An American Tragedy is the story of Clyde Griffiths, a young man raised by penniless religious fanatics. Clyde falls into a life of crime, flees his hometown, and becomes a foreman in the factory of his wealthy uncle. His uncle, though, does not permit him access to rarified social circles. Isolated and forbidden from interacting with the workers, Clyde begins clandestine romances with a poor worker and with a bored socialite. Eventually he murders the pregnant worker in an attempt to join high society, but he is caught and executed.