ivy orator making clubs

kahroba

Senior Member
Persian
Dear guys
Could you please explain about the following items, taken from "Playboy" (biography of Jack Reed), "1919" by John Dos Passos:
a) what is "ivy orator"?
b) does "making clubs" mean going to different clubs?
c) "his blood didn't run thin enough for the very best clubs": does it mean he wasn't happy in expensive or pompous clubs?

Reed was a man; he liked men he liked women he liked eating and writing and foggy nights and drinking and foggy nights and swimming and football and rhymed verse and being cheerleader ivy orator making clubs (not the very best clubs, his blood didn't run thin enough for the very best clubs)
 
  • Ecossaise

    Senior Member
    English
    "being cheerleader ivy {{league}} [orator-making] clubs"

    He is making a statement about Reed's gregariousness - suggesting he liked men who had been to good universities and made connections there.

    "Ivy League" = Ivy League is the name generally applied to eight universities (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale)

    His blood didn't run thin enough - he wasn't from a "high-bred" family, he socially wasn't of the right group.
     

    kahroba

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Dear Ecossaise
    It seems I've been reading the phrase differently. So, do you think the phrase should be read this way:
    He liked being cheerleader, [being] ivy, [he liked] orator-making clubs
     

    KHS

    Senior Member
    I had been reading it as 'ivy orator' and 'making clubs' but it could also be interpreted as being 'ivy' and being 'orator' and 'making [it into] clubs'...I don't tend to think of clubs associated with the Ivy League as "orator-making," so this may influence my interpretation.
     

    Ecossaise

    Senior Member
    English
    If you try inserting punctuation, you can get this:

    Reed was a man; he liked men, he liked women, he liked eating and writing, and foggy nights, and drinking, and foggy nights, and swimming and football, and rhymed verse, and being cheerleader, [and] ivy [league] orator-making clubs (not the very best clubs; his blood didn't run thin enough for the very best clubs).

    Does Passos anywhere name any of these clubs?
     

    kahroba

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Yes he has:
    in school hadnt he learned the Declaration of Independence by heart? Reed was a westerner and words meant what they said; when he said something standing with a classmate at the Harvard Club bar, he meant what he said from the soles of his feet to the waves of his untidy hair (his blood didnt run thin enough for the Harvard Club and the Dutch Treat Club and respectable New York freelance Bohemia)
     
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