Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chicago Gangsters and The Great Gatsby

Every year for four years I have taught The Great Gatsby.  The kids love it...and so do I.  One thing my students really connect with is Gatsby's shady past and his desire to do whatever it takes to "make it" and get the girl, and his American Dream.  Usually we spend a few days learning about the 1920's era in America and discussing the feel and mindset of the country at this time.  The kids break into groups and research a 1920's topic that is interesting to them.  The topic that usually goes fastest is the idea of Al Capone and gangsters during the Prohibition Era. 

When I found out that Chicago had its own specific gangster tour, that took people like me to Capone's haunts and the site of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, I figured that I had to go.  The tour was very informative... and a lot of fun.  The guide was a real character, wearing a fedora and pin striped pants, and he would play gun shot noises and make us duck.  We traveled through every neighborhood of Chicago and saw where Capone brewed his nonalcoholic beer (before it was infused with syringes of pure alcohol to sell) and a bullet shot in the church where one of his buddies got whacked.  Here is a picture of me "holding up" Big Jules, the guide on the tour.  


hledet said...

Does Big Jules have a brother? Stop hanging out with crazy dudes!Do you have "gonnections"?

Petey said...

I'm confused -- was this picture taken in Chicago or on Staten Island???