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  1. #71
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Pacific Northwest
    Quote Originally Posted by caroline147 View Post

    I think the name Gatsby is an ostentatious name in all cases, as it is so strongly associated with the character (who is himself an ostentatious character, ha!). It doesn't make a difference to me, particularly, if the person has read the book or not. Though it does seem pretentious if the parents chose the name after only seeing the movie partially because they liked the idea of being associated with a famous piece of literature. If, however, they simply chose the name because Leo DiCaprio is charming, or because they like the sound, then that's a different kettle of fish. I would hope, though, that all parents research the names they are considering for their children. If, after researching and discovering the history/associations of Gatsby, parents still chose the name; then, yes, that seems ostentatious to me (as it a deliberate statement/choice of signal). If parents do not research the name, then I would be disappointed about that. These are judgements that do not directly relate to class, and at most only reflected internalised societal perceptions of class.
    @caroline147, I agree that Gatsby is a show stopper! As far as being the naming police, I want to clarify that it seems to be the consensus (at least on this thread) that it it ostentatious to pick a name when the parent is not familiar with the story, but is "pretending" to be familiar with the story; as Daisy says below:

    [QUOTE=daisy451;1899830] The assumption that the lower-class doesn't know about these literary names is wrong. I didn't grow up in the wealthiest of neighborhoods, and people still read classics in school, memorized the quadratic equation, all the normal education things that everyone does. With the few exceptions that you get anywhere, we still knew what the books were and who wrote them- people generally weren't so busy that they had no idea what was going on in the world.

    ^ I agree, @daisy451, most people have a basic understanding of the classics, I don't think people, in general, consciously think about "branding" their child (unless you are the parents of "#" or Facebook. My experience has been struggling families have had, as far as this thread has defined, the "most ostentatious" literary names. I know the parents of the little boy (well, he was 11 years old at the time) Othello were certainly familiar enough with the fact it was literary, and again, not a great namesake (in my opinion DUE to the story), but I don't think his parents were choosing this name to signal "I am well read," or at least I didn't perceive it this way.

    So to clarify the (jokingly said "naming police" - I personally do not think it is my right to train my ear to think of this as pretentious/ostentatious before discovering if the parents had a personal connection to the story itself when choosing a heavily literary name. I know all discussions on the board are opinions, but I can't help but notice a tinge of judgement. It confuses me a little that the general consensus seems to be the parents should research the connection of a "heavily literary name" and IF they don't = ostentatious. Shouldn't an ostentatious/heavily literary name be ostentatious no matter what? Even if the parent has a personal connection?

    @daisy451 kudos for graduating near debt free! It is not an easy feat; I had to work 50 + hours a week, along with scholarships in order to graduate debt free - it is a great feeling though!

    Having just watched re-read Great Gatsby, and seeing the movie, out of pure curiosity, I am wondering if this was the first time Jordan was used as a first name for a girl in lit? Anyone know?
    Last edited by withinreason; May 16th, 2013 at 02:55 PM.
    No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.

  2. #73
    saraallison Guest
    OK I can see it as pretentious/a little annoying. I did name my daughter Madeline partly after the character in the Bemelmans' children's picture books; of course, I loved the name first and foremost, but it was also tied to the character for me (I am a reading teacher, btw). I don't see that as pretentious--maybe because it's a child's picture book instead of a classic novel? So where do we draw the line? Also, I really love the name Sal for a boy, and did even before I recently read Catcher in the Rye (NOT required reading in a religious private school--ha! but I totally loved it), and Salinger is the only "long form" I really like for it. I don't think I could actually use it, unfortunately though--not sure why--maybe it's bc it does feel a bit pretentious to me. Interesting topic.

  3. #75
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    I commented at the beginning of this forum, but I have to add now, and might repeat myself a bit. Bear with me.

    I've never met a child with a name like Harper, Atticus, Scout, etc, but I did meet a 20-something guy in a bar the other day named Tennyson! I probably freaked him out a little (thankfully, I wasn't looking to flirt because I probably would have been out of luck) because I got a little too excited about his name. He wore it well, although he might have seemed a little tired of explaining that yes, that was his real name.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with giving your child a name for literature. Parents have been giving their kids Shakespearean names for 400 years. That's how we have names like Cordelia, Imogene (which was a mistake that everyone loved anyway), Jessica and Miranda. No one would think you're pretentious (or ostentatious) for giving your child those names. I think the problem here is that the literary names we're talking about it that they're simply new. They haven't been given to too many real-life children in the past, so people aren't used to them and make judgments on them. But that doesn't necessarily make Atticus, Scout and Harper pretentious-- maybe just ahead of the curve.

    I said before how I can see their appeal. It's incredibly lovely to think of giving your child a positive role model and have stories to share with them when they're old enough-- not just the one you named them after, but also why you picked their name and its meaning to you and your partner. But also, I think this is a generational thing. There are tons of literary works from the 20th century that parents have grown up with, that influenced them at some point in their lives and that they maybe fell in love their characters and choose to bestow on their children. I agree with the previous posters that I don't think there are too many parents who just pick the names out to sound cool without actually reading the books. I think it's more of a natural cycle, and I think it happens with each new generation.

    Harper and Scout aren't my cup of tea, and I couldn't stand Salinger, but I'll take them and their history over Neveah or Jayden any day.
    - current loves -
    Harriet - Flora - Violet - Clementine - Matilda - Wilhelmina - Josephine - Cordelia
    Milo - Frederick - Dashiell - Gus - Atticus - Felix - Theo - Harrison - Jack

  4. #77
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    New Zealand
    I've never read the book and I like Atticus. I don't like it because I think it would make me sound educated (seriously?!), I just like the sound - it's fresh and it pops, to my ears. I'm sure plenty of parents who actually picked the name thought the same.
    Two small people, Mila Arden and Cato Bennett.

    If I had a baby tomorrow...
    Atlas Adair or Lyra Sylvie

  5. #79
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Adelaide Australia
    I agree! But hypocritically I make an exception for Ophelia and Cordelia...
    Thrilled to be mother to @gnes Ei1ish Madeline and Fe1icity Bridget Be@trice

    If we'd had boys the list was: Godfrey, Seamus, Alexander, Michael, Felix, Peter, Ignatius & Sebastian.

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