Discover the meaning of three names in the film Rosewood. Apply the meanings to the characters.

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, the names of Fanny, Sarah, and Sylvester are the most interesting in Rosewood.

The use of the name Fanny in Rosewood has to make a person laugh once he or she understands the meaning.  Usually, Fanny is a nickname with the actual name being Frances; however, there is no proof that is the case here in Rosewood.  There is a distinct reason why the name Fanny has fallen by the wayside in our culture: it is an informal term for the buttocks.  This is very appropriate in regard to Fanny in Rosewood!  Quite simply, she is an adulterous wife who falsely blames the black community for the sex she has (even going so far as to call it "rape").  Probably the most significant quote from the movie regarding Fanny is a comment made to her:

We haven't caught your n***** yet.

This directly implies that Fanny is a liar and is the ultimate cause of all of the death and racial tension of the movie.

Aunt Sarah, the hero and martyr of the film, is also an interesting name choice.  The name Sarah means "lady, princess, noblewoman in Hebrew."  It is a biblical name, referencing the wife of Abraham who bore Isaac for Abraham through God's direct intervention.  This is incredibly significant in regard to Sarah's role in the film!  Aunt Sarah, as a prominent member of the black community in Rosewood, definitely lives up to the "lady, princess, noblewoman" titles.  Aunt Sarah is brave enough to announce the truth (the infidelity of Fanny) in the middle of the racial tension of the film.  As a result of this brave and noble act, she is shot and killed.  This makes her a martyr for the cause of truth and justice.

Finally, Sarah's son Sylvester is also an interesting name choice.  Note the meaning behind the name Sylvester and its alternative (Silvester):

From a Roman name meaning "of the forest" from Latin silva "wood, forest". This was the name of three popes, including Saint Silvester I who supposedly baptized the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine the Great.

It is also a very noble name, coming directly from Rome, and meaning "of the forest."  As a character in Rosewood, Sylvester is brave and stubborn and proud.  He witnesses the truth and always defends his family, even despite the racial tension and death surrounding his decision.

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