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Name Transparency as a Literary Technique.

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Akshaya Kumar Name Transparency as a Literary Technique IB World Literature I Akshaya! My name has come to mean much more than seven arbitrary letters; it is a representation of myself to the rest of the world. Similarly, in literature names are used to demonstrate personality and foreshadow character. Both Fedor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Chronicle of a Death Foretold utilize names for characterization. Dostoyevsky's Raskolnikov and Razumihin provide excellent examples of names whose meanings lead to insight into character. Additionally, Angela Vicario and Maria Alejandrina Cervantes's names demonstrate Marquez's use of names as reflections of personality. Rodion "Rodya" Raskolnikov's name provides great insight into his character. Rodion and its derivative Rodya mean 'rose'. Raskolnikov is only called Rodya by two people in the novel, his mother and his sister. Rose implies a tenderness and loving which most of the characters in the novel do not express towards Raskolnikov. In contrast, his mother and his sister love him unreservedly. On seeing Raskolnikov, his mother "...was speechless with joy and surprise...'Don't be angry with me, Rodya, for welcoming you so foolishly with tears: I am laughing, not crying... ...read more.


Raskolnikov recalls that Razumihin is "an exceptionally...candid youth, good-natured to the point of simplicity"(Dostoyevsky 41). Dimitri does not share Raskolnikov's grandiose visions of being a "superman". His contentment allows him to rationalize and adjust to changes in his life. Raskolnikov reminisces, "He (Razumhihin) spent one winter without lighting the stove and used to declare that he liked it better, because one slept more soundly in the cold"(Dostoyevsky 42). This anecdote illustrates Razumhin's flexible disposition, which is highlighted by Dimitri's transparent name. The stem of his surname, Razum, means 'level headed' and 'balanced'. Razum indicates Razumihin's balanced nature. He spends his money frugally and wisely. "No failure distressed him, and ... no unfavorable circumstances could crush him. Razumhin is very poor and keeps himself entirely upon what he could earn by work of one sort or another. He knew no end of resources by which to earn money"(Dostoyevsky 42). His balanced nature allows him to maintain himself using what limited resources he has at his disposal. Additionally, Razumihin is dependable and responsible. He cares for Raskolnikov and his family during Rodion's illness; and takes responsibility for their welfare. In fact, it is Razumihin who wisely purchases bargain price, seasonal clothing for Raskolnikov with the money Rodion's mother had sent her son. ...read more.


Alejandrina along with Cervantes illustrates the prostitutes' role in Macondo's society. Macondo does not accept a young girl's premarital sexual relations. However, they accept and expect such behavior from their men. Prostitutes essentially protect the virginity of Macondo's young girls, while serving the interests of the male-dominated society. The narrator fondly reminisces about his experiences with Maria, "she was ... the most serviceable in bed. It was she who did away with my generation's virginity. She taught us much more than we should have learned, but she taught us above all that there is no place in life sadder than an empty bed"(74). Marquez's choice of "Alejandrina Cervantes" serves to indicate Macondo's view of prostitution. The use of names to provide insight into characters demonstrates a mastery of stylistic technique. When works are translated, the only words that remain true to the author's actual text are names. Hence, names are key to unlocking the mysteries of translated literature, and are indispensable in the analysis of these novel. Both Marquez and Dostoyevsky demonstrate an excellent use of this subtle literary technique throughout their works. Crime and Punishment and Chronicle of a Death Foretold serve to highlight the importance of understanding transparent names in order to truly understand a piece of literature. ...read more.

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