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What is the symbolism of Noa's name?

Created: 06/19/13

Replies: 8

Posted Jun. 19, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
EmsBooks

Join Date: 02/16/12

Posts: 11

What is the symbolism of Noa's name?

On page 21, Noa explains that her mother named her Noah, maybe because she wanted a boy. Noa dropped the "h" in high school because it sounded cooler and more original. What do you think is the symbolism of Noa's name? Of her dropping the "h"? How is this related to identity as established in the novel's first few lines: "In this world, you are either good or evil. If not, then a court or teacher or parent is bound to tag your identity before you've had a chance to figure it out on your own."


Posted Jun. 20, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
mariannes

Join Date: 12/17/12

Posts: 134

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RE: What is the symbolism of Noa's name?

I thought "Noa" looked like "no." It symbolized negativity to me, and was a way of saying no to all of the bad things in Noa's life.


Posted Jul. 03, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
edie

Join Date: 04/05/12

Posts: 22

RE: What is the symbolism of Noa's name?

When Marlene expressed an interest in knowing about Noa’s name, she reveals that, had her husband not objected, she would have named given Sarah the Jewish name, Noa. Since Sarah is also a Hebrew name, I looked up the meaning for both on the Jewish website, Aish.com. Like most Hebrew girls’ names which carry an attractive, desirable meaning such as hope, grace, love, beautiful, joy, faith, etc., Sarah is the symbol for ‘princess’. Noa, however, means “to tremble or shake.” I’m not sure that this contrast was intended, but it does seem appropriate.
I do believe that in spite of Noa’s sarcastic assurance that she was well aware her name was Jewish, she did not intend to adopt the Hebrew translation. Nor am I convinced of her casual explanation that she changed it to appear cool and original. Maybe the most revealing comment is about her belief that her mother’s motive in naming her Noah was because she really wanted a boy. This suggests that in changing the spelling of her name she is both protesting the fact that she wasn’t wanted or loved enough to be given her own name and saying “Look at me. I’m me. Noa.” This would be consistent with that brief time in her life when she had a hopeful future.


Posted Jul. 03, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 444

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RE: What is the symbolism of Noa's name?

Liz Silver responds on the the meaning behind Noa's name in the "ask the author" thread http://www.bookbrowse.com/booktalk/messages.cfm?threadid=4EE58ED2-5056-A34B-62DE65C5ACFEF176


Here is part of her answer:

"Noa" is an Israeli girl's name I've loved for years and have always wanted to use for either a child or character in a story. The novel came before children, so that is the short version. However, the name means, "motion" or "movement" and indicates Noa's internal struggle. She's never stopped running from her earlier actions. Contrastingly, she is living in solitary confinement on death row where she has almost no physical movement, which is a representation of her paradoxical existence.


Posted Jul. 04, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
edie

Join Date: 04/05/12

Posts: 22

RE: What is the symbolism of Noa's name?

Thanks, Davina! In my rush to jump into the discussion at this late date, I neglected to note that the author had responded to this question. Interesting to discover she had a different translation for Noa's name and one that made perfect sense.
I also regret missing the opportunity to submit my own burning question: Given her legal experience and her intimate knowledge of Noa, would Ms. Silver have agreed to to represent her in an appeal? If no, why not? If yes, what would be the basis of her plea?


Posted Jul. 04, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 444

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RE: What is the symbolism of Noa's name?

Hi Edie,

Great question! I'll send it to Liz Silver in the hope that she has time to answer it!

Davina


Posted Jul. 11, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
edie

Join Date: 04/05/12

Posts: 22

RE: What is the symbolism of Noa's name?

PS. I know the discussion is about to close, but I would have loved to pursue the symbolism of that middle initial: guilt like a scarlet letter or albatross, a tribute to her friend, or just another attempt to claim her unique individuality. Why does she insist on it and hang on to it so tenaciously? The fact that her revelation of the circumstances of Persephone's death comes so late in the novel underlines its significance.

Anyone else agree?


Posted Jul. 12, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 444

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RE: What is the symbolism of Noa's name?

Hi Edie,

The discussion will stay open as long as people want to discuss - and for at least another six weeks either way. So, please do feel free to keep discussing as long as you want! :)

Davina (BB Editor)


Posted Jul. 15, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
StaceyR

Join Date: 05/20/13

Posts: 17

RE: What is the symbolism of Noa's name?

Yes, edie, I agree that it was very significant to Noa. I believe she added it both in tribute/memory and out of guilt.


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