What’s in a name? Specifically, what’s in a name of characters in literature? Sometimes I really wonder how authors came up with the names of their characters, like how many alpha-male romance Heroes are named Devlin or Hawk. Sometimes these over the top names bother me (Spur Atwater in a recent read comes to mind, even though the author explained he was named after the town in Texas in which he was born), but when done right a ridiculous name can suit the character and even enhance their personality and like-ability in my eyes.
In my current read (which I am still squealing over like a little girl) Savannah Blues, the Heroine is called Weezie (short for Eloise) and her bff is Bebe (pronounced like bay-bay, like in French). Both names have the capacity to annoy, but instead I LOVE THEM. Again, I think this is due to my love of the South.
Going to college in Winston-Salem, NC on tobacco road inured me to guys’ names such as Tripp, Trey, Hudson, Rippy and Buford, and girls’ names such as Radford, Benson, Pearson, and Creighton and so many Mary-hyphen-somethings…(yes these are all REAL).
Southerners also have an obsession with giving their child a name, but calling them some absurd nickname. When I attended my friend Pho’s play last week (he is on the stage crew) “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” this obsession was perfectly personified by Tennessee Williams with the children of Mae and Gooper (I hope that was not his real name). I totally cracked up at this part of the play:
Maggie: But Mae, why did yall give your children dawgs’ names? Dixie, Trixie, Buster, Sonny, Polly? Sounds like 4 dogs and a parrot!!!
Mae: You know the real names of our kiddies, Buster’s real name is Robert, Sonny’s real name is Saunders, Trixie’s real name is Marlene and Dixie’s…
[Interrupted by a call off-stage]
Maggie: Will we ever know Dixie’s and Polly’s real names?
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