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First Chapter, First Paragraph

It

by Stephen King

“Eddie discovered one of his childhood’s great truths. Grownups are the real monsters, he thought.”

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What is It About?

Stephen King’s terrifying, classic #1 New York Times bestseller, “a landmark in American literature” (Chicago Sun-Times)—about seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers…an evil without a name: It.

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.

Readers of Stephen King know that Derry, Maine, is a place with a deep, dark hold on the author. It reappears in many of his books, including Bag of Bones, Hearts in Atlantis, and 11/22/63. But it all starts with It.

First Chapter, First Paragraph

“They begin!  The perfections are sharpened  The flower spreads its colored petals  wide in the sun  But the tongue of the bee  misses them  They sink back into the loam  crying out  —you may call it a cry  that creeps over them, a shiver  as they wilt and disappear.…”  —William Carlos Williams, Paterson   

“Born down in a dead man’s town.”  —Bruce Springsteen 

The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years—if it ever did end—  began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper  floating down a gutter swollen with rain.  The boat bobbed, listed, righted itself again, dived bravely through treacherous  whirlpools, and continued on its way down Witcham Street toward the traffic light  which marked the intersection of Witcham and Jackson. The three vertical lenses  on all sides of the traffic light were dark this afternoon in the fall of 1957, and the  houses were all dark, too. There had been steady rain for a week now, and two days  ago the winds had come as well. Most sections of Derry had lost their power then,  and it was not back on yet.  A small boy in a yellow slicker and red galoshes ran cheerfully along beside the  newspaper boat. The rain had not stopped, but it was finally slackening. It tapped  on the yellow hood of the boy’s slicker, sounding to his ears like rain on a shed  roof… a comfortable, almost cozy sound. The boy in the yellow slicker was George  Denbrough. He was six. His brother, William, known to most of the kids at Derry  Elementary School (and even to the teachers, who would never have used the nick-  name to his face) as Stuttering Bill, was at home, hacking out the last of a nasty  case of influenza. In that autumn of 1957, eight months before the real horrors  began and twenty-eight years before the final showdown, Stuttering Bill was ten  years old.  Bill had made the boat beside which George now ran. He had made it sitting up  in bed, his back propped against a pile of pillows, while their mother played Für  Elise on the piano in the parlor and rain swept restlessly against his bedroom window. 

 

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