What is the significance of a book's title?


Quick Answer

An author uses a book's title to give important information about the contents of the book to the reader. Writers often claim that choosing a title is one of the most important aspects of publishing a written work.

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Full Answer

There are several ways in which authors use titles to give the reader insight into the contents of a book. For example, titles in science journals are often a statement of the proposed hypothesis, which can be lengthy. Isaac Newton's book about the properties of light is titled, "Opticks: or, a Treatise of the Reflections, Refractions, Inflections and Colours of Light." Long titles have also been used by famous novelists such as Kurt Vonnegut.

In collected short works, such as Bukowski's "The People Look Like Flowers At Last," the title is often borrowed from the most significant piece in the collection. Titles can also function as teasers to pull the reader into a book. At first glance, "Fahrenheit 451" does not give away the contents of the book, but eventually the author reveals that books burn at 451 degrees Fahrenheit in a world where books are outlawed.

The significance of Lois Lowry's title "The Giver" is revealed in the book once the reader learns that the Giver is actually giving memories, a critical role in understanding the book's utopian society. When an intriguing title is used well, it can hold more significance for the reader upon finishing the book than starting it.

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