THE GOD-SEEKER by Sinclair Lewis


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Not a thesis novel such as one has come to expect of Sinclair Lewis, but in a semi-historical, semi-period novel, he manages to stab the hypocrisies of the hell and damnation type of missionary spirit which activated some of our westward passage. The story has period values, in the pre-civil war picture of the opening up of Minnesota, the building of St. Paul, and the processes by which the whites ruined the chances of building constructive relations with the Indians of the plains. Aaron Gadd, converted to a conviction of his mission in God, goes west to join the Rev. Balthazar Harge in his frontier post. Once there, he finds the hypocrisies, the doubts, the intolerances almost more than he can stomach; he finds, too, that he is wanted as a carpenter, not a preacher, and his missionary zeal dampened, he finds he likes the Indians he had come to convert, and cannot condemn them to hell's fires, nor give them the downward push of bribery and corruption of white man's ways. He forms close friendship with a young chief, educated in the east; he falls in love with the worldly Selene Lanark, whom he had met in the east, when she rejoins her father, the promoter and scoffer. And after successive efforts to struggle with the devil and recapture the zeal of his early months, he runs away with Seleno, is rescued from the blizzard by Huldag, whose love he had spurned, and eventually escapes with Seleno to a secular life and the burgeoning new town of St. Paul....Somehow, the story seems remote, lacking the impact of his approach to contemporary life.

Publisher: Random House