The Name Controversy in Ken Mitchell's Play, The Shipbuilder

Topics: Finland, Sweden, The Play Pages: 2 (588 words) Published: October 8, 1999
The Name Controversy in The Shipbuilder

There are many instances in Ken Mitchell’s play The Shipbuilder, where the main character Jaanus Karkulainen, insists on being called by his Finnish name Karkulainen. In the play, many characters call him Johnny Crook. This situation creates controversy about names and shows how important names are to some people. Jaanus and Jukka create most of this controversy. Jaanus and Jukka are brothers who are born in Finland. Jukka move’s out of Finland and he becomes a Canadian, in name, in body and in soul. Jaanus relocates to Canada several years later, but he’s different. When Jaanus moves to Canada he doesn’t become a Canadian. He is a Finn living in Canada. His body is in Canada but his name, and his soul still belong to Finland. When Jaanus first enters the play he insists that his name is Karkulainen. This immediately shows that although he lives in Canada he will still go by his Finnish given name. The differences between Jaanus and Jukka are shown when Jaanus and Jukka first reunite in Canada. Jukka Karkulainen now goes by the name of Yuki Crook, and thinks nothing of it. His name means very little to him. Jukka then tells Jaanus that there are no Fins living in Canada even though Jukka himself is Finnish. Jukka is now a Canadian. His heritage meant nothing to him. Jaanus would never let that happen to himself. He was born Finnish he would die Finnish. One scene that really shows Jaanus’ idea of the importance of names to your heritage, is when Jaanus goes to court. The Judge asks him how he will plead to all of his charges, and calls him Johhny Crook, not Jaanus Karkulainen. To plied his case, all that Jaanus replies is “I am Jaanus Karkulainen.” He wouldn’t give up his heritage for anything. One scene later, after two years apart, Jaanus and Bender reunite. Bender is a friend of Jaanus’ who met Jaanus when he first came to Canada. When Bender greets...
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