An American Tragedy: The Global Description
Clyde, 21 years of age, is a son of street preachers in Kansas City. Their family lives in a mission house and every night, together with his parents and siblings, they will sing hymns of praise in the broad, hushed streets of their county. Their life is ruled by the Bible and thus, they have nothing much in possession. For his parents, they call it plainness and simplicity in living, but for Clyde it is poverty. The kind of lifestyle he has known ever since never really appealed to him. He wanted to run away from it and live like other youth of his age. When his older sister, Esta, eloped with a man who never married her and returned to them pregnant, Clyde became even more eager to get free of his current situation.
One day he gets the chance to work as a bellboy in one of Kansas well-to-do hotels. Here he meets other bellboys who, unlike him, are carefree and unrestrained. He meets also Hortense Briggs, an ordinary girl whom he gets infatuated with but only got used by her to get favors; especially buy her stuffs which she cannot afford by herself. Their group goes to an excursion one winter afternoon using the limousine of a customer staying in the hotel. They succeed in taking out the car and using it, but on their way back they accidentally hit and killed a young girl. Scared of what may happen to them in consequence of this accident, each took their own way of escape. Clyde set forth to Chicago.
After settling in the new place, Clyde finds a job wherein he gets to bump Ratterer, one of the other bellboys he used to work with. Ratterer invites him to the hotel he is working in where Clyde can do better than his present work, but not than what they do in Green-Davidson. True enough, Clyde’s condition improved he now have the money to buy new sets of clothes and shoes, send some monetary support to his family and still have some for his savings. In his stay in the hotel, he meets his paternal uncle,...