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Atticus, in light of publication of TKAM prequel - would you still use it?

(53 Posts)
PavilionGrey Tue 14-Jul-15 12:33:56

Just that really. We really had our heart set on it, but not sure any more.

WWYD?

SquirrelledAway Tue 14-Jul-15 12:50:04

Wondered when this would pop up, given the book reviews out this morning.

Depends whether you think the name Atticus will be seen outside its literary connotations. It's not a name I personally would consider for a child, but then according to MN I am dull and unimaginative, having stuck with top ten names for my boys.

PavilionGrey Tue 14-Jul-15 13:49:30

The book reviews have been out for a few days now, so we've had a little while to think about it.

I was actually really upset when I first realised the change in the nature of the character of AF. I'm a lawyer, from a family of lawyers and he was such a hero to me sad.

I guess I'm just looking for a bit of perspective really, I'm due any day now and aware that I'm being completely irrational about many things - is this as big a deal as I am making it?

BothEndsBurning Tue 14-Jul-15 13:56:46

Perhaps read the book before you rush to judgement.

I have to say I wouldn't choose a name for a child solely after a fictional character though.

Topaz25 Wed 15-Jul-15 08:30:01

I haven't read the new book yet but I've read the reviews and was disappointed to see how the character of Atticus was portrayed. I understand that it has upset you and the name doesn't have the same positive association that it used to for you or reflect the same values. I can see why you would consider alternatives.

reuset Wed 15-Jul-15 09:11:29

I'm also still to read the book, it's been delivered to my kindle but I still haven't read. TKAMB isn't a favourite of mine, but I'm intrigued.

I've read the reviews so understand your reservations. However, I'm always put off Atticus because in very recent years it has become a trendy name in certain circles, a niche trend name if you like. Though I'd be surprised if it ever became super popular.

sweetpeame Wed 15-Jul-15 10:54:20

To me it's a name I would always associate with TKAMB. So yes it's possible that people will associate it with the new book too. It's not a name I like in any case. I can understand (to some degree) why a lover of TKAMB would want to use it but IMO it sounds very try hard in any case.

villainousbroodmare Wed 15-Jul-15 12:36:25

I know what Atticus may mean to you, as he means the same to me. I don't think I'll read the new book.
I'd use it, but for a cat. I think it's so very particular to one specific fictional character.

reuset Wed 15-Jul-15 13:36:58

I think it's so very particular to one specific fictional character.

Yes agree, that's the thing with the name Atticus. People will have few other association other than the book

Cornberry Wed 15-Jul-15 16:45:55

It's a fabulous name. The book shouldn't matter. The second one will never have as much resonance as the first anyway.

PavilionGrey Wed 15-Jul-15 18:44:14

Thanks for the responses everybody, really appreciate the range of opinions - and I completely understand that there will be people who wouldn't have used the name anyway. Not really relevant here though as we had already decided.

I am, however, surprised by the comments that people wouldn't name their DCs after heroic characters from literature - parents have been doing this since civilisation began, so I can't really see the issue. This situation, where a hero suddenly turns out to have feet of clay after 50 odd years is pretty unusual and I don't think is reason to never use a name from literature.

Anyway, I guess the question remains, am I overthinking this? Would this be sufficient to make you change your absolute favourite name? (whatever that name was)

MamaLazarou Wed 15-Jul-15 18:46:38

No, it's pretentious and faddy, IMO. A bit try-hard-lefty-liberal.

PavilionGrey Wed 15-Jul-15 18:49:04

p.s. I'd be very grateful for any alternative suggestions too please! Names i/we also like include:

Rupert (vetoed by DH)
Henry (already have one in the family)
Xavier - love this, but we are very British so feels a bit pretentious having a foreign name
Jasper
Stirling (have some reservations about this also given Stirling Moss' homophobic/UKIP views)

I also love Thomas, Charles and Edward, but hate the idea of him being one of several in his class.

Gaaaaah!

PavilionGrey Wed 15-Jul-15 18:57:58

No, it's pretentious and faddy, IMO. A bit try-hard-lefty-liberal.

Thanks for your reply, as I said, I completely get that the name itself isn't everyone's cup of tea smile

Might it be possible, just for the purposes of this thread, to take the actual name of 'Atticus' out of the equation for a moment, and instead insert your own chosen baby name in there instead?

How would you feel if, days before the birth, some really unfortunate connotations appeared from nowhere that tainted the way you saw that particular name?

BothEndsBurning Wed 15-Jul-15 21:19:47

Have you read the book yet? I haven't, but some commentators are saying that the Atticus character isn't inconsistent with the one in TKAM.

SquirrelledAway Thu 16-Jul-15 08:32:54

So go with one of the other names that you love - Thomas, Charles or Edward. Why does it matter that there might be another boy in the class with the same name? They're only at school for a few years of their life, and if there is another child with the same name then they (and their teachers) will manage just fine. I never understand this as a reason not to use a favourite name.

Bue Thu 16-Jul-15 11:00:02

There have been numerous news articles about this very issue over the past few days:

www.nytimes.com/2015/07/15/nyregion/the-name-atticus-acquires-an-unwelcome-association.html?_r=0

PavilionGrey Thu 16-Jul-15 11:29:47

Tbh, I've never understood the desire to give your child a common name either. To me, it just smacks of limited imagination on the part of the parent and an expectation/desire that your DC will just blend into the background amongst a sea of other small Toms/Jacks/Olivers.

I have an unusual name (but one that is still definitely a 'name' IYSWIM?), and am eternally grateful to my own parents for having the courage of their convictions to go with it. People never forget me or my name and whilst this has been both blessing and curse over the years depending on whether I have covered myself in glory or not, I would much rather stand out than just automatically blend in. It's really important to me that my DC has the same opportunity.

That's a really interesting article, thanks for the link...We held our breath when there was a character called Atticus in Downton Abbey thinking that would cause a big surge in popularity, and then again when the news of Watchman was broken some months ago, but decided to go with it as we loved it so much.

I do think there is a difference between a DC that is already here being called Atticus (i.e. pre-publication of the book) and deliberately giving that name to a soon to be born DC in the knowledge of the 'new' face of AF. It would look like we have chosen to name our child after a racist character on purpose and I am really uncomfortable with that.

bananapuddles Thu 16-Jul-15 11:34:27

I named my son Atticus, he was born 10 weeks ago, before the publication of the new book. If I had known, I may have rethought our plans but I love the name on its own merit, and for what the character stands for. I am a bit upset at the new book, but something like that could have happened to any name. I guess it won't gain too much in popularity so that's one good thing.

Sophronia Thu 16-Jul-15 12:12:00

I have an unusual first name too but I'd say it's more likely to be personality or achievements that make people 'stand out', not their name. While some might say common names are lacking in imagination, I personally find names like Atticus very try-hard and pretentious, as if the parent is announcing that their child is more special and unique than all the other children.

PavilionGrey Thu 16-Jul-15 12:30:59

Yes, I do understand there are many people with that attitude. It seems to be very deeply ingrained in British culture tbh - this fear/dislike of putting yourself out there or believing that there is something special about yourself.

SquirrelledAway Thu 16-Jul-15 12:42:01

Choosing the name Tom / Olivia / Jack doesn't show "limited imagination" or "a desire to blend in", children don't need "imaginative" names to stand out - they will stand on their own merit, not because someone gave them a name that their parents think they will live up to.

Sociological studies indicate that the effect of an unusual name rarely amounts to more than the effect of being raised by parents who would choose such a name.

NerrSnerr Thu 16-Jul-15 12:57:09

In my opinion it sounds try hard and I don't believe for one minute a name will shape their personality or prospects. He may be an introvert (or just hate having an unusual name) and make everyone call him Jack by the time he's in secondary school anyway.

PavilionGrey Thu 16-Jul-15 13:00:49

There is room for more than one opinion in the world smile

Realistically, I don't think we can use Atticus now. I think the people whose children actually arrived pre-publication are fine, as they can truthfully say they didn't know, but for us, we would have knowingly named our child after a racist character which I am not happy to do.

Back to drawing board

...and thanks for sharing your opinions - I appreciate you taking the time.

SquirrelledAway Thu 16-Jul-15 13:05:10

Unless of course you refer people back to Lee's inspiration: Quintus Caecilious Pomponianus Atticus, who (according to Wiki) was known for his elegant taste, sound judgement and financial acumen (assuming that is the kind of adult you're aiming for).

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