Mules and Men Part II, Chapter Five: Questions and Answers
by Zora Neale Hurston

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Part II, Chapter Five: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How did Dr. Duke feel about snakes?

2. Why wasn’t Zora allowed to gather graveyard dirt when she went with Dr. Duke?

3. What must Beasley do for the ritual to work while he awaits trial?

4. Why did Dr. Duke use a different ritual each time to accomplish the same thing?

5. Describe Dr. Duke’s ritual for driving a person away.

6. When does the young matron meet her downfall after it is predicted by Dr. Jenkins?

7. What is “goofer dust”?

8. Why are church members buried facing east, while sinners are buried in the opposite direction?

9. What does it mean when it rains at a funeral?

10. What should you do when your name is called?

Answers
1. Dr. Duke never killed a snake because snakes protected the herbs and roots he needed in his studies.

2. Since Zora was a beginner, Dr. Duke believed that the spirits would be offended by her presence and would kill her.

3. Beasley must read the thirty-fifth psalm every day from a “dressed” Bible given to him by Zora.

4. Dr. Duke had to devise different rituals because “people are different and what will win with one person has no effect upon another.”

5. The person who wants someone driven away must take the footprint of the victim and dry it in a frying-pan. Then dry up a dirt dauber nest mixed with cayenne pepper, add it to the track, and put all of it into a dirty sock and tie it up, always turning the bundle away as it is tied. Then carry the sock to the river at noon, and when within forty feet of the river, run to the edge of the water, turn around, and throw the sock over the left shoulder in the water. Walk away without looking back and say, “Go, and go quick in the name of the Lord.”

6. Dr. Jenkins predicts the woman’s downfall in late October, and it comes true in December.

7. “Goofer dust” is another name for graveyard dust, a popular ingredient in hoodoo rituals.

8. Church members are buried facing east so that when they are resurrected on the final day they are looking toward the sun. Sinners are buried the opposite way because when they rise and are judged they will probably want to hide their faces in shame.

9. It is said that when it rains at a funeral it means that the deceased was displeasing to God and rain is sent in order to wash away his or her tracks from the earth.

10. You should wait when your name is called. It might be a ghost calling for your soul, but these ghosts rarely call a second time, so it is better to wait for the voice to call a second time before responding.