OF THE BABY NAME JACK
Jack Duluoz is Jack Kerouac’s fictional alter-ego, appearing in Vanity of Duluoz, Kerouac’s last published novel, among others. He is an older, more cynical version of the earlier Sal Paradise character of On The Road, his groundbreaking “beatnik” novel. Though he may no longer have the wide-eyed lust for life as his younger self, he is nonetheless still feverishly alive and burning with the desire to “…never yawn”.
Jack Pumpkinhead is a delightful character in the L. Frank Baum beloved Oz series of books (continued after Baum’s death by other writers). He is a colorfully dressed, tall and lanky figure made from tree limbs, with a huge pumpkin for a head. Jack has to grow replacement heads in his garden because, of course, the pumpkins keep aging and rotting. Jack has marvelous adventures with the other characters who people Oz, and in spite of his limited intelligence, somehow always manages to save the day.
Jack Ryan is Tom Clancy’s derring-do protagonist in his hugely popular novels, first featured in The Hunt For Red October, which was also a very successful movie. He is a kind of super-man, being a Marine, a pilot, a stockbroker, a CPA, a professor of history and a CIA agent at one time or another, all the while managing to marry and father four children and fight international terrorist, spies, drug cartels, etc. A kind of Everyman for the Boychild, Jack Ryan embodies the ultimate in cool behavior under extreme pressures.
Jack Tanner is the hero of George Bernard Shaw’s 1903 play Man and Superman, a revolutionary who stands in contrast to all that conventional British society of the time revered, including the institution of marriage. The play explores both the philosophical aspects of such institutions as well as their comedic side effects, and loquacious Jack, the self-confirmed bachelor, finally falls victim to the forceful Ann’s wedding schemes.
Ernest is the protagonist of Oscar Wilde’s comedy of manners, “The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People”, which was first performed in London in 1895, and probably remains his most popular play. John (Jack) Worthing maintains an alter-ego in London in the persona of Ernest, his make-believe younger brother, whose foibles he is constantly called upon to remedy. In the country he is known as a sober and conservative gentleman, whereas in the disguise of Ernest in London he is able to follow a rather libertine lifestyle. As Ernest, he proposes to Gwendolen, who accepts him, mainly based upon the fact that his name is Ernest; she has stated that she must marry a man named Ernest. Of course. Lady Bracknell, Gwendolen’s harridan of a mother, does not approve of the match, however, as Mr. Worthington, whatever his true name, was a foundling. Many plot twists and identity switches later, it is discovered that Worthington is in fact a relative of Lady Bracknell, having been lost in a train station as an infant by his nursemaid. This suddenly makes him suitable as a suitor for Gwendolen. That young lady, however, does not want to marry him now because his name is not Ernest, but Jack. Of course. But not to worry – army records of Jack’s father are examined and prove him to have been one Ernest Moncrieff, for whom, as first born, Jack would have been named. So he is Ernest, after all, and that is important, because otherwise, Gwendolen wouldn’t have married him. So now you know the importance of being earnest.