The Naming of Things

I thought it might be interesting to get a thread going on naming and its significance. Xanther especially seems to place value on names, what people are called and what identifiers she constructs for them, such as in the course of her conversation with Dr. Potts when she talks about the leader of the preds at her new school, “Dendish Mower” , her new friends, and some of the apps on her phone.

It will be interesting going forward to see if the names that we have been given in the body of the text as new speakers are introduced, such as Ozgur or Dr. Cas maintain their identities or trade their names for different monikers as the narrative progresses. I am especially interested in this idea of Dr. Cas as the Wizard, and what role that identifier might play in her character development. Also, who is Mefisto and what role does he play in all of this?

So what significance do you see in the names our characters have? In just Xanther’s section we have: Dov, Dr. Potts, Xanther Ibrahim, Astair Ibrahim, Anwar Ibrahim, and the twins, Shasti and Freya Ibrahim…what do their names mean? Do they mean interesting in terms of narrative progression?

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4 responses to “The Naming of Things”

  1. Katie Hayman says :

    Shasti – Hindu Goddess of Childbirth (some different spellings)
    Freya – Norse goddess associated with love, sexuality, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr, war, and death (from Wikipedia), also rides a chariot pulled by two cats.
    Xanther – from Greek mythology referring to a daughter of Oceanus, an Amazon, or the wife of Asclepius

    Anwar – Arabic name meaning luminous, frequently used in the Muslim faith
    Astair – another Hindi name, although I haven’t been able to translate the meaning
    Dov – Hebrew for bear

    Why do Anwar and Astair, who are so determined to be atheist, give their children names with so much religious reference?

    Ozgur – Turkish, meaning free
    jingjing – perfect essence in Chinese (really not sure on this one)

  2. jimhutchins says :

    Xanther also means “yellow”, which I believe is significant coming after the passage in prehistoric Zambia with the ochre paint.

    p. 50: Kaia means “the sea” in Hawaiian.

    Anwar = “lights”

    Astair = “star”

  3. atodd102015 says :

    Shnorhk: grace (Armenian)
    Mnatsagan: permanent (Armenian).

  4. atodd102015 says :

    For some reason, besides the names themselves, the letters they start with keep nagging at me. In Narcon’s section (just a couple pages in), it identifies the different narratives as subsets and abbreviates them like Isn, Anw, X. Seeing them in a list made them look like elements, or star identification tags. We’ve had some suggestions of astrology, and there’s an image of stars right before the font page, so I wonder if there’s some other sort of pattern these narrators fit into.

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