This is essentially a nonfiction account of Zora Hurston’s own trip to Eatonville, Florida, taken in order to collect African-American folktales. Her own adventures in Eatonville are occasionally interrupted by fables and songs collected from the people she meets in her travels. The second section of Mules and Men is a record of her trip to New Orleans to do field study on the practice of hoodoo. Zora records her experience as an apprentice to several hoodoo doctors and as a hoodoo consultant.
However, in addition to the story, the book may also be used for its collection of folk stories. The glossary at the end of the book and the appendices filled with old folk songs and hoodoo recipes make this book very useful as a textbook for African-American folklore, in addition to its value as a work of art.
Estimated Reading Time
Mules and Men, 247 pages long, is divided into two sections, not including the glossary and appendices at the end. The first section is devoted to various folktales and can be read from beginning to end in about 6-8 hours, depending on the reader. Given the book’s unique narrative style, teachers using the book in a classroom setting might choose to focus on a specific folktale or song as an example of African-American folklore.
The second section is devoted to Zora Neale Hurston’s study of hoodoo in New Orleans. It is smaller than the first section and more self-contained as a narrative, and can be read in 2-4 hours, depending on the reader.