Study Guide

It's a Wonderful Life Bells

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Clarence and George are sitting in Nick's bar when the cash register bell rings. Clarence remarks, "Oh-oh. Somebody's just made it." He explains the connection between bells and angels getting their wings. George looks up at Nick and realizes that people might not take too kindly to all of this angel-related banter. He's right. Nick wants to kick them out of the bar. After the bouncers chuck them out the door, Nick starts ringing the cash register bell and says, "Hey! Get me! I'm giving out wings!"

At first, this is just another superstitious notion like the cigarette lighter granting wishes. But, for the purposes of this movie, it turns out to be real. When George arrives safely back at home and a bell rings on the Christmas tree, his daughter Zuzu exclaims, "Look, Daddy! Teacher says, 'Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.'" George excitedly responds in his best Jimmy Stewart voice with, "That's right! That's right!"

We know that bell is ringing for Clarence. There's no deep, metaphorical connection we can figure between bells and angel wings except that most bells are beautiful and joyous, pealing out happy times like holidays and weddings.

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