Ian McMillan: Game of the name
It all began for me many years ago with a pile of Happy Families cards, I reckon; with Mr Bun, the Baker and his lovely wife Mrs Bun and their two children, Master Bun and Miss Bun. Or there’s Mr Plant, the Gardener and the Plant wife and the Plant kids. From playing endless games of Happy Families on a soaking summer holiday with the rain paradiddling on the caravan roof, the young reader (in this case, me) learns about the way that the name of a fictional character can influence the way they behave. In other words, there’s not much point being a baker called Mr Plant, and in further words, nominative determinism.