The novel is divided into three volumes. The story is based on a real criminal case in New York, and the hero Clyde Griffiths is also based on a real person. Clyde grew up in a poor religious family and preached on the streets for a living. Young and frivolous Clyde worked as a waiter in a luxury hotel in Kansas City, because of bad friends, all day long indulges in alcohol. In order to avoid trouble, Clyde went to New York to seek refuge with his uncle and fell in love with Roberta Alden, a poor and virtuous workwoman. Later, Clyde met the beautiful daughter of Sandra Finchley, which was enough to lift him out of poverty and into the world of high society. Before long, Roberta became pregnant and even asked to marry Clyde in secret. Poor women workers or rich women? In desperation, Clyde conceived the idea of murdering Roberta. Unexpectedly the matter does not carry out according to his wish and Roberta dies accidentally.
Clyde was subsequently brought to justice. There was an election in the United States, and the attorney general put pressure on investigators to prove Clyde was the murderer. Clyde was still condemned to the electric chair after his assistant fabricated evidence and his lawyer made a lot of money. God could not save him, and his parents still decried worldly materialism and praised God’s mercy. Is it the American dream or the American tragedy? This novel will give you the answer. The novel deeply shows the live view of the American people in the early 20th century that money is the most important, desire is inflated and the general sense of disillusionment. The novel An American Tragedy not only reveals the serious consequences of the hyperinflation of egoism but also reveals the corrosive and toxic effect of the money-oriented American lifestyle on human crime.