Study Guide

It's a Wonderful Life The Lighter

The Lighter

Early in the movie, boy George (no, not that Boy George) walks into the drugstore where he works and says, "I wish I had a million dollars." As he says it, he clicks a cigarette lighter. When it lights, he exclaims, "Hot dog!" Later, when he's grown up, he does the same thing. Clearly, he's playing a little game—if the lighter comes on, his wish for prosperity will be granted.

Wishing on the lighter represents the romantic, escapist side of George's personality. One of George's life lessons is that there's no magic lighter. Real riches are found in living your ordinary life and striking ordinary matches with the people you love.

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