deborah deborah at
Wed May 3 13:55:02 EDT 2000

|.. Does anyone know of, or can
|>anyone think of, reasons that DWJ should have chosen the names that she
|>did for the seven of them in Archer's Goon?

a passage from Deborah's pretentious postmodern thesis:

Names in Archer's Goon try to carry the same weight as names do in
Witch Week, but constantly fail to be accurate signifiers.  The Goon
is never spoken of as a man, or a person, or as anything other than
"Goon".  Fifi refers to the Goon as "somebody's Goon" (Archer's Goon,
1), and the name sticks.  Later, when asked what his named is, the
Goon responds, "Goon will do" (Archer's Goon, 12).  His name follows
naturally (to the Sykes family) from his personality, and they have no
problem assigning him a label.  They seem to have chosen well, for the
Goon accepts the label happily.  Later, when Quentin refers to him as
a "hired assassin" the Goon protests that label, as he has "Not killed
anyone yet" (Archer's Goon, 10).   Yet the title of Goon is also
inaccurate.  The Goon is really Erskine, much smarter than he looks
and a protector, not a hired attacker.  The other descriptive names
also fall apart by the book's end.  Awful uses her contrived awfulness
in protection of her family, and may well grow up to be lovely.
Venturus (Latin for "going to come") seems at first to be well named,
as Venturus will arrive in the future.  But Venturus will never come.
Howard will remain, and will not permit the arrival of the Venturus
persona, or of the eponymous spaceship (Archer's Goon, 232).  Even the
title of the book is revealed as untrue, for the Goon is not Archer's.
He is Erskine, and belongs to himself.  At first correct naming is
very important to Howard: "And the little girls called names.  It was
being called names that had put Howard in a bad mood" (Archer's Goon,
2).  Even at the book's end, Howard still assigns to names the power
of signifiers.  When he decides he has to grow up well, he tells
himself that "he would have to bring himself up not to be Venturus"
(Archer's Goon, 241).

yeah, well, whatever.  It seemed intelligent at the time.

deborah at
Glory be to God for dappled things 	-- G. M. Hopkins

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