Thursday, September 24, 2015

1 A.M. Post-- What's in a Name?

So, a long time ago (as in a couple of months) I read Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman which I loved, and a particular quote from that novel really got me thinking, Here's the quote:

" "To name her is to sink her" he told me. "That which we name takes greater weight than the sea it displaces. Ask any Shipwreck" "
Now, if you don't know, this book is about mental illness and the main character Caden has created a sort of alternate world/extended metaphor that he is the passenger on a ship in the middle of the ocean and here he is speaking to the Captain about the ship they are on. But, what this quote really got me thinking about the idea it introduces separate from the novel.

The Captain is telling us that words have power but particularly when they are used as names. We, the human race, name things that we have a strong reaction to, either positive or negative. Think of the things we name, and I don't mean saying an apple is an apple, I mean the things that we ourselves assign a separate name other than their label.
We name:
groups we fear,
our first car or other prized possession,

All of these things generally create some kind of reaction from us and so we give them a tittle. I have always found it interesting that we give hurricanes and other natural storms human names. We spend hours laboring over a piece of art, of any kind, and then we name it, just as we would a child or pet.

Another interesting connection I made with this quote and something that immediately came to my mind was, "He-who-must-not-be-named." People fear Voldemort so much, they cannot say his name, because to say his name is to acknowledge his power. Harry and co. begin to say his name in the series when they begin to fear him less-and-less, and therefore, some of his power is taken away because the saying of his name, his real name and not his second name that fear has given him, lessens the fear.

Just a quick little post on some thoughts that have been rolling around in my head recently! Let me know your thoughts on names, and please check out Challenger Deep it was really great. 


  1. Names definitely have power. And I name everything. So I wonder what that says? Great thoughts. I'll definitely check out Challenger Deep. :)

  2. I enjoyed this post a lot. Names have power, which is why so many people change their names, or women don't take their husbands name for various reasons. I name things based on my experiences with the like the Day of 100 Squirrels.

    1. That's a really great example of the naming tradition. Taking your husband's name (or not taking it) is a large decision for women because it essentially changes who you are to the rest of the world. Interesting point about naming things after experiences, since they too can create a large reaction of some kind in us.
      Thanks for adding your thoughts!