(urth) Names on the Whorl

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Tue Sep 7 10:54:47 PDT 2010

David Stockhoff wrote:
> Let me restate my hypothesis so it can be tested: every (human)
> character has two names; one name is (let's say) an in-group name and
> the other a (parental) out-group name. But only one is ever presented,
> because the narrator has a unique, potentially changeable relation to
> the character.
> Admittedly, this is hard to test. If every (human) character has two
> names and only one is ever presented,  then what matters is not the
> character's presented name but the character's relationship to the
> narrator. The family is the basic in-group. If Horn says, "I once knew a
> person named Swallowtail---" then all we know is that the person was
> male and was not in his family. We knew that anyway.
> This isn't to argue for the idea, simply to explain that presenting
> lists of character names and the family relationship of characters to
> one another does not test the idea. For example, to Horn, his father was
> Smoothbone, but if he had held a public position he might have been
> called (say) General Moose.

I don't think there are any characters with two names in LS, regardless of
their relationship to the narrator. Had there been, for example, when
Chenille used the glass in Siyuf's suite to try to find Auk, she could have
used your out-group name to narrow the monitor's search for a particular
Auk, rather than having to resort to giving his general location in the city
and his physical description (RTTW, 226). She went about it the same way
when she asked the monitor to find Orchid (227), because the monitor said
Orchid was "also a widely employed appellation."


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