Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes’s energetic and frequently farcical play centers on Jim and Dave, a two-man song-and-dance team, and Daisy, the woman who drives a wedge between them. Jim and Dave have been best friends all their lives but when they both start courting Daisy, tensions flare. Finally overcome by jealousy, Jim hits Dave with the hock bone from a mule and knocks him out. Jim is arrested and brought to a make-shift trial by the town’s mayor and self-appointed judge, Joe Clarke. Hilarity ensues, swiftly followed by chaos as the town splits into two opposing factions: the Methodists, who want to pardon Jim; and the Baptists, who are keen to banish him for his crime. As the trial comes to close and Jim is banished from his hometown, Daisy is finally forced to make her choice between the two men. However, her expectations for her future husband bring Jim and Dave to their senses and they return to Eatonville, vowing to never let a woman between them again.
Editor’s Note: This play was written, and is set, in 1930. Its language, use of slang, and turns of phrase (many of which are not commonly accepted today) are consistent with its historical and cultural context.
Mule Bone guide sections