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

Zora Neale Hurston

Part I, Chapter Ten: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How long does the Lord chase the porpoise before it is finally caught?

2. How did Big Sixteen get his name?

3. Why isn’t Big Sixteen allowed in heaven?

4. Explain the tradition of shouting “Christmas gift!” to passersby.

5. Who is Raw Head?

6. Name the different ways you can get rid of a “squinch owl.”

7. Why doesn’t Big Sweet give Zora a knife to defend herself?

8. What does Big Sweet warn Zora about before she lets her go to the party?

9. Why isn’t Big Sweet afraid to die?

10. Why does Big Sweet refuse to dance with Joe Willard?

Answers
1. The Lord chased the porpoise for three days before catching it.

2. Big Sixteen’s name came from his shoe size.

3. St. Peter is afraid that Big Sixteen is so strong that if he got out of control, there would be nobody there who could handle him.

4. In the South, there is a Christmas tradition that the first person to say “Christmas gift!” has to get a present from the others. People usually walk the streets with fruits and sweets in their pockets and wait to be “caught” by hiding children.

5. Raw Head was a big, strong, “two-headed doctor,” that is, a conjure doctor. According to Mack Ford, he was smarter than Moses and a cousin to the Devil.

6. Mah Honey says that a squinch owl can be killed if you tie a knot in a string and pull the knot tighter every time you hear the owl scream. Carrie Jones says that turning an article of clothing inside-out will get rid of them. Squinch owls can also be driven away by throwing salt in a lamp or by sticking a rusty fork in the floor.

7. Zora couldn’t outfight Lucy, so it made no sense for Big Sweet to give her a knife.

8. Big Sweet warns Zora to be on the lookout, not to “git biggity” with anyone, and not to “let yer head start more than yo’ rump can stand.”

9. Big Sweet is ready to face Jesus and figures, “Ah got jus’ as good uh chance at Heben as anybody else.”

10. Big Sweet is nervous that something will happen there and does not want to be distracted by dancing.