Questions tagged [name-significance]

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

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26
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3answers
7k views

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 ...
24
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1answer
3k views

What is the significance of Alec Bings's name in The Phantom Tollbooth?

In The Phantom Tollbooth, basically every name has a significance/pun. For example, Dr. Dischord - his name is 'Discord' with 'chord' - implying bad sounds. Or the DYNNE, or 'din'. And Chroma, with ...
21
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1answer
2k views

What is a Pooh?

Winnie the Pooh is our favorite ball of fluff that likes to eat honey in the Hundred-Acre Wood... but where does he get his name from? Specifically, where does "Pooh" come from? I know that Winnie ...
18
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1answer
3k views

Is this hypothesis about the significance of the name “Denna” in the Kingkiller Chronicle supported by the text?

There's a somewhat popular theory about The Kingkiller Chronicle, which is that the name "Denna" derives from the use of denner resin, and its addictive properties. The theory branches two ...
16
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1answer
1k views

Was there a reason Room 101 was called Room 101?

Was the room named after anything significant? It seems odd to me that he would name such an important piece of the novel after nothing, but maybe I am just looking too hard.
15
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2answers
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Why is the superstate Winston lives in named Oceania in 1984?

Winston Smith lives in London, a city in the superstate of Oceania. As shown in this map, Oceania consists of all of the Americas, the United Kingdom, and Australia. In the modern world today, Oceania ...
14
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3answers
3k views

Symbolism of Albus Dumbledore's name in Harry Potter

What is the symbolism of the name Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter? 'Albus' means white 'Dumbledore' is a type of bee What is this representing?
13
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1answer
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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 ...
12
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1answer
2k views

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 "...
12
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1answer
2k views

What's the significance of the witches' name change in Sandman?

As mentioned in another question, the three witches are very significant in The Sandman. While that other question asks for their significance in general, I have a much more specific question to ask. ...
12
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1answer
2k views

Symbolism of Marx and Lenina's names in Huxley's Brave New World?

Reading Brave New World it seemed obvious to me that Bernard Marx and Lenina Crowne are in some way referring to Marx and Lenin, but I couldn't figure out any clue to support this claim. Is it truly ...
11
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1answer
8k views

What does Narcissa Malfoy's name say about her character?

Many of the names in the Harry Potter series are chosen so as to reflect some trait of their character. For example: Sirius Black the black dog, Remus Lupin the wolf, Severus the severe teacher, Luna ...
10
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1answer
718 views

Meaning of President “Coin” in the Hunger Games books?

My impression was that the name Coin is meaningful as opposed to arbitrary. My thoughts on the meaning so far are: "Other side of the same coin" in that Coin represents the good guys, but ...
10
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1answer
4k views

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 ...
9
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1answer
231 views

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).
9
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1answer
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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 ...
9
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1answer
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Complicated name features in Wuthering Heights

In Wuthering Heights, Catherine Earnshaw and her daughter Catherine Linton constantly change their names and created confusion as to who is who. And you would all have read the part where Lockwood ...
8
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1answer
1k views

Was Atticus's name meant to mean anything?

I am currently studying Latin, and somewhere I read about a man named Titus Pompons Atticus, and as a lover of literature, I do not like to assume that it is just a coincidence that Atticus Finch of ...
8
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2answers
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Why is the Emperor Beyond the Sea named that?

Closely related: Why does the Emperor-Over-the-Sea play such a small role in the Chronicles of Narnia? Why is the Emperor Beyond The Sea in The Chronicles of Narnia named that? What sea is he beyond, ...
7
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1answer
2k views

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 ...
7
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1answer
1k views

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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0answers
113 views

In Foucault's Pendulum, which names are allusions to the real world, and which are not?

Foucault's Pendulum has a litany of character names that intrigue me. I wonder where many of them come from. For example, Casaubon, the name of one of the main characters, seems like it comes from ...
6
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1answer
2k views

Why is the snake named “Asmodeus”?

In Redwall there is a fearsome, hypnotizing serpent called Asmodeus Poisonteeth. The name seems pretty obviously from the Biblical demon/devil (Is there a difference? The Wikipedia page doesn't help) ...
6
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1answer
206 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 ...
6
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1answer
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What are the many names of J.E.D.D. Mason, and their meanings?

In Ada Palmer's Too Like The Lightning, the first book of Terra Ignota, the character of J.E.D.D. Mason has many names - "each Power here has a different name for J.E.D.D. Mason." The series is ...
6
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2answers
380 views

What is the significance of “Jonathan” in Strange and Norrell?

At least four major characters have the name "John" or "Jonathan", including Jonathan Strange, John Segundus, John Childermass, and John Uskglass. This is potentially confusing to a reader. In ...
6
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2answers
474 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 ...
6
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1answer
1k views

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 ...
6
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2answers
177 views

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 ...
6
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0answers
43 views

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 ...
6
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0answers
358 views

Is there any evidence that Theremon 762's name was based on a theremin?

In Isaac Asimov's novel and short story (short story later expanded) Nightfall, there's a character named "Theremon 762". The whole novel is about darkness and innate fear, and a theremin, a type ...
5
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1answer
596 views

What is the significance of Blackberry's name in Watership Down?

In the novel Watership Down, the character of Blackberry is the "clever rabbit" among the original group migrating from the Sandleford Warren. He's the one who comes up with innovative (for ...
5
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2answers
222 views

Why does the narrator in Tagore's story call the Cabuliwallah's daughter “Parbati”?

In Rabindranath Tagore's "The Cabuliwallah", Rahmun, the eponymous Cabuliwallah, has come to Calcutta to make a living selling nuts and dried fruits from his native Afghanistan. In lieu of a ...
5
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2answers
106 views

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 ...
5
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0answers
71 views

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 ...
5
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0answers
159 views

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 ...
5
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0answers
85 views

Why did T.H. White name his hero Mr. White?

In The Elephant and the Kangaroo, T.H. White names his protagonist "Mr. White," with no first name ever given. There are several notable similarities between the author and his protagonist: ...
5
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1answer
192 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
337 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 ...
4
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1answer
200 views

Is there a hidden meaning in the name of Captain Foulenough?

The Brideshead Revisited features a side character, a certain Captain Foulenough. In Russian translation his last name is rendered as Буремглой, obviously referring to a Pushkin's line Буря мглою ...
4
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1answer
2k views

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 ...
4
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1answer
95 views

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 ...
4
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2answers
298 views

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, ...
4
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1answer
323 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"...
4
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1answer
71 views

Where does Arrietty Clock's name come from?

In Mary Norton's Borrowers series, the Borrowers are tiny people who live secretly among humans. There are or were several families of Borrowers living in one large house, with family surnames ...
4
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1answer
158 views

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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0answers
47 views

Why are Christian's children in “The Pilgrim's Progress” given Biblical names instead of character-based names?

In The Pilgrim's Progress, virtually all of the characters are named after their character (e.g. Mr. Pliable, Mr. Honest, Mr. Worldly Wise-Man, Mercy, etc.). However, Christian's children all have ...
4
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0answers
46 views

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: ...
3
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2answers
624 views

What kind of name is Vardaman?

As I Lay Dying is one of my favorite Faulkner novels, but I always come back to the thought: "Who on earth names their kid Vardaman?" Don't get me wrong, I love the name, and Vardaman is my ...
3
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2answers
113 views

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", ...