Wednesday Addams’ Name Explained: The Poem That Inspired the Character’s Moniker
Wednesday Addams will become a topic of conversation this holiday season when Netflix releases Wednesday on Nov. 23, 2022. From the mind of Tim Burton and starring Jenna Ortega in the titular role, Wednesday will explore the well-known character like never before. But there is one question fans of The Addams Family always resort back to: why is the family’s youngest member named after a day of the week? There are a few answers to that question.
Wednesday Addams is based on a cartoon by Charles Addams
Charles Addams created the Addams Family, which was originally printed as a cartoon in The New Yorker. A native of Westfield, New Jersey, Addams’ hometown inspired the gothic macabre for which his cartoons became known.
“There is always a little disagreement among people about which house actually inspired the Addams Family house,” Ron MacCloskey, a local unofficial Charles Addams historian, told The Alternative Press. “But that one was right on the route that Addams walked to and from Westfield High School.” The area was full of Victorian mansions and graveyards during Addams’ time, which sparked the idea for the creepy, kooky Addams Family.
Wednesday Addams’ name explained
The fictional Gomez and Morticia Addams — two interesting names in and of themselves — have two children: Pugsley and Wednesday. There are several theories surrounding the inspiration behind Wednesday’s name.
According to Addams Family fan Joan Blake, she’s to thank for the character’s name. “I was staying with my college roommate. She threw a large party, which Addams attended,” Blake wrote in to the New Yorker (via The A.V. Club).
Blake claimed she was “depressed” sitting on the couch when Addams approached her and asked what was wrong. After taking her to P.J. Clarkes and making her laugh, Addams told Blake about his cartoon becoming a show. “… He had no name for the little girl,” Blake continued. “I said, ‘Wednesday—Wednesday’s child is full of woe.’ And Wednesday became her name.”
The character’s name is likely based on a children’s poem
While Blake’s story might be true, it can’t be confirmed. However, Blake’s inspiration was likely the children’s nursery rhyme “Monday’s Child,” which goes:
“Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.”
Wednesday Addams might be named after a doll
Moreover, The Addams Family: An Evilution by H. Kevin Miserocchi offers another explanation. It suggests Wednesday’s name wasn’t decided upon until Addams’ drawings were adapted into a TV show in 1964. “A year [before the TV show], a Manhattan-based company named Aboriginals, Ltd. had opted to manufacture stuffed fabric dolls based on the Addams family characters,” Miserocchi writes. “… A friend suggested that the pallid little girl he was drawing certainly suggested Wednesday, the child of woe from the traditional nursery rhyme. Addams liked it.” That friend could be Blake, but there’s no way to substantiate those claims.
Watch Wednesday beginning Nov. 23 only on Netflix.