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Facts in Parties: A Hymn of Hate

Facts Examples in Parties: A Hymn of Hate:

Parties: A Hymn of Hate

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"poison ivy..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

Poison ivy is a North American flowering plant found in many outdoor hiking, camping, and picnicking areas. Contact with the leaves of this plant is widely known to cause allergic reactions on the skin, manifesting in irritation, itching, and painful rashes. The partakers of this picnic seem to have never experienced poison ivy rashes and are probably speculating about its effects as they pick dogwood.

"Elwell..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

Joseph Bowne Elwell was a famous American bridge player who invented the Auction Bridge version of the game. In 1920, Elwell was the subject of a famous, unsolved murder case. He was shot in the head inside his locked house and the bullet was laid neatly on the table beside his body. The murder spawned multiple detective novels and speculation about how the murder was committed and why. Elwell’s prominence in card-playing circles led many to believe that anger or debt over the game led to his murder.

"trumps your ace..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

In a game of cards, a “trump card” is the highest card played that will win a trick. In the game of Bridge, the ace of any suit is the highest card and generally means that the player of the ace will win the round. However, the suit of spades is the trump suit, meaning it can be played on any suit and any number and win the trick. Thus, any spade that is played automatically beats all of the high cards of the other suits, including the ace. By “trumps your ace” the speaker means that her partner plays a spade and wins the hand even though she played an ace. Since they are on the same team and bet how many hands they would win, this would be seen as poor strategy, even gross incompetence, as the ace would factor into their bet and the pair would likely come up short of their number.

"leading clubs..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

The noun phrase “Leading clubs” refers to the progression of the bridge game. The first person to place their card in bridge “leads” the round. The other players must place cards of the same suit that the “lead” plays. If the other players do not have this suit or a trump card they must “burn” a card—place a card of a different suit that has no effect on who will win the hand. The speaker’s partner is angry with her because she leads with clubs, a card suit that features black three-leaf clovers, a suit he presumably did not have.

"cut for partners..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

To “cut for partners” is a method for picking partners in bridge tournaments. One “cuts” the deck of cards in half and then draws a card. The card you draw matches you with a partner who you then play the card game with.

"Bridge..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

Bridge is a complicated card game with a cult following of players. There are more books written about bridge strategy than any other game, except chess. The basic setup of the game has four players in teams of two. Each team receives 13 cards and bets on how many points they will win before the round begins. Each player places a card face-up in the center of the table in the same suit of the initial card played. Cards are ranked aces-high; spades are the dominant suit. Once the four cards are placed, the highest trump card takes the “trick,” or group of cards played. Each trick represents one point. The goal of each partnership is to win as many tricks as they bet they would before the round began, no more and no less.

"dogwood..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

Dogwood is a shrub known for its white flowers, red stems, and purple berries. It is often harvested for decorative use, to make wreaths or bouquets. Parker’s speaker is less than thrilled to be picking it.

"arts-and-crafts hearth-brush..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

The “arts-and-crafts hearth-brush” refers to a fireplace brush designed in the style of the arts and crafts movement. This style—used in architecture, textiles, graphics and book-printing—was popularized in England at the turn of the 20th century and was in fashion in Parker’s time.

"Volstead..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

Volstead refers to Andrew John Volstead, a representative of the Republican Party from 1903–1923. His name is most commonly used in reference to the prohibition law of 1919, frequently dubbed the Volstead Act, which made it illegal to buy or consume alcohol in the United States. The use of this reference in the description of the punch suggests that this was a non-alcoholic drink. Along with the description of “clean home games,” the speaker displays an obvious distaste for this idea of “wholesome” fun.

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