Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Old Woman Who Named Things

The Old Woman Who Named Things by Cynthia Rylant, Illustrated by Kathryn Brown, 1996.

This story reveals two things to me 1) people aren't meant to be alone 2) names are important. One of the first things we are proud to learn as we are growing up is to write our names. Names are more than just words we call someone. Even if they aren't unique, they represent a unique individual. Having a name means someone else named us.

"The old woman sat and thought about the shy brown dog who had no collar with a name. Wherever it was, no one would know that it was supposed to come to the old woman's gate every day, that she was supposed to feed it and tell it to go home every day, that things were always supposed to be this way. The shy brown dog had no collar and no name, and no one would ever be able to know these things about it."

The old woman decides to name the dog Lucky because she felt lucky. Prior to meeting the dog, she had been so lonely, she named her car, chair and bed. All of her friends had passed away already.

We are meant to commune with other people. If we don't have people around us, we yearn for a relationship with something, anything. In this case, the old woman had chosen objects until a little puppy dog crossed her path. Eventually, she realized that the dog needed her as much as she needed him.

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