This thesis is concerned with the function of names in the short stories of Joyce Carol Oates. I have distinguished between fifteen different naming strategies. These are various ways in which names participate in her short narratives. These naming strategies are not unique to Oates; she is one of a long tradition of authors who play extensively with names in their writing. The objective of this thesis is two-sided. On the one hand I delve specifically into Oates short stories and investigate how names function within her fictional world. On the other hand, I hope simultaneously to show how in general names provide us with a useful literary analytical tool. Discourse Analysis, with its combination of language and cultural components provides an effective approach for addressing names in literature. My argument is that names so successfully function as narrative shorthand in Oates short stories because as readers we are able to frame our already existing knowledge of names and transfer it to the stories, hence making sense out of the unsaid.