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Opposites Theme Naming a variation of Theme Naming using a set of names within a work that create a theme by using words that are opposite to each other or act as foils to each other. Authors like to use themes to create a sense of unity or cohesiveness within their work. Some extend themes to the names of the characters, often beyond the similarities that would be expected for characters from the same culture or who all speak the same language. When the author does this, you have Theme Naming.

Using Opposites Theme Naming puts the named persons in strong contrast to each other. Sometimes it is used to set up the characters as enemies or foils to each other, though it may also signify that they balance each other in a way that is complementary and productive rather than antagonistic. Other times it simply serves to provide symmetry in the names without actually signifying anything about the personalities or relationships of the characters.

This often overlaps with Theme Twin Naming, especially when the twins are Different As Night and Day.


Examples


Anime and Manga

  • Two agents in Kiddy Grade are named Dextera and Sinistra (right and left hand, respectively).

Literature

  • The twin princesses Dawn and Eve in the Xanth series.
  • Conjoined Twins Nora (noir/black) and Blanche (white) Olney from Shelley Jackson's novel Half Life. Their middle names are Gray and Grey respectively.
  • Lords and Ladies has a character whose mother tried to follow the tradition of naming daughters after virtues, but got very confused about it: her daughters had the names of virtues, so she reasoned that her sons should have the names of vices. Meanwhile, all her children completely lacked the traits they were named for. Her daughters had names like Charity (a miser), Hope (chronically depressed), and Chastity (a lady of negotiable affection). She named her sons after vices, such as Anger (a kind and nonviolent man), Bestiality (very kind to animals), and Deviousness (an honest and straightforward chap).

Live Action TV

  • Kath Day and Kel Knight of Kath and Kim. Kel tries to propose by asking Kath if she'd like to "turn Day into Knight".

Video Games

  • In Final Fantasy X, the main couple is named oppositely: Tidus is a romanization of "Tidaa", which is Okinawan for "sun"; Yuna, on the other hand, is Okinawan for "night".
  • The two blue-skinned assassins in Ghost Trick are named Jeego and Tengo. Jeego's name comes from 'jigoku', and Tengo's name from 'tengoku', Japanese words meaning 'hell' and 'heaven', respectively.
  • Trish's twin handguns in the Devil May Cry are named Luce and Umbra ("Light" and "Shadow" in Italian) and are appropriately colored.
    • Dante's handguns are named "Ebony" and "Ivory."
  • Vocaloid has Rin and Len Kagamine. Their names are a pun on the words "right" and "left", respectively.

Web Comics

  • Minor character couple in The Wotch: Scott Winters and Julie Summers.
    • This is doubly thematic: first the contrasting seasonal elements, but secondly, if you switch the last names you get the names of Cyclops from the X-Men and Julie from The Maxx. Whether this means anything, though...
  • Dawn and Dusk from webcomic Gene Catlow.

Western Animation

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender The Hero Aang and his initial Arch Enemy/The Rival Zuko had names on polar opposite ends of the alphabet. This pattern was repeated with Zuko and his more evil sister, Azula. Also, Azula and Aang have this same pattern in the second letters of their names.
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