The Significance of Names

Talks about the impact a name can have on an individual.

This paper uses the example of Ralph Ellison to illustrate the significance of one’s name. The paper explores the way a person’s name can affect how that person seems himself, as well as how others see him. It points out that a person’s name can be burdensome, but can also be an important part of self-evaluation and reflection.
Ralph Ellison would be another one of those nay Sayers, who would tell Juliet that names are quite important. He was born disliking his own name and even though he eventually came to like the oddity of his name, he would never deny the significance of his ?naming.? According to his 1964 essay Hidden Name and Complex Fate, his father gave Ellison his name. He was named, not for a family member, but for the nineteenth-century American philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.