Emotion and Detachment, and Stephen King’s IT

On pages 694-700 of Stephen King’s IT, Henry Bowers’ gang of bullies is engaging in a rock-fight with the Losers’ Club (Bill Denbrough, Ben Hanscom, Beverly Marsh, Mike Hanlon, Richie Tozer, Eddie Kasprak, and Stan Uris), the heroes of the book.

There are times in which emotion helps the fighters.  For example, when a rock hits Beverly Marsh, Ben Hanscom runs and tackles Henry Bowers, which causes Henry to fly because Ben is heavy.  (Ben has a crush on Beverly.)

But there is also a time during the fight when emotionless detachment helps a fighter.  Victor Criss is a friend of Henry’s, and he does not want to be there because “People could get seriously hurt in rockfights; a kid could get his skull split, a mouthful of broken teeth, could even lose an eye.”  Moreover, Victor has gotten to a point where he is scared that Henry will go too far.  Victor may be like Bobby in the 1984 Karate Kid: a more compassionate bully.

But page 698 says regarding Victor that “since he was in it, he was in it.  He intended to dish out some trouble.”  While others were chaotically acting and reacting, Victor was calmly and quietly using the time to pick up some good-sized rocks, which inflicted a lot of damage on the Losers’ Club.  Actually, page 698 says that Victor did the most damage to the Losers!  But Victor retreated when Bill Denbrough threw rocks at him with “murderous force” and had a frightening look in his eyes.  Henry’s gang lost the battle.

There are times when passion for a task, or anger, or some emotion can help a person in a task.  But there’s also a place for looking at something from a distance and approaching it with calmness and rationality.  Emotions can be a motivator, but they can also be an obstacle.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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