Mule Bone

Dialect and Expression in Mule Bone

"The Negro's universal mimicry is not so much a thing in itself as an evidence of something that permeates his entire self. And that thing is drama." (Hurston, 830) In her own words, Hurston captures the gritty picture she paints in the highly disputed early 20th century drama, "Mule Bone," co-written by fellow Harlem renaissance icon Langston Hughes. "Mule Bone" is set in a fictionalized version of Hurston's hometown, an all black community in Eatonville, Florida where she spent the early years of her teen life living with her father following her mother's death. Hurston's earliest memoirs indicate that the Eatonville of her childhood, much like the Eatonville of the stage, had two churches and no jail. Based on the short story "A Bone of Contention" which Hurston penned in 1929, "Mule Bone" draws heavily from Hurston's anthropological work which she compiled from visits to all black communities in the southern United States. Hughes and Hurston collaboratively worked "A Bone of Contention" into a running dialogue set for the stage, however; this project would eventually tear the two authors apart after discrepancies in the text became...

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