OF THE BABY NAME ENOCH
Enoch Arden is the titular hero of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s 1864 poem, Enoch Arden, about a young sailor who leaves his wife and children to go to sea to make more money. Poor Enoch! He is shipwrecked on a desert island a la Robinson Crusoe for ten long years. When he finally makes his way home, he finds that his wife has happily remarried, believing him dead, to a former rival of his. Enoch makes the ultimate sacrifice and does not declare himself, leaving her to her innocent contentment. This theme has made its way into countless stories and movies, and even into an aspect of the law. The Enoch Arden doctrine holds that the spouse of a missing person may legally remarry in good faith if believing the other to be dead. Poor Enoch! He may not have found happiness, but he did achieve immortality.
Enoch Cain, Jr. is a character in Dean Koontz’ 2000 cautionary novel of good and evil, From the Corner of His Eye. The plot involves the intertwining stories of three people, one of whom is Enoch Cain, Jr., “Junior”. Alas, Enoch is part of the evil, being a psychopathic rapist and serial murderer. Enoch is utterly without redemption, and in fact has no belief in the power of such, having no belief in a god or an afterlife. Here and now, all he can get, is the meaning of life for him. Enoch has done one exceedingly good thing, however, albeit unwittingly. He has had a daughter by a woman he raped, and she is born with the ability to transport people into “another world”. In the case of her father, the “other world” she directs him to is one occupied by huge and distorted bugs that she draws. Aptly named Angel, Enoch’s daughter provides for him that justice that he himself did not believe in.
Enoch Emery is a character in Flannery O’Connor’s first novel, Wise Blood, published in 1952. The plot involves the return of a World War II veteran who forms an atheistic ministry in a small Southern town. He meets Enoch, who is a certifiably crazy eighteen year old who has been kicked out of the house by his unloving father. Enoch introduces the protagonist to the concept of “wise blood”, the notion that he has innate knowledge of the direction one’s life should be taking. Enoch is a sad character, disenfranchised, and really caring only about “Gonga the Gorilla” of movie fame. When he sees a man in a gorilla suit promoting a coming film at the theater, Enoch kills the man, steals the suit, and finds his true identity. Still unaware of his negative impact on the rest of humanity, Enoch is now fulfilled – his “wise blood” has led him to his true identity. It is redemption of a sort.