Should You Name Your Kid After Literary Characters?
Recently, my wife and I were discussing names for a possible second child sometime in the future (We have no announcement. We’re just planners.)
We’ve settled on a girl name. But, if we have a second boy, we’re still up in the air about what to name him. If she likes a name, I’m not crazy about it. If I like I name, she’s not feeling it. We’re having a constant back and forth.
The other day, I jokingly threw out the name Gatsby as a possibility. I mean, it’s kind of a cool name, I think. She declined.
But the conversation got me thinking about literary names. If we ever dived into the land of literature for our second child’s name, what are some possibilities?
Gatsby: Like I said above, great name. I really like it as a first name, but it’s almost too associated with a literary character. Imagine your child in 9th grade when his classmates realize he shares the same name as a rich stalker.
Atticus: I think Atticus would be an awesome name for a dog—preferably a larger breed. It’s a power name. But I just don’t think I could do that to my son.
Holden. The name itself isn’t all that bad. But the literary character it represents is whiny and self-absorbed. Plus, the name “Holden” literally means “deep valley.” A little morbid, maybe.
Aslan. I don’t care that this is the name of the lion from Narnia. I have to convince my wife to name our next boy, if we have one, Aslan. How good of a name is that? Who’s going to mess with a kid for having the name of a freaking heroic lion?
Rhett. Classic name for a guy. If you name your son Rhett, he’s guaranteed to be the starting quarterback in high school and a corporate CEO at some point. Plus, he’ll have good hair.
Dill: Cardinal rule of naming babies is to never name your child after an herb. Harper Lee can get away with it, but you can’t. Rosemary is okay. Sage is not bad. But Dill, Parsley, Basil, Oregano? Not so much.
Humbert. The problem with this name is that your son will never know you named him after a literary pervert until he’s in his early 20s, reading Lolita in college. Imagine the devastation, the shock, the anger. “I have the same name as this creep? Have you lost your mind?”
And The Girls
Scarlett: I know, I hate this character from Gone With The Wind, and I’ve talked about it before. But I actually like the name itself. Maybe it’s just the southern boy inside me. Coincidentally, this is also the name of a character on the television show Nashville. Her fake southern accent is terrible.
Emma: I’ve always loved this name for a girl, which would be inspired by the Jane Austen book. It’s classy.
Harper: Not after a character, but after the author of one of the greatest novels ever, To Kill A Mockingbird. Isn’t Harper just a great name for a girl? I think so.
Rose of Sharon: The star of the creepy final scene in The Grapes of Wrath, Rose of Sharon is an unusual name. When I first started reading the book, I thought it was her nickname. But, no, that’s the name. Imagine a kindergartner trying to write this name out every day.
Ophelia: Two words: crazy lady!
Scout: Back to To Kill A Mockingbird. Isn’t Scout a dog’s name? Couldn’t do that to my little girl.
This is just a starter list. I know there are hundreds of other good and bad names from books that could be used to name your kid.
So what would you suggest? Aslan, Rhett…Rose of Sharon?