The Importance of a Name

There would be no significance of each person; a person cannot live without a name.


One’s name is crucial in the representation of reputation. A name is one of the most valuable gifts a person is given by his or her parents. A name can only be given once, and a person just as not getting another name in life cannot have another life. People all have one chance, and their name is the basis of the genesis of life. The names of people are like the star ratings for a restaurant or hotel. It could be good or bad, and the way that people distinguish each hotel is by the name and if it is 3-star or 5-star. On day to day basis in this society, names are the only way each individual human being on earth is recognized.

The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, is heavily name based. For example, at the end of this play John Proctor, a local farmer who lives just outside of town, is accused along with several women of witchcraft. The irony here indeed however is the fact that people who are corrupt are not hung, and the people who are not corrupt are hung. John Proctor hates hypocrisy. He did not want to lie to anyone about being a witch even though he knew it would save his life and more importantly his reputation. He was worried that if he committed to witchcraft, then his innocent name in the community will be ruined. He doesn’t want his name on the church door and consequently to ruin his entire family reputation. He hesitates in front of Judge Danforth to give the false confession and crumples the paper he had and welcomes his own death. He considered his reputation and his name in society was more important than his life. Arthur Miller was unequivocally critical in writing this play. Moreover, he felt sympathetic towards some characters, such as Rebeca Nurse and John. The latter preferred to speak honestly so he wouldn’t have to live with a horrible reputation, which to him is equivalent of a death itself, in the community. The name of John Proctor was a noble one. It was an innocent one. And most importantly, his name was an honest one. He couldn’t bear ruining it further.

Likewise to the chaotic nature of the Salem witch trials in The Crucible was the Red Scare. The Red Scare was when people were unnecessarily being accused of being communists. In Majestic, a movie about the Red Scare, John Appleton was accused of being a communist. The most important evidence the court had in possession was his name signed on a document relating to communism. It was concluded that all the names in that specific document were linked with communism in general. Sadly, the court wanted the false truth from Appleton. Appleton had a statement ready to read in front of the court, but he hesitated and stopped at the last minute. He crumbled the paper and told the audience that he couldn’t lie anymore just to avoid going to the jail and that he indeed was a not communist. He wanted to save his nice reputation and name in the community. He did not want everyone going around society staying away from him because he himself said he was a communist. Like previously stated, he didn’t want to be living while dying; his life was in a limbo. He could tell a lie, save his life, and have a bad reputation tagged onto his name or he could tell the truth, save his reputation, and be put into jail. If he had lied, it’s true that he would still be living outside jail, but he wouldn’t have received any job opportunities or means to start a new life. No one would want him because his name is labeled as a “Communist”.

Generally speaking, getting honored and getting recognized in front of a big audience is a treasurable moment. A person is given a name to be recognized and to be unique. I have experienced such moments where my special name was celebrated for winning first place in the State Science and Engineering Fair. The moment they announced my name, the entire audience applauded and cheered for me. That one special moment changed my life and my reputation in society dramatically.  Now whenever I go out into that audience, most of them recognize me by the name and as the girl who won the grand prize at the competition. In this scenario, my reputation was as an intelligent and young girl. This positive reputation and the intelligence tagged onto my name motivates me to pursue greater heights to maintain my reputation. Moreover, this makes my family proud to have a child that is reputed to being “famous” at least in a state platform.

Names are the most prestigious aspect of one’s reputation. Names are the definition of people. A name belongs to one specific person and cannot have another. It attaches to the reputation of one self and it is crucial in the representation of reputation. Without names and without a certain identification of who each individual is, everyone would be like particles of dust. There would be no significance of each person; a person cannot live without a name. Names give the soul of a person and leave the audience with a mark of how and why the person is significant.

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