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WHAT'S IN A NAME?
 
By
Hannah B.

I have always been very interested in names, their origins, meanings... So I was thinking about that movie and the characters that Meg Ryan plays. I don't think her names were chosen at random at all. Think about the way each character participated in Joe's life. In Judaism names are vitally important and define someone's character or project wished for traits onto them. With Steven Spielberg involved in this movie I think it was an intentional act. Also I always look at peoples hands for some reason...

Deedee - (a diminuitive of Dierdre) means "fear". When Joe tries to hold her hand she offers him a fist.

With the next two the last name 'Graynamore' seemed kind of obvious, that is what got me thinking about other names in the movie.

Angelica - "angel, messenger from God". Remember she is an artist and a poet, and her quote "Art comes from someplace", and her constant comment "I have no response to that." In Judaism, angels are purely messengers, and are allowed to act purely as guides or mouthpieces for God. They are also considered 'semi-related' to human beings -much like the half-sister relationship Angelica shares with Patricia. Both are constantly wondering where their father is and who is closer to him. They miss him and love him, even though they 'don't always see him or know where he is'. A 'flibbertigibbit' which is her definition of herself, is defined in the dictionary as a person who is 'flighty'. Joe never tries to take her hand, rather she offers him hers and when he takes it, she only lays her fingers in his.

Patricia - "noblewoman" Before they jump in the volcano Joe reaches for her hand and she takes his firmly and equally. They are partners in their leap of faith.

Joe - interestingly enough means "God Increases". His last name 'Banks' means "saves or gathers" and is a common Jewish last name. Felix - which Meg Ryan calls Joe when he first arrives at the boat means 'fortunate traveler'.

-Hannah

Saturday, April 20, 2002