What’s in a name? Well, if you share one with a famous literary character…a lot! When you read a book where the protagonist shares your name, it’s easy to get invested in the character.
Most of my friends and family call me by my nickname, Nora. As a kid, I was thrilled when my parents gave me a picture book titled Nora and the Bear, about—you guessed it—a girl and a bear. Nora gets lost in the snowy woods, and the bear she was supposed to be hunting helps guide her back to her village. For my reading level at the time, it was an action-packed thriller. I felt a frission of excitement whenever I saw my name on the page, and it was like reading about an adventure I could have in the future. I’m sure the enjoyment of reading that book is one of the (many) reasons I became a bookworm.
I felt a similar sense of kinship when I read A Doll’s House in high school. Written in the late nineteenth century, the play was ahead of its time in its portrayal of an independent woman. Nora, the protagonist, challenges societal norms and leaves her husband so she can discover herself. I found myself feeling protective and proud of the character, as though we had a special connection.