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

Zora Neale Hurston

Part I, Chapter Five: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why is one slave beaten for cussing Old Massa while another slave is not?

2. What does Old Massa call his bed?

3. What does Old Massa bet against another plantation owner that John can tell fortunes?

4. What does Old Massa give John after John prays for God to kill Old Massa’s family?

5. What does the colored man use for a pocket watch when his is stolen by a white man?

6. How is Jack punished for escaping?

7. What do Old Massa and Jack believe about the two men dividing corn?

8. According to the folktales, what are the differences between the prayers of the white man and the black man?

9. What must John do before Old Massa will set him free?

10. What does Old Massa want John to remember as John leaves?

Answers
1. Only one slave cusses Old Massa to his face.

2. Old Massa calls his bed a “flowery-bed-of-ease.”

3. Old Massa bets his plantation and all of his slaves.

4. Old Massa gives John his freedom and “a heap of land and stock.”

5. He uses a turtle he found on the road.

6. Jack is given one hundred lashes on his back for escaping.

7. They believe that the two men are the Lord and the Devil dividing souls.

8. The white man asks for a little rain and not to “let these niggers be as sassy as they have been in the past.” The black man asks the Lord “to kill all de white folks.”

9. John must fill the barn with the yearly harvest.

10. Old Massa wants John to remember that John is “a nigger.”