Literature Study GuidesItPart 5 Chapter 19 Summary

It | Study Guide

Stephen King

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It | Part 5, Chapter 19 : The Ritual of Chüd (In the Watches of the Night) | Summary

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Summary

By 1:15 a.m. on May 31, 1985, each of the Losers in the library has finished relating his or her memories. Mike decides they all need to go get some rest. Before they part, the scars on their palms break open. Stan used a Coke bottle in 1958 to cut their palms and join them all in an oath to return if It came back. Now they join hands in the library and feel a powerful surge of energy; it brings back the rest of their memories of 1958.

1958

Beverly remembers when her father found out about her hanging around in the Barrens with the boys. When she comes in from playing, he hits her and asks her what a girl would be doing in the Barrens with boys "if it ain't what a girl does on her back." He doesn't confirm her suspicion Pennywise tipped him off. Instead he demands she take off her pants so he can see if she is "intact." Beverly knows her father is under the creature's control, and she runs from the house. He chases her through town. She hides from him behind a hedge but falls into the clutches of Henry Bowers, Belch Huggins, and Victor Criss.

Mr. Bob Gray of Derry sent Henry a switchblade. Henry tested the knife that morning by flicking it open into his sleeping father's neck. Now he threatens Beverly with it. Across the street Herbert Ross sees the bullies with her, folds his newspaper, and goes inside his house. An old woman in a Ford tries to intervene, and Henry kicks out her taillight. Beverly kicks Henry in the crotch and escapes into the Barrens.

Beverly finds Ben in the clubhouse. They close the trapdoor and wait tensely as Henry and his gang pass overhead. While they hide, Ben confesses to sending Beverly the poem in June, and she tells him it was beautiful. Once the bullies are gone, Beverly and Ben race to town to find the others. Bill convinces them to return to the Barrens and confront Henry's crew. When they meet, Henry throws rocks at the Losers, and the Losers retaliate. The Losers escape into a pumping station drain, where Henry, Victor, and Belch hesitate to follow. Once the Losers are in the sewers, they resolve to find It for a final showdown.

1985

After the other Losers retire to their hotel rooms, Mike stays to straighten up the library before closing the building for the night. Henry Bowers breaks in and attacks Mike with a knife. Mike fights back with a letter opener and injures Henry. Henry slices open Mike's leg and leaves him bleeding on the floor. Mike fashions a tourniquet from his belt and calls the hospital, shouting his distress past the voice of Pennywise, who answers the phone.

Henry wanders in the dark streets until the corpse of Belch Huggins picks him up in a 1958 Plymouth Fury. Henry remembers seeing Belch and Victor killed by a Frankenstein's monster in the sewers under Derry in 1958 while Henry ran away. Henry apologizes to Belch for running away when It caught them in the sewers. Belch gives Henry a list of the Losers' names and room numbers at the Derry house, saying, "Just shut up and get them."

Bill and Beverly go to Bill's room at the Town House where they indulge their childhood crush by sleeping together. Beverly misses the message in her room from Kay, warning her about Tom. Henry shows up at Eddie's door, meaning to kill him. Eddie's arm is broken in the struggle, but Eddie kills Henry with a broken Perrier bottle. He calls Bill's room for help.

Analysis

The breaking of scars and the joining of hands appears to be another trick from It to try to scare the Losers into leaving town. If so, the trick has the opposite effect. The group joins hands, which restores their memories as well as the bond they share completely.

1958

Al Marsh's abuse finally crosses the line it has been skirting for months. In Chapter 9 Beverly's mother expresses the vague fear Beverly might be molested by her father, which plants the same vague fear in Beverly's mind. Now, under the influence of It, Al Marsh makes moves to violate his daughter in the misguided belief Beverly is already sexually active. He wants to see if she is "intact," meaning he wants to check if she still has her hymen, a part of a woman's sexual organs usually broken during her first sexual intercourse. The request for such an exam is incredibly invasive and reads as a precursor to other violations. Al Marsh assumes Beverly's friendship with the boys in the Losers' Club must have a sexual component because sex is all he can conceive of a girl or woman doing with boys and men. Al has seen his daughter solely through the lens of her future as a sexual being, which means he may have thought about her in a sexual way even without the influence of It.

Beverly escapes the threat of one violation only to find herself in danger of another—although it is unclear whether Henry and his friends have plans to sexually assault her, but he threatens to cut off her nose and make her eat it, which is a lurid threat on its own. Beverly escapes to a more loving location, the clubhouse and Ben's presence. Her kindness to Ben as she draws him to confess writing the poem indicates she feels a kind of love for him, even if it is different from what she feels for Bill.

1985

Henry's longstanding animosity toward Mike Hanlon leads him to attack Mike first. This fight has been coming for nearly 30 years. Mike refrains from killing Henry only because he believes that's what It wants him to do. If Mike kills Henry, then he is no better than Henry. This is a noble thought, but it also nearly gets Mike killed. Pennywise taunts Mike when he calls for help; the only indication anyone hears Mike's cries comes when Henry hears a siren heading toward the library.

If one believes in the principle "what goes around comes around," it makes sense Eddie is the one to kill Henry Bowers. Eddie is the only one of the Losers upon whom Henry inflicts permanent damage; the healed break in his arm remains visible to Eddie's doctors even when Eddie can't remember how it happened. Even Ben Hanscom's scar fades with his memory. In 1985 Eddie inflicts permanent damage on Henry.

Beverly and Bill's encounter represents a healing for Beverly. In the last 48 hours, she has left her abusive husband. In the last two hours, she has recovered the memory of her father trying to molest her. The morality of their one-night affair is questionable because Bill is still happily married to Audra, but Beverly needs a loving and affirmative experience to help balance and minimize the bad memories. From a narrative standpoint, the encounter makes sense because it adds momentum for Bill to save Audra's life and assuage his guilt in the closing chapters.

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