Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 126

122 Populär Culture Review even when they prove to be memorable— a name doesn’t teil us who a character is. Only watching what this character does and how he does it teils us anything o f value. In The Bourne Identity (Liman, 2002) we know the main character’s name up front, yet the mystery remains: Who is he? This we leam as the story progresses. In Once XJpon a Time in the West, Frank asks Harmonica who he is. Harmonica replies with a list o f names, which Frank recognizes as a list o f dead men. Robert C. Cumbow notes: Later Frank asks again and hears more names: “More dead men,” he says, and the man comments, “They were alive until they met you, Frank.” Harmonica emphatically uses Frank’s name when addressing him. In this way, he underscores his refusal to reveal his own name, while ironically connecting Frank with the named dead rather than with the nameless quick. Indeed, nothing could be further from the point than Harmonica’s name, for what Frank really wants to know is why Harmonica is dogging him. One suspects that the revelation o f Harmonica’s actual name would be no help at all. (69) It may have helped Frank: he certainly seemed to have a good memory for the names o f his victims. It would not help the viewer, however, who knows nothing about what happened before the film began. All the viewer knows o f the Man with a Harmonica is what has been revealed through his words and actions. By the end o f the film we know that he is a man who is driven, who plays his cards close to his vest. He can shoot but doesn’t take chances on someone eise being faster, preferring to Start with an unholstered gun until the film ’s final showdown. He does his homework, knows w hat’s going on, and protects endangered widows. A name that teils us any o f this is difficult to imagine. In the Virginian’s case, we know that he has a name and we know that others in the story know this name. After all, no one ever wonders about it, even though the fact of his name is raised only when M ary uses it upon finding him wounded. It is clear that his name is withheld only from the reader. We still know who he is, however, because we are shown throughout the novel. In this story’s course the reader meets a man quick to humor but slow to friendship and wary o f