Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reflections on "By Any Other Name" by Santha Rama Rau

After reading "By Any Other Name" parts of the memoire show that names, despite your surroundings, do matter. Although one can make separate identities by their name they are entitled to, their roots will always bring them back to who they were in the beginning. Santha Rama Rau proves this points through various aspects of her memoire. Santha's sister Premila expresses that she no longer wants to be in community with her as Pamela at lunch. Nalini, also called Nancy, is an example of a person with dual personality. However, the story mentions in the end that even though Nalini was Nancy on the outside, she still missed her Indian culture. As for Premila, her roots show up when she and her Indian friends were mistreated  as cheaters. "You can bury a dog's tail for seven years and it still comes out curly, and you can take Britisher away from his home for a lifetime and he still remains insular" is a quote mentioned in the memoire. This is an insight to human nature that talks about how the origin and heart of someone cannot be changed permamentely.

I had a the same ideas as the Santha Rama Rau. I think that my surroundings will never be able to have a permanent  effect on me mentally. If I ever come across with a new culture, therefore somewhat a new name or identity, I'll most likely go along with it. Being someone else, and having dual personalities will definitely happen. However as time goes my, aspects of my real self will start to show, and as I fit in to the new culture, I'll be back to my roots once again. New surroundings can take people off guard and often insecure, but once they realize that they can be themselves again, they'll be back on track.


  1. I agree with pretty much, everything you said. But I don't really think that names do matter despite your surroundings because there are some exceptions. For example, there are some people who created many accounts in an online game, to have different personalities and names. They wouldn't want to create different characters and having the same personality. That would be boring. Having an online character is like having dual personality. People act differently under different circumstances. Some people change their personality entirely when they go to a new environment because they want to experience a new approach to their new surrounding. I agree with you when you said "However as time goes, my aspects of my real self will start to show, and as I fit into the new culture, I'll be back to my roots once again." because everyone has a unique personality and that's what makes them special. Everyone will show their true colors once in a while.

  2. I disagree how you said, "names do matter". A name does not change ones values and morals. He or she still remains the same person inside. Those values make up a person and in the end, they start to influence decisions and views toward certain subjects. That person can have multiple names, or multiple identities, but either way, the person’s core has not changed as swiftly as the given name has. Unless he or she creates a name for him or herself, their identity is not shown through the name, therefore the name is not important and does not matter.