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Some time ago the wise bald (or white) heads stationed at various universities came to an agreement that a literary form, commonly known as the novel, is dead – fewer and fewer works of any significance are written each year. Of course, one must understand the requirements the wise gentlemen expect of a novel of worth: it would be good if the writer would include some “aesthetic dignity” by including as much allusions and connections to other previous works of literature – consciously, that is. The language must also be exquisite; preferably obsure and as incomprehensible as possible, drawing from earlier works of worth and including metaphors and allusions to them. If the author by any chance happens to include a p in his work, there is a good percentage of possibility that his work will be deemed unworthy, and forever excluded by the adacemia.Or at least as long as these wise gentlemen live.Of course, the reader is not expected to understand, not to mention enjoy the work of worth – no one r anymore, the wise men would say; people read rubbish like Danielle Steel when Bold & Beautiful is not on the TV. And, by God, no such novel of worth can ever be popular – after all, the intelligence level required to appreciate it is apparently not met by the 90% of world population.A literary figure who is as popular and appreciated like The Beatles? Whose work is admired by thousands of people? And the possibility that these people might learn something from it? That is simply not possible – the wise heads mutter in unison – that is simply not possible! Ask people who know!Ask u
History, as we know it, has a nasty habit of repeating itself – though in this case something good might actually come out of it. Writers have been criticized before – most notably Twain and Dickens – and yet, their work is still read and loved by whole generations of readers. Their fiction is taught in schools. Huckleberry Finn has been deemed as vulgar and impropable, much od Dickens’s work was described as overtly sentimental, but it prevailed – which can’t be said about those who concerned themselved with being the so-called “Arbiters of Literature”. In the end, they couldn’t grind the knives because they weren’t theirs to wield.The bones of those who tried to define “literature” perished; the works they so often tried to banish did not. No one remembers (or cares) about those who tried to defy the power of Twain or Dickens; they are immortal through their works.People perish; books do not. No one cares about the boy’s club of the literati, who cry out words of rage from the ivory tower, instead of helping people understand the joy of reading, understanding and believing. The main principle of art is to e; the problem is, not many of the educated seem to understand that even simple things can evoke great emotions. But they too will go down in history without leaving any mark on it, forgotten and alone; and I believe that there will be a lot of bodies turning in their graves when some titles enter the school curriculum.
“IT” by all means, is not a simple novel. To classify it as a “horror” story is the same as saying that “Moby Dick” is a very long manual on whaling. To say that it is all about the monster is to say that the whale is the villain of the piece.
We all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forestfires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.–
Although vulnerable and physically weak, two factors that make them perfect victims, children posess strenght that most adults had lost in the painful process of maturing – the strenght of imagination. A child feels and experiences emotions much more intensely than an adult, but their unique imaginative capacity allows it to cope with the seemingly impropable much more efficiently. Hence when in ‘ an adult faces a vampire, he fells down dead from a heart attack. When a child faces one, he is able to go to sleep ten minutes later. As King puts it, “Such is the difference between men and boys”.
King has been depicting children throughout his whole career, and his child characters have subsequently grown older, along with his own children. “IT” is in my opinion his best novel with child protagonists; his most elaborate, complex one. It’s also one of his longest, if not the longest.The lenght is appropriate, because of the theme: After all, it deals with childhood. Childhood defies Time; a day can last forever, and the summers are endless. And then we grow up, all these years pass, just like a blink.
Kids are bent. They think around corners. But starting at roughly age eight, when childhood’s second great era begins, the kinks begin to straighten out, one by one. The boundaries of thought and vision begin to close down to a tunnel as we gear up to get along.-Stephen King, D
Children also posess another one of the invaluable assets that most adults strive to grasp, and it still seeps through their fingers, like sand: T. Children experience the passing of time differently not because time actually slows down for them (that would be a neat thing indeed) but because they occupy a vastly different social position than that of an average adult. Most adults are forced to work and take care of their families, offspring included. Their imagination is dimmed by the countless hours spent on labor, and for most it never really comes back…the disilusions of experience push it farther abd farther down in the dungeons of the mind, until we finally forget that it was even there in the first place.Until we forget what we are possible of…what adventures we can create, what worlds and realms, completely out of the whole cloth.When you are a child the hours lazily pass by, the only important matter is to get home from school and after throwing the backpack in a corner going to get your friends and hanging out with them till dinner…and then go hang out with them some more.
The imagination is an eye, a marvelous third eye that floats free. As children, that eye sees with 20/20 clarity. As we grow older, its vision begins to dim . . . and one day the guy at the door lets you into the bar without asking to see any ID and that’s it for you, Cholly; your hat is over the windmill. It’s in your eyes. Something in your eyes. Check them out in the mirror and tell me if I’m wrong.The job of the fantasy writer, or the horror writer, is to bust the walls of that tunnel vision wide for a little while; to provide a single powerful spectacle for that third eye. The job of the fantasy-horror writer is to make you, for a little while, a child again.
Most children experience more during one summer vacation than some adults throughout their whole life; They have their precious innocence, they haven’t been spoiled by work, by taxes, by bills and other things that each of us has to face at some point in life. There is always food in the fridge, and there is always roof over the head; and if there is not, there is always hope that there eventually will be, and friends that help to keep it.Children d more and s more because they can; when school ends, the day is theirs. Their schedule is not as strict as that of an adult; their duties not as responsible. Therefore, they do not have to trouble themselves with money and shelter, and even if they do they are easily able to push these matters away and concentrate completely on what they are doing right here and now.With little breaks for homework and chores children can spend the whole day playing make-believe with their precious friends, and sometimes the boundaries between the real and the imagined become thin, and sometimes they vanish altogether.Sometimes their thoughts take shapes…and sometimes their fears do too. Sometimes they joy is almost tangible…and sometimes the boogeymen come out of the closet.And sometimes they are real.
“IT” is a story of a group of children who are not among the most popular, strongest or smartest; a tale about the group of seven friends living in Derry, Maine in 1958. They form the self-called “losers” club and encounter a horrible, awesome force lurking in their hometown…a force feeding on fear and devouring young children. A force that adults do not seem to see; a force that appears as a clown, holding a hand full of baloons.The seven children all have one thing in common: they encountered IT. They had all escaped…and that one summer of 58, the seven friends have confronted and defeated IT.Or so they had thought.28 years later a young homosexual is thrown off a bridge in Derry…it seems like a classic, clear case of homophobia, but the testimony of one of the witnesses changes everything.He claims he has seen a clown under the bridge…a clown and a cloud of balloons.
Mike Hanlon, the sole member of the losers who remained in Derry calls the others and reminds them of the promise they had made all these years ago…a promise sealed in blood. A vow to return if IT wasn’t dead. If IT will come back. And apparently, IT has.Can they face IT again? Can they go back to the horror they have long forgotten?They faced the terror as children. It was their time to take action, and they managed to fight it. Now they are all grown-up…but it is their time,too.Will the monster be bested…or will IT FEED?
“IT” is composed of two nonlinear narratives. The first is the story of 1958, where we meet the children and they first encounter IT; King effortlesly interleaves this timeline with the story of 1985, where the adults return to Derry to fight IT, basing on research that has been done on the subject and their returning memories. IT avoids the problems of most other lenghty books: plot threads that go nowhere. Each of them is important, and only adds to the suspense and builds up to the shattering climax.
If there is a thing which places King above most other writers, it certainly is his great understandning of adolescence. Few others manage to write so vividly and convinclingly about childhood and coming of age.The unquestionably hard time of growing up – school, bullies, parents, first crushes – they are all here, and the reader feels as if he himself was experiencing them. King allowed me to re-live my past again; I wasn’t around in 1958, but if I were I would undoubtedly be one of the boys. It is truly an impressive experience to read how King builds his characters and the world they live in.Which of course includes stormdrains…which might be empty, but then they might be not.
IT also manages to adress important social topics: racism, prejudice, domestic abuse. But most importantly it is a story about friendship and childhood: How it irrevocably binds people together and affect their lives. About the power of memory and imagination; about the terror of the familiar world which hides many secrets around the corners and down in the sewers. It’s a study of children facing the uncanny, and overcoming their greatest fear: the fear of being alone in fright.IT is a story of seven friends, each different, each indispensable and irreplaceable.stuttering Bill Denbrough, the unlikely group leader;Ben Hansocom, an overweight boy, with a talent for architecture;Riche Tozier, the brilliant witty boy of many voices;Mike Hanlon, the black kid who comes to the group to find acceptance and finds it;Eddie Kaspbrak, the asthmatic and fragile boy who finds within the group a thing he has never dreamed of – courage;Stan Uris, a sensible boy who brings understanding;and Beverly March, the sole girl in the group, an redhead who is both sweet and tough, and helps the boys in most dire of moments.
King has proven himself earlier to be capable of producing an epic narrative (T in 1978), but I think that IT is equal to – or even surpasses – the story of the plague.This is a brilliant novel, beautifully told in crisp, clear prose, with truly unforgettable characters and situations. It is the essence of good fiction; the truth inside the lie. King knows his way around the corners; and has that undefiniable look in the eye, the dreamy look of a child. His words are the best set of toys he ever had; and he’s generous enough to share them with us. And when he’s showing us how his trains travel along the tracks of his imagination and w they go to, we won’t dare to blink because we could miss a minute of the experience…even when the carriage passes through some dark tunnels.
And if it is the work of an “inadequate writer”, a producer of “penny dreadfuls”, without any “aesthetic value” or other high-flown pretentious gibberish babbled by people who would most likely want to cast Stephen King and his readers to hell for destroying the image of “Literary Reader”?Like Huck Finn, I’d shout loud “All right, then, I’ll GO to hell!”Literary Heaven might have a better climate; but Literary Hell sure has better company.