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Mules and Men (P.S.) [Paperback]

by Zora Neale Hurston
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 8, 2008 0061350176 978-0061350177

Mules and Men is a treasury of black America's folklore as collected by a famous storyteller and anthropologist who grew up hearing the songs and sermons, sayings and tall tales that have formed an oral history of the South since the time of slavery. Returning to her hometown of Eatonville, Florida, to gather material, Zora Neale Hurston recalls "a hilarious night with a pinch of everything social mixed with the storytelling." Set intimately within the social context of black life, the stories, "big old lies," songs, Vodou customs, and superstitions recorded in these pages capture the imagination and bring back to life the humor and wisdom that is the unique heritage of African Americans.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

REA’s MAXnotes is an insightful series of literature study guides covering over 80 of the most popular literary works.

MAXnotes study guides are student friendly and provide all the essentials needed to prepare students for homework, discussions, reports, and exams.

Our MAXnotes for Zora Neale Hurston’s Mules and Men study guide includes an overall summary, character lists, explanation and discussion of the plot, overview of the work’s historical context, and a biography of the author. Each section of the work is individually summarized and includes study questions and answers.

Our Zora Neale Hurston’s Mules and Men MAXnotes study guide is a handy resource when preparing for exams or doing homework, and it makes a great companion to the original work.

The Zora Neale Hurston’s Mules and Men MAXnotes is also an invaluable resource for English teachers who are teaching the original work and need a refresher. Each MAXnotes includes topics for term papers with sample outlines.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist whose fictional and factual accounts of black heritage remain unparalleled. Her many books include Dust Tracks on a Road; Their Eyes Were Watching God; Jonah's Gourd Vine; Moses, Man of the Mountain; Mules and Men; and Every Tongue Got to Confess.

Product Details

  • Series: P.S.
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics (January 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061350176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061350177
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Folklore Classic January 18, 2004
Although she really was born in Georgia, Hurston considered Eatonville, Florida her hometown. She originally wrote this work as a play with Langston Hughes. They had planned to call it "Mule Bone," but the two had a falling out prior to staging the work. The theater world's loss was actually the literary and folklore world's gain, and this book is a terrific study of black folklore from Florida and Louisiana. The book has wonderful folktales and descriptions of rootwork, and once the reader becomes acclimated to Hurston's use of black English, it is a pleasure to read. Hurston provided rich commentary by embedding the texts into a narrative about doing fieldwork in the 1920s. It's worth noting that Hurston compressed the amount of fieldwork time in this book as she had spent much more time in Florida than she presents in this work. It's important to keep these types of literary devices in mind when reading her book as she includes lots of allusions, hidden meanings, and clever wordplays to develop fascinating commentary on folklore.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hurston's Mules and Men November 26, 2005
I read Zora Neale Hurston's novel "Their Eyes are Watching God" and wanted to read more. Hurston (1891 -- 1960) had studied anthropology at Barnard with one of the founders of modern anthropology, Franz Boas. With Boas' encouragement and funding from a private source, Hurston travelled South to collect African-American folklore. Her first stop was Eatonville, Florida, an all-black community where Hurston had spent much of her childhood. She then went South to Polk County, Florida and its sawmills and the Everglades. She went further South to Pierce and Lakeland gathering folk materials before heading to New Orleans to study Hoodoo. In 1927, she rented a small house in Eau Gallie, near Melbourne, Florida where she organized her extensive notes. Her book, "Mules and Men" was published in 1935.

"Mules and Men" is an outstanding source of information about the folk-tales, called "lies", of rural Southern African-Americans. (Florida was a gathering place for African-Americans throughout the South because of the economic opportunities it offered.) She visited old friends in Eatonville, and won the confidence of people in the other communities she visited. The tales include animal stories ("why dogs and cats are enemies", "how the snake got poison," for example) stories of pre-civil war days involving a slave named "Jack" and his master, stories of the battle between the sexes, contests between "Jack" and the devil, bragging contests, and much else. Hurston also collected songs and lyrics, including "John Henry", sermons, and hoodoo formulas while in New Orleans.

But this book is much more than a compilation of folk materials. Hurston brings her material to life by bringing the story-tellers and the communities she visited to life.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Black Folk tales at there greatest February 22, 2001
A fantastic collection by Zora Neale Hurtson. Includes spells, and superstions, witch craft, and some of the best short stories around. She gathers up the urban legends of the 1930-40's rural south and connects you to a culture and way of thinking that is both delightful and intriguing. At times amusing; it is written in the way of oral tradition, where people gather around and tell stories, the more outlandish, the more unique the better. Her work is simply wonderful. A great book, and good for those bad weather days.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Queen of Black Folklore February 11, 2006
Whne I was 12 years old in the Summer of 1977, I found this book at the local library. I immediately saw the connection between this and the tales my father and older Blacks told around town, and this led ot my lifelong interest in folklore.

This book was actually quite revolutionary. Up to this time, most educated Blalcks scorned the folk culture of their own people and black foklore collections were usually written by whites. While a few (such as Edward CL Adams and Julia Peterkin) got it right, the results were often patronzing at best and racist mockery at worst) as few Blacks of that time would be candid with white folklore collectors.

Zora went back to her hometown of Eatonville, Fla to the front porches and juke joints that she knew and got it down right. The tales themselves are very entertaining as is the frame story of her adventures with the locals.

If you get this and Adams' "Tales of the Congaree (and B.A. Botkin's Anthology "Treasury of American Folklore"), youll get a good intro to Black American Folklore. Enjoy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Triumph April 19, 2005
This is a genuine book on Hoodoo as is practiced by many in New Orleans today. Not every HooDoo practioner works the root in the same way and this book details several root doctors and their varied practices. What this book will NOT give you is the "new age" weak willed bull about karma and ethics. HooDoo has no karma, karma is a hindu concept which somehow made it's way into a whole bunch of "new age" groups and beliefs. In HooDoo, the spirits you employ may either do the work or not, its up too them, based on your offerings and sacrifices.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book August 18, 2005
By noman
I note that one reviewer speaks about "questionable ethics" but fails to state specifically what they find questionable. I can only reply that the comment is pure nonsense. I further note that the reviewers address is NY, which may explain the comment.

As someone who grew up in the South at the tail end of the era recorded in “Mules and Men” I can only be awed at how accurately Zora Hurston captured the people and culture, the sights, sounds, smells . . .it’s all there. This is a superb book of folktales, an amazing recreation of a vanished or almost vanished way

of life . . .on so many levels this is an astonishing work of art and science.

Believe anything good you read about the book and author, ignore the rest. A bargain at the price and a lot of fun to read at the very least. An education beyond price for anyone who reads with a little thought.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars She is a master and this book is a must read!
Zora Neale Hurston is an American master. This book documents her submersion into the voodoo/hoodoo scene in Florida and New Orleans providing unparalleled insight into the lives... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Theia111
5.0 out of 5 stars Hurston Tells Folk Tales: The Real Thing
Hurston, Hemingway, and Highsmith, three writers to conjure with. Here, Hurston retells folk tales in dialect and all readers rejoice.
Published 7 months ago by The Big Al
5.0 out of 5 stars Online Hoodoo Know it Alls
Just because you took a class or read a book on hoodoo doesn't mean you know squat. Zora was there with these people, studied under them and most important she was part of the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by bow78
5.0 out of 5 stars A Short Review
I didn't mean to write a review OF THE BOOK. I thought I was responding to an invitation to review my purchase of the book. Read more
Published on July 20, 2011 by K. Dennehy
1.0 out of 5 stars mules and men study review
When I pulled up the inside of this book, it came up as the book, not the review. I ordered it because I thought I was getting the book but it is cliff notes. Read more
Published on February 7, 2011 by Ida Frae
5.0 out of 5 stars funny
this is the first book I read by zora neale hurston, truly not the last. I enjoy reading this book.
Published on July 19, 2008 by Mary J. Edwards
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful folklore, questionable Hoodoo
I'm a student/practitioner of Hoodoo and this book was on my "to read" list. The book consists of two parts, the first contains folklore Hurston gathered from her hometown in FL in... Read more
Published on February 11, 2008 by D. Marshall
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
This is a great book! It's a must have if you have a collection. Thanks!
Published on January 12, 2008 by Dawn Hicks
5.0 out of 5 stars Born and Bred Southerner Heah!
I love this book. I can remember my grandmama and grand daddy and nem talkin' up a storm. These are real stories and people. It made me laugh and bring back fond memories. Read more
Published on February 26, 2007 by Big Sistah Patty
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales & Roots
A friend said I should buy this book. it has roots in it he might find them entertaining. How surprised I was to find old slave tales as well. Read more
Published on September 11, 2005 by Traci Calais
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