From plot debriefs to key motifs, Thug Notes’ IT Summary & Analysis has you covered with themes, symbols, important quotes, and more.
IT (1986) | Written by: Stephen King
IT Thug Notes Summary & Analysis
What’s happenin, baby? This week on Thug Notes, we straight CLOWNIN’ with IT, by Stephen King. First thang you betta recognize is this big-a** book always jumpin across two time periods. But since tellin it like dat would be a b***h, I’m gonna lay it on y’all chronologically. Da year is 1957 and it’s rainin’ BALLS in the town of Derry, Maine; where lil’ shawty George playin’ wit a paper boat made by his older brother Bill. S’all good til dat boat flow in to a storm drain where- “WHAAAT? Da hell is a clown doin down there?!” Man they got some weird crackheads in Derry. Anyway, George try to snatch da boat back, but dat clown straight RIPS his arm off. Woo! he dead. Three months go by and a boy named Ben rollin back to the crib when “HOLD UP! There’s dat same red nose hater!” The clown axe if he wanna grab a balloon and chill. Ben tempted, but he say “nah, blood. I’m straight.” the Clown turn in to a damn MUMMY and Ben like “mm-MM!” and BOOKS it.
Later, Ben tryna’ duck a thug named Henry Bowers and his crew of gangbangers by layin low in the barrens, where he become tight with two homies who also gettin their a**es whooped by Henry: George’s older bro Bill, and this cat Eddie. Next day, Ben, Bill, an’ Eddie ghetto rigging a dam when some other young bloods named Richie and Stan drop by. Turns out most of em beein seein that clown on the reg- so has a girl named Beverly and a brutha named Mike! Together, all these cats make up The Losers Club. Richie thinking this clown gotta be da one ghostin lil’ kids in Derry. Eventually they recognize da clown shacked up in the sewers and change shape usin some s*** called “glamour.” Aparrently, da only way to end dat fool is by bustin’ a mad lyrical flow of jokes n’ riddles while biting on IT’s tongue. It’s called “The ritual of Chud” and yeah- it sound pretty freaky! Mike show da Losers his daddy’s collection of old-a** photos- and what do ya know? Dat clown all up in those crusty stills! Man this dude older than- “oh DAMN!” the clown try to BUST outta dat photo and be all like “Break Yo’selves fools cuz I’m comin for ya!” So the Losers do the logical thing- get (high pitch) sooooo hiiiiiiiigh, and trip ballz imagining IT crash on Earth millions of years ago.
Later, IT gets even whiter when he shapeshifts in to the moon and start conversatin’ with Henry Bowers. He slides him a blade and say “Psst. Bruh. Yo daddy and dat girl Beverly GOT TO GO.” So SHANK! Papa Bowers get TOOKEN out. Henry get the jump on Bev, and while she strugglin’, two hoods just watch it go down without even doin nuthin. But Bev don’t play. HIIIYA! She kicks him right in the NUTS and bails to go hook up with the Losers. Bill start gettin crunk bout how all the adults don’t give a f*** bout whats happenin to kids in Derry. So they decide THEY gotta be the ones to nut up and pull up on on dat beasty. So they crew up and head down to the sewers. Thang is, Henry and his posse creepin on em from behind. But it ain’t long before IT ghosts both of Henry’s boys, and Henry get lost fo’ hours. After WRECKIN’ IT with an aspirator and some choice words, The Losers roll up on IT’s Lair and Bill gets his a** lost in some kind of void. And if you think this jam was trippy before, peep this: A GIANT TURTLE who created the universe say “Yo if you wanna kill IT, you best start layin down that CHUD.” So Bill start flowin, bite down on the monster’s tongue, and IT scurry away like a lil ol b***h.
Afta’ dat, The Losers cain’t find their way outta the tunnels, but Beverly got an idea: “Hey boys, drop yo drawers and f*** ME!” Wait.. what.. those kids are only 11. Stephen, man! So after an assembly line of da freak nasty – POOF – the Losers find their way out of the sewers. They all swear that if the creature ain’t dead, they gotta come back and put it in the ground- no matta what. As fo’ Henry? Dat fool get tossed in the loony bin and takes the fall for all of IT’s murders. Twenty-seven years later, children start disappearing in Derry again and Mike gettin ‘spicious. So he holla at his old crew and say: “Get yo’ a**es over here, bloods! IT is back!” So all the Losers hustle back to Derry, except Stan who get so wigged out he SLITS HIS DAMN WRISTS. Meanwhile, Henry get a visit from IT who tell him it’s time to bust outta da big house to get revenge on da Losers. Da clown bein a real dick making the Losers relive all kindsa nasty mess from their childhood. And if that ain’t enough, Bev’s a**hole hubby and Bill’s wife come to town unannounced.
Later, Henry Bowers shanks Mike at the library, but he still kickin’. With a lil’ help from IT, Henry head over the hotel to ghost the Losers, but Eddie keep it clutch and mercs Henry the way most gangsters do- with a bottle of perrier. After gettin word that Mike got wrecked and IT mindcontrolled Bev’s husband to snatch Bill’s woman, the Losers are like “‘nuff f***in around. Time to end this fool!” After seein MO’ cray s*** up, The losers drop in at IT’s digs. Bill, Richie, and Eddie start layin down the ritual of chud, head up in to dat void, and IT CHOMPS Eddie’s damn ARM off. He dead. When da monster start crawlin away, Ben bust every one of its eggs and Bill crushes IT’s heart like a G. Now that IT’s finally dead, they grab Bill’s wife and chunk deuce outta the tunnels. No gangbang required this time. All the Losers go their separate ways and slowly start to forget what the hell just happened. vBill’s wife all whacked out in the head from da craziness she saw, but after Bill gives her a ride on his hoopty-a** childhood bike she snap out of it, but still don’t remember what went down.
You might be thinkin- why would a gnarly beast like IT set up shop in a hood like Derry? Well, this spot ain’t da innocent small town it seem like. All dat Leave it to Beaver bulls*** got a dark side brewin under it: peoples who are crooked, violent, racist as f***, and don’t give a damn bout whats happenenin’ to lil’ kids. See, IT actin’ like a mirror of the crooked-a** people in Derry. Just peep this quote of homies jabberin’ bout the monster: “The one glimpse I caught of him, it looked like he had a Winchester bolt-action, and it wasn’t until later that I figured out I must have thought that because that’s what I had. Biff Marlow thought he had a Remington, because that was what he had. And when I asked Jimmy about it, he said that guy was shooting an old Springfield, just like his. Funny, huh?” (653-54)
Erry brutha remember da monster packin the same piece they were packin, reppin dat the clown is a reflection of the raw violence inside da heart of all dem hoodrats. Matta fact, ain’t no mistake that IT roll around decked out like a clown. Cuz just like a clown, the people of Derry seem nice to kids on the outside, but on the inside, it’s all bulls***. Dat clown wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for Derry’s dark deeds. See, IT is only able to hit the scene when a horrible event go down- like child abuse or murder. It’s like a gnarly cycle where the messed up thangs the Derry-folk do inspires IT to terrorize da people, which then encourages the people to do even MORE whack s***. And cuz this cycle just keep goin and goin, IT been chillin in Derry for a LONG a** time. “…It’s become a part of Derry, something as much a part of the town as the Standpipe, or the Canal, or Bassey Park, or the library. Only It’s not a matter of outward geography… Somehow It’s gotten inside.” (503)
This whole cycle jam go even deeper cuz there be circular imagery all up in this huge-a** book. The kids circle back to their hood roots when they return to Derry as adults to lay a whoop on the monster, Beverly replaced her abusive daddy with an abusive husband. Da only way they able to beat IT in the end is by throwin back to the mental states of their childhood and flexin’ their imagination. They even recognize dat past events happenin all over again, like when big boy Ben peep some beezy reading the same story she read to him back in the day: “Am I supposed to believe that’s just coincidence? Because I don’t… Is something really stapling the past and present together here, or am I only imagining it?” (540)
Da Losers always form a circle at important points: like when they promise to wreck IT if he show his face in Derry again, when adults try to remember what went down back then, and even when errybody gather round to tap Beverly’s a… nevermind I can’t say that she’s only 11. Maybe all this cycle jive just preachin’ a greater point about evil. Just like IT, evil been around since the beginning of time, but its only when humans arrived that IT started to take shape. And since humans keep doin dark deeds over and over again, IT been thriving fo centuries! So maybe thats King’s message- Evil only becomes for real when humans allow it to take control of us and guide all our nasty qualities like greed, jealousy, and violence. “It’s always been here, since the beginning of time… since before there were men anywhere… It was here then, sleeping, maybe, waiting for the ice to melt, waiting for the people to come.” (763)
Yo, thanks fo’ chillin’ wit me in my library today, yall! PEACE!