Bonnie And Clyde: America's Greatest Criminals Laurel School/Language Arts Essay

1546 words - 7 pages

What comes to your mind when someone says the words “Bonnie and Clyde”? Some people’s
thoughts jump automatically to movies they have seen or shows they have watched. Others may
think about bank robbers or murderers. But no matter whom you ask, most people will recognize
the names as two of the most iconic individuals in American history. Bonnie and Clyde, two
infamous criminals who lived during the Great Depression, have had a lasting impact on
American culture, inspiring many films and lifestyles through their deadly crime spree.
For two of the most notorious criminals in history, Bonnie and Clyde’s early lives may come
across as a bit surprising. Bonnie Elizabeth Parker was born to Emma and Charles Parker in
Rowena, Texas on October 1, 1910 (Jenkins, “Bonnie and Clyde”). She had two siblings, one
older brother and one younger sister. When Bonnie was 4, Charles died, and Emma moved the
family to West Dallas to live with Bonnie’s grandmother. Bonnie was a smart girl with an
interest in literature, eventually becoming a speaker at rallies for local politicians. Bonnie
dreamed of becoming a Broadway actress. In September 1926, just before her 16th birthday,
Bonnie married her classmate and neighbor Roy Thornton. Their marriage soon failed, with
Thornton proving to be physically abusive. However, the couple never divorced. In 1929,
Thornton received a sentence of 5 years in jail for robbery, Bonnie moved back in with her
grandmother, and the two never saw each other again. (Blatty, “Bonnie Parker”) Clyde Chestnut
Barrow was born in Telico, Texas on March 24, 1909 (Jenkins, “Bonnie and Clyde”). He was
born as the fifth child into a family with seven children. Eventually, the farm that they live on
failed due to drought and the family moved to Dallas, Texas. Clyde attended school until age 16.
He had dreams of becoming a musician. However, Clyde turned to a life of crime under the
influence of his older brother, Buck Barrow. At the age of 20, in 1929, he was already a fugitive,
wanted for several robberies. (Blatty, “Clyde Barrow”)
Bonnie and Clyde met at a mutual friend’s party in January of 1930 when Bonnie was 19, and
Clyde 20. They spent a few weeks together, but shortly after meeting they were separated when
Clyde was arrested and convicted of auto theft. Bonnie snuck a gun to Clyde in prison, which he
then used to escape. Police recaptured him a week later in March 1930. In February of 1932,
Clyde had his big toe and part of another cut off in an attempt to be released from his harsh
regime. This dramatic action was not necessary, as his mother had convinced the judge to grant
him parole just a few days before. He was released soon after and reunited with Bonnie. Bonnie
joined Clyde’s small gang, called the Barrow gang, two months later. At this time, they mainly
robbed banks and small businesses. Police arrested Bonnie during a failed robbery, and during
her two months in jail, she spent time writing poetry, that of which included “The Ballad...

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