Zora Neal Hurston mainly focuses on the stories that touch on the blacks living in the Deep South. She has the idea of traveling with the backing of a financial backer. Upon moving to Florida, she discloses that she had come to record their biggest lies. Hurston commences by writing t down the stories of the storytellers.The book also has some characters who play different roles in the story.Some of them comprise of :
Zora Hurston—This is the writer of the book of Mules and Men. She also doubles as the principal character in the entire story. She travels to the regions of New Orleans and Florida to gather information on hoodoo and African-American folklore.
Big Sweet—This is the woman who befriends Zora and works in Polk Country. She was the bodyguard of Zora and was threatened by other people in Florida.
Joe Willard— He was Big Sweet’s boyfriend who tolerates a turbulent association with her.
Ella Wall—This is the other lover of Joe Willard who was attacking Big Sweet for this reason.
Lucy— Lucy is an old peer of Big Sweet who exited their relationship because of her jealousy for Zora.
Mathilda Moseley—This was James Moseley who they enjoyed a good relationship in their marriage.
Bennie Lee— This was a drunk man who used to tell stories to the group. Most of his narrations were appealing and entertaining to the audience.’
Gold—This is the lady who was involved in an Eatonville storytelling session.
The central theme in these narrations is the issue of black slavery where John manages to outwit his white master. Other tales focus on real-life situations such as why the dogs chase the rabbits. Additionally, some of these narrations also focus on the legends. However, the issue of slavery dominates in her tales. There is a slave who gathers enough courage to kill the devil and declined admission to either heaven or hell. The man who outsmarts the devil manages to marry her daughter.
The second idea in this story is the issue of heritage. Hurston suggests that she was relieved when she was obligated to collect folklore from the culture of the black community. This individual’s lived in the Deep South. She fails to disclose how the venture came out. However, it seems that the matter was not essential to her. Though, it was necessary because it shows the roots of her culture. The heritage could be familiar to any individual who grew up in the South during that period.
Additionally, the essence of collecting data could be lost if someone does not share Hurston’s heritage. Some of these tales are sometimes unbelievable and silly. This is because almost all the content in the stories are full of falsehoods. A more significant proportion of these stories are not right. However, they provide the primary foundation of peoples heritage in society. Therefore, they cannot be dismissed entirely because of this fact.
Boas also conducted intensive research on the issue of sound blindness. It is popularly known as attention seeking. However, he received a lot of criticisms from those who opposed his work. These were the individuals who tried to study phonology with their biased mind. He further explained how the issue of timbre and sounds affect our hearing capabilities. Our knowledge of the language is used to interpret everything that we hear. Therefore, without evident listening skills, it will be difficult for anyone to understand what he hears. The element of bias should be eliminated when studying something new. It has a close association with what has been discussed in the book of Mules and men. It is because the book focuses on black slavery where the whites dominate the blacks in society. As a result, they are not ready to accept them and their demands in the community. This segregation disadvantages them as they do not enjoy the benefits that the whites get in society. As a result, it demonstrates that they are sound blind as they cannot hear the grievances of the blacks. The issue of timbre and sounds in Boas work can be interpreted in Hurston book as the bad attitude that the whites have towards the blacks. This has an impact on the decisions that they take towards the blacks.
The Mule and Men story has a humorous mood where the black man tries to outwit the white man. This is even though the latter was exploiting the former. This was an attempt that was not imaginable bearing in mind that the servant must be submissive to the master. The slave was also determined to kill the devil and marry her daughter. It is ironical that a person can marry a lady associated with the family of a man who is considered to be a devil.
There is also the use of symbolism in the story of Males and Mules. The former represents the determination that the slave has to free himself from bondage. It shows that although he was oppressed, he never lost hope in the struggle of his independence. On the other hand, the mule shows the stressed association between Joe Starks and Janie. This adverse relationship brings conflicts in their lives. Additionally, the issue of the mule also represents the struggle that the black women had towards attaining their freedom. It is because they were exploited for long by their white counterparts.
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