Study Guide

Eddie Kaspbrak in It

By Stephen King

Eddie Kaspbrak

Mommy Dearest

Eddie is the male counterpart to Beverly: a child dominated by an abusive parent who grows up to marry the exact copy of that parent. But whereas Beverly passively avoids her father, Eddie ends up confronting his mother and, later, sacrificing himself as a hero.

Eddie's mom is a paranoid hypochondriac who believes that her son is impossibly fragile and delicate. This is taken to an abusive extreme, aided and abetted by a doctor who agrees with Mrs. Kaspbrak's bonkers diagnoses. She refuses to let Eddie run around and play, for fear he'll get hurt. She convinces herself—and then Eddie—that Eddie has asthma, and gets the doctor to prescribe what turns out to be placebo asthma medication. She hauls him to the emergency room multiple times a month.

Basically, Eddie grows up convinced that he's one misstep away from dying of disease or accidents. And this is why It comes to Eddie in the form of a leper: a diseased, deeply contagious creature—Eddie is scared to death of catching a bug.

Eddie has a fleeting moment of triumph, however. One of the town bullies breaks his arm, and he experiences real pain. This makes him break out in slightly hysterical laughter: he realizes what pain is, and realizes his resilience in the face of it. Because of this, he stands up to his mother, telling her he'll play with his friends all he wants, and that he knows his mom is a total hypochondriac.

A Hero's Death

Unfortunately, standing up to mommy doesn't pan out for Eddie in the long run. He ends up as financially successful as all the other Losers, but he also a) marries a woman who is basically like his mother and b) becomes a hypochondriac and a pill-popper himself.

In fact, when we meet adult Eddie, it's pretty clear that he's the worst off among the Losers: a lonely, isolated man who is beset by inner demons and a sort of paralyzing weakness.

However, what he does in Derry totally makes up for that. The first thing he does is kill an It-possessed Henry Bowers with a dang broken Perrier bottle.

The second thing? He spritzes It-as-Spider with his asthma medication. He sprays the Spider's eyes and, when it opens its maw, sprays down its throat. It is too quick for Eddie, however, and ends up biting off Eddie's arm. Eddie bleeds out in the same way George Denbrough did, but his last moments are peaceful.

Far away. Unimportant. He could feel everything running out of him along with his life’s blood… all the rage, all the pain, all the fear, all the confusion and hurt. He supposed he was dying but he felt . . . ah, God, he felt so lucid, so clear, like a window-pane which has been washed clean and now lets in all the gloriously frightening light of some unsuspected dawning; the light, oh God, that perfect rational light that clears the horizon somewhere in the world every second. (22.5.20)

It's a hero's death, truly proving that Eddie was a courageous and strong guy…and also proving that asthma inhalers make really good spider poison.

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