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Word for the Wise December 20, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Zuzu's petals

60 years ago today, It’s a Wonderful Life made its premiere. That Jimmy Stewart movie was classic Capra: a warmhearted parable that celebrated the inherent goodness of the all-American George Bailey. Director Frank Capra inspired the adjective Capraesque, and his beloved story loaned our lexicon the allusive Zuzu’s petals. (来源:老牌的英语学习网站 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

What are Zuzu’s petals? Used literally, Zuzu’s petals refers to the petals that had fallen off a flower carried by Zuzu, George’s daughter. In the movie, Zuzu asks her dad to re-attach the petals; George pretends to do so, while actually stuffing the petals in his pocket.

Later on in the movie, the absence of Zuzu’s petals from his pocket makes George understand he truly has been removed from his own life by an angel; when the petals turn up again in his pocket, he realizes he is back in his ordinary reality and rushes home to celebrate his wonderful life.

Outside the movie house, the phrase Zuzu’s petals has never withered: it lives on as a metaphor for restored contact with reality, or a symbol of the real, normal world.

 

 
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