October 15, 2012

What is in a name?

I sort of got stuck on the idea of naming for my SCD 2 and may have had a bit of an epiphany when thinking about it and I sort of wanted to share it. We talked about naming when we discussed Locke. When we don't know what something is, we give it name, usually through the description or relation it has to other things. We name things to give them meaning. We name our countries, our cities, our food, our cars. We "personify" things by giving them names. Sometimes we name our cars or electronics but most importantly we even name ourselves. We name ourselves. Usually our parents will gives us our names at birth but sometimes people changes their name to one they identify with more.

I hadn't thought about it til El Rassi was discussing how he went by his "American name" instead of his given name. How this sort of distorts our identity. I had a friend whose Chinese name was "Xinyu" but instead of giving that name to people when he introduced himself he changed it to "Shawn". He identified more with the name "Shawn" while he was in America. In the case of El Rassi However, he eventually goes back to Toufic stating that  "I don’t look like a David anyway so it’s not like I was fooling anyone.” (El Rassi, 8). This line lead me to the thought of "What does a 'David' look like? I only knew one David in high school and he was about 6 foot 5 and he definitely didn't look like what Toufic had drawn himself to look ling like in the book. My associations that I have with the name, the experience that I draw from to convey my view of what a person named "David" would look like are different from what you as a reader will have as an association to the name. 

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