Before Stephen King became an author, he was a child who went through the similar stages everyone faced at that age. At a glance, It is a horrorfest book, and with each adaptation to the big screen, it’s a terrifying horror film for all ages. If you peel back that layer, you will see the literary prose that King has mastered. For the sake of the 36th anniversary of the novel’s release date, let’s look at the best quotes from Stephen King’s It.
“Your hair is winter fire, January embers.
My heart burns there, too.”Chapter 4: Ben Hanscom Takes a Fall
Do you remember your first crush? I do. He did not write me a love note, but we liked racing each other during recess. If I can remember correctly, he let me win once and never again. We were in kindergarten. Ah– young love in the making. The lovebug bit Ben Hanscom, and his eye of affection was Bev, short for Beverly Marsh. All the boys in the Loser group fell head over heels for her, but Ben had a more romantic prose to his ways of showing affection.
The love poem he writes to her is a recurring symbol of your first crush. Bev thought Bill wrote it because she had a crush on him. As far as we know, this was her first crush. Crushes can and will crush the spirits of adolescents. That’s why they are called crushes, and this poem is a prime example of having your first crush and the adventure of emotions you go through.
“And almost idly, in a kind of side-thought, Eddie discovered one of his childhood’s great truths. Grownups are the real monsters, he thought.”Chapter 16: Eddie’s Bad Break
Though Eddie’s childhood was not perfect, he knew deep down it was far more bearable than becoming an adult. Even though Pennywise was trying to murder him and his friends, when Eddie grows up, his perception of adults doesn’t falter. His mother is the main monster in Eddie’s life. She forces him to take placebo pills to have every little control she can muster. Being a child is peaceful, yet kids are in a hurry to grow up. Before you know it, you’re a thirty-year-old reflecting on every little step and mistake that got you to this moment in time. If only you didn’t rush to get here.
“Bill marked it as a paper boat.
Stan saw it as a bird rising toward the sky—a phoenix, perhaps.
Michael saw a hooded face—that of crazy Butch Bowers, perhaps, if it could only be seen.
Richie saw two eyes behind a pair of spectacles.
Beverly saw a hand doubled up into a fist.
Eddie believed it to be the face of the leper, all sunken eyes and wrinkled snarling mouth—all disease, all sickness, was stamped into that face.
Ben Hanscom saw a tattered pile of wrappings and seemed to smell old sour spices.”Chapter 21: Under the City
The Loser crew are looking at a symbol on a door, and they each see it differently. These wonderfully crafted characters go through their journey of discovery, fear, and grief. Even though each character is going through the same terrors, their fears differ because their life experiences differ. King did a great job differentiating their personalities, and it’s shown the best through this one symbol.
Bill has suffered a significant loss losing his brother. He thinks it’s his fault. This is his driving force to get rid of It. Stan’s greatest joy is bird watching. It’s also a foreshadowing of his ultimate demise. Micahel is consistently harassed by the Bowser family. Richie saw himself, and in some way, this could mean he didn’t know his identity.
Beverly is emotionally and physically abused by her father. Eddie is plagued by placebo pills, so he always thinks he’s sick. Ben is bullied for being overweight. None of these issues the kids face are at the fault of It (Pennywise is partially at fault for Bill). In the city of Derry, the kids’ lives are all types of messed up, and it’s shown beautifully through the arts of King’s hands.
“[…] what can be done when you’re eleven can often never be done again.”Chapter 22: The Ritual of Chüd
This line speaks volumes, and even taking it out of context, it’s blatantly true. As a child versus now as an adult, your mind, body, and perception of life have changed altogether, and you can never do the same activity or even eat the same ice cream as you have at the age of eleven. Everything has changed. This was the theme with It. The Loser group grew up and were no longer the same kids as they were. There’s a sparkle of their child-like selves when they go back to Derry to kill Pennywise, but they’re going about destroying it differently through adult lenses rather than child-like ones.
The way you are as a child is a glimmer of who you are now and are becoming every day. It shows us how easy it is to step back into your child-size shoes. You see life differently as an adult, but your childhood still sticks until you confront your nightmares. Grow from your past, but don’t forget where you came from. King taught us that, so thank you for turning a masterpiece of childhood trauma into a rediscovery of the past.
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