The Importance of Names: the Dressmaker

Topics: Colloquialism, American film actors, Personal name Pages: 2 (796 words) Published: May 19, 2013
Effects of Change: Importance of Names
It is typical of Rosalie Ham’s meticulous writing style even the names of each of her characters are deliberately chosen to give further meaning to the book. Alterations to the names such as shortenings e.g. Myrtle to Tilly or changes to last names after marriage often coincide which the emergence of a character’s new side or a fundamental change in their nature. On the other hand, if a character does not undergo any change despite the events occurring around them, then the name will simply retain its original meaning.

Though Tilly’s introduction of the fashion avant-garde to the isolated Australian country town changes the exterior of minor townsfolk as a rule, their names do not change as the characters themselves retain their integral character. Beula Harridene is one example of this, the harridan (vicious, scolding woman) nature that gives her her name does not change, as she maintains her natural sticky beak tendencies so she keeps her name. Fred Bundle is named as it could be said that he dropped his (bundle). His alcohol addiction only became apparent to him after a potentially life-threatening, drunken fall into the cellar. Purl’s common name is supposed to be representative of her common nature. Mr Almanac is much like an almanac in his knowledge of medical histories and his ability to read and judge other people’s lives. Each Pickett lives up to their name in a individual way, Lois Pickett is infamous for picking her scabs and blackheads while her son, the gentle and slow Bobby Pickett, was mercilessly picked on in primary and her daughter, Nancy Pickett developed the habitat of picking on other children to protect her brother. Considered the swine of the town, the McSwineys are aptly named. Though pigs are commonly believed to the dirty farm animals, they are in fact some of the cleanest animals - they are carefree, highly intelligent and have large litters. Mona Beaumont, often described as ‘Mona by name,...
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