LMA Al Capone / Bonnie & Clyde

February 5th, 2015

LMA LVA 1L / Tles 

new lesson > American Dream / Gangsters

  • not a hero because he is a murderer

but he was very clever and ingenious

he transported / distributed alcohol under Prohibition.

Alcohol was banned / Al Capone was a bootlegger so he tried

to avoid prohibition agents. > involved in illegal activities / smuggled alcohol / prostitution business.

In a way he broke a stupid law

for people who didn’t agree with Prohibition he was a hero.

He set up charity actions > gave some of his money to the poor.

He got rich / successful

Maybe he is a modern Robin Hood because he stole the rich to give to the poor.

Heroes as outlaws?

  • Gatsby ? Main character of a book / fiction
  • 1930S Bonnie & Clyde > American Dream / take what they want when they want /

died for it > freedom > during the Great Depression

  • dared challenge the bank system / they became Folk heroes

a hero can be an outlaw / does things people are not allowed to do

contexts create heroes / fascination for freedom

people identify with / admire outlaws because they have

the courage to be free from the law.

How do gangsters show a different side of the American Dream?

How do gangsters redefine our idea of a hero?

Notion : Myths & Heroes

How do gangsters show a different side of the American Dream?

How do gangsters redefine our idea of a hero?

Al Capone – Listen and watch.

1- Focus on dates and periods.

a- Historical period ? On January 16th, 1920 all the bars / taverns closed. On January 17th, 1920, Al Capone celebrated his 21st birthday.

Key event? Prohibition > alcohol is banned > a decade long / une décennie

2- Focus on Capone’s family and background.

a- How many brothers and sisters? 8 brothers and sisters

b- About his parents? His parents were born in Naples, Italy and they migrated to the US in 1893.

c- Relationship with family? He didn’t get along / he distanced himself from his family / “took to the streets like a duck to water. “

d- Birthplace?

Born in 1899 / in Brooklyn, New York > poor area

3- Focus on his criminal activities.

a- List all the crimes mentioned.

Extortion / gang fights / con games (escroquerie) / burglary (cambriolage) / murders / robberies (braquages)

b- Capone’s first job?

A bouncer / security guards in a brothel / nightclub

c- Why did he move to Chicago?

Johnny Torrio is accomplice asked him to go to Chicago to work for Big Jim Colossimo who was a running a prostitution business.

4- Focus on Capone’s appearance.

a- List adjectives describing his physical appearance.

Ugly – aggressive – violent – squat nose – thick lips strong – powerful > born for violence / suited for a life of violence

b- What about the scars?

Makes a rude remark about a girl standing at the bar but the girl’s brother disagreed and slashed him in the face > that’s how he got the scars.

c- His relationship with the media?

on the cover of Time magazine / famous / likes the media / manipulates them / creates his image as a classy gangster

> Complete Al Capone’s mugshot.


How do gangsters show a different side of the American Dream ?

How do gangsters redefine your idea of a hero?

Bonnie and Clyde – Listen and watch

  • They called them … public enemies

Crimes? Murders / bank robberies (braquages)

Ironically? Even if they were murderers They became folk heroes / exploits glamorized by news reports

Why did people admire them?

Many people felt victimized by the bank system

so they liked B&C who robbed banks.

A robbery / to rob / robbers : braquage / braquer / braqueurs

  • About Bonnie Birthday? She was born in 1910 / died in 1934 > 24 years old when she died.

    Birthplace? in Texas

    How old when she met Clyde? Job?

    19 / a waitress (serveuse)

  • About Clyde b. 1909 in Texas / died in 1934 > 25 years old when he died. Family ? Poor / 8 children

    Past experience? Criminal / imprisoned for theft (vol)

    Crimes? Theft

  • First murders…

Where? On the side the road ( films road movies )

How? Shot 2 policemen after testing their weapons /

waiting for other gang members

after a bank robbery

were celebrating drinking heavily.

Attitude? In cold blood / showed little conscious

  • Change in police methods…

Capture? As a personal crusade / fight fire with fire /

changed for heavier/ stronger weapons

Where? In a rural part of Louisiana

Strategy? Waited for 3 days in hiding / ambush

  • For Hollywood… ?

They were both folk heroes so their stories were adapted / great source of inspiration for Hollywood.

Complete the song lyrics.

You’ve heard the 1- …story of Jesse James
Of how he lived and 2- …died ?
If you’re still in need of something to 3- …read
Here’s the story of Bonnie and Clyde

Now Bonnie and Clyde 4- …were the Barrow

5- gang……..
I am sure you all heard and 6- …read
How those who 7- …..steal….
Are usually found dying or 8- …dead

They call us cold-hearted 9- …killers
They say we were heartless and 10- …mean
But I say this with pride
That I once knew Clyde when he was 11- …honest
And upright and clean

But the 12- …laws fooled around
Kept taking him down and locking him up in a cell
‘Til he said to me: “I’ll never be 13- …free
So I’ll see a few of them in 14- …hell

If a policeman is 15- …killed in Dallas
And they have no clue or guide
If they can’t 16- …think or find
They just wipe their slate clean
And blame it on Bonnie and Clyde

If we try to act like 17- …citizens
And rent ourselves a nice little flat
About the third night
We’re invited to a 18- …fight by the
Sub gun’s rat tat tat

Some day we’ll go down 19- …together
They’ll bury us side by side
For few it will be grief for the law a relief
But it’s 20- …death for Bonnie and Clyde

Reading comprehension – The outlaw duo.

1- It was written to reveal the real story of B& C on the occasion of the 50th Birthday of their death and because there is a new TV show about them.

If people knew who they really were, they would think they were evil.

shady : louche / mal-intentionné

very little money

modus operandi / strategy / tactics

2- At the beginning they wanted to be famous as musicians or singers. Bonnie was influenced by Clyde who was badly influenced by his brother and a shady friend.

The police found Bonnie’s movie magazines in the stolen cars, Clyde carried his guitar around and he even asked his mother to get it back from the police, they also found his saxophone in the death car.

3- They appeared as glamorous figures in the media, sometimes the media were unreliable, they told lies to sell more. As a consequence B&C were easily recognizable and easily found by the police.

4- They didn’t get rich because in their bank robberies they got away with very little money. They were on the run and could only do small hits like grocery stores or gaz station.

5- They were famous from the start and remained famous until the end. At first they were admired as modern days Robin Hoods (they released their hostage / gave them money) but one day they killed 2 policemen including a young man on a misunderstanding.

6- They feel like young, handsome and pretty modern day Robin Hoods. They wanted to get rich and famous and they stole money from banks and were always on the road. Cars, money, the American road are typical features of the American Dream and also key elements in the building of a glamorous heroic couple. But at the same time they killed in cold-blood and broke the law so they challenge our vision of the American hero (I. E/ Captain America / B. Obama.)

How do gangsters show a different side of the American Dream ?

How do gangsters redefine your idea of a hero?


Wanted! American Dream & Al Capone January 21st LVA

January, 22nd 2014.

Prohibition / Al Capone

How did Al C & P question / challenge the A . D?

States went dry ?

We called ‘dry’ states where Prohibition law was enforced. Enforced

The law was passed / voted in 1919

/ 18th Amendment was enforced in 1920.

Contradiction of Prohibition?

The Prohibition was supposed to turn drunkards into honourable citizens but the result was widespread crime.

According to the law, people can/ are allowed to buy and drink alcohol but

they are prevented from selling, transporting, importing and making / producing.

Black market / speakeasies / illegal bars / criminal gangsters / American / the mob / mobsters / bootlegging / bootleggers

People’s reactions?

Some people decided to ignore the law, others started to make their own spirit / liquor with stills.

Some other people decided to make a profit out of illegal traffick and bootlegging.

Even if alcohol was forbidden people would still drink and buy it.

People were used to drinking a lot in the 1920s. > habitude ds le passé

Gangsters used to bribe the police. > autrefois / used to + BV

Al Capone used to be a bootlegger. He was used to killing other mobsters / bootleggers.

Usually = were used to + ing


Illegale bar > It’s a place where people used to drink, sing, dance and they usually had to use a

password to be allowed in. / to get in.

Bootlegging? It’s the verb people used to use / usually used to call alcohol trafficking

A bootlegger is someone who was used to trafficking alcohol. / trafficker

To enforce = appliquer

to pass / enact a law: voter une loi

to prevent so. from + ing = empêcher qq’un de

to be allowed to + BV = être autoriser à

to be forbidden = être interdit

to forbid, forbade, forbidden: interdire

a bootlegger

a speakeasy

Al Capone Part 1

Watch the video / try to answer your 5 questions alone

If you can’t / watch again but this time read the transcript as you watch.

After World War 1 / 1920s was enforced / Al Capone celebrated his 21st Birthday so he was allowed to go to bars / drink alcohol but it was the first day of Prohibition.

He was a violent kid / infamous even when he was a child / came from a poor and large immigrant family. But he became a famous / infamous rich gangster / made it to the top / climbed up the social ladder / in a way he achieved the American Dream.

Al Capone is the living proof of a self-made man who achieved the American Dream whatever the cost / laws. He broke the law ( Prohibition > reform society / ideal of a pure America) to achieve his dream.

Al Capone / Prohibition / controversial / to question / to challenge / American Dream

Is the American Dream controversial / How did Al C & P question / challenge the A . D?

8 brothers / sisters / large family / he did not get along with his family / ‘distanced’ /

like duck to water = comme un poisson dans l’eau

he was born in Brooklyn / Italian neighbourhood / Little Italy > gangster from America / from an Italian / immigrant family

burglary / racketeering / trafficking / murder / arson / con games / kidnapping / ran brothels / pimp

a bouncer = un videur

He moved to Chicago to take care of Torrio’s brothels.

Fat nose / squat nose / chubby / thick lips / large hands / well-built / impressive / scary / he had scars / ‘scar-faced’ > ‘scarface’

he gt his scars from a fight over a woman in bar but he told the media it was from a war battle in France > he lied / was used to covering up stories.

He manipulates them / hit the headlines / makes the cover of the Time magazine / clever with media / promote his life

Johnny Torrio / Big Jim Colossimo.

Opposition markers

Contrary to Torrio who was quiet, Al Capone was extravagant.

Al Capone was arrested several times, unlike Torrio.

Torrio was clever in his operations whereas Al Capone was not very subtle.

Capone was the muscles while Torrio was the brains.

Al Capone and Gatsby are both bootleggers.

Both Al Capone and Gatsby are bootleggers.

Both of them used to be rich.

What’s the French / English word for… ?

HW – Revise vocab + prepare 5 minutes oral on

How did Al C & P question / challenge the A ?