I’d like to continue my inquiry into Stephen King’s IT, specifically the question that I asked in my last post: “In Stephen King’s IT, why do kids see IT, whereas adults usually do not (with notable exceptions)?”
My impression is that IT feeds on negative emotions. The easiest way for it to feed is by assuming the form of something that scares kids—a monster, for example. Adults, if they saw a monster, would go crazy, as I talked about in my last post. And, if all of the adults in Derry, Maine are going crazy, IT would no longer have people on whom he could feed. Consequently, IT is satisfied with an arrangement in which he feeds by scaring children, while the adults allow him to do so by not believing in him or taking him seriously.
But there have been notable times when IT has fed on the negative emotions of adults, and that is what Mike Hanlon has uncovered as an amateur historian of Derry. In previous cycles of IT’s awakening, IT fed on a white supremacist groups’s burning of an African-American night-club, as well as Derry residents’ shooting of a gang. IT did some strange things in those instances—such as appearing as a large bird with balloons, or not casting a shadow, or standing while suspended in air. But the adults may have been too pre-occupied with their hatred or the catastrophe to notice, and those who did notice passed it on as an urban legend—something that was intriguing, yet was not taken seriously.
In 1984, IT awakens and resumes a cycle of terror in Derry by killing a homosexual, whom Mike Hanlon describes as a “rather childlike man” on page 500. I think that this description is in the book to explain how IT could kill an adult, when IT usually focuses his energies on scaring children—even though, in previous cycles, IT caused catastrophes among adults.
Those who are interested in this issue (and I will not publish smart-alecky comments from those who don’t care): Is there any insight you’d like to add?