The Bastard Of Istanbul Essay

810 Words 4 Pages
The Bastard Of Istanbul is, at heart, a story about coming to terms with one's identity. Almost all of the characters in this book face an identity crisis of some sort. This can be specifically followed by exploring the connection between the idea of the character's identity and their actual, concrete name. Some characters hide behind pseudonyms, while others have multiple names. The theme of names as a reflection of a character's identity is prevalent throughout the book. Characters in both the cybercafe and the physical cafe are only ever known by their pseudonyms. In both examples, the names give clues to the character's personality, but by no means tell the whole story. In the cybercafe, we learn that Armanoush goes by “Madame …show more content…
This is also evident in her actions; she travels not to understand her American heritage, or even to further understand the ideas of her fellow Armenian exiles, but to understand her Istanbulian background in the hope of understanding herself. “Whereas I have been stuck on this threshold since the day I was born, constantly fluctuating between a proud but traumatized Armenian family and a hysterically anti-Armenian mom. For me to be able to become an Armenian American the way you guys are, I need to find my Armenianness first. If this requires a voyage into the past, so be it, I am going to do that, no matter what the Turks will say or do”(Shafak, 119). This does not mean that she is not conflicted. The ongoing struggle between different sides of her personality is what drives the plot forward. Other less significant characters also have identity crises, and these are also highlighted by the multiple names assigned to them. Mustafa has completely separated his life and personality as “king” of his family in Istanbul from his life as a husband in Arizona. This is again evidenced in the two different names he has, initially arising from a mispronunciation. “He had lived two very different lives. Mustafa and Mostapha. And sometimes the only way to bridge the gap between the two names seemed to silence them simultaneously—to bring both of his lives to an abrupt end” (Shafak,
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