Questions tagged [name-significance]

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

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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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: ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Is there significance behind the name “Scout” from To Kill A Mockingbird?

I am asking this question in response to the response to this question, which was more broadly asking about the significance of the names in To Kill A Mockingbird. However, it was closed as too broad. ...
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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 ...
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Is there any significance to the format of Aziz's name?

One of the main protagonists in the outer frame story of Elif Shafak's The Forty Rules of Love is a man named Aziz Z. Zahara. This name immediately struck me because of its interesting relationship ...
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Why does Tan-Tan name her child Tubman?

At the end of Nalo Hopkinson's novel Midnight Robber (2000), Tan-Tan, the main character, gives birth to a boy. Her friend Melonhead asks how she will name him: "Tubman." Tan-Tan surprised herself, ...
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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.
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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) ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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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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?
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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 ...
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Was Austen Heller's name inspired by Henry W. Austin?

It's no secret that Howard Roark was loosely inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. Interestingly enough, on a recent tour of Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Oak Park, IL, I encountered a park named after Henry ...
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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 ...
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What's the significance of the name “Johnnie” in “The Bridge by the Tay”?

There's only one named character in this translation of Fontane's "Die Brück’ am Tay" ("The Bridge by the Tay"): "Johnnie". Johnnie shows up twice in the poem: Now, ...
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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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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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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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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 ...
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Why is Dandelion named so?

In Watership Down, one of the rabbits is named Dandelion. The explanation given for the name in the Fandom wiki is this: He is a yellow-furred rabbit, hence his name [Dandelion]. But while that ...
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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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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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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 ...
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1answer
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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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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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 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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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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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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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 ...