Showing posts from October, 2021

Character Names part 1

I love coming up with character names. Before sharing my own thoughts on name creation, I’d like to share two of my favorite sources from literature and screen. In classic literature, it’s top hats off to Charles Dickens as my favorite author of character assignation by name. Is there any question that the slimy, falsely humble character in  David Copperfield  is perfectly named as  Uriah Heep ? What about  Mr. Bumble , the officious beadle of  Oliver Twist ? Or my personal favorite, to be found in  Great Expectations , the ever-stinting  Mr. Pumblechook ? Bad guys are actually easier to name, but certain ‘good guy’ names are also expertly done, such as the eponymous  Oliver Twist . Arguably the greatest good/bad character name combination in literature is found in  A Christmas Carol , with the axis of the defenseless innocent  Tiny Tim  and the grasping villain of  Ebeneezer Scrooge . Just saying these names out loud is a pleasure! In the movie world, it’s a tip of the helmet to  Star

Book Review: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Book Review The Underground Railroad  by Colson Whitehead   It can’t be easy to write a book that’s describing very real atrocities from the past, and yet make it readable and engaging. The Underground Railroad combines real facts and visceral conditions into composite situations, but doesn’t use composite characters. One situation leads to the next in this book, and somewhere along the way you realize that  you  are traveling the rails of history, which for Americans of African descent has meant one struggle after the next. And the journey isn’t over, either, as by book’s end the symbolism of the railroad makes clear. The story starts appropriately in Africa, with the main character’s grandmother. But we’re soon joined at the hip with Cora, an abandoned child slave on the Randall plantation in Georgia. The stress and pain of everyday life is vividly portrayed, which makes the appearance of an actual railroad of escape a bit of a lurching turn. But it’s a (literal and literary) vehicle