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

Zora Neale Hurston

Part I, Chapter Six: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What is a “shake-baby”?

2. What does Babe Allen want the men to do?

3. What does Cliffert mean when he says to his grandmother, “You ain’t de Everglades Cypress Lumber Comp’ny...”?

4. What is a “log-rolling”?

5. What does Joe Willard mean when he says, “Niggers get all de signs and white folks got all de money”?

6. What does Arthur Hopkins do that makes Jim Allen so mad?

7. Why is Lonnie so upset with the woodpecker?

8. Why does the possum always act ashamed?

9. Why does the alligator hate the dog?

10. List all of the things that have happened to the alligator that have changed its appearance.

Answers
1. A “shake-baby” is an especially tight dress popular at the time.

2. Babe Allen wants Jim and Cliffert to clean and weed the yard.

3. Cliffert thinks that his grandmother doesn’t need to care so much about property she doesn’t even own.

4. A “log-rolling” is a party given when logs are brought in to build a new house.

5. He feels that black people are overly concerned with what is said in church when white people do not seem to pay as much attention to God as black people do, even though they have more money and freedom.

6. Arthur calls Jim by his first name which Jim feels is not respectful.

7. The woodpecker almost drowned everyone when he pecked away at Noah’s Ark, according to the folktale, so Lonnie is upset with the woodpecker for “tryin’ to drown me before Ah was born.”

8. The possum always acts ashamed because he lost all the hair on his tail.

9. Br’er Dog created the alligator’s mouth by cutting it open with a razor, but he didn’t stop when the alligator wanted him to, and went on cutting his mouth to the ends of his face. The alligator hates the dog because the dog had ruined the alligator’s appearance.

10. According to various folktales, the alligator has a wide mouth because Br’er Dog cut him with a razor and a flat tongue because Br’er Dog used it for a bass drum. He also has black skin and red eyes because Br’er Rabbit set him on fire.