A symbol is a packet of highly compressed meaning. These symbols highlight and communicate different aspects of the characters/story world/plot.
A subcategory of the literary symbol is the ‘character symbol’.
A character’s name is a children’s story is quite often symbolic. Symbolic names are also common in comedy, but are less frequently seen elsewhere, in stories that aim for mimesis. In the real world, after all, people’s personalities are not connected to their names. (And even if your teacher is called Mrs Bellringer, that isn’t useful in a suspenseful crime novel.)
Sometimes a real person has a symbolic name. Donald Trump springs to mind.
Stories for adults feature characters with symbolic names, especially if they are comedies. Will Freeman of About A Boy is one example.
When the name of a fictional character describes their personality or occupation, it is called an aptronym.
Also known as:
- aptonym (without the ‘r’)
- label name
- allegorical name