AFTER graduating with honours, I became a junior assistant clerk in a magnificent law firm. I was sent, not to prepare legal briefs, but to serve summons, like a cheap private detective. I had to go to dirty and shadowy corners of the city to seek out my victims. Some of the larger and more self-confident ones even beat me up. I hated this unpleasant work, and the side of city life it revealed to me. I even considered fleeing to my hometown, where I could have been a real lawyer right away, without going through this unpleasant training period.
So I rejoiced one day when they sent me out forty miles in the country, to a town called New Mullion, to serve summons on a man called Oliver Lutkins. We needed this man as a witness in a law case, and he had ignored all our letters.
The lesson "A Hack Driver" is written by Sinclair Lewis. The narrator of the lesson is a young lawyer. The lesson opens with the narrator giving his introduction to the readers. After graduation, the narrator got selected for the job of junior assistant clerk in a famous law firm. But instead of preparing legal papers like a lawyer, he had to deliver the court order to the victims like a cheap private detective. Here, the narrator strikes his profession like a cheap private detective. It implies that instead of performing his actual work, he was usually sent as a member to call out the victims of individual cases or crimes.
Moreover, the narrator says he had to go to the city's dirty and shadowy corners to find his victims. It means he should be ready to find the victims wherever they are. He added that he frequently encountered difficult situations when he was physically assaulted by some of the more powerful and self-assured individuals. The phrase "bigger and the self-confident ones" in this context suggests that the victims, who seemed muscled and stubborn enough, refused to go with him to court.
Dirty and Shadowy corners
After narrating his situation, the narrator said he hated the troublesome job. The city life revealed to him how worst it was. He might have said it because he hates to find out the victims by going through the gloomy and dirty corners. The narrator hated his job and city life since he thought of running away to his hometown. In addition, he said that if he had been in his hometown, he could have worked as a real lawyer (one who practices law without undergoing any training), and he would have escaped from the unpleasant training period. It might be because there is no need for training in his hometown, and after graduation, people can directly practice law.
The narrator then narrates the incident, which makes him feel happy one day. While the narrator was dissatisfied with the city life, his officials sent him to a town forty miles away from where he lived. The town which he sent out was New Mullion. He was sent out to serve a summons (an official demand to appear in a court of law) on a man named Oliver Lutkins. The man was a witness or observer in a law case. He had to visit the law firm once the authorities called him. But what the man did was he constantly neglected the letters sent to him.
Meanings of the difficult words:
|Law firm||A business that employs lawyers to represent clients or argue in court|
|Ignore||To intentionally not listen or give attention to|
|Private detective||A person whose job is to discover information about people|
|Victim||Someone or something that has been hurt, damaged, or killed or has suffered, either because of the actions of someone or something else or because of illness or chance|
|Dirty||Having especially dirt on the surface of something|
|Reveal||To make known or show something that is surprising or that was previously secret|
|Flee||To escape by running away, especially because of danger or fear|
|Lawyer||Someone whose job is to give advice to people about the law and speak for them in court|
|Training||The process of learning the skills you need to do a particular job or activity|
|Rejoice||To feel or show great happiness about something|
|Witness||A person who sees an event happening, especially a crime or an accident|
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). The Hack Driver- Sinclair Lewis (pp. 47-53). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.