Forming a Life Outside of Everything You Know: Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Namesake"

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The Namesake is a novel that describes the life of a Bengali couple who immigrate to the United States to form a life outside everything they know. The novel provides a detailed account of the family’s hardships and struggles that they face as they seek to belong in their new country. The story follows the life of their son, Gogol Ganguli and his struggle to belong in his family, culture and society. In the novel his name, Gogol begins to shape many aspects within his life and is central theme to the concept of belonging in the novel. The novel is open to ages 15 and provides an insight into the troubles that people may whilst trying to belong to a new society. Within the novel there are many techniques which the author uses to…show more content…
This technique emphasises the theme of belonging, as parts of the narrative are told in present tense it contributes to the sense of immediacy and feeling the reader experiences. The use of third person allows the story to be told in different perspectives from the author’s to Gogol’s perspective. The reader can also gain an insight into the thoughts of some of the characters. When the reader is aware of the narrator’s point of view, this is called third person omniscient narrator. This technique helps reveals the inner thoughts and emotions of the characters to the reader, the reader is told what is happening inside one of the characters by their thoughts without the character actually telling the reader. An example of this is at the beginning of the novel. The novel begins with a perspective from Ashima and her thoughts on giving birth in a foreign country, the reader immediately knowns Ashima’s thoughts about moving to a foreign country. Even though Ashima isn’t the main character in the narrative, her thoughts introduce the theme of belonging and Gogol continues follows this theme on. Names and naming is a central motif to the characters sense of belonging. The naming of Gogol is a central idea used to convey the characters sense of belonging. In the entire novel he is referred to as Gogol except in chapter 10 where it is told from Moushumi’s perspective and he is known as ‘Nikhil’. This

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