Is there any importance of Esmé's initials, or is it just to be funny?
Good question. Although some of her names are literary allusions, it seems that there were chosen to produce the acronym rather than the other way around. Salinger’s “For Esme with love and squalor” and Colette’s novel “Gigi” clearly come to mind, while “Geniveve” (an archaic form of “Genivieve”, meaning “woman-kin”) is of more uncertain origin.
I do not like green E.G.G.S. and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am… Yeah, I’ve got nothing.
Maybe Daniel Handler thought it would be funny to give these initials to a character who takes herself so seriously. Or maybe it’s an oblique reference to her desire to raise a child (another area where Beatrice clearly beat her to the punch).
I was born In KentucKy and lived there for the better part of three decades.
As schoolchildren we were taught that the word Kaintuckee came from Ka-ten-ta-teh, which meant, in Cherokee, “the dark and bloody ground.”
Later they said Ken-tah-ten meant “future land” in Iroquois. In high school, they claimed it was Wyandot for “land of tomorrow,” and I recall a field trip to see a documentary with that name.
Before long historians were telling us it could be Seneca for “place of meadows,” or it might be a Mohawk word, Kentah-ke, meaning “meadow.”
And from time to time there was an expert, often but not always on a barstool, who argued that the region in its pristine state had seemed to its settlers to be nothing but wild turkeys and river canebrakes: Kaneturkee.
It was clear that no one had any idea what he was talking about—and, in this manner, the most valuable part of our education was received.
J.D. Daniels, “Letter from Kentucky,” The Paris Review No. 203