Spunk

by

Zora Neale Hurston

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The Men in the General Store Character Analysis

Having worked a hard day of physical labor at the sawmill, the local men fraternize at the general store, drinking and swapping stories. They represent a toxic expression of masculinity in the way that they band together to police and monitor the behavior of men like Joe Kanty, who they perceive as weak, and idolize men like Spunk, who, despite his glaring flaws, they revere and admire. Under Elijah’s leadership, this male pack blindly follows Elijah’s lead as he taunts and teases Joe, thinking nothing of the consequences.

The Men in the General Store Quotes in Spunk

The Spunk quotes below are all either spoken by The Men in the General Store or refer to The Men in the General Store. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Power and Masculinity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperCollins edition of Spunk published in 1996.
Spunk Quotes

A round-shouldered figure in overalls much too large, came nervously in the door and the talking ceased. The men looked at each other and winked.

Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:
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Spunk PDF

The Men in the General Store Character Timeline in Spunk

The timeline below shows where the character The Men in the General Store appears in Spunk. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Spunk
Power and Masculinity Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
...by Elijah’s cruel teasing—“One could actually see the pain he was suffering”—and declares to the “men lounging in the general store ” that he is going to “fetch” Lena back. As he speaks, Joe pulls a... (full context)
Power and Masculinity Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
The men laugh “boisterously” as they watch Joe “shamble woodward” in search of Spunk and Lena. Walter... (full context)
Power and Masculinity Theme Icon
Legal Justice vs. Moral Justice Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Elijah ignores Walter’s warning, assuring the men that Joe is calling their “bluff.” He thinks that Spunk would never actually shoot Joe,... (full context)
Power and Masculinity Theme Icon
Legal Justice vs. Moral Justice Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
The narrator interjects that “Joe Kanty never came back.” The men in the general store hear “the sharp report of a pistol” ringing out from the... (full context)
Power and Masculinity Theme Icon
Legal Justice vs. Moral Justice Theme Icon
...attack him from behind, so Spunk was merely acting in self-defense by shooting his attacker. The men follow Spunk out of the general store and into the woods, where he shows off... (full context)
Power and Masculinity Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
The men protest at this assessment, but then one of them explains that he witnessed Spunk getting... (full context)
Legal Justice vs. Moral Justice Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
The following day, the men discuss Spunk once more, but there is “no laughter. No badinage this time.” Elijah and... (full context)
Power and Masculinity Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
Legal Justice vs. Moral Justice Theme Icon
...and upon a modest homemade cooling board, which had been balanced on some “saw horses.” The men drink whiskey and make “coarse conjectures,” and the women eat “heartily” and gossip about “who... (full context)