Our names don’t say a lot about us. They are chosen by our parents for us when we are very young, and most of us don’t really choose to change them. When we do change them, they often don’t change that much; William changes to Will, or Elizabeth changes to Liz or Liza or Beth. Yet we still say, “She looks like a Juliette,” or, “He looks like a Tyler.”
But yet there is so much power in a name. A name is what is signed to withdraw money from the bank or buy a car. A name is what we are known as; people visualize us before they meet us based on our name.
But I think it’s more than just that. I think our name makes us. A girl named Juliette meets other Juliettes, sees what they’re like. She thinks, “Oh look! She has the same name I do! I want to be like her.” So the little Juliette does it. She becomes like the older Juliette. In other words, she lives up to the expectations of the name Juliette.
Take my pseudonym for example: Sabrina Wolfheart. I first saw the name Sabrina in the old TV show Sabrina the Teenage Witch. It was a fantasy name. A name involved with witchcraft and sorcery. So when I realized I wrote fantasy, I adopted the name. Sabrina. The influences were there; all I knew was that I was drawn to that name. Little did I know that I was drawn to it because of my first impression of it.
When we write novels, names often matter so much to us; often, they represent changes in us, such as when a character decides to go by a nickname to look cooler or appear better. We often match the names to the personality of the character. If we choose the wrong name, often the character melds itself to match the name and its stereotype.
Do our names make us who we are? What do you think?