In "A Wizard of Earthsea," what is the significance of "naming" in and how are "rights of passage" important?
This novel is one that examines the life of a hero, and follows the form of the heroic myth as outlined by Joseph Campbell. Jed's path to maturity is also his path to accepting his role as a wizard, and part of learning how magic works is knowing that the names of beings and objects have power. If a name is secret or unknown it indicates that name is possessed of great power. So bestowing a name on someone or something conveys magic and significance upon them. Jed undergoes many rites of passage in this book, as he becomes more learned and aware of his destiny and function as a wizard. These rites of passage are similar to others in coming-of-age stories: resolving conflict with parents or guardians, finding mentors or teachers, confronting fear of death, discovering one's purpose in life.