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Questions tagged [name-significance]

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

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Why did Alexandre Dumas use Greek names for the three musketeers?

In the 1844 novel The Three Musketeers by French novelist Alexandre Dumas there are three musketeers who are named Aramis, Athos, and Porthos. But they are French. Why did Alexandre Dumas choose Greek ...
Snack Exchange's user avatar
30 votes
2 answers
16k views

Why is the UK called Airstrip One?

In 1984, London is the chief city of the province Airstrip One (which consists of the UK), which is a part of the superstate Oceania. Is there a reason why it's called Airstrip One?
fi12's user avatar
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27 votes
4 answers
8k 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 ...
Damaris's user avatar
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25 votes
1 answer
5k 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 ...
Mithical's user avatar
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24 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
Skooba's user avatar
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20 votes
1 answer
4k 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 ...
user avatar
19 votes
1 answer
2k 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.
Matrim Cauthon's user avatar
18 votes
3 answers
4k 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?
Beastly Gerbil's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
4k views

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 ...
fi12's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
11k views

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 ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why is Nausicaa named 'burner of ships'?

Nausicaa in the Odyssey is the princess of a race of seafarers. She and her people are beloved of and descended from Posidon/Neptune. Nausicaa herself is directly descended from both sides as her ...
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13 votes
1 answer
5k 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 "...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
10k 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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
5k 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. ...
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13 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
Luke's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why does changing one's name to 'Vladimir' indicate allegiance to Moscow?

From John Le Carré's Smiley's People: “Vladimir’s father was an Estonian and a passionate Bolshevik, Oliver,” he resumed in a calmer voice. “A professional man, a lawyer. Stalin rewarded his loyalty ...
Silent Sojourner's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
DukeZhou's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
7k 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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
461 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).
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10 votes
1 answer
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In 'The Graveyard Book' by Neil Gaiman, why is one 'Jack' named for a historical person

The book features a group of characters who are members of a fraternal organization, and call themselves: the Jacks of All Trades, or the Knaves, or by other names. We go back an extremely long way. ...
Spagirl's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
10k views

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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
13k 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 ...
xdhmoore's user avatar
  • 217
10 votes
1 answer
319 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 ...
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
Matrim Cauthon's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

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 ...
Victoria's user avatar
  • 203
9 votes
0 answers
149 views

When and why did the spelling "Shakespeare" become standardized?

Six specimens of William Shakespeare's signature survive. In none of them does he spell his own name "Shakespeare". Three of the signatures abbreviate his name. Of those that do not, two use ...
verbose's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
3k 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) ...
bobble's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
763 views

What do the names of the Decameron characters signify?

The Wikipedia page for the Decameron claims (without citations) that: Boccaccio himself notes that the names he gives for these ten characters are in fact pseudonyms chosen as "appropriate to ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
3k views

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, ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
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 ...
Mithical's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
557 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 ...
Joshua Engel's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
106 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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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7 votes
5 answers
1k 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 ...
Alex's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
647 views

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 ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

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 ...
Standback's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
305 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 ...
DLosc's user avatar
  • 788
7 votes
1 answer
149 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: ...
Kimball's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
935 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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
330 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 ...
vincenth's user avatar
  • 163
6 votes
1 answer
841 views

What is the significance of the name Jude, in Jude the Obscure?

The meaning of "obscure" in the title of Thomas Hardy's Jude the Oscure has been discussed previously on this site, but what about the name Jude? Earlier versions of the manuscript had the ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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6 votes
0 answers
326 views

What is the significance of the name Bastian Balthazar Bux?

Apart from being triply alliterative (BBB), what is the significance of the name Bastian Balathazar Bux (or Bastian Balthasar Bux in the German original), the protagonist of The Neverending Story? ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.8k
6 votes
0 answers
137 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 ...
bobble's user avatar
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6 votes
0 answers
430 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 ...
user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
174 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 ...
Ahmed Samir's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
468 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 ...
verbose's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is there a meaning to Koroviev 's nickname?

In Master and Margarita, Koroviev (or Korovyev) is part of Woland's entourage. In various scenes, he is called by his nickname - Fagot: The magician sat down. ' Tell me, my dear Fagot,' Woland ...
Yasskier's user avatar
  • 2,090
5 votes
2 answers
857 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, ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
372 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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
3k views

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 ...
onigame's user avatar
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