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Vocabulary in Parties: A Hymn of Hate

Vocabulary Examples in Parties: A Hymn of Hate:

Parties: A Hymn of Hate

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

In this context, the noun “spurt” refers to a brief, unsustained effort, or a sudden outbreak of activity or exertion. The speaker uses this word to show that the car ride back to the city is mundane and quiet except for this moment in which all passengers utter the same observation. This “spurt” adds to the speaker’s overall boredom with the trip.

"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.

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

The verb “to allot” means “to designate” or “to appoint.” Notice that the speaker seems to view all of the activities as heavily regulated: even the space she sits in the car on the way to the event must be assigned to her, it cannot be random.

"one word frequently leads to another..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

This line means that the speaker and her partner get into an argument. Notice that the speaker’s tone in this line is dismissive. The adverb “frequently” and the mundane progression of events portrayed in the line suggests that the speaker is just as bored by this fight as she is by the entire card game event.

"getting personal..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

The phrase “getting personal” is an example of the 1920s’ dialect that reflects the time period in which this poem was written. The phrase means to become personally offended, which is very similar to the modern idiom “to take it personally.” With this phrase, the speaker suggests that her partner is taking their loss in this card game as a personal offense.

"bygones be bygones..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

The English idiom “Let bygones be bygones” means to forget about the unpleasant things that have happened in the past. It is similar to the expression “let it go” or “what’s done is done.” Since this idiom is generally used to refer to serious offenses or troublesome events, the speaker uses this it to show both the character of her bridge partner and her exasperation with him. This ridiculous partner has elevated a lost hand in a cardgame to the level of a serious event.

"draw..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

The speaker draws a card and is randomly assigned this partner: “the man who wrote the game.” This is a hyperbolic statement. She is not literally playing cards with the man who invented bridge, her partner is a stickler for the rules and seems to take everything about the game personally, as if he invented the game himself.

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

The speaker’s use of “material” is a clever double entendre. The word refers to things of physical substance: in this case, the food. The word also refers all things low-minded, unintellectual, non-spiritual. The irony is that the speaker expects a more meaningful phase of the evening, only to confront Harry Lauder records and baby pictures.

"lost arts..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

A “lost art” is an art or trade whose techniques have been lost due to historical and cultural changes. The irony here is that singing is not a lost art. The speaker says it is so because, in the company of the talentless fellow partygoers, it seems that no one knows how to sing anymore.

"riot..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

The noun “riot” here is used to describe the party as wild and entertaining. Of course, the speaker is obviously lying to the hostess—the party described is quite the opposite of the lively and uncontrolled activity of a riot. This false sentiment further emphasizes the speaker’s frustration at the inauthenticity, or falseness, of such activities, which prioritize what “should” be done and what “you have to” do over what is true and honest. The personal pronoun “You” here also directly addresses the reader, implicating them in the scene and further inviting us to join the speaker in her condemnation.

"Old-Fashioned Girls..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

The noun phrase “Old-Fashioned Girls” refers to a type of fancy dress, in which women dress up in historical clothing and garments. This most likely would have been a style of Victorian dress. The adverb “always” once again emphasizes the lack of spontaneity at this type of party, where the guests always come dressed in predictable costumes.

"must..."   (Parties: A Hymn of Hate)

The modal verb “must” here emphasizes the strict rules of the themed party. The speaker sees these official rules as uniform and dull, precluding any sense of spontaneity or fun. From this line and ones to follow, we may infer that Parker prefers parties to be lively, spontaneous, and less controlled by strict conditions or rules.

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