From the beginning of the novel, the importance of names is very evident. The two nurses of the St. Clouds orphange, Nurse Angela and Nurse Edna, are in charge of naming all of the new children there. Each nurse is very different in how they go about naming the children. One is very creative and uses many bizarre nouns for last names and names of loved dead pets as first names while the other is not very creative at all.
Another major symbol of the novel is Dr. Wilbur Larch's use the drug ether. He is using the same drug he gives his pacients, the women who come to have their babies delivered or the pregnancy aborted, for his own personal desires. He uses this drug whenever he is dealing with something difficult or stressful and this shows society's great dependence on outside sources to take our pain away rather than fix our problems on our own.