Study Guide

It's a Wonderful Life Loyalty and Devotion

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Loyalty and Devotion

It's a Wonderful Life's George Bailey is the poster boy for loyalty. He's epically loyal to his family, his business, and to Bedford Falls, even though he thinks it's a hick town. That's why, when his father dies, he takes over the Building and Loan instead of letting it fall apart. That would've been like handing over the whole town to Mr. Potter.

He's loyal to his principles, too. He's just about to accept Potter's offer of a mind-boggling salary when he realizes this would mean turning his back on everything he believes in.

George sticks by his customers even when they can't pay him back; he never lets anyone say a bad word about his father; he's a good friend to Violet despite her sketchy reputation. Where does all of this loyalty get him? Broke and suicidal, feeling like a chump and a failure. Fortunately, that's only temporary. His devotion to the town pays off; they pay all that loyalty forward and rush to his rescue.

Questions About Loyalty and Devotion

  1. What makes George remain loyal to Bedford Falls even though he professes to think it's a "crummy little town" early on?
  2. Bedford Falls repays George's loyalty in the end. Is this kind of loyalty something we can really count on? Should we expect to get paid back for our good actions or do good with no such expectations?
  3. How could a man so devoted and loyal to his family thinking of killing himself?

Chew on This

George is loyal to Bedford Falls because of all the love and support it's given him over the years.

George is loyal to Bedford Falls not because of what it's given him but rather because he's just that kind of guy.

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