|A sunflower not a rose, but the best I could do - we don't have any roses in the garden!|
Romeo and Juliet Act II, Scene II
Juliet. ’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O! be some other name:
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;
And for that name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.
So Juliet clearly distinguished between the person she knew as Romeo, and the name Romeo itself, which she views as "no part of thee". What do you think? Do you consider your name to be part of you? What is a name after all - a string of letters, a grouping of sounds? Is it that simple - is it just a word, or does it hold power?
Sticking somewhat tenuously to the literary theme, and thinking back to childhood fairy stories, Rumplestiltskin's name certainly held power over him, and in fact turned out to be his undoing. For the rest of us, our name is a far more public issue, though admittedly more public for some than others - just consider that baby boy born in London last month, and how big of a deal his name was!
Part of me sees names as words, and names as sounds, but conversely can there be a more intimate collections of sounds than those that we choose to represent our very selves? I think the choice bit is important - after all, whose choice is it? Who chose your name?
I choose to change my name as soon as I was eighteen, to create a line in the sand, a before and after, and then again when I married in 2002, so I've had experience in this area! Taking on Mr Manley's name was kind of a default decision, which I later regretted for just that reason. So now, as a family, we've made a decision.
All of us.
And the story continues