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The Hack Driver
By– Sinclair Lewis
Short Answer Type Important Questions
Answer the following questions in 30-40 words:
1. Why do you think Bill offered to help the narrator find Lukens?
Ans. Bill himself was Lukens. He knew that the lawyer is searching for him. He wanted to play a prank on him and offered to help him find Lukens. Even he made some money in this process and made him wander here and there. He and his mother made a fool of the narrator and had great laughter.
2. The writer wasn’t very fond of new mullion when he reached the place. What made him grow fond of the village and its people?
Ans. Initially, the writer did not like the village. His eager expectations of a sweet and simple country village were severely disappointed but the friendly behaviour of Bill made him grow fond of the village and its people. He was so open and full of warmth and affection that the writer was touched.
3.’But he was no more dishonest than I’. Elaborate the statement with reference to ‘The Hack Driver’.
Ans. The lawyer charged a handsome amount from his firm to visit new mullion. He was given some amount to expend in the process of searching Lukens. But he paid very little money to the hack driver. Bill already knew that the lawyer was searching for him, still, he made him wander here and there, and even charged him two dollars an hour for six hours, including one hour of his lunchtime. This made the lawyer utter these words.
4. Write the plan suggested by Bill for lunch and state the reason behind it.
Ans. The lawyer felt hungry and wanted to eat something in a restaurant but Bill suggested him to take lunch at his home cooked by his wife. He told him that it will cost him cheaper than the restaurant because she won’t charge him more than half a dollar. He did so because he wanted to make some money out of it. Secondly, it will take nearly cur hour to go there and have lunch so ho will be charged another two dollars for it. Thus it was a good business for him.
5. What qualities of the hack driver impressed the young lawyer?
Ans. The hack driver’s cheerful face and friendly manner made the lawyer conclude that he liked people. The hack driver’s openness, again made the lawyer glow in the warmth of affection.
6. Describe the feelings of the young lawyer when he came to know the reality of the hack driver at last.
Ans. As long as the lawyer did not know that the hack driver was Lukens himself, he enjoyed the hack driver’s company and glowed in the warmth of his affection. But as the identity of the hack driver was revealed, the lawyer felt very quite hurt. This was especially when Lukens and his mother laughed at the lawyer as though h he rye was a boy when he served the summons. Later, however, he acknowledged their loving kindness too.
7. On his way back, the narrator did not worry about his failure to find Lukens. What was the reason behind his carefree attitude?
Ans. On his way back, the lawyer did not worry about the failure of his mission, for he was too busy thinking about Bill Magnuson, the hack driver. In fact, he even started considering his return to New Mullion to practice law. He found Bill deep and richly human and pictured an honest and happy life in the village.
8. Discuss the character of the young lawyer as depicted in the chapter The Hack Driver’?
Ans. The narrator who is a lawyer is a man who could be taken for a ride very easily. He easily gets flattered by affection and warmth and fails to apply logic to even essential things. The hack driver who is Lukens himself, whom the narrator wants to meet, thus dupes him very easily. The gullible nature of the narrator invites our sympathy for him.
9. The hack driver at New Mullion befriended the lawyer. What did he do after that?
Ans. After befriending the lawyer, the hack driver who was Lukens himself offered to ‘search for’ Lukens to whom the lawyer had to serve the summon. He first took the lawyer to Fritz’s shop, then to Mustafa’s and Gray’s barber shops and then to the poolroom. Later, he took the lawyer to his wife for lunch for half a dollar and finally to `Lukens’ mother.
10. How did Bill paint a picture of people in words?
Ans. The Bill, the hack driver was very talkative. He won his confidence. He drove him to various places telling that the villagers would help him in fading Lukens.
11. Why was the lawyer happy about the day?
Ans. The lawyer was asked to go to a small village, New Mullion, to serve the summons to Lukens. He was happy to go as he had expected the countryside town to be green and refreshing – a respite from the crowded, noisy, dry atmosphere of the city. Hence he was happy.
12. How was the hack driver recognized?
Ans. Next morning, the lawyer was sent back to New Mullion with a man who knew Lukens by face. At the station, the lawyer saw Bill talking to Lufkin’s mother in a friendly manner. He was surprised to know that Bill was no other but Lukens himself.
13. What did the hack driver tell the narrator about Lukens’ mother?
Ans. He said that she was nine feet tall and four feet thick as a cat and could talk sharp. She was a real terror. Once, she almost took off his skin because he did not treat the box she had given to him to carry as delicately as a box of eggs.
14. Why could the lawyer not find Lukens?
Ans. The lawyer could not find Lukens because the hack driver, Bill himself was Lukens. ‘Inca the lawyer had not seen or met him before, he could not identify him and Lukens took adman tautly. Anti nerved a practical joke on him.
15. Does the narrator serve the summons that day? If’ not, why?
Ans. The narrator could not serve the summons that day as he could not find ‘, Aka’s, ‘it did not know that the hack driver named Bill was actually Lukens himself and was making a practical joke on him in the name of helping him in searching Lukens.
16. How did Lufkin’s mother receive the narrator?
How did Lufkin’s mother treat the lawyer?
Ans. The hack driver took him to the farm of Lufkin’s mother. He introduced the lawyer and told her that he had come to serve summons to Lukens and had legal right to search the property. The mother got irritated and attacked him with hot iron rods. Both got scared and ran away.
17. How did the hack driver describe Lufkin?
Ans. The hack driver told the narrator that Lukens was very popular among the fellow villagers. He was a careless, dishonest wanderer and could be seen here, there, everywhere. He was always up to one thing or the other. He owed money to several people.
18. Why did the young lawyer wish to return to New Mullion?
Ans. Although the young lawyer failed to serve summons to Lukens, he was so much impressed with the warmth and helpful nature of the country people that he felt excited. He planned to practice at New Mullion and leave his job.
Q19. What kind of a job was the narrator usually entrusted with? Why wasn’t he satisfied with his job in the city?
Ans. The narrator was a junior assistant clerk in a magnificent law firm. He was sent, not to prepare legal briefs but to serve the summons. He had to act like a cheap private detective. It wasn’t easy and safe to go to the ‘dirty’ and ‘shadowy’ corners of the city. Sometimes he was even beaten up by toughs. He hated his job and working in such a hostile environment in the city.
Q20. Why did he consider fleeing to his home town?
Ans. Serving summons in the dirty and shadowy corners of the city was quite an unpleasant job. On many occasions, he was beaten up by the musclemen and toughs. He even considered fleeing to his home town because it was more pleasant and safe to work there. He could have been a real lawyer there without going through the job of a cheap detective.
Q21. Why did the lawyer rejoice at his new assignment?
Ans. Working in the dirty and shadowy parts of the city was becoming more dangerous and difficult for the lawyer. He was overjoyed when his law firm sent him out forty miles out in the country to a town called New Mullion. He was to serve a summons on a man called Oliver Lutkins. They needed this man as a witness in a legal case. The idea of visiting a country town with cleaner surroundings was quite a welcome and romantic diversion for him.
Q22. Why was the narrator disappointed when he got to New Mullion? What was the only ‘agreeable sight’ about the place?
Ans. The narrator had formed quite a romantic and pleasant picture of this country town called New Mullion. When he reached there, his eager expectations were belied. He was very much disappointed. Its streets were narrow rivers of mud. Its shops were either badly painted or not painted at all. The only agreeable sight about the place was the delivery man at the station who called himself Bill.
Q23. What impression did the narrator (the lawyer) form of Bill when he met him for the first time?
Ans. The narrator found the delivery man at the station as the only ‘agreeable sight’ in New Mullion. The man called himself Bill and he was a hack driver. He was about forty. He looked red-faced and cheerful. He looked thick in the middle. His working clothes were dirty and worn out. His manners were pleasant and friendly. The narrator was happy to meet such a man.
Q24. What did the narrator tell Bill and what was his reply about Oliver Lutkins?
Ans. The narrator himself told Bill the purpose of his visit to New Mullion. He told him that he had come there in search of a man named Oliver Lutkins. Bill seemed to be a little surprised and asked, “Lutkins?” Then he replied that he saw Lutkins around there about an hour ago. It was difficult to catch him. He was always up to something or the other. Perhaps he could be found in the back of Fritz’s shop trying to set up a poker game. Bill told the lawyer that he knew the places Lutkins usually could be found in.
Q25. Why did the narrator feel that Bill had already made it his own task to find Oliver Lutkins for him?
Ans. The narrator found Bill very open and friendly. He ‘glowed with warmth’ of his affection. Bill wanted the business but his kindness was real. He offered his carriage for two dollars an hour. The narrator was happy to pay to such a good fellow. Bill assured the narrator that he knew about all the places where Lutkins usually could be found out. The narrator began to feel that Bill had made it his own task to find Oliver Lutkins for him.
Q26. Why did the narrator feel that ‘Bill seemed to admire Lutkins for dishonesty? Why did he feel that if he had been a policeman, he would have regretted sending him to jail?
Ans. Bill told the narrator that Oliver Lutkins was “not really bad”. He was a hard fellow to be caught. He was always up to something or the other. He played a lot of pokers. He was good at deceiving people. The narrator felt that Bill seemed to admire Lutkins’ talent for dishonesty. Had he been a policeman, he would have regretted sending Bill to jail.
Q27. Why did the narrator and Bill proceed to Fritz and why did Bill ask him to keep out of sight behind him?
Ans. Bill told the narrator that probably Oliver Lutkins was trying to start a poker game in the back of Fritz’s shop. Bill led him there and he asked the narrator to hide behind him. Fritz hesitated and then admitted that Lutkins was there a little while ago. Bill kept the narrator behind him because he didn’t want him to talk to any person directly. Had he done so, Bill would have been exposed at once that he was playing a double role. He was Lutkins himself.
Q28. What information did the narrator get after visiting Gustaf? Gray’s barber shops and other places in New Mullion?
Ans. They drove to Gustaf’s barbershop. Again Bill entered first. The lawyer remained at the door. Gustaff replied angrily that he hadn’t seen him. If they found him, they could collect the money he owed him. Then, Bill took him to Gray’s shop. Perhaps, Lutkins had gone there for a shave. They were told that they missed Lutkins by only five minutes. They got the same answer at the pool room and elsewhere in the town.
Q29. Why did the narrator feel that Bill’s helpfulness for him was not entirely of brotherly love?
Ans. The narrator began to understand that Bill’s helpfulness for him was not completely of brotherly love. He was a perfect businessman. The narrator paid him for six hours, including the lunch hour. Bill was paid 2 dollars for an hour. But the narrator realised that Bill was not more dishonest than him. He charged the whole amount from the firm.
Q30. Why did Bill take the narrator to Bill’s terrible mother in the end? Why had she once ‘almost’ taken Bill’s skin off?
Ans. In the end, Bill stopped a friend of Lutkins. He made him admit that Oliver had gone to his mother’s farm. Bill told the narrator that Oliver Lutkins’ mother was a terror. Once, he faced her anger because she felt that Bill had not handled her trunk with proper care. She almost took his skin off. She was 9 feet tall and 4 feet thick and quick as a cat.
Q31. Describe the narrator’s encounter with Lutkins’ terrible mother. Why was he asked to move out immediately by Bill?
Ans. Bill drove the narrator into a poor farmyard. There they were faced by a huge and cheerful old woman. Bill bravely went up to her and asked about her son, Oliver Lutkins. She shouted that she didn’t know anything about him. Bill told her that they had a legal right to search the house. This made her famous. She went inside and came out with an iron rod from the hearth. She threatened to burn them alive if they dared to do such a thing. Bill asked the narrator to go out at once before she could murder them.
Q32. Why did the narrator worry very little about his failure and considered returning to New Mullion to practice law?
Ans. The narrator worried very little about his failure to trace Oliver Lutkins. He was busy thinking about Bill Magnuson. He considered returning to New Mullion to practise law. After all, he could find such honest and human people like Bill only in New Mullion. He would feel honoured to have soft-spoken and wise neighbours like Fritz and Gustaff and a hundred others. He pictured an honest, happy and a new way of life there.
Q33. How did the narrator’s boss react to his failure in tracing Oliver Lutkins?
Ans. The narrator couldn’t trace Oliver Lutkins in New Mullion. The people in the company were upset. The case was coming up in court. The narrator felt himself a ‘shameful, useless fool.’ He felt his promising legal career coming to an end before it had begun. The chief almost ‘murdered’ him. He hinted that he might do well at digging trenches. He was ordered back to New Mullion with a man who had worked with Oliver Lutkins.
Q34. What happened at the railway platform when the narrator saw Bill standing with Oliver’s mother on his second visit to New Mullion?
Ans. The narrator was on his second visit to New Mullion. He was with a man who had worked with Lutkins. When the train arrived at the station, the narrator saw Bill standing at the platform with Oliver Lutkins’ mother. They were talking and laughing freely. He introduced his companion to Bill and praised him for helping him in hunting Oliver Lutkins. The man recognised Lutkins. He declared that the hack driver was not Bill but Oliver Lutkins himself.
Q35. Why did Oliver Lutkins and his mother laugh at the lawyer (the narrator) when he served the summons? Why did Lutkins take him to his neighbour’s house for a cup of coffee?
Ans. When the narrator served summons, Lutkins was not at all worried. On the other hand, the narrator was hurt that they laughed at him as if he were a seven-year-old boy. Then, Lutkins begged the narrator to accompany them to one of his neighbours for a cup of coffee. He said sarcastically that all the people of New Mullion had met such a (gullible and novice) person like the narrator. They were the only people in the town that missed seeing him.
36. What job did the narrator get after graduation? Did he like his work?
Ans. After graduation, the narrator got the job of a junior assistant clerk in a law firm. His work was to serve summons like a cheap private detective. He had to go to dirty areas of the city. So he did not like his work.
37. (i) Why was he happy to go to New Mullion? Why did he go there?
Ans. The author was sick of the city life. He was happy to go to New Mullion because he thought that he would get peace and natural beauty there. He went there to serve summons to a person named Oliver Lutkins.
(ii) Why did the lawyer find the sight at the station “agreeable”?
Ans. The lawyer was severely disappointed when he viewed the sight of New Mullion. Its streets were rivers of mud. But the only agreeable sight was the delivery man he met at the station. He was cheerful and friendly.
38. How did the hack driver sketch the character of Lutkins?
Ans. The hack driver said that Lutkins was a very dishonest fellow. He was very good at deceiving people. It was hard to catch him. He loved playing poker. He owed money to many but did not pay anybody a cent because he did not like to part with money.
39. With what impression did the lawyer come back to the city?
Ans. The lawyer was happy and excited. He was a little worried about his failure to trace out Lutkins. He thought that people in New Mullion were simple, slow-spoken and helpful. He even wanted to start his law practice at New Mullion.
40. How did the people at the law firm receive him?
Ans. The people at the law time were very angry with him over his failure. They called him a useless fool. The chief of the firm almost murdered him. He said that he might do well at digging ditches.
41. Why was he sent back to New Mullion? Who went with him?
Ans. Lutkins was badly needed as a witness in a case in the court the next morning. So the narrator was sent back to serve the summons to Lutkins. A man who recognised Lutkins went with him.
42. Who was the hack driver? What really hurt the feelings of the narrator?
Ans. In reality, the hack driver was Oliver Lutkins himself. He took the narrator the whole day in his carriage looking for Oliver Lutkins. The narrator’s feelings were hurt because Lutkins and his mother laughed at him as though he was a bright boy of seven years.
43. How did the hack driver offer to help the narrator?
Ans. The hack driver told the narrator that he could help him a lot to trace out Lutkins. He said that he knew all the places where he could be found but he said that he would charge for it.
44. How did the hack driver come to know why the lawyer was hunting for Lutkins?
Ans. The hack driver told the lawyer that if he tried to collect money from him in those fancy clothes, he would be suspicious and run away. The lawyer took him into his confidence and told him that he wanted to serve the summons on Lutkins.
45. How did the narrator learn the truth about the hack driver?
Ans. The owner of the law firm in the city sent hack the narrator to New Mullion immediately. A man who knew Lutkins was also sent with him. When they reached the station, the hack driver was standing there near his carriage. The man pointed out that the hack driver was Lutkins.
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