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

Zora Neale Hurston

Part I, Chapter Nine: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why did Zora go to the party with Big Sweet rather than with Cliffert?

2. From what was the “low” wine at the party made?

3. Why do Office Richardson and Blue Baby get into an argument during the craps game?

4. What does Big Sweet mean when she says, “Gamblin’ wid yo’ stuff out de window?”

5. What is a “looky-dere,” according to Big Sweet?

6. Why is Lucy mad at Zora?

7. Why does the Quarters-Boss kick Ella out while letting Big Sweet stay?

8. Why was Box-Car on a chain gang?

9. What does Zora mean when she says, “Lucy tried to steal me?”

10. Why does the Devil give up during the strength contest with Jack?

Answers
1. If Zora went to a party with another man, that would have meant that they were together. Zora wants the other men to know that she is alone so they may come talk to her, and she can collect folklore.

2. The wine is made from the alcohol extracted from Sterno, mixed with sugar, water, and spirits of nitre.

3. Office Richardson is “sliding the dice,” that is, fixing them so that they come out a certain way, and Blue wants Office to shake the dice so that they can be heard.

4. Big Sweet means her opponent is so scared to bet that he is already prepared to leave the building.

5. A “looky-dere” is a bump on the head. Big Sweet threatens that she will give the dealer so many bumps on his head that people will stop and say “looky-dere.”

6. Lucy is jealous because Slim keeps playing music for Zora.

7. Ella is not even supposed to be at the party because it is only for people who actually work in the swamp as loggers.

8. While under arrest on a trumped-up vagrancy charge, Box-Car was searched by police, who found a pack of cards. Box-Car was then arrested on the charge of “totin’ concealed cards, and attempt to gamble,” and sentenced to three months. As he was about to be set free, the police arrested him on another gambling charge.

9. According to Zora, “steal” is “the local term for an attack by stealth.”

10. The Devil is scared that Jack will throw his hammer all the way up to Heaven, and he’ll never see it again.