The Importance of Names in Frankenstein and the Handmaid’s Tale

The Importance of Names in Frankenstein and the Handmaid’s Tale

Names are an extremely crucial thing that many people are provided quickly after birth. A name is “the word or words that a person, thing or location is understood by” (Cambridge Online Dictionary (2011 ), Obtained November 6th 2012). Names are provided to recognize a person in replace of calling someone “it”, a term used to refer to something inanimate or without a name. A name shows that someone loves us enough to name us; to think about it with care and love.

Names surrounding the author have an excellent impact likewise and the main character in Frankenstein shares the penname of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley’s hubby. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood uses the impact of feminism to develop the names of most of the female characters. This associates with the way women are portrayed in Frankenstein and how their names represent their characters. The names of the male characters in both novels represent the Victorian and Modern Eras respectively. The main character of Frankenstein is Victor.

Victor originates from the word ‘triumph’, which suggests “an engagement ending in such triumph” (Online Dictionary (2012 ), Retrieved November sixth 2012). In the novel, Victor measures up to his name by being hubristic, especially when he begins producing the monster: “… I was thus engaged, body and soul, in one pursuit.” The verb “engaged” has connotations of marriage and a life-long tie to a person or item, but we understand that Victor disowns the animal. The nouns “body and soul” link to being human and suggest that Victor anticipates the creature to be human, like himself.

It is likewise possible that Victor is attempting to show to Walton that, at this moment, he is still entirely human, and not a mad individual consumed with attempting to “bestow animation upon lifeless matter”. Hubris is when a person has excessive pride or confidence. They can likewise be viewed as arrogant; and hubris is constantly followed by penalty, which is Victor’s death and the numerous deaths his family encounter. Victor’s hubris links to the story of Prometheus, who deceived Zeus into consuming rotten foods to benefit human beings which triggered Prometheus to be penalized.

Victor’s hubris can likewise link to Satan in John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Previously the most lovely of all angels in Paradise, he is an awful figure finest explained by the now-famous quote “Better to rule in Hell than to serve in Paradise” (Paradise Lost, Book One, Page 263). He is presented to Hell after he leads a failed rebellion to battle control of Paradise from God. (Wikipedia (2012 ), Recovered November 8th 2012). Anne Mellor stated that “Frankenstein’s scientific project is clearly an effort to acquire power” (A Feminist Review of Science).

This can be seen though Victor’s speech about creating the Creature and his toils. We know that Victor is punished due to the fact that he states “one by one, my buddies were snatched away; I was left desolate.” The use of the term “friends” in this quote suggests that Victor does not feel any relation to William, his brother. He does not state “family and friends” which would have described his penalty precisely. Using “one by one” creates images of the domino effect. The repeating of “one” can recommend that each death is linked; which undoubtedly they are.

There was also no choice in the loss of his buddies as they were “taken” away from him. This violent verb represents the creature in a vicious light. The adjective “desolate” recommends that he is entirely alone, even though he still has people that look after him. Victor’s best friend, Henry Clerval, whose name is phonetically similar to ‘clear’, has been viewed as Victor’s conscience. Throughout the novel, up till his death, Henry supports and comforts Victor. Martin Tropp said that “Among Clerval’s functions in the novel is repeatedly to advise Frankenstein of his need to like man and nature” (Mary Shelley’s Monster).

This can be seen when he encourages Victor to compose a letter to his daddy and cousin who “… would be very pleased if they got a letter …” Victor has been cut off from his family and now Henry is encouraging him to call those he looks after, however ensuring Victor understands that they take care of him too. Using the intensifier ‘extremely’ demonstrates how much Victor’s household miss him and Henry hopes that contacting his household will make Victor recover quicker. In spite of this, Henry states, after William’s death, “I can use you no alleviation”.

This contradicts the truth that he is there to convenience Victor as he understands that some things can not be consoled. Likewise, the male names in The Handmaid’s Tale likewise hold fantastic significance. Firstly, the Handmaids are protected by men called ‘Angels’. “Angel” suggests security and has undertones of Heaven, and an idealistic place. The Angels are soldiers that defend the nation– attempt to make it a much better place, like Heaven. However, it is never ever stated precisely who the country would be better for when the war is over. The main male characters in the book are the Commanders.

These are “the ruling class”. “Commander” creates the image of the highest individual– which they are. It also has connotations of war. Guardians are believed to be “little Angels”. The connotations of “Guardian” are Heaven, angels and defense. However, the Guardians are put around Gilead to make certain the Handmaids are following the new regime which reveals that they are following orders however it can been viewed as them protecting the Handmaids from punishment. Like The Handmaid’s Tale, Shelley uses the names of the male characters to represent their personality and status.

Along with the male names in both books, the names of the female characters play a big part. Victor’s mom is called Caroline Beaufort. Beaufort is a merge in between the two French words ‘beau’ meaning pretty, and ‘fort’ meaning strong. This relates to Caroline because, like most of the ladies in the 1800s, she is admired for her beauty. She is likewise admired for her strength. Whilst her father is ill, she worked to support them and “acquired plain work; she plaited straw”. The plosives represent the concept of the hardness of the work.

The extreme noise might symbolise her decision and strength. As Frankenstein was written in the victorian age, it was extremely uncommon for a lady to be working as there were males around who might satisfy these functions. The adjective “plain” shows that the work Caroline was doing was of a minimalistic level which recommends that whilst Shelley was brave enough to permit Caroline to work, she did not make her do a crucial profession such as a medical professional or a teacher. Victor’s cousin is called Elizabeth, which implies “Gift of God”.

When Victor first satisfies Elizabeth, she is provided to him “as a quite present”. The adjective “pretty” highlights that she is appreciated for her looks. This plosive, alliterative metaphor creates the image that Elizabeth is a toy, or play thing to be owned, and possibly controlled, by Victor. This is even more improved when Victor states “I looked upon Elizabeth as mine”. The possessive pronoun “mine” shows us that Victor believes Elizabeth belongs to him just. This links to the Victorian mindset to ladies which was that they must be controlled by males.

Paul O’Flinn commented that “Mary Shelley is … a woman author whose text articulates and has been convincingly revealed to articulate components of women’s experience of patriarchy, the family …” This is seen through the ladies in Frankenstein and absolutely Elizabeth. In contrast with Frankenstein, Atwood utilizes the names of the female characters to represent them. When a woman ends up being a Handmaid, her name modifications to ‘Of’ followed by the name of her Leader. The protagonist’s Leader is called ‘Fred’ and for that reason the protagonist Handmaid is named ‘Offred’.

This shows that women ‘belong’ to male figures– whether they are their partner or not. The ladies who ‘train’ the Handmaids before they are sent out to households are called ‘Aunts’. “Auntie” has undertones of love, care, love and household however, in contrast, the Aunties are far from caring– they “patrolled” and have “electric cattle prods”. The use of the verb “patrolled” has undertones of confinement, forcefulness and war. Making use of the noun “livestock” can be viewed as referring to the Handmaids as cows, dehumanising them. Like The Handmaid’s Tale, Shelley uses female names to represent the character in Frankenstein.

In Frankenstein, the Creature is a crucial character and one who is not given a name. This recommends that nobody cared enough for him. He is referred to with various nouns, none of which are polite. A number of times, he is called a “lowlife” such as by William Frankenstein, when the Animal tries to befriend him. “Scum” has undertones of a despicable being, something which stirs disgust. Nevertheless, it could also suggest a regrettable being. This links to the Creature because he informs Victor that when he was produced and rejected, he “took a seat and wept” The verb “wept” is emotive and suggests unfortunate situations.

It is also an unforeseen act from a beast, recommending the Animal does not should have the bad names he is offered. The Creature later on refers to himself as Adam. He states that he is Victor’s “Adam of your labours”. This links to Paradise Lost due to the fact that Victor produced the monster in the exact same method God produced Adam. Both Frankenstein and The Handmaid’s Tale use names to represent their characters. Mary Shelley utilizes the actual names to represent the characters whilst Margaret Atwood utilizes undertones and deeper significance of the names. Even when somebody is not given a name, it is still relevant since it reveals the function of their character.

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