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Mermaids Singing ?1

June 25, 2007

The names Clíona, Grace, and Graínne are unique and meaningful. To what extent are each of their names appropriate for them? What role does naming play, and how do Clíona and Grace’s choices for their daughters reflect their roles at mothers? What does Graínne mean when she refers to her name saying, “It should have been my mother’s name, not mine.” (p. 161)? What keeps her from accepting her name, and why does she choose to give her mother’s name as her own on page 32?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2007 4:48 pm

    I’ll answer part of the question – I believe Grace was the Americanized version of Grianne, right? If so, Cliona was trying to allow her daughter to fit in, in a new country, by naming her something American (or at least, not Irish.)

  2. June 28, 2007 7:19 am

    I would say Cliona’s name reflects her life in that in the myth, Cliodhna’s life essentially gets washed away while sitting and waiting for her man to return. In life, Cliona’s hopes and dreams were “washed away” by the college guy and her unexpected daughter. I’m not sure about Grace, but I think Grainne will grow into her name and find great inner strength.

    And I think Grainne gives her mother’s name instead of her own to Marc because she wants to act like her mother-to be reckless and sexy and escape the worries that she has now.

  3. July 2, 2007 1:38 pm

    Sorry I’m late joining the discussion (once again) but I just finished reading the book – and absolutely enjoyed it from start to finish.

    Regarding the name choices, I found it so interesting that Cliona was given a traditional Gaelic name but chose to modernize the spelling, she gave her daughter a modern version of a traditional name, and that daughter, who so despised her roots and culture, but still chose a very traditional name for her daughter. Cliona was a woman much like her namesake – someone who could be seen as a victim or a survivor, depending on how you looked at her story and what you took away from it.

    Using her mother’s name as her own allowed Grainne that anonyminity that comes with having a ‘regular’ name plus as Camille said above it was a way of taking on her mother’s identity. Grainne sees her mother as the powerful one, the one deserving of the pirate queen’s legacy.

  4. Cliona nd Grainne permalink
    November 4, 2007 2:51 pm

    woo…grainne and cliona here..wow we never new!!!!super

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