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The Name Game

"In Song of Solomon (1977), Toni Morrison's main family chooses names by allowing the family Bible to fall open, then pointing without looking at the text; whatever proper noun the finger points to, there’s the name . . . . Morrison uses this naming practice to identify features of the family and the community."
~pages 53-4 of Thomas C. Foster's How to Read Literature Like a Professor

When reading this, I couldn't help but recall the movie musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Whenever the female lead, Milly, meets her new husband's brothers for the first time, the origin of the brothers' names is revealed. The oldest, her husband, is named Adam. The others from oldest to youngest are Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, Ephraim, Frank, and Gideon. Their parents chose names from the Bible, just like in the example Foster gave. In this case, however, the names had to be in alphabetical order. Just for the record, Frank is short for Frankincense--their mother couldn’t find any "F" names in the Bible. I guess that this tells the audience that their parents were very religious and structured.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 6, 2009 7:24 PM.

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