Gender and Literature/Art

Naming and Identity: An Interpretation of the Character Names in Wives and Daughters

Huang Weizhen
College of Foreign Language, Sichuan University
Journal of Beijing International Studies University 2015-12

Abstract:Naming is a way to define identity. In literary works, name does not only function as artistic symbols, but also signify the identity of the character it refers. The artful manipulation of naming and identity in Mrs. Gaskell's novel Wives and Daughters makes great contributions to its success as a masterpiece. Nevertheless, little attention is paid to this aspect by conventional literary critiques, which mainly focus on its political involvement or ethical significance. In fact, setting up the relationship between name and identity can effectively reshape characters' political and cultural status. Understanding this will be helpful to interpret the artistic skills in literary works, including feminist writings, and thus to bring to surface the profound meaning between the lines.
Keywords:naming, identity, Wives and Daughters, Mrs. Gaskell

Paper type:Published
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