Jon McGreggor’s If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things examines the social dichotomy of the ordinary and the remarkable. This is an attempt to dismantle the divide, and turn accustomed daily commonalities into objects of miraculous relevance and beauty. McGreggor’s novel uses anonymity to focus on the lack of true communication: the detrimental effects of this vacuum on our daily lives and how we see beauty. The scarcity of names is easily identifiable as a crucial aspect of this approach. Names are commonly a person’s main identifier. Alternatively in this novel namelessness distinguishes the characters by simple descriptors and their practices, allowing full development and inhibiting any racial bias by the reader. The lack of the …show more content…
This atypical approach avoids pigeonholing the novel and allows the message to be cross-cultural, and universal. Throughout the book, the female narrator mentions that she “can’t even remember people’s names”. (11) While this could be considered an explanation for the lack of proper names for the subjects, it is unreasonable to believe that the narrator would remember all of the apartment numbers and not her neighbors names. The narrator is not the only person on her block to be secluded from the people who are so physically proximate to her. The boy from number eighteen wrote on the back of a photograph, “ There are so many people in this world he says, and I want to know them all but I don’t even know my nextdoor neighbor 's name”. (216) The fact that all of these people are jam packed together so closely, yet their lives seldom overlap, shows a communal disunion. Globally there is such an expanse of beauty and wonder, yet nobody stops and examines the beauty that is surrounding them. On a smaller level, the use of names to show miscommunication can been seen between the girl with the small, square glasses and her mother. When she tells her mother she is pregnant, one of the first things she does is mention “a list of names, none of which I [the girl with the small square glasses] would have thought of, and none of which I like”. This simple display shows the divide between the mother and daughter and their extreme lack of proper
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In the story, the names and personalities of the characters clash. The name is the mask covering the personality, which is representative of the reality aspect of each character. When Mrs. Hopewell named her daughter Joy, she was hoping for all the joy that comes with raising a child and watching the child develop a life of its own. What Mrs. Hopewell received was a disabled daughter who
One of the challenges of growing up is loneliness. As a small child living in Brooklyn Francie had no friends her age, the kids in her neighborhood that would have been candidates for friends either found her too quiet or shunned her for being different. "So
In the poem “’If I had been called Sabrina or Ann,’ she said.” Piercy compares her name to not nice, plain, everyday objects using similes. She says: “Name like an oilcan, like a bedroom slipper, like a box of baking soda…” (8-10). Similarly, Esperanza says; “It means sadness, it means waiting.
“My Name” by Sandra Cisneros is a short excerpt from her book The House on Mango Street (1984). In this excerpt, Cisneros narrator is a girl named Esperanza, who is telling us that her name reminds her of a lot of negatives things, including who she inherited it from. Esperanza is trying to convince us that her name is a terrible name, which is built up of negativity and bad history. She state that she was named after her great-grandmother, who was born in the Chinese year of the horse, which they have in common, and is well known for her wild customs which lead to her feeling sad and lonely all her life. Esperanza specifies that her name sound beautiful among Spanish speakers, but to non-Spanish speakers her name is pronoun funny “as if the syllables were made out of tin and hurt the roof of your mouth” she says. She indicated that she would like to baptize herself under a new
Jon McGregor’s novel If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things follows the novel-in-a-day format and takes the reader through the day of a regular neighborhood in England. In Caroline Edwards’ “An Interview with Jon McGregor”, McGregor himself states that the neighborhood is based heavily on observations of small details or events, saying “This sense of observing…the idea of lives pivoting on single moments and lives being changed by passing remarks and stray comments and accidents and coincidences” (Edwards 220-221). While I agree with McGregor’s statement that lives can change in an instant because of a seemingly small detail, the more authentic connections that McGregor is making exist between the events of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable
Firoozeh Dumas’s essay “The ‘F Word” is not what audience think it would be about. When the audience hears the someone mention the “F” word all sorts of ideas pop into their head. Yet, Dumas twists the meaning of her title into something the audience wouldn't think of when they hear it. In today's American Society people are judged by more than just the color of their skin, for instance in Dumas’s case it was by her name. Society has an image of what everyone should be like from their looks to the name they go by. In the article Dumas explains her experience as an immigrant from Iran to the US. Dumas shows how hard it is for someone to come to America and live with an unusual name. This is blatantly apparent during her childhood because the children would make fun of her and the rest of her family’s name. To counter this, Firoozeh decided to add Julie as an American middle name so strangers would not feel so awkward around her. Julie became the author’s middle name which caused her to play a “double role” in her life. This was because her family knew her as Firoozeh and her friends and coworkers that knew her as Julie. Later, when she became a stay at home mom Dumas decided to be called by Firoozeh again. This return caused her some uncomfortable situations since the “double roles” collided. Dumas states, “make room in the spice cabinet.” because she believes that Americans should be more opened minded to new pronunciations, sounds, and names.
At several points within “The Approximate Size of my Favorite Tumor,” Alexie plays with the use of nicknames to relay relationships between characters. A name is an integral part of one’s identity, being given at birth and held on to till death, representing who a person is. Sometimes people go by different names depending on how close the person is to another. Names are altered to tease lovingly or show sincerity. Such an instance takes place within the text. Surnames in the Native American community differ from that of western society. Descriptions took the place of a typical last name, creating more intimate and interesting names. For example, the main character of this excerpt is
Throughout the story the protagonist is left nameless. This provides the reader with another question of identity. Without a name to attach to the character, we are left without an identity.
By simply referring to the four main characters by their appellation—the mother, the son, the daughter, and the father— it is shown that this isn’t the story of only one family; this is the story of numerous families that were uprooted and torn apart during this period of Japanese internment and discrimination. These four nameless characters can be any Japanese person in the United States and their experiences can be be extended to all Japanese Americans at that time. Meanwhile, the namelessness of the characters also conveys the loss of their identities. One Japanese American who was arrested as a spy said, “We were just numbers to them, mere slaves to the Emperor. We didn't even have names. I was 326” (Otsuka 119). The Japanese lost the basic right to their own names, and consequently, they lost their identities. Knowing that their Japanese identities may them trouble, the children even attempt to change their identities. They said, “We would change our names to sound more like theirs. And if our mother called out to us on the street by our real names we would turn away and pretend not to know her” (Otsuka 114). In this way, it can be said that identity is encoded in a name. Much like the children, I attempted to
This story begins to drive the sense of emotion with the very surroundings in which it takes place. The author starts the story by setting the scene with describing an apartment as poor, urban, and gloomy. With that description alone, readers can begin to feel pity for the family’s misfortune. After the apartments sad portrayal is displayed, the author intrigues the reader even further by explaining the family’s living arrangements. For example, the author states “It was their third apartment since the start of the war; they had
Outside forces do not have any long-lasting influence on how someone perceives themself. This is a notion that some individuals may choose to believe. However, through the events of one story, we come to realize that the prior statement is false. The nameless protagonist of Boys and Girls (1964) showed that as people, we can be created as somebody other than ourselves at our core because we fall back on the opinions of people whose views we regard too highly. Canadian author Alice Munro’s short story displays how an individual’s identity and realization of self is molded by the prominent role adversity plays throughout the course of their life because the contrasting values and ideologies of those around them conflict with their own moral compass.
There comes a point in time in an individual’s life in which their name truly becomes a part of their identity. A name is more than just a title to differentiate people; it is a part of the person. In Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood by Richard E. Kim, names play a major role on the character’s identities. The absence and importance of the names in the story make the story rich with detail and identity through something as simple as the name of a character. Names are a significant factor affecting the story and the characters throughout the novel Lost Names.
The narrator is not the only story character without a name. The narrator's parents are also unnamed. The unnamed are all individuals who fit within the black community in expected, responsible ways. Sonny and the other named characters, such as Creole and Isabel, all have names due to their deviance. Each of these characters don't quite fit into the normalcy embraced by the narrator. Creole, in particular, gains his name by providing a parental figure to Sonny. He usurps the place that otherwise would have been filled by Sonny's nameless father.
One thing that is particularly crucial to the development of an understanding of the wider story line is the fact that Miriam is also Mrs. Miller’s first name. The fact that the two main characters in the story share the same name is indicative of their relationship. Another key moment in the story is when, shortly after meeting Miriam, Mrs. Miller