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The Hack Driver
By– Sinclair Lewis
Important Long/ Detailed Answer Type Questions- to be answered in about 100 -150 words each
1. The hack driver misguided the lawyer and led him on the wrong path How could the lawyer be proactive?
The hack driver pretended that he was looking for Lukens when he was Lukens himself in real life. How did Lukens make the lawyer a wise person?
Ans. The hack driver misguided the lawyer and openly droves him all over the village. He took him too many places such as Beninese’s Mustafa, a barber shop, Gray’s barber shop, Pool room, and his mother’s farmyard. He charged him two dollars an hour for all his visits. He himself talked low of Lukens and did not allow him to meet anyone directly.
The lawyer could have been more protective in some ways. He should have talked to more people rather than enjoy a whole day at the expense of the firm. He should not have hidden behind the hack driver but should have tried to talk once to the villagers. He should not give the lead to the hack driver. Instead, he should have led this visit himself, inquiring more and more people.
2. Why do you think the lawyer was happy to take summons to New Mullion? How did the lawyer develop a perception about Lukens? If you would have been in the lawyer’s place, what would have been your reaction towards Bill’s statements?
Ans. The narrator was happy to go to New Mullion. He thought it must be a beautiful and calm village. He considered Lukens a friendly fellow. He liked his openness, warmth and affection. He took his kindness to be real. He was impressed by his ever of help although the hack driver was doing his business and earning handsome money from the lawyer.
If I had been in the lawyer’s place I never considered Bill’s statement true. I would have counter checked his statement by talking to other persons of the village. I would not have spent the whole day with a single person in search of Lukens, but rather consulted different people to find Lukens.
3. Attempt the character sketch of the hack driver?
Ans. The narrator happened to meet the hack driver on reaching New Mullion. He was Lukens himself. When he came to know the purpose of the narrator’s visit, he offered help in finding Lukens at a charge of two pounds per hour. He was a red-faced, forty-year-old man having a cheerful and pleasant personality. The lawyer liked him at the first look. He was fun-loving and jolly. He played a practical joke on the lawyer. When he came to know that he did not identify Lukens, he introduced himself as Bill. He was neither honest nor helpful. He was rather clever. He charged him for the lunch hour and the food that he got from his wife. But he was creative, humorous and witty. He portrayed the people of New Mullion, in an entertaining and humorous manner reflecting his cheerful wisdom.
4. Describe the encounter of the young lawyer with the hack driver in the village.
Narrate the narrator’s first visit to New Mullion.
Ans. The author/lawyer was sent to New Mullion to serve summons to Lukens. At the station, he met a cheerful hack driver who was Lukens himself. He took advantage of the situation as the author who had never met Lukens before could not identify him. The fun-loving Lukens introduced himself as Bill. He offered him all his help to find Lukens. He took him all over the village but in vain. He entertained the author with his lucid description of the village folk, charged him two dollars per hour and half a dollar for food. The author was impressed by the warm affection, kind and helpful nature of Bill and the hospitality and cooperation of the villagers. He thought of leaving his present job and starting his legal practice at New Mullion.
Q6. Why was the narrator sent to New Mullion? Why didn’t he succeed in his mission on his first visit?
Ans. The narrator was a junior assistant clerk in a magnificent legal firm. His job was not to prepare legal briefs but to serve the summons. He was sent to New Mullion, a country town about forty miles away from his city. He was to serve a summons on a person named Oliver Lutkins. Lutkins was needed in a legal case as a witness.
The narrator’s first visit to New Mullion was a complete failure. He couldn’t find even a trace of Oliver Lutkins. Actually, the delivery man and the hack driver Bill, who met him at the station, was responsible for this failure. Bill be-friended the lawyer assuring him that he knew the places where Lutkins usually used to hang about. He told a lie that he had seen Lutkins just an hour ago. Then, Bill drove the narrator to the different parts of the town and meeting different people there. Actually, Bill planned the whole false drama the moment he came to know that the narrator was searching for Oliver Lutkins. Everywhere he went, he kept the narrator standing behind him at the door. He didn’t allow him to interrogate people directly about Lutkins. They drove to Fritz’s, to Gustaf’s, Gray’s barber shop and to the poolroom. Everywhere they got the same answer that Lutkins had left only a while ago. All this was preplanned by Bill and the search was bound to end in failure.
Q7. Give a character-sketch of the narrator or the lawyer of the story, ‘The Hack Driver’?
Ans. The narrator was a junior assistant clerk in a magnificent law firm. His work was not to prepare legal briefs but to serve the summons. The narrator was fed up with his job as he had to visit many dirty and shadowy corners of the city. On several occasions, he was attacked and beaten up by musclemen and toughs of these areas. He even considered fleeing to his country town.
The narrator was highly gullible. He didn’t behave like a seasoned legal mind. He was so much impressed with Bill that he became totally dependent on him. He failed to keep his mission a secret to himself. By disclosing that he had come to serve a summons on Oliver Lutkins, he gave the crafty and clever Bill enough space and time to confuse and misdirect his search. Bill, who was Oliver Lutkins himself, drove him aimlessly without allowing the narrator to talk directly to the people. He feared lest he should be exposed.
The narrator had a romantic yearning for country life and its people. After his first visit, he didn’t mind his failure but planned to come to New Mullion again to start his legal practice there. The narrator proved himself a novice and not a seasoned legal mind. When he served summons, Lutkins and his mother laughed at him as if he were a seven-year-old boy.
Q8. Draw a character sketch of Oliver Lutkins as told by the hack driver, Bill.
How did the hack driver sketch the character of Lutkins?
Ans. The hack driver, Bill, who was Oliver Lutkins himself, does help us drawing a character-sketch of Oliver Lutkins. Being a good talker, Bill gave a detailed description of Oliver Lutkins and his activities to the narrator. Bill told the narrator that Lutkins was a hard fellow to be caught. He was always up to something or the other. He was deeply interested in poker. Probably, he was trying to start up a poker game in the back of Fritz’s shop.
Bill told that Oliver Lutkins never paid anybody a cent. He still owed Bill fifty cents on a poker game. Lutkins was not really bad, but it was hard to make him part with his money. Bill also told that Lutkins had a talent for dishonesty. Lutkins’ mother was a terror and he had gone to his mother’s farm to hide behind his mother’s skirts,
Oliver Lutkins’ real character was exposed when his real identity was revealed. Bill was actually acting as Oliver Lutkins. When summons was served, Lutkins and his mother laughed at the narrator as if he were a seven-year-old boy. Lutkins outwitted, outsmarted and outmanoeuvred the narrator. Clever and cunning, Lutkins proved that the gullible narrator was just a novice before a seasoned crook like him.
Q9.Give a character sketch of Bill, the hack driver, in your own words.
Ans.Bill, though Oliver Lutkins himself, has a distinct personality as a hack driver. According to the narrator, Bill was the only ‘agreeable sight’ about the place. He was about forty, red-faced, cheerful and thick about the middle. His working clothes were dirty and well worn. Bill’s manners were friendly.
Bill had all the arts with him to win the confidence of gullible people like the narrator. He befriended the narrator and convinced him that he would not be able to trace Oliver Lutkins without his help. Bill knew how to confuse and misdirect the people from their real mission. The moment he came to know that the narrator had come to New Mullion to serve a summons on Oliver Lutkins, he made a plan to befool the narrator by taking him to different people and places. Whether Fritz or Gustaff or Gray, all were tutored by Bill to say what he wanted them to say.
Bill was a great schemer. He didn’t allow the narrator to come in direct touch with the people and question them about Oliver Lutkins. He always asked him to stand behind him.
Bill played a double role as a perfect actor. When his identity was exposed, he laughed at the narrator as if he was a seven-year-old boy. Actually, Bill or Oliver Lutkins himself, outwitted and outmanoeuvred the gullible narrator.
Q10. How did the hack driver outwit and befool the lawyer (the narrator)? What impression do you form of the narrator after both visits to New Mullion?
Bill or Oliver Lutkins was a complete contrast to the narrator. How did a seasoned crook like Lutkins outwit the gullible lawyer proving him a novice and just a bright boy of seven?
Ans. Certainly, both the main characters of the story are totally different. Bill or Lutkins manoeuvres and plots under the garb of friendliness. The narrator is outwitted and deceived due to his gullibility. Bill (Lutkins) knows how to confuse and misdirect the narrator’s search for Oliver Lutkins. He befriends the lawyer convincing him that he is the only person in New Mullion who can help him in finding out Oliver Lutkins. He overpowers the narrator’s capacity for reasoning and thinking. The narrator becomes a soft target of cunning Lutkins. He allows giving Lutkins all the space and time that he needed to plan out and scheme things. The narrator became just a willing puppet in Bill’s hands. Actually, he danced to his tunes. Bill’s pretensions clouded the narrator’s wisdom and sense of discretion. Bill (Lutkins) was not a crook and fraud but an honest man full of human values for him. The cunning Lutkins had the last laugh. When the narrator served summons, Lutkins and his mother laughed as if he were a seven-year-old boy.
Q11. How were the summons finally served on Lutkins? How did Lutkins and his mother react on that occasion?
Ans. On his first visit, in spite of his efforts and pains, the lawyer (the narrator) failed to trace Oliver Lutkins. The gullible narrator was bound to fail in his mission. He was not allowed to know that Bill himself was Oliver Lutkins. At every stage, he was misdirected and confused. The crafty hack driver never allowed him to question and meet the people directly. He always kept him behind him. Only on his second visit, he succeeded in his mission. The Chief sent a man with him. That man recognised Lutkins and had worked with him. At the station, when the lawyer introduced Bill, his companion told that Bill was no one else but Oliver Lutkins himself. In this way, the lawyer was able to serve a summons on Oliver Lutkins.
When the summons was served, Oliver Lutkins and his mother laughed at the lawyer or the narrator. They laughed as if he were a bright seven-year-old boy. And this was exactly what he proved. The cunning crook Lutkins had the last laugh.
Q12. Describe the narrator’s encounter with Oliver Lutkins’ mother at her farm. Was it a planned and fake drama? Give a reasoned answer.
Ans. When they couldn’t trace Oliver Lutkins anywhere in New Mullion, Bill directed the lawyer to his last visit to Oliver Lutkins’ mother. Her farm was three miles north to the town. Bill told the lawyer that Lutkins must have heard that somebody was chasing him. Perhaps, Lutkins had gone to his mother’s farm “to hide behind his mother’s skirts. Bill also told him that Lutkins’ mother was a terrible woman.
They drove to the farmhouse. They were faced with an enormous and cheerful old woman. Bill bravely went to her. He informed her that her son, Oliver Lutkins, was needed as a witness in a
legal case. The woman told bluntly that she didn’t know anything about Lutkins. Bill pressed for searching the house as it was their legal right. Lutkins’ mother went inside and came out with an iron rod from the old stove to attack them. Bill advised the lawyer to get out of there to avoid being murdered by her. So, the last hope of tracing Oliver Lutkins also ended in smoke.
The encounter was staged by the cunning Bill himself. As he was Oliver Lutkins himself, playing the role of Bill, he didn’t want to be traced. This drama was enacted only to confuse and misdirect the lawyer from his real search.
13. Describe the narrator’s first visit to New Mullion.
Describe the young lawyer’s first encounter with the hack driver.
Ans. The narrator was a junior assistant clerk in a law firm in the city. Once he was sent to New Mullion to serve summons to a person named Oliver Lutkins. He reached New Mullion by train. At the station, he met a hack driver. He seemed to be helpful and friendly. The narrator told him that he wanted to see Lutkins very urgently. The hack driver was Lutkins himself. He told the narrator that he knew all the places very well where Lutkins could be found. The narrator hired him at the rate of two dollars per hour.
The hack driver drove the narrator for six hours in New Mullion in search of Lutkins. He kept the narrator behind him. He was so cunning that he tutored the people about his plan. Everybody said that Lutkins was there a little while ago and had just gone away. The narrator had to return back to the city without finding Lutkins.
14. How were the summons served to Lutkins?
Ans. During his first visit to New Mullion, the narrator failed to serve the summons to Oliver Lutkins because he was duped by a hack driver. The Chief of the law firm was very angry over his failure. The firm needed Lutkins very badly because he was an important witness in a case in the court the next morning. So the narrator was sent back to New Mullion immediately. A man who knew Lutkins was also sent with him. When they reached New Mullion station, the hackman was standing there near his carriage. He was talking to his mother. The man recognised him as Oliver Lutkins. Then the narrator served him the summons.
15. Write a character sketch of the lawyer. [H.B.S.E. March. 2017 (Set-D)]
Ans. The lawyer was a fresh graduate from a university. He got a job as a junior assistant clerk in a law firm. His duty was to serve the summons. He did not like his job. He liked simple, honest and friendly people. He got very happy when he was asked to go to New Mullion. He loved natural beauty. He liked New Mullion and its people very much. He considered starting his law practice at New Mullion. He was a simple-hearted man. He was easily taken for a ride by the hack driver. He could not see the trick of the hackman behind his friendly behaviour. But he was a man of self-respect. His feelings were hurt when Lutkins and his mother laughed at him as he was a bright boy of seven years.
16. What did the hack driver tell the narrator about Lutkins’ mother?
Ans. The hack driver told the narrator that Lutkins’ mother was a terror. He told him that she was about nine feet tall and four feet thick. He told him that once he had taken a trunk for her at her farmhouse. She almost had taken his skin off because he had not treated the trunk like a box of eggs. He said to him that she was as quick as a cat. If she had heard from anywhere that someone had been looking for her son, she would have been more dangerous. He made the narrator more frightened to tell that facing such a dangerous lady would be very risky.
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