The Hack Driver: Summary and Analysis

The story, The Hack Driver, written by the American novelist Sinclair Lewis, tells an amusing story about a young, innocent man. He is a lawyer by profession and works as an assistant clerk at a famous firm in the city after completion of his graduation.

The Hack Driver Summary

The story is about an innocent lawyer who, after graduation, worked as an assistant clerk at a famous firm in the city. He was not fond of his job of serving summons because, at times, he was faced with harsh situations. Once, he had to serve a summon to Oliver Lutkins, who was the key witness in a case. Lutkins lived in a small village, New Mullion. The lawyer was glad about going to the village, but it looks very dull and lifeless. The narrator saw a hack driver on the platform and found him cheerful. He asked him about Lutkins and found out that he was a shrewd man who had taken several loans from many people. The driver was shrewd and extracted a huge sum of money from the lawyer.

The lawyer decided to rent Bill’s hack and look for Lutkins. Bill was manipulative and made the lawyer visit several places in his search for Lutkins. He always went ahead and inquired about Lutkins. They visited Fritz’s shop the find Lutkins, where he plays poker. They were told that he went to Gustaff barber for a shave. At Gustaff’s place, they could not meet him, and someone said that he was in the pool room. They did not find him there and were told that he left after he bought cigarettes. In the afternoon, Bill asked the lawyer to get food from his wife, for it would be less costly compared to the restaurant. They got their lunch at Wade’s hill, a beautiful place.

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The lawyer was assured that Bill was a generous, helpful person. He compared the people in the city and the villagers. They visited Lutkin’s mother, but she was a horrible lady who almost attacked them with a hot iron rod. The lawyer had to leave without serving the summon. He was rebuked by his Chief the following day and was sent to the village again with a colleague who knew Lutkins. When they reached the station, the lawyer expressed how helpful Bill was in his quest to look for Lutkins. His colleague told him that the hack driver was Oliver Lutkins. The lawyer was ashamed.

The Hack Driver Analysis

The narrator is a junior assistant clerk in a famous law firm in the city. His work is to prepare briefs and serve the summons. He had to go to the dirty corners of the city to serve summons to the victims and was, at times, beaten up by strong people.

He had to go to New Mullion to serve a summon to Oliver Lutkins. At the railway station, he met a forty-year-old, friendly man, who introduced himself as Bill. He claimed to have seen Lutkins an hour ago.

The village streets were muddy, so the lawyer hired the hack for the search of Lutkins. The driver took him all around- to the Fritz, Gustaff’s shop, the barber’s, and the poolroom. They could not find Lutkins. They had their meal and were informed that Lutkins visited his mother’s farm. A rather large woman welcomed them there, with an iron of an old stove. He gave up and returned.

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The lawyer was sent back by his boss with a colleague who knew Lutkins. It was revealed that Bill was Oliver Lutkins. The story teaches everyone not to bestow trust in people when they do not know them. 

The Hack Driver Theme

The story is about an innocent lawyer and a cunning manipulator, who happens to be a key witness. It has the theme that appearances are often deceptive and one must not rely on just that.

The junior clerk of a law firm was sent to serve a summon to Oliver Lutkins at New Mullion. He met a hack driver named Bill at the railway station, who promised to help him look for Lutkins. He convinced the lawyer to hire him. He takes the lawyer to Fritz, Gustaf’s, the barber, and more. He even takes him to Oliver’s mother, who threatened to hit them. He returned disappointed. Later, the lawyer discovered that Bill was Lutkins and felt ashamed.

The Hack Driver Character Sketch

The lawyer is an innocent, young man. After graduation, he works as an assistant clerk at a famous firm in the city. He is unhappy with his job and does not like city life. He often thinks about running away. He is a gullible person. He easily trusts Bill and is easily fooled by him. He is rather naive for trusting a stranger he met at the railway station. 

Oliver Lutkins is a middle-aged, friendly hack driver, and a shrewd businessman. He is a resident of New Mullion. He is a key witness in a case and had to be served a summon. He easily fools the lawyer and shows him around the village, under the garb of looking for Oliver Lutkins. In the process, he extracts a huge sum of money from the lawyer. He introduced himself as Bill at the railway station, and fooled the lawyer.

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The Hack Driver Analysis Key Points

The Hack Driver is an amusing tale of a young, innocent lawyer who goes to the village to serve a summon to one Oliver Lutkins. He meets a man at the railway station, who introduces himself as Bill. Bill said that he knew everyone in the village and promised to look for Oliver Lutkins. He takes the lawyer to several places to look for Lutkins and extracts a lot of money from him. After the long search, they could not find Lutkins. The following day, the lawyer and his colleague go to the village and comes to know that the driver was Lutkins. Everyone was laughing at the lawyer as he felt ashamed of himself.