This presentation describes Hurston’s fieldwork among lumberyard and railroad workers in Central Florida as this is portrayed in Mules and Men. The trickster—a prominent figure in African-American folklore—is highlighted with a tale collected by Hurston focusing on the traditional folk characters John and “Massa.” More contemporary trickster figures, such as Shine and the Signifyin’ Monkey, are also discussed and illustrated with stories from the urban folklore collection of Roger Abrahams’ Deep Down in the Jungle. Abrahams’ work, which dates from the 1960s, uses raw language, something Hurston’s collection does not include.

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