The choice of the names for the personages is by no means accidental. Characters' names can also become a meaningful vehicle for rendering the author's ideas, the stylistic device being called antonomasia or "speaking names".
Antonomasia (Greek antonomasia-"naming instead") is a trope in which a proper name is used instead of a common noun or vice versa, i.e. a stylistic device, in which the nominal meaning (naming one single individual object) of a proper noun is suppressed by its logical meaning (classifying objects into classes) or the logical meaning acquires The new - nominal - component. There are two Types of metaphorical antonomasia possible*.
First, antonomasia can be in a way a variety of allusion. IT is The use of The name of a historical, or biblical personage applied to a person whose characteristic features resemble Those of a well-known original. Thus, a traitor's name may be referred To as Brutus, a ladies' man deserves the name of Don Juan.
Second, at The basis of antonomasia There can be a metaphor, i.e. The use of a common noun as a proper name. For instance, Becky Sharp, Lady Snake, Miss Ape, etc. Antonomasia of this kind is created mainly by nouns, more seldom by attributive combinations (as in "Dr. Fresh Air") or phrases (as in "Mr. What's-his-name")
Note: in lexicology there exists the so-called metonymic antonomasia (for more details on metonymy refer to Part 2 of the unit) which is usually trite and stylistically neutral. It is observed in cases when a personal name stands for something connected with the bearer of that name who once really existed. Study the following examples: He has sold his Vandykes (Hurst) or This is my real Goya (Galsworthy). Some former proper names are now even spelt with a small letter. For example: mackintosh, sandwich, ohm (each originating from a proper name).
Antonomasia is a much-favoured device in the belles-letters style. In an article called What's in a name? Mr. R. Davis says: "In deciding on names for his characters, an author has an unfair advantage over other parents. He knows so much better how his child will turn out".
To do the following task one needs logic rather than intuition only. Read the excerpts given below substituting the letters with the names from the previous activity. Be ready to defend your hypothesis. The first one has been done for yon as an example.
Example: Mr. and Mrs. X = Mr. and Mrs. Dursleys; Y = Dudley
A suggested explanation; In the first place Dursley is a small town in Britan (by the way. the people depicted in the book are "perfectly normal" and from the activities they are engaged in one can assume that they should in no way be associated with anything global and capital). Besides. Dursley can be interpreted as consisting of D" (a French preposition similar to the English 'of) and 'Ursa* (Major/ Minor), the name of the constellation (Great/ Little Bear). It is interesting that the adjective 'ursaT is often used to name a person who resembles a bear, is clumsy and awkward. Is it not possible that the father and the son are mockingly compared with Great and Little Bears? What is more. Dudley is a play on 'dud', which is British slang for a 'boring person*. As for Mrs. Dursley*s first name, which is Petunia, it is meaningful as well. She is named after the flower that symbolizes anger and resentment.
1.Mr. arid Mrs. X, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense.
Mr. X was the director of a firm called Gmnnings. which made drills. He was a big. beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a veiy large mustache. Mrs. X was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors. The X had a small son called Y and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere. [...]
Y looked a lot like Uncle Vernon (his father). He had a large, pink face, not much neck, small, wateiy blue eyes and thick, blond hair that lay smoothly on his thick, fat head. Aunt Petunia (his mother) often said that Y looked like a baby angel - Hany often said that Y looked like a pig in a wig.
2.The roadless boy was back, but this time he had a girl with him. She was already wearing her new Hogwarts robes.
"Has anyone seen a toad? Neville's lost one." she said. She had a bossy sort of voice, lots of bushy brown hair, and rather large front teeth.
"We've already told him we haven't seen it," said Ron. but the girl wasn't listening, she was looking at the wand in his hand.
"Oh. are you doing magic? Let's see it. then."
She sat down. Ron looked taken aback. [...]
"Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow. Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow."
He waved his wand, but nothing happened. Scabbers stayed grey and fast asleep.
"Are you sure that's a real spell?" said the girl. "Well, it's not very good, is it? I've tried a few simple spells just for practice and it's all worked for me. Nobody in my family's magic at all. it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course. I mean, it's the very best school of witchcraft there is. I've heard - I've learned all our course books by heart, of course. I just hope it will be enough - I'm c cl by the way. who are you?"
She said all this very fast.
3.Both of them were thickset and looked extremely mean. Standing on either side of the pale boy, they looked like bodyguards.
"Oh. this is Crabbe and this is Goyle." said the pale boy carelessly, noticing where Hany was looking. "And my name's b. a b."
Ron gave a slight cough, which might have been hiding a snigger. A b looked at him.
"Think my name's funny, do you? No need to ask who you are. My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford."
He turned back to Hany. "You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others. Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there."
He held out his hand to shake Harry's, but Hany didn't take it.
"I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks." he said coolly.
A b didn't go red. but a pink tinge appeared in his pale cheeks.