Joe Lampton is 25 and working class. He lost his parents during the war and moves to Warley determined to better himself through his women.
Joe has joined the local amateur dramatic society in Warley. He has fallen in love with Susan Brown and knows that he will be able to bed Eva Storr.
Joe is spurned by Eva, but has his first date with Susan.
Joe and Alice have had a serious row and broken off their relationship.
After Joe takes up with Susan again, his boss warns him that he may be jeopardising his career.
Susan Brown's father gives Joe Lampton an ultimatum which leads to the tragic climax to this classic angry young man novel.