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Zora Neale Hurston's Mules and Men (MAXnotes) Paperback – June 17, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0878912285 ISBN-10: 0878912282

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Product Details

  • Series: MAXnotes Literature Guides
  • Paperback: 97 pages
  • Publisher: Research & Education Association (June 17, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878912282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878912285
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #964,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

About the Author

In her award-winning autobiography, Dust Trackson a Road (1942), Zora Neale Hurston claimed to have been born inEatonville, Florida, in 1901. She was, in fact, born in Notasulga, Alabama, onJanuary 7, 1891, the fifth child of John Hurston (farmer, carpenter, and Baptistpreacher) and Lucy Ann Potts (school teacher). The author of numerous books,including Their Eyes Were Watching God, Jonah's Gourd Vine, Mulesand Men, and Moses, Man of the Mountain, Hurston had achieved fameand sparked controversy as a novelist, anthropologist, outspoken essayist,lecturer, and theatrical producer during her sixty-nine years. Hurston's finestwork of fiction appeared at a time when artistic and politicalstatements--whether single sentences or book-length fictions--were peculiarlyconflated. Many works of fiction were informed by purely political motives;political pronouncements frequently appeared in polished literary prose. AndHurston's own political statements, relating to racial issues or addressingnational politics, did not ingratiate her with her black male contemporaries.The end result was that Their Eyes Were Watching God went out of printnot long after its first appearance and remained out of print for nearly thirtyyears. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., has been one among many to ask: "How couldthe recipient of two Guggenheims and the author of four novels, a dozen shortstories, two musicals, two books on black mythology, dozens of essays, and aprizewinning autobiography virtually 'disappear' from her readership for threefull decades?"

That question remains unanswered. The fact remains thatevery one of Hurston's books went quickly out of print; and it was only throughthe determined efforts, in the 1970s, of Alice Walker, Robert Hemenway (Hurston'sbiographer), Toni Cade Bambara, and other writers and scholars that all of herbooks are now back in print and that she has taken her rightful place in thepantheon of American authors.

In 1973, Walker, distressed that Hurston's writings hadbeen all but forgotten, found Hurston's grave in the Garden of Heavenly Rest andinstalled a gravemarker. "After loving and teaching her work for a numberof years," Walker later reported, "I could not bear that she did nothave a known grave." The gravemarker now bears the words that Walker hadinscribed there:

ZORA NEALE HURSTON
GENIUS OF THE SOUTH
NOVELIST FOLKLORIST ANTHROPOLOGIST
(1891-1960)

In Brief
Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist whose fictional and factual accounts of black heritage are unparalleled. She Is the author of many books, including Their Eyes Were Watching God, Dust Tracks on a Road, Tell My Horse, and Mules and Men. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Believe anything good you read about the book and author, ignore the rest.
noman
Hurston wrote this book to preserve an important part of African-American culture in the United States and to express her commitment to and love for this culture.
Robin Friedman
The tales themselves are very entertaining as is the frame story of her adventures with the locals.
Andre M.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By grasshopper4 on January 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
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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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
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 By Tiffany Tallar on February 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Andre M. on February 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By noman on August 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
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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