The Namesake By Jhumpa Lahiri

1214 WordsJun 2, 20165 Pages
Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Namesake” examines an immigrant bengali family that has moved from India to America, and tries to hold their bengali culture while trying to accept American lifestyles. Ashima and Gogol each struggle with their cultural identity throughout Lahiri’s novel. The pressure of western society and the crisis of losing one’s culture and identity is demonstrated through the characterization and Gogol and Ashima’s relationships while living in America. Ashima is Gogol’s mother, who moved to America for her husband Ashoke after they were arranged for marriage. Ashima misses her family and life back in Calcutta, she has trouble setting in to the American lifestyles. “On more than one occasion [Ashoke] has come home from the university to find her morose, in bed, rereading her parents’ letters.” Ashima feels lonely and homesick. Ashima tries to keep Bengali tradition by always wearing a sari and a bindi in her forehead, and always cooking an Indian dinner. “For being a foreigner, Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy — a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts. It is an ongoing responsibility, a parenthesis in what had once been ordinary life, only to discover that that previous life has vanished, replaced by something more complicated and demanding.” (49) In America, Ashima is surrounded by people she does not know, and she does not quite feel that she fits in. There are new customs and a new way of doing

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