As I read Song of Solomon, I became interested in the function of names in the story. It appears that Toni Morrison used names as a connection to the history of the community and its residents and as a window into the personalities of the characters. For example, Not Doctor Street was used by South-side residents to “keep their history alive”(Morrison 4). The official name of the street is Mains Avenue; however, when the first Negro doctor moved to their area in 1896 his patients began calling it Doctor Street. The day after Dr. Smith’s death, the street was called Not Doctor Street. The unofficial name of (Not) Doctor Street was a way for the residentsof Southside Michigan to commemorate the historical achievement of Doctor Smith and permanently marking the community’s place in Michigan’s African American history.
In addition of creating and maintaining a connection to one’s history, names are also a window into a character’s personality. Generally, name are often considered as a way to keep track of the players in the story. Now names have a deeper purpose of providing insight into the character and their role in the story. As mentioned in a previous blog, Macon Dead Jr.’s name seems to accurately describe his personality. He is void of emotion for his family and community and only shows emotion when it pertains to money and acquiring wealth. While his sister Pilate is named after a man who committed a cruel act of killing Jesus. Pilate seems to be a strong and loving character not a cruel character as her name suggests.
Have you ever wondered about the history of the street names in your neighborhood and how that name connects community and the residents? Have you ever wondered about the origin and meaning of your name and if it is an accurate depiction of your personality?
My name is Audrey and it is a feminine and masculine given name of Old English origin meaning “noble and strength” I like to think I am a noble and strong person so I will agree with that depiction of my personality. What’s the meaning behind your name?