Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Just The Right Name

I'm (re-)reading Anne of Green Gables. It is such a unique, lovely book. One of the dialogs is about names and it has such a fresh perspective on it, suggesting that the right name for things is very important. Anne always goes around renaming things to reflect their inner qualities. It reminds me of the same idea from The Never Ending Story where a whole world would die unless someone will give the princess exactly the right name.
It's a lovely idea and I think it has a parallel in real life.. That identifying something truthfully, precisely and thoroughly gives it strength to survive and flourish (or in some other cases, the ability to destroy it, but good or bad idea, identifying it opens the door to action). If you can't identify something it may show up randomly and eventually shrivel away unnurtured.
Well here is the dialog from the book:
"My father's name was Walter Shirley, and he was a teacher in the Brolingbroke High School. My mother's name was Bertha Shirley. Aren't Walter and Bertha lovely names? I'm so glad my parents had nice names. It would be a real disgrace to have a father named - well, say Jedediah, wouldn't it?"
"I guess it doesn't matter what a person's name is as long as he behaves himself," said Marilla, feeling herself called upon to inculcate a good and useful moral.
"Well, I don't know." Anne looked thoughtful. "I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thristle or a skunk cabbage."

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