Mules and Men Part I, Chapter Eight: Questions and Answers

Zora Neale Hurston

Part I, Chapter Eight: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. When does the story of John and the lion take place?

2. Explain the phrase: “Dat ole lion give John de book; de bookity book.”

3. Why should you choose your corn bread before your fish, according to Jim Allen?

4. How old is Dad Boykin?

5.Why do you need to “knock de breezes offen yo’ back” when you warm yourself?

6. Why should you put your feet right next to the fire when you warm yourself?

7. What does Larkins mean when he warns Big Sweet, “Don’t let de gator beat you to the pond”?

8. Why doesn’t Mrs. Allen have any fish?

9. What is another name for a traveling preacher?

10. According to the preacher, why were men and women designed by God to be equals?

Answers
1. Dad Boykin doesn’t remember exactly when the story happened, but he is sure that it happened before most of the men there were born.

2. The lion ran away from John. “Bookity book” is a “sound word meaning running.”

3. While you are taking a piece of corn bread, you should look over the fish and decide which one is the best. You should choose your fish with your eyes because “nobody wid any manners or home-raisin’ don’t take de fork and turn over every fish in de dish in order to pick de best one.”

4. Dad Boykin is 81 years old.

5. If you don’t keep your back to the fire, the cold winds will stay on your back and follow you to bed. When you feel like you just can’t get warm, no matter how much clothing you put on, that might mean there is a stray breeze sticking to your back.

6. Dad Boykin says “dem toes’ll warm you all over. ...when Ah was studyin’ doctor Ah found out dat you got a leader dat runs from yo’ big toe straight to yo’ heart, and when you git dem toes hot youse hot all over.”

7. Larkins is telling Big Sweet to be quick because someone might attack her at the party later.

8. Mrs. Allen is still upset that her husband went fishing instead of cleaning the yard, so she refuses to have any fish.

9. Another name for a traveling preacher is “stump-knocker.”

10. God created woman by taking a rib out of man, meaning that God had intended for woman and man to walk “side by side.”