Comparing Names In Song Of Solomon And Roots

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When a child is born, a name is given to them, yet how a child gets their name may vary in different families, religions and cultures. In the novels Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison, and Roots, by Alex Haley, names and naming are major motifs. While these books take place in two very different times and countries, the name giving processes presented in each run a few major parallels. In both books, the selection of a name when it comes to males hold a greater deal of importance than with a female, the meaning of the names are taken into account for names hold characteristics from past bearers, and the names are commonly passed down through generations and have a history which can be traced back through the name.
Selecting a name for a newborn
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Omoro, the father of the new baby, has to take into account the meaning behind the name because of his culture: “By ancient custom, for the next seven days, there was bui a. singic task with which Omoro would seriously occupy himself: the selection of a name for his first born son. It would have to be a name rich with history and with promise, for the people of the tribe—the Mandinkas—believed that a child would develop seven of the characteristics of whomever or whatever he was named for” (Haley 18). Supposedly, the meaning and characteristics of the name given to the baby, will have a great impact of the child's future and personality. Some names have a negative connotation associated with them, that is the case for Pilate’s name in Song of Solomon: “Like a Christ-killing Pilate. You can’t get much worse than that for a name. And a baby girl at that … You don’t want to give this motherless child the name of the man that killed Jesus, do you?” (Morrison 19). Unlike Omoro in Roots, Pilate’s father had no regard for the meaning behind her name, it was just a random selection, even after being warned against it because of the meaning behind it. Although rather than taking on the characteristics of Pilate from the Bible, Pilate makes her own life, full of giving and…show more content…
It is chosen with the characteristics from past bearers in mind. Names carry stories. They hold stories of the past. Names hold the history and culture of the past and bring them to the present. They are vessels through which the present can connect with the
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