Literature Study GuidesItPart 5 Chapter 20 Summary

It | Study Guide

Stephen King

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It | Part 5, Chapter 20 : The Ritual of Chüd (The Circle Closes) | Summary

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Summary

Tom has a nightmare in which he is Henry Bowers, killing his father and following Beverly and the Losers into the sewers in 1958. He hears a voice tell him Beverly is sleeping with Bill. When Tom wakes, the voice tells him he can get "down there" first and instructs him what to do.

Audra wakes from a nightmare in which she is Beverly, down in the sewers with Bill in 1958. She calls Bill's hotel to let him know she is in Derry and can help him. The clerk at the Town House tells Audra Bill isn't answering his phone but he did take a call from another room five minutes before. Audra is convinced Bill is with another woman. Her TV then clicks on and shows Pennywise, dancing with the severed head of Audra's producer, Freddie. She grabs her purse and some clothes and flees to the parking lot, where Tom Rogan grabs her.

Bill is in Eddie's room at the Town House, where he, Eddie, and Beverly try to decide what to do about Henry's body. Eddie refuses to call the police because Henry's knife has disappeared. He thinks they will be arrested for murder and have an "accident" in jail because such things happen in Derry. Beverly calls Ben and Henry to Eddie's room to help, and then she calls Mike at the library. Police Chief Rademacher answers and tells her Mike has been attacked. He is curious why Beverly is calling the library at 3 a.m.

Richie calls the hospital, pretending to be a reporter, and gets an update on Mike: "He's alive, but in grave condition." Henry severed Mike's femoral artery in their fight. They take Eddie's limo to the Barrens. Richie turns on the radio, and Georgie's voice comes over the speakers saying, "You let It kill me, Big Bill ... " Richie turns off the radio. They arrive at the Barrens and take the same pipe they used to get into the sewers in 1958. The cover is already off, and Audra's purse is lying on the ground by the pipe. Bill prays for Audra's safety.

Analysis

Via their nightmares, It manages to recast Tom and Audra as Henry and Beverly. This is important for the creature's plans because It has lost Henry as a servant. Tom is a backup Henry, and Audra becomes a spare Beverly. Audra's dream conflates the love she feels for Bill with the love Beverly feels for Bill. It understands this love can be manipulated for the creature's ends. Audra's fear that Bill is with another woman—which he is, but not for the reasons she thinks—and the scary image on the television get her out of her hotel room and into Tom's clutches. It uses Tom's jealousy of Beverly and his suspicions to prod Tom into action. It doesn't even have to lie to Tom about Beverly being with another man, and kidnapping Audra will allow Tom direct revenge on Bill. It also knows by manipulating Tom into kidnapping Audra, It will have leverage over Bill. It has yet to confront Bill directly, as seen in Chapter 11, because It fears Bill. Instead It resorts to tactics designed to weaken Bill's power and resolve. It sends Georgie's voice through the radio to prime Bill's guilt, and It knows Bill will find Audra's purse, which should finish him.

In Eddie's room, standing over the body of Henry Bowers, the members of the Losers' Club find themselves in the same situation they were in as children. When they were kids, they didn't think their parents or the police would believe them about It because their stories sounded crazy. Now a dead, escaped mental patient is on Eddie's floor, and with Henry's knife missing, there is no evidence Eddie killed him in self-defense. Once again, the Losers are on their own. It throws this obstacle in the Losers' way to stop them from coming for It, but these events put the Losers closer to the position they occupied as children, bringing them closer to their childhood selves; this feeds the power they need to defeat It.

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