It | Study Guide

Stephen King

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It | Quotes


Everything down here—floats.

It, Part 1, Chapter 1

It, as Pennywise, speaks a line it will repeat in various forms throughout the novel. The ominous words refer to the Derry sewers, where the creature lives; everything floats rather than swims there because everything down below is dead or discarded.


It was Derry ... it was this town.

Don Hagarty, Part 1, Chapter 2

When explaining the death of Adrian Mellon, his partner, Don Hagarty, points out the connection between It and Derry. The creature has infected Derry, creating a hard and violent town. The creature may have killed Adrian, but Derry's violent nature put Adrian in the creature's path.


The Turtle couldn't help us.

Stan Uris, Part 1, Chapter 3

Apropos of nothing, Stan Uris makes this statement to his wife, Patty, shortly after they are married. He doesn't seem aware he has said it; he doesn't even seem to know what it means. Yet the statement makes sense: the Turtle does little to assist the Losers beyond telling them they already know how to fight It. However, the Turtle's power likely brings the Losers together and enables them to act as a single unit.


Home is the place where ... you have to finally face the thing in the dark.

Eddie Kaspbrak, Part 1, Chapter 3

As he drives toward Derry, Eddie ruefully rephrases the old saying "Home is the place where when you go there they have to take you in." He changes a phrase meant to convey comfort and sanctuary into one reflecting his experience of his hometown. Derry is not a comforting sanctuary for the Losers. It is a place where they faced unimaginable terrors as children.


Derry's not right, is it?

Mike Hanlon, Derry: The First Interlude

Mike asks this of one of the old-timers he interviews as he assembles a history of Derry. He senses It is both a creator and a product of the city's violence and darkness. The old-timer asks Mike to clarify what he means by "right"—a reminder some people view good and evil as relative terms, depending on how they benefit from either. The creature has helped Derry prosper, so people resist acknowledging the evil in their midst. In Mike's view this means the city isn't "right."

Beverly originates a phrase all the Losers use as a warning when Richie's joking is about to go too far or has crossed a line already. The Losers deliver the line with affectionate indulgence for Richie's quirks, and using the same phrase shows their connection to one another.


I worry about you ... I worry a—lot.

Al Marsh, Part 2, Chapter 9

Al Marsh repeats this line to Beverly every time he scolds or hits her; usually he does both. On the surface it is an expression of concern, but in practice it is an expression of malice. He frets she won't mature, but he also fears what will happen when she does mature. He uses his words and his fists to exert control over her and assuage his "worries."


I can't explain it, but at the same time I ain't—surprised by it.

Will Hanlon, Derry: The Second Interlude

Will Hanlon makes this remark when he tells Mike about the fire at the Black Spot. He can't explain why the Black Spot fire happened, but he knows Derry is deeply threaded with vicious impulses, and he has experienced those impulses in the form of blatant racism. He has faced violence and racism in other places as well, and by now violence has little capacity to surprise him.


Maybe he understood that if there was magic, it wouldn't work for grownups.

Beverly Marsh, Part 3, Chapter 10

Beverly speculates about why Stan Uris killed himself and expresses the Losers' worries about fighting It as adults. When they were children, they had powerful imaginations and faith in many things. Adults often lose faith, but the Losers need all the faith they can muster to conquer It. Beverly may be right about Stan. The Losers as a group have not lost their facility for magic, but maybe Stan recognized he lost whatever magic he brought to the group when he grew up, and so he dies rather than face It again.


It doesn't matter if it's a pla-cee-bo, words don't matter if a thing works.

Eddie Kaspbrak, Part 4, Chapter 16

Eddie has discovered his asthma is psychosomatic, induced by years of his mother's worrying and fussing over him. But he decides to keep taking his bogus medicine because it works. It doesn't matter how or why. This is a small-scale version of the faith and imagination that allow the Losers to beat It. They don't need to worry about the logic or reality of their actions; they only need to believe their actions will work.


He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.

Bill Denbrough, Part 5, Chapter 22

Bill learns this tongue twister as part of his speech therapy; he struggles with it for months, hoping to impress his parents when he gets it right. During the Ritual of Chüd the phrase takes on a more powerful purpose. It becomes an expression of Bill's faith and self-confidence, which he uses to injure It.


I am eternal. I am the Eater of Worlds.

It, Part 5, Chapter 22

The creature makes this melodramatic pronouncement to Bill Denbrough when the two meet on another plane of existence in the Ritual of Chüd. It sounds like something out of the movies that inspire many of the creature's shapes. It also seems designed to hide the creature's fear when confronted by children in its lair.


I'd finish it ... what can be done when you're eleven can often never be done again.

Turtle, Part 5, Chapter 22

The Turtle offers the Losers little direct help, but he does pass along this bit of advice when It is injured and on the run. The Turtle foresees the problem the Losers will face as adults: as children they have the faith and imaginative capacity to defeat It permanently, and there's no guarantee they will still have those qualities as adults. Thus the Turtle advises them to finish off It now.


Son, you did real good.

The Other, Part 5, Chapter 23

When Bill engages in the Ritual of Chüd for the second time, he sees the Turtle is dead, but he senses the existence of a greater power he simply calls the "Other." Whether this Other is the power always behind the Losers' battle against It or whether the Other only makes itself known after the Turtle dies is unclear. However, the Other reveal itself as a force for good by praising Bill's defeat of It, which represents great evil.


I loved you guys, you know. I loved you so much.

Mike Hanlon, Derry: The Last Interlude

Mike Hanlon's last words in his diary speak to the despair he feels at forgetting about his friends as well as the inevitability of this forgetting. Even though he still remembers as he writes, he refers to his love in the past tense because he knows the time is coming when this love will no longer be part of his conscious thinking. Mike's words express the depth of feeling all the Losers have for one another, and they all might feel the same despair—if they remembered.

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