Born into the first generation of an immigrant family from Norway, Carl Ericson was always bound to have differing philosophies than his parents. However, when these new, free-thinking ideas result in an expulsion from college, Carl must find a way to fit in with the society’s culture and values without stifling his independence. However, Carl has a difficult time achieving this in the rigid workplace standards of the 20th century. He becomes a vagabond of sorts, jumping from job to job, each making Carl feel suffocated and unsatisfied. Slowly, he feels himself sinking into despair, feeling unmotivated until he hears of a career opportunity in aviation. Excited, Carl begins training to fly airplanes immediately, working long enough to earn the nickname of “Hawk”. Since airplanes were a relatively new invention, flying was highly experimental and dangerous. This hadn’t bothered Carl when he first started, but now, as an older man, Carl begins to worry when he hears the rising deaths in the field. Conflicted and concerned, Carl decides to quit the job. As Carl continues on with his life, he feels that he made the right choice but is still sad to leave the profession. Now back in the same position he was in years before, Carl tries to find a way to champion his individuality and entrepreneurship while managing a new romance.
Featuring themes and topics of immigration, societal expectations, entrepreneurship, love, maturity, and passion, The Trail of the Hawk by Sinclair Lewis is introspective and relatable to a wide audience, including modern readers. With comedy and heart, The Trail of the Hawk is both carefree and serious.
Mint Editions, 2021 (1915)