the first time in his life, calling her bluff. She knows his knowledge about his asthma, and her role in it, gives him grounds to emotionally abandon her, so she is better served by acceding to his demands. The Losers are allowed to return, and they sign Eddie's cast as if they are signing a pact with one another to see their mission to the end.

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