Calvin is named after John Calvin (1509-1564), a leader of the Reformation. John Calvin was well-known for expressing his opinions in a most lucid, logical and convincing manner. Six-year old Calvin is similarly eloquent in the expression of his opinions and attitudes, though his opinions differ greatly. Although Calvin is a six-year old, his contemplations and observations of the world around him are often extremely insightful. Calvin's curiosity and imagination often get him into trouble. He's not really a brat, just an interesting mixture of immaturity and innate wisdom. Hobbes is named after Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), a philosopher who had a low opinion of human nature. Hobbes, Calvin's tiger friend, is a bit more upbeat but seems to possess an opinion of humans similar to his namesake. It seems that one of the only things Hobbes does which bother Calvin (beside frequent pouncings) is the enjoyment he derives from gloating about being a tiger. Bill Watterson on Hobbes' "split personality": "The so-called gimmick of my strip - the two versions of Hobbes - is sometimes misunderstood. I don't think of Hobbes as a doll that miraculously comes to life when Calvin's around. Neither do I think of Hobbes as the product of Calvin's imagination. The nature of Hobbes's reality doesn't interest me, and each story goes out of its way to avoid resolving the issue. Calvin sees Hobbes one way, and everyone else sees Hobbes another way. I show two versions of reality and each make complete sense to the participant who sees it. I think that's how life works."
My husband gave a battery of intelligence and personality tests to a job applicant. One question was, "If you were given a million dollars, what would be the first thing you would buy?' The young man replied, "A thank-you card."