Questions tagged [name-significance]

Questions related to the literary significance or meaning of names that appear in literature.

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Does the Dime Lions' name have a deeper significance?

In the duology of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, there are several criminal gangs. The two most important ones are the Dregs (crow symbol) and the Dime Lions (lion symbol). The gangs take pride in ...
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Why are there two characters named “Rose” in Rose Under Fire?

Two major characters in Rose Under Fire (by Elizabeth Wein) have names that mean the same thing. One is named Róża ("Rose" in her native language) and the other Rose. As far as I can ...
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Significance of the names Silim, Tur, and Irij for the sons of Feridoun?

In the second book of the Shahnameh, King Feridoun tests his three sons by appearing to them as a dragon. The eldest son runs away, the middle one takes up arms against the monster, and the youngest ...
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67 views

Are the names J. Alfred Prufrock and Hugh Selwyn Mauberley completely arbitrary?

T.S. Eliot's first professionally published poem was "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", in which Eliot narrates the experience of a character named J. Alfred Prufrock. Similarly, Ezra ...
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Did Lois Lowry name the protagonist of the Giver from the biblical prophet?

Did Lois Lowry name Jonas, the protagonist of the Giver, after the biblical prophet Jonah? Both of them are at one point reluctant to follow their calling that they didn't choose, so there is some ...
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In The Great Gatsby, is Nick Carraway's name intentional?

Nick's surname sounds a lot like care-away, and I've seen a number of online sources that state that this Fitzgerald intended for this to be so. I find this hard to believe, considering that Nick isn'...
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Isn't Gríma Wormtongue a very revealing name?

Something which strikes me both while reading the book and watching the movie is the very striking name "Wormtongue". He might as well be named "Evil Dude". He seems over-the-top ...
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How could Zohak's advisors deduce the name Feridoun from his dream?

In the first part of the Shahnameh, "The Shahs of Old", the Deev-influenced king Zohak has a dream in which he foresees his own downfall at the hands of Feridoun and his cow-headed mace: ...
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Why did August Strindberg pick the names “Julie” and “Jean” for the protagonists of his play Miss Julie (1888)?

In Miss Julie (Fröken Julie), a seminal play and central piece of modern Swedish literature, the two main characters are named "Julie" and "Jean". Why "Julie" and "...
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Why is the not-so-wicked Which called Faintly Macabre?

In Norton Juster's witty wacky fantasy The Phantom Tollbooth, during their stay in the Dictionopolis dungeon Milo and Tock meet a witch Which. She used to be in charge of selecting which words to use, ...
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Does the title of “Marquis” change the name of its holder?

In "The Chief Mourner of Marne" in The Secret of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton, the main character was named James Mair, and his cousin was named Maurice Mair; the author said that after ...
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What is the significance of Jane's maiden name Tudor in That Hideous Strength?

In C. S. Lewis's novel That Hideous Strength, the main character Jane Studdock had the maiden name Jane Tudor. This is only mentioned once in the book itself - I had forgotten it and only noticed it ...
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1answer
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What is the significance of the names Mersault and Meursault?

The novel A Happy Death, written in the late 1930s and published posthumously in 1971, has a main character named Patrice Mersault. Camus's novel The Stranger, written a few years later and published ...
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What is the origin of the name Nilfgaard?

The empire of Nilfgaard becomes very important in the Witcher saga starting from the end of Sword of Destiny and continuing through the novels starting with Blood of Elves. The name has always ...
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Where did Stephen King get the word “Shawshank” from?

I just watched "The Shawshank Redemption" for the first time. I was surprised that it took place in a U.S. prison because I had assumed for years based on my ignorance that "Shawshank" was derived ...
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Why is Mr William Collins never referred to as the Rev Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice?

Mr William Collins is an ordained clergyman in the Church of England, and becomes the priest of the Hunsford parish. I realize that neither Miss Elizabeth Bennet nor her father particularly revere Mr ...
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118 views

Significance in Raskolnikov's name in Crime and Punishment?

The protagonist/antihero of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment is Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov. As it says on Wikipedia: The name Raskolnikov derives from the Russian raskolnik meaning "schismatic"...
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318 views

Why the name “Gumdrop” for the vintage car?

As a child I enjoyed some of the Gumdrop stories, without ever realising that the name of the car Gumdrop was the same as a type of sweet. Perhaps the reason for this name is explained somewhere in ...
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Georgian London: they had Windows of course but … Linux?

I'm reading (the Italian translation of) The Confessions of Frannie Langton, a novel set in Georgian London, and one of the preeminent characters is the housekeeper of George and Marguerite Benham, ...
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Is there any significance to the name “friends of Lilith” in Simone Kern's “The Propagator”?

Simone Kern's "The Propagator" is set in a future where abortion is illegal, and anyone who tries it is persecuted for "reproductive crimes". During the story, we learn about the "friends of Lilith", ...
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What is the significance of naming the djinni Bartimaeus?

In the Bartimaeus trilogy, the main character is the eponymous djinni Bartimaeus, a demon/spirit from "the Other Place" who is cheeky, witty, boastful, and at times surprisingly deep. Bartimaeus, ...
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Is there any significance in King Lune's name?

The king of Archenland during the time of The Horse and His Boy, father of the Archenland princes who play a more major role in the story, is called Lune. Is there any significance to this name? ...
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Significance of the name Annabel Lee?

"Annabel Lee" is one of many pieces of writing by Edgar Allan Poe which explore the theme of a beloved woman who died young. As with other such works, most famously "The Raven", critics have ...
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Is there any significance in Shakespeare's use of the name “Laertes” (name of the father of Odysseus) in Hamlet?

Is there any significance in Shakespeare's use of "Laertes" (name of the father of Odysseus) in Hamlet? Do we associate the name with The Odyssey more strongly than Shakespeare, to whom it was just ...
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Where is the wordplay in the names Zhao Guiweng and Gu Jiu?

In the Wikisource version (in both Chinese and English) of Lu Xun's short story "A Madman's Diary" from his collection Call to Arms, the following footnotes are made about character names: Zhao ...
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Was the Cambridge mathematician “Andrew Martin” named after any actual mathematicians?

A central character in Matt Haig's The Humans, is a Cambridge mathematician Andrew Martin, whose speciality is prime numbers. This character is supposed to be exceedingly brilliant and to have solved ...
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414 views

Is there any connection between Paris of Troy and Paris of Verona?

I just noticed that a character in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet has the same name as a character in Homer's Iliad: Paris. In both stories, Paris is one of two men who wish to be with the same woman; ...
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Where does the name Childermass come from?

Returning to the tale of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, it occurred to me to wonder where Childermass (probably my favourite character) got his name from. Wikipedia informed me that "Childermass" is ...
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351 views

Son of Adam but not Eve? Daughter of Eve but not Adam?

Throughout The Chronicles of Narnia the humans are referred to as "Son of Adam" for a male, and "Daughter of Eve" for a female. I'm assuming that the characters in Narnia don't think that females only ...
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Why do peasants in 19th century Russian literature often have Greek names?

Why do peasant characters in 19th century Russian literature so often have Greek names? (e.g. "Agafon" and "Platon" in Anna Karenina).
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Why did Sally Beth Roe have that particular last name?

"Jane Roe" a common name for an anonymous or unknown individual (similar to "John Doe" for men) - notably, for example, in the case Roe v. Wade. That being said, why was Sally Beth Roe's last name "...
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Where did Charles Dickens come up with the name “Magwitch”?

One of the key characters in Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" is a person named Abel Magwitch. "Magwitch" doesn't appear to be an existing name, nor does it seem to be a word with a different ...
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301 views

What is the origin of the name “Frankenstein”?

The name "Frankenstein" is famous enough to have entered popular culture, even if people often get confused about whether it refers to the scientist or the monster. But where did Mary Shelley get this ...
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Meaning of the name JumpJim in Hari Kunzru's novel White Tears

In Hari Kunzru's novel White Tears, two young white men, Carter and Seth, create music reusing old jazz and blues songs. Carter has a lot of recordings that he created by walking through the city ...
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What's the significance of the name Loyola?

As soon as I started reading Nalo Hopkinson's short story "The Reverse Cheshire Cat" (freely available to read online), the name "Loyola" jumped out at me. Surely this must be a reference to Ignatius ...
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149 views

What is the joke in the name “Robert Jordon”?

While reading One to Count Cadence from James Crumley (first published 1969), I read this sentence: The name on the passport was Robert Jordon; it was a joke; nobody laughed. Despite searching ...
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Was Stevenson's Captain Smollett named after Tobias Smollett?

The captain of the Hispaniola in Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island is a man named Alexander Smollett. There's also a Scottish writer named Tobias Smollett, and there's speculation that the ...
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What is the significance of the name “Kopy-Keck” in The Light Princess?

In "The Light Princess" by George MacDonald, the king consults "two very wise Chinese philosophers" about the princess's condition.1 The philosophers are named "Hum-Drum" and "Kopy-Keck." The story is ...
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Did Eric Clapton name his dog after Dr. Dolittle's Pooch?

I recall in an old interview (from the 70s), Eric Clapton said that his dog's name was “Jeep.” I have remembered this all these decades because it seemed like such an odd name to me. But now I am ...
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Why “Moon Child”?

In The Neverending Story, the main turning point is when Bastian gives the Childlike Empress her much-needed name, saves Fantastica, and enters into the story himself. This name is "Moon Child", or "...
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Why do the names of the first two characters introduced in “The Neverending Story” start with B and C?

I only recently started the book, so I'm hoping that I'm not missing something that's made clear in the book later, but the first character introduced in the book is named Bastian Balthazar Bux (whose ...
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Where did the names Siegfried and Tristan Farnon come from?

The British vet and writer Alfred Wight is best known for his series of semi-autobiographical stories written under the pen name James Herriot, recounting details of his experience as a country vet in ...
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Is there any significance to Blake's choice of the name Lyca?

The twinned poems "The Little Girl Lost" and "The Little Girl Found" from William Blake's Songs of Experience (available to read online) are about a little girl called Lyca who gets lost from her ...
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Proper interpretation of the names Christian and Christiana in Pilgrim's Progress

How should one view the names Christian and Christiana, the two central characters of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress: as allegorical (i.e. "followers of Christianity", Christiana being a feminine ...
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Is the name Crowley in Good Omens a reference to the famous occultist?

The main demonic character in the humouristic-apocalyptic story Good Omens by Pratchett and Gaiman goes by the name Anthony Crowley - a name which instantly jumped out at me because of its similarity ...
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How does Effie Trinket's name relate to how she is portrayed throughout the series?

Merriam-Webster defines Trinket like this: 1: a small ornament (such as a jewel or ring) 2: a small article of equipment 3: a thing of little value How does Effie Trinket's name - either ...
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Why is Josef K.'s last name never revealed?

Throughout the novel, the main character's name is given only as "Josef K." In fact, as I recall, several characters even actually refer to him as Josef K. Why isn't he given a last name? Is this ...
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901 views

Why did Yossarian sign letters with “Washington Irving”?

When he's in the hospital and is forced to censor letters, Yossarian signed his "name" as "Washington Irving." Later in the book, Major Major does the same thing on official documents. What's the ...
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Why Catch-22 if there was only one catch?

Catch-22 contains the following quote: There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the ...
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Why did Bill Watterson choose the character names he did?

Several major characters in Calvin and Hobbes are named after fictional or historical characters. Calvin is named after theologian John Calvin Hobbes is named after Thomas Hobbes Miss Wormwood is ...