Throughout the novel The Namesake you see the similarities and the differences between Gogol and Ashoke. Ashoke is born in India and he has made himself an educated man, he has also worked hard for his family to provide for them and show them how to succeed in America. Gogol is Ashoke’s son, Gogol has some hard times trying to figure out who he is as a person and who he wants to be. Both father and son seem to be so different on the surface when really, deep down they are so much alike.
The film, The Namesake, directed by Mira Nair, suggests that everyone has a cultural identity, whether they ignore or embrace it. Gogol Ganguli initially wants to abandon his family’s traditions and adopt American customs since he was born in America. Soon he learns that his name has a very emotional meaning to his father. Because of his new knowledge of the significance of his name, he begins to enter a transformation where he accepts and loves his culture. Throughout the film, Gogol has an internal conflict with himself when, on one side, he has his Indian culture, and on the other, he has the American culture he has always wanted to belong to. Although some people think that cultural identity is destined and final, I claim that cultural identity can change because of how willing people are to welcome it.
Difficult choices come and go from our life. Like trying to understand who you are as a person and where you come from. In the book The Namesake, a boy named Gogol grows up in a cultural Bengali family while living in a different country with different customs. Gogol is special because he is trying to balance the two cultures. Gogol tries to understand and learn his family's culture but tends to pick and choose things from each culture to fit his lifestyle. His response to his cultural collision is very unique. From this cultural collision Gogol question himself and his life decisions.
Gogol grapples with his name throughout the majority of the novel, yet this tension was in the makings even before his birth. Ashoke and Ashima being immigrants set Gogol up to live in two different cultures, American and Bengali. Many children of immigrants may feel like Gogol, having one foot in each world. Gogol framed his struggle with cultural identity through something tangible, his name. In Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, The Namesake, Gogol’s struggle with cultural identity is exposed most greatly by the name others call him and his reaction to it.
In the Namesake, the new parents are faced with a decision to name their son. A tradition where the Grandmother on the Mothers’ side names the baby. Ashima’s Grandmother was sending word about the baby’s name from India. After not hearing from the Grandmother, a proper name
After the initial rejection of his name at a party, Gogol has decided to legally change his name. This change is driven by the character’s disgust at the name his parents had given him, although it is he that had rejected being called Nikhil in kindergarten. The name Gogol comes to represent two very different things to his father Ashoke, and Gogol. To Ashoke, the name represents his life being saved the fateful night of the train derailment. As Caesar writes, “To Ashoke, the name Gogol is...a reminder of the way in which the reading of [Nikolai] Gogol’s short story saved his life…” (108). To Gogol Ganguli, the name simply reminds him of a strange and sad writer he learned about in English class, with no meaningful representation in his own life. Gogol is frustrated that his parents named him something so silly, especially since it is not even a Bengali name. As Gogol stands before the judge, he is asked why he wishes to change his name, to which he responds, “I hate the name Gogol...I’ve always hated it ” (Lahiri 102) His rejection of the name Gogol allows him to escape the identity placed upon him by his parents. Although Nikhil is an Indian name, it enables him to try on a new and more sophisticated identity. The one by which he has his first kiss, his admissions to college, and subsequently the relationships that
The film The Namesake started out while Ashoke Ganguli was traveling on a train to visit his grandfather. On the train Ashoke meets fellow traveler, Ghosh, who impresses upon him to start traveling. The train crashes and Ashoke almost dies but is found and survives. After the crash, Ashoke relocates to America for school. In 1977, Ashoke returns home to India to be arranged to marry Ashima. When Ashima accepts Ashoke’s marriage proposal, she has to move to New York with him where their residence becomes permanent. Ashima has to adapt and adjust to American culture, which is very hard for her because she has never been out of India and she misses her family. Shortly after, they become parents of a boy, who they name Nikhil, with the
When someone has established his or her identity based on experiences and is proud of that identity, he or she is said to be comfortable. In the novel The Namesake, the main character, Gogol Ganguli, is divided between Bengali and American culture, while also having difficulty accepting his name. This causes him to struggle with establishing and being comfortable with his identity. In The Namesake, Gogol, who struggles to identify with his name and his culture, becomes more comfortable with himself after going through difficult life experiences
Jhumpa Lahiri in The Namesake illustrates the assimilation of Gogol as a second generation American immigrant, where Gogol faces the assimilation of becoming an American. Throughout the novel, Gogol has been struggling with his name. From kindergarten to college, Gogol has questioned the reason why he was called Nikhil when he was a child, to the reason why he was called Gogol when he was in college. Having a Russian name, Gogol often encounters questions from people around him, asking the reason of his name. Gogol was not given an Indian name from his Indian family or an American name from the fact that he was born in America, to emphasize that how hard an individual try to assimilate into a different
Intergenerational conflicts mainly involves in the process of searching identity in a new country. In The Namesake, it seems like the major part of the book is about Gogol’s identity formation and confusion. In fact, Ashima is also part of the process of forming American identity. One of the significant incident is the name-changing process of Gogol. At first, we can see how Gangulis’ parents Ashima and Ashoke are “still proudly and deeply entrenched in their Indian heritage” (Bhattacharyya 77), when they were asked to name their baby after themselves or one of the ancestors. They think “This tradition doesn’t exist for Bengalis, naming a son after father or grandfather, a daughter after mother or grandmother. This sign of respect in America and Europe, this symbol of heritage and lineage, would be ridiculed in India” (The Namesake 28). But later when Gogol ask to change the name, his parents agrees either because becomes accepting individualism or doesn’t want to explain why they name Gogol at the very first place. This explains how much Gogol wants to possess a new identity beyond his parents’ traditional norms.
An identity is the state of being oneself. Your character is comprised of your past, present, and future. Some individuals are ashamed of who they really are and try to change themselves, or mask their identities. One of the dominant themes that is conveyed throughout The Namesake is the theme of identity. In the novels, everybody is a little lost, or a lot lost, frankly. Practically every individual struggles with his or her identity, because every person feels the tug and pull of different cultures, different traditions, and different dreams. The Namesake is about this perpetual dilemma faced by immigrants as they fight to maintain their identities while trying to shake them off at the same time while The Great Gatsby is about people
Wilde uses Gwendolen’s and Cecily’s obviously superficial affection towards each other to again accentuate and criticize the importance that the Victorian’s placed on an individual’s name. The practice of naming others as a means to display one’s own dominance is satirized by the irony in the argument between the two young ladies. The audience detects that they are undoubtedly fighting over Ernest as well as superiority, but their true feelings are ironically hidden (rather poorly) under fake earnestness. Garland states that, “both women attempt to define the existence of their opponent through rapidly shifting expression of Identity” (272), and cause a quiet fire in the atmosphere of the scene. Since their fight is so indirect and blatantly petty, Wilde is able to comically criticize females of victorian society that are represented by Gwendolen and Cecily.
The author Jhumpa Lahiri shows how much Gogol has developed and matured throughout the course of the novel. From the the beginning of The Namesake to the end, Gogol is shown developing intellectually. Gogol intellectually improves himself by allowing himself to be more acquainted with his name and identity which gogol prefers to be referred to as. In the third chapter of The Namesake, Gogol takes on one of his first challenges when Gogol is introduced to his first year school. Gogol is perturbed when he finds out that Ashok and Ashima were allowing the other children to call Gogol by his “good name,” Nikhil instead of Original name Gogol. Although, Gogol had never had someone refer to him by anything other than Gogol throughout his entire life, Gogol is perplexed as to why he is being referred to by two names. The Principal of the school refers to him as “Nikhil” in a conversation, Gogol chooses not to respond. As Gogol is in the office with Mrs.Lapidus Ashok says “Go on Gogol”. In doing so Ashoke bagans to worry that by doing so Mrs.lapidus would began to catch on, however,
The important themes of name and identity are very evident in Chapter 3. The chapter contains when Gogol firsts starts kindergarten. Ashima and Ashoke wanted him to go by "Gogol" at home but "Nikhil" at school. However this then leads to confusing him and he has no interest in another name. He considers that depending on where he is he may need to be two different people then leading to him having two different names. "He is afraid to be Nikhil, someone he doesn't know. Who doesn't know him." (Lahiri ). During his adolescent years Gogol connects a new identity with having a new name. His unusual name does not bother him until he turns eleven and he attends a class trip to a cemetery which is when he uncovers that his name is special. Some of the other gravestones have names he has never heard before so he makes rubbings of them because he