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Names and Naming in Young Adult Literature. by Alleen Pace Nilsen and Don L. F. Nilsen. Historically, surnames in England and Europe told stories about their owners because they were based on: . ATTRIBUTES, e.g. Black, Brown, Longfellow, Powers, Short, Truman, White

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names and naming in young adult literature

Names and Namingin Young Adult Literature

by Alleen Pace Nilsen and

Don L. F. Nilsen

slide2
Historically, surnames in England and Europe told stories about their owners because they were based on:
  • ATTRIBUTES, e.g.Black, Brown, Longfellow, Powers, Short, Truman, White
  • OCCUPATIONS, e.g.Archer, Baker, Carpenter, Chandler, Sellers, Thatcher, Wickman
  • PATRONYMS, e.g. BenGurion, Bin Laden, Colovitch, Fitzgerald, MacDonald, Nilson, O’Reilly
  • PLACES, e.g. Bankhead, Churchill, Greenspan, North, Sutherland, Wells
slide4

Sherman Alexie is a master as shown in his book Confessions of a Part-Time Indian, and in his film Smoke Signals, which was based on his collection of short stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.

slide5
Alexie said his title could have just as easily been The Lone Ranger and Tonto Get Drunk, Fistfight, and Then Fall into Each Other’s Arms and Confess Their Undying Platonic Love for Each Other in Heaven Followed by a Long Evening of Hot Dog Regurgitation and Public Urination.”
  • Between 1933 and 1954, The Lone Ranger radio show presented nearly 3,000 shows and was later adapted for TV, comic books, movie serials, and a video game.
  • Tonto was the Lone Ranger’s Indian sidekick whose name means something like “stupid” in Spanish, but in reality, Tonto was often the “smart” one.
slide6
One of Alexie’s characters, James Many Horses signs his letters as “James Many Horses III.”
  • He’s the only James Many Horses on the reservation, “but there is a certain dignity to any kind of artificial tradition.”
  • When Simon likes James Many Horses, he calls him “Jimmy Sixteen-and-One-Half-Horses.” When he’s mad at him, he calls him “little Jimmy Zero-Horses.”
slide7
Near Christmas, Rosemary Morning Dove gave birth to a boy. Rosemary said she was a virgin, but Frank Many Horses said it was his.
  • Rosemary Morning Dove named him ___ which is unpronounceable in Indian and English but it means: “He Who Crawls Silently Through the Grass with a Small Bow and One Bad Arrow Hunting for Enough Deer to Feed the Whole Tribe.”
  • “We just called him James.”
slide8

Tribal chairman David WalksAlong got his name from the fact that he walked along with BIA policy so willingly that he called his wife a “savage in polyester pants.”

  • In first grade, Junior Polatkin was always being picked on, so his Indian names became:

- Junior Falls Down, or

- Bloody Nose, or

- Steal-His-Lunch, or

- Cries-Like-a-White-Boy.

…even though none of us had ever seen a white boy cry.

sandra cisneros s best known book is the house on mango street
Sandra Cisneros’s best known book is The House on Mango Street.

Itis a series of vignettes about a young girl growing up in the Latino section of Chicago.Common surnames are Cordero, Guerrero, Ortiz, and Vargas. Given names include:

  • AlfredoIzaura
  • Alicia Jose
  • Alma Mario
  • Angel Norieda
  • Angelo Refugia
  • Armando Rolando
  • Aunt Lupe and Uncle Nacho
names in the hunger games
Names in The Hunger Games

Major Characters

Minor Characters

Cinna

Greasy Sae

Alma Coin

Marvel, Cato, Brutus & Thresh

Rue

Seneca Crane

  • Katniss Everdeen
  • Peeta Melark
  • Gale Hawthorne
  • Plutarch Heavensby
  • Effie Trinket
esperanza cordero is the narrator and she hates her name
ESPERANZA CORDERO is the narrator and she hates her name.

She writes, “In English my name means hope.

In Spanish it means too many letters.

It means sadness, it means waiting.

It is like the number nine. A muddy color.

It is the Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing.”

slide14

Esmeralda wants to baptize herself with a new name: “Lisandra or Maritza or Zeze the X. Yes. Something like Zeze the X will do.”

  • An especially sad story is entitled, “Geraldo No Last Name.” He was a boy killed in a hit-and-run accident. Cisneros wrote: “His name was Geraldo. And his home is in another country. The ones he left behind are far away, will wonder, shrug, remember. Geraldo—he went north…we never heard from him again.”
slide15
Orson Scott Card grew up in the Phoenix area. He began writing plays, which is how he developed his skill with dialogue.
he wrote ender s game in 1985 it has grown increasingly popular and is now a major film
He wrote Ender’s Game in 1985. It has grown increasingly popular and is now a major film.
  • Readers are amazed at how prescient Card was about young people and computers.
  • The plot centers around a child genius taken to a school for special training.
  • He saves the world with his skill in what he thinks is a computer game, but is actually “for real.”
slide17
When Ender first arrives at the school, he tells Mick that his name is “Ender” Mick responds, “That’s a name?”

“Since I was little. It’s what my sister called me.”

“Not a bad name here. Ender. Finisher. Hey.”

Ender’s sister is named Valentine, and she too plays a crucial part in the story.

Andrew Wiggin is also known as Bastard, Fart Eater, Pinbrain, Pin Prick and Scrunchface. Bernard called him Maladroit.

slide18
“Demosthenes” is Valentine Wiggin’s net name.
  • Demosthenes (384-322 BC) was an important spokesman for military preparedness in Athens, Greece.
  • “Locke” is Peter Wiggin’s net name.
  • John Locke (1632-1704) was an English Philosopher who is known as “the father of empiricism.”
slide19
When Ender and Valentine are talking about Locke and Demosthenes as their internet names, Ender says,

“Val, we can say the words that everyone else will be saying two weeks later. We can do that. We don’t have to wait until we’re grown up and safely put away in some career.”

Valentine responds, “Peter, you’re twelve.”

“Not on the nets I’m not,” he responds, and then adds, “On the nets I can name myself anything I want, and so can you.”

slide20
Ender’s best friend at the school is named Bean, and like Ender, he is young and undersized.
  • “Name, kid?” “This soldier’s name is Bean, sir.” “Get that for size or for brains?” Bean is an ironic name, as is Fly Molo.
  • Ender’s fellow students at Battle School are given aggressive (war) names like Scorpion, Spider, Flame and Tide.
  • Other friends and allies are Alai, Mick and Petra Arkanian (aka “baby butt” and “Petra the Poet”), and Dink Meeker.
  • Shen is nicknamed “Worm” by Bernard “because he’s so small, and because he wriggles. Look how he shimmies his butt when he walks.” Shen stormed off, but they only laughed louder. “Look at his butt. See ya, worm!”
  • The effect of all these strange names is not only to characterize the students, but also to remind readers that they are in a very different world.
yann martel and his life of pi
Yann Martel and his Life of Pi
  • Life of Pi was the winner of our 2004 One-Book Arizona.
  • It had earlier won Britain’s Booker Prize.
  • It was on the New York Times best seller list for several months and in 2012, was made into a prize-winning film.
slide22

The story begins realistically in India, where Pi’s father manages the city zoo, so fortunately Pi grows up learning about training animals. Another piece of good luck is that from an early age, Pi was trained as a swimmer by his father’s best friend who had swum in the Olympics in the Piscine Molitor pool in Paris.

It was this friend who had convinced the Patels to name their son after the swimming pool, which he described as a pool that would have delighted the gods.

The book opens with the Patels moving to Canada with the most valuable zoo animals.

but alas it was not to be the great ship sank in the middle of the pacific
But alas, it was not to be. The great ship sank in the middle of the Pacific.
  • And Pi found himself on a lifeboat with a very large tiger.
  • They were later joined by Orange-Juice, a great orang-utan who came floating toward the lifeboat on an island of bananas.
  • And this is where the story slips into fantasy.
slide24
Earlier in school, Piscine had trouble with his strange name. Some people thought that he was an Indian Sikh by the name of “P. Singh.”

Pi’s classmates called him Pissing Patel, and they would ask “Where’s Pissing? I’ve got to go,” or they would say, “You’re facing the wall. Are you Pissing?”

After these taunts, “the sound would disappear, but the hurt would linger, like the smell of piss long after it has evaporated.”

Even the teachers would forget to use his full name and would call on him with “Yes, Pissing?”

slide25
This lasted through all the years at St. Joseph’s elementary school.

But on the first day at Petit Séminaire (high school), when it came time for each student to announce his name, Piscine went to the chalkboard and wrote:

MY NAME IS

PISCINE MOLITOR PATEL,

KNOWN TO ALL AS

PI PATEL.

slide26
For good measure, he added

π = 3.14

and drew a large circle, and sliced it in two “with a diameter to evoke the basic lesson of geometry.”

eoin colfer
Eoin Colfer
  • Colfer is an Irish author whose Artemus Fowl books are especially popular with middle-school boys.
  • In some ways, his “little people” are the same as in Irish folklore.
  • But in other ways, they are very different.
in the artemus fowl books the fairies are all the races that live underground including
In the Artemus Fowl books, the “fairies” are all the races that live underground, including:
slide31
Mulch Diggins is one of Artemus Fowl’s Friends, also known as Lance Digger, Mo Digence, and The Grouch.

He is a kleptomaniac dwarf who has been convicted many times for “digging and entering.”

He loves to unbutton his bum flap and destroy whatever is behind him with a blast of stinky air.

In The Eternity Code, he uses this technique, with a whole variety of complications thrown in for laughs, to destroy a surveillance camera.

slide32
Neil Gaiman’s fascinating book is about a toddler, whose parents have been murdered, and so he wanders into a cemetery.
slide33
A ghost named Mrs. Owens is happy to take on the responsibility of raising him, and so she starts first to find a name for him.
  • Caius Pompeius steps over and eyes the child. “He looks a little like my proconsul, Marcus. We could call him Marcus.”
  • Josiah Worthington says, “He looks more like my head gardener, Stebbins. Not that I’m suggesting Stebbins as a name. The man drank like a fish.”
  • “He looks like my nephew Harry,” says Mother Slaughter (whose gravestone is so worn that it now says “Laugh”).
  • Almost everybody in the graveyard offers a name for the Owens child.
slide34
But Mrs. Owens firmly says, “He looks like nobody but himself.”
  • “Then Nobody it is,” says Silas. “Nobody Owens.”
  • Throughout the book the name “Nobody” was shortened to “Bod” by the good people, and to “Boy” by the bad people.
  • Except for Miss Lupescu who calls him “Nimini”
gaiman s everyman jack and the jacks of all trades
Gaiman’s “Everyman Jack,” and the “Jacks of All Trades”

Nobody Owens is prophesied to kill the Jacks of all trades—the men who murdered his parents.

There is Jack Tar, Jack Dandy, Jack Be Nimble, Jack Ketch, and “the man Jack, whose real name is Jack Frost.”

And they are all trying to kill Nobody Owens.

names for dual audiences parents and children listening together
Names for Dual AudiencesParents and Children Listening Together
  • Audio tapes and CDs are now being released simultaneously with printed books.
  • Daniel Handler’s Lemony Snicket books communicate at one level with children and at another level with parents.
here are some of the smart allusions that make adults smile while being ignored by kids
Here are some of the smart allusions that make adults smile while being ignored by kids.
  • Georgina Orwell is an eye doctor who watches over everyone.
  • Esmé & Jerome Squalor’s Penthouse is at 667 Dark Avenue. Their names come from J. D. Salinger’s Short Story: “To Esmé with Love and Squalor”
  • Violet’s name comes from T. S. Eliot’s “The Violet Hours.”
  • The Prufrock Preparatory School is an important part of The Austere Academy, where the vice Principal is named Nero and makes the students stay up late and listen to him fiddle.
  • The names of Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire remind adults of the infamous murder case centering on Claus and Sunny Von Bulow.
  • And adults might recognize their last name as coming from the French poet, Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867).
slide38
Isadora and Duncan Quagmire remind adults of Isadora Duncan, who choked to death in 1927when her scarf caught in the wheels of a roadster.

The Queequeg Submarine, the Herman Melville Team and the Ahab Memorial Hospital all allude to Herman Melville and Moby Dick.

The Herman Melville Team is much superior to the opposing Edgar A. Guest Team.

Patients in The Heimlich Hospital include Emma Bovary, Clarissa Dalloway, Orlando, and Sappho.

Also in the Lemony Snicket books, there is a Mr. Poe, a Nevermore Tree, and a Murder of Crows.

slide39
Each of the Lemony Snicket books is dedicated to Beatrice, apparently in honor of Dante’s star-crossed lover.
  • To Beatrice—Darling, Dearest, Dead…
  • For Beatrice—You’ll always be in my heart, in my mind, and in your grave.
  • For Beatrice—When we were together I felt breathless. Now you are.
  • For Beatrice—Our love broke my heart, and stopped yours.
  • For Beatrice—When we met, my life began. Soon afterwards, yours ended.
slide40
For Beatrice—Summer without you is as cold as winter. Winter without you is even colder.
  • To Beatrice—My love flew like a butterfly, Until death swooped down like a bat. As the poet Emma Montana McEllroy said: “That’s the end of that.”
  • For Beatrice—When we met, you were pretty, and I was lonely. Now, I’m pretty lonely.
  • For Beatrice—Dead women tell no tales. Sad men write them down.
beatrice in dante s divine comedy
Beatrice in Dante’s Divine Comedy
  • At age 9, Dante Aligieri met Beatrice Portinari, and fell in love.
  • They greeted each other on the street for 16 years.
  • Dante was promised to another woman, Gemma.
  • In 1290, at age 25, Beatrice died.
  • Dante took refuge in writing to and about Beatrice.
slide42

Dante dedicated his Divine Comedy to Beatrice, who in the novel served as his guide through Paradise.

  • With Gemma, he had a daughter named Antonia
  • She became a nun, and took the name of Sister Beatrice.
louis sachar in holes uses funny names to balance out a sad story
Louis Sachar in Holes uses funny names to balance out a sad story.
  • It is set at a juvenile correction facility known as "Camp Green Lake." But there is no "camp," in the fun sense of the word, and there is no "green," and there is certainly no "lake.“
  • Instead, there is a tower, a recreation hall, called the "Wreck Room," a barracks, a warden's cabin, two trees, a hammock, several boys and four adults.
the boys at camp green lake are named after their characteristics
The boys at Camp Green Lake are named after their characteristics
  • Zigzag walks funny.
  • Magnet steals things.
  • Squid is little.
  • X-ray has bad eyes; also his real name is Rex, which in Pig Latin is "X-ray."
  • Armpit was once bitten under the arm by a scorpion.
questions about j k rowling s harry potter
Questions about J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter
  • What are the names of the four houses?
  • What are the names of Harry Potter’s friends? Do they have other names?
  • What are the names of Harry Potter’s enemies?
  • What are the names of James Potter’s friends? Do they have other names?
  • What are the names of Harry Potter’s teachers?
  • What are the flavors of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans?
the four houses of hogwarts
The Four Houses of Hogwarts
  • (Godric) Gryffindor
  • (Helga) Hufflepuff
  • (Rowena) Ravenclaw
  • (Salazar) Slytherin
harry potter s friends
Harry Potter’s Friends
  • Ludo Bagman
  • Hermione Granger
  • Ron Weasley
  • Ginny Weasley
  • George Weasley
  • Cedric Longbottom
  • Neville Longbottom
harry potter s enemies
Harry Potter’s Enemies
  • Crabbe
  • Goyle
  • Draco Malfoy
  • Lucius Malfoy
  • Narcissus Malfoy
  • Rita Skeeter
  • Lord Voldemort/Tom Marvolo Riddle
james potter s friends
James Potter’s Friends
  • Sirius Black/Padfoot: A Dog
  • Professor Lupin/Mooney: A Werewolf
  • Peter Pettigrew/Scabbers/Wormtail: A Rat
  • James Potter/Prongs: A Stag Deer
names of hogwarts faculty
Names of Hogwarts Faculty:
  • Professor Binn (the past tense of the verb to be) is a ghost teacher of history with “deadly dull lectures.”
  • Severus Snape gets more and more severe as the books progress.
  • One of Mad-Eye Moody’s eyes is loose in its socket.
  • Like Mad-Eye Moody, Argus Filch also keeps an eye on the students. Argus in Greek mythology had many eyes, so now we have Argus Peacocks, and Argus cameras.
  • Professor Umbridge’s name is close to “umbrage.”
  • Professor Minerva McGonagall was named after Minerva, the Greek God of Wisdom.
bertie bott s every flavor beans
Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans

Baking Soda Beanstalks Brussel Sprout Caterpillar

Centipede Chewing Gum Cough Medicine Dirt

Earwax Egg Yolk Horse Radish Ink

Liver Mud Onion Paint

Paprika Parsnips Rotten Egg Sardines

Soap Sulphur Tripe Vomit

life is a journey conclusion
Life is a Journey: Conclusion
  • The subtitle of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is “There and back again.”
  • So we feel that this is an appropriate concluding image:
web site
Web Site:

Lemony Snicket in 120 Seconds:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej3hAZ1QnqA