Mules and Men Part I, Chapter Seven: Questions and Answers
by Zora Neale Hurston

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Part I, Chapter Seven: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How did Br’er Rabbit ruin Br’er Dog’s voice?

2. Why do the rabbits decide to drown themselves, and what prevents them from doing it?

3. How far was the walk to the lake?

4. Why doesn’t John shoot the deer with Old Massa’s gun?

5. How “bad” is the gun of Larkins White?

6. Explain how gophers were created, according to the folktale.

7. How did butterflies get their name?

8. According to the superstition, killing a cat results in how many years of bad luck?

9. What does Jim Allen say that makes Big Sweet so upset?

10. What is special about the hog, according to Jim Allen?

1. Br’er Dog and Br’er Rabbit are both suitors for Miss Fronie, although Br’er Dog wins her over with his beautiful voice. Br’er Rabbit then tells Br’er Dog that he can make his voice sound even more beautiful, and when Br’er Dog opens his mouth, Br’er Rabbit takes out his razor and splits his tongue in two.

2. The rabbits decide to drown themselves because no other creature is afraid of them. When they reach the lake, however, a frog yells at them to “quit it.” This satisfies the rabbits, and they decide not to kill themselves.

3. It was a two-mile walk.

4. John doesn’t want to ruin Old Massa’s gun by using it.

5. According to Larkins White, his gun can shoot so far that he has to put salt in it. He does this so his prey will stay fresh by the time he can collect it. He once went to shoot ducks, and his gun was so intimidating that the water in the pond froze and the ducks “...flew off wid de lake froze to their feets.”

6. God was by the sea making all of the fish and made a turtle out of sea-mud. When the Devil saw the turtle, he claimed he could make an animal like that as well, but since he was on the hill he had to make his “turtle” out of dry dirt. When God says that the Devil’s creation is nothing like a turtle, the Devil replies, “Well, anyhow it will go for one,” which is why that creature is called a gopher.

7. God created butterflies by cutting off the edges of flowers and letting them flutter to the ground. When the people saw these things fluttering by, they called them “flutter-bys,” which eventually became butterflies.

8. Killing a cat means nine years of bad luck.

9. When Jim Allen compares arguing with a woman to trying to sit on a cow, Big Sweet believes he is calling her a cow.

10. The hog is the only animal that is able to see the wind.