Study Guide

Bonnie and Clyde Justice

Justice

CLYDE: You're worth more than that [being just a pick-up for men]. You're worth a lot more than that. And that's why you come along with me…. You're like me. You want different things. You want something better than being a waitress.

Clyde says this to Bonnie just after she's thrown herself at him and he hasn't responded in kind. His argument to her, at least in the first part of the story, is that the two of them are deserving of special things in life, things they can buy with the money they get when they rob banks.

CLYDE: You listen to me, Miss Bonnie Parker, you listen to me. How would you like to walk into the dining room of the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas wearing a nice silk dress and have everybody waitin' on you…? That ain't enough for you. You got a right to that.

BONNIE: Hey, when did you figure all that up?

CLYDE: The minute I saw you.

BONNIE: Why?

CLYDE: Cause you may be the best damn girl in Texas.

Here, Clyde takes his initial idea further, describing the kind of experience he and Bonnie can have if they just had enough money. He obviously feels that he's worthy of having this experience. And he admits that, as soon as he saw the smart, beautiful Bonnie, he thought she was worthy as well.

BANK TELLER: What money, mister? There ain't no money here.

Clyde hears this from a bank teller on the first bank job he and Bonnie attempt together. He has assumed, of course, that, even during the Great Depression, all banks are filled with money. But, at least in this case, he's very wrong. This is one of many instances in the film where his assumptions do not mesh with reality.

SINGERS IN FILM: We're in the money.

This is the first line from a song in the movie, Gold Diggers of 1933, which Bonnie, Clyde, and C.W. watch after the three pull a bank heist in which Clyde, panicking, kills a man for the first time. The irony, of course, is that, while they're now "in the money," they're also in a great deal of trouble because Clyde has killed someone. Clyde, especially, now realizes that survival as an outlaw will be a lot tougher than he first assumed.

BONNIE: There's always somebody in the next room or this room or in every other kind of room. Honey, don't you ever just want to be alone with me?

Rather than wearing a silk dress and dining at the Adophus Hotel in Dallas, Bonnie finds herself crowded into hideouts…not only with Clyde but also with C.W., Buck, and Blanche. Increasingly, she's learning that the life she is leading is clearly not the life she signed up for when she first went with Clyde.

CLYDE: Hey, hey, the laws are outside. They're blockin' the driveway.

Another grim reality of life on the run that Bonnie and Clyde didn't figure on initially is the law's constant pursuit. At this point, Clyde notices police cars driving in the driveway where they are staying. Seconds later, a major shoot-out will take place and the gang members will all barely escape with their lives. As the story progresses, the shoot-outs will continue and escalate, suggesting a very different fate for the gang members from the lives of luxury that they initially saw for themselves.

BONNIE: Hey, what do you do anyhow?

EUGENE: I'm an undertaker.

BONNIE: (turning to CLYDE) Get them outta here.

After the gang picks up Eugene and Velma, they enjoy the experience of just chatting with other people. They seem happy and relaxed. Then, when Bonnie asks Eugene about his profession and he responds, the reality of their situation comes back with a vengeance. Someday soon, someone in Eugene's profession will be attending to them. And more acutely than any of the other gang members, Bonnie understands this.

CLYDE: At this point, we ain't headed to nowheres. We's just runnin' from.

During Bonnie's family reunion, one of her relatives asks where the gang is headed, and Clyde says this. Again, this has a big impact on Bonnie. At this point, there are no plans to enjoy the money they've accumulated from their robberies. They're just running, and there doesn't appear to be any future beyond that.

MA PARKER: You try to live three miles from me, and you won't live long, honey.

As well as constantly running and fearing for her life, Bonnie's been separated from her family…and especially her mother. Giving up a strong family connection by pursuing a life of crime is another major sacrifice Bonnie has had to make. Ironically, too, it's an experience she shares with her nemesis in the gang, Blanche.

BONNIE: When we started out, I thought we was goin' somewhere. But this is it. We're just goin'.

After the family reunion and her mother's final goodbye, Bonnie eloquently sums up their situation. She and Clyde embarked on their life of crime with great hopes and dreams. But they never achieved the life of ease and luxury that they longed for. Instead, they're in a desperate situation that will likely get even worse. For them at least, a life of crime did not pay the big dividends they expected.

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