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.
The main character as a child is named Gogol. Gogol is constantly conflicted as to who he is: American or Indian. Already at an early age, he doesn’t know what to think of the Indian customs that none of the other kids his age do. His parents tell him that once he goes to Kindergarten that he is going to have a different name or “good name”. They tell him that to everyone else but his family, he is to be known as Nikhil. The author shows the character’s confusion about this by writing, “He is afraid to be Nikhil, someone he doesn’t know” Lahiri (57). Gogol is only five
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.
For some people finding out who they are is not exactly the hardest thing to do in the world, some know it from the moment they are born. There are, however, also other people who have to struggle and search for their identities. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is the story of a boy who does just that. It focuses on the Ganguli’s, a Bengali family, who, after moving homes from India to the United States, struggle to uphold a delicate balance between honoring the traditions of their heritage and assimilating into the American culture. Although Ashoke and Ashima’s parents are proud of the sacrifices they have made to provide their children with as many opportunities as they could, their son, Gogol, strives to create his own identity without leaving his heritage behind. In the novel Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, Gogol faces many struggles while searching for his identity.
As Gogol grows, he begins to hate his name as Gogol, and requests to change his name to Nikhil. ""What is the reason you want to change your name, Mr. Ganguli?" the judge asks. "I hate the name Gogol," he says. "I always hated it."" (p.101-102) as Gogol brings up this topic to discuss during dinner befor he changes his name in the summer, Gogol claims that because he is an Indian with a Russian name in America, nobody is taking him seriously, thrust requesting to change his name into Nikhil, even if it makes a huge hassle to change his legal documents. With out the question of his rare name and confusion of the choice, Gogol accepts himself more easier and believes that he has become more Americanized. Gogol sees himself more Americanized as people do while he attends parties and other group activities in his social circle.
Gogol detached himself from his family because as a child, his parents included him in their Indian culture when it did not interest him at all. When Gogol was in elementary school, his parents would force him to attend Bengali language classes ( Lahiri 65,66). Gogol had to attend Bengali language classes because his parents wanted him to be fluent in Bengali. Gogol does not like it because it keeps him from going to art classes, which is his true hobby. This shows that Gogol does not like his Indian culture from his childhood because he was forced to attend something he had no intention of being in. He does not want to be known as an Indian boy, he would rather be known as an American boy just like everyone else he knows. His desire to become Americanized continues because his
Names are the beacon for the start of life; they give us a way to call one another while also acting beyond simply as serving as references. Names have the capacity to show meaning behind one's past, current standing in the present, and life in the future. This perspective of names is clearly portrayed in Jhumpa Lahiri’s, the Namesake, where Gogol, an American born Deshi, struggles personally with his identity, more specifically his name, as he grows up in the United States. Much of what makes names so important in the Namesake revolves around the personal struggle and deep family meaning behind them, and through comprehending this interpretation of names, I believe that Julie Kagawa’s perspective of names being “a bunch of letters or sounds strung together to make a word” is irrational.
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.
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
The novel The Namesake written by Jhumpa Lahiri writes about the struggle and hardships of a Bengali couple who immigrate to the US from India to create a lifestyle outside of everything they have known all their lives. The story begins as Ashoke marries Ashima and brings her to the Massachusetts. Their first child’s name is Gogol, which they didn’t intend on naming initially but because of different mistakes, Gogol has officially become his name. This book/film gave a pleasant insight into identity
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,
Once Gogol goes to you and introduces himself as Nikhil he realizes that he does not know who Nikhil is. He is confused because everyone he knows him as Gogol but when he's at Yale everyone knows him as Nikhil. It takes him a while to adjust to his new name which is represented to his new identity.
Gogol's attempt to Americanize himself is best seen in his romantic relationships throughout the novel. His first real romance is with an American woman, Ruth. For Gogol, "white [women]...are not only exotic physical entities whose fair skin captivate him, but also political symbols within which lie the promise of power" (Bhalla 5). Gogol associates himself with white women as a means of feeling more American. Once his parents find out about his relationship, they go "as far as to point out examples of Bengali men they know who've married Americans, marriages that have ended in divorce" (Lahiri, The Namesake 117). In Bengali culture, like in many other cultures, interracial marriages are seen as the greatest act of betrayal. Although his relationship with Ruth does not last, his next girlfriend, Maxine , serves the same purpose for Gogol as Ruth did: "Maxine functions as a representative of Western high culture...[she] becomes a cultural usher, teaching Gogol how to...gain proximity to the advantages of whiteness" (Bhalla 5). Gogol becomes more a part of Maxine's family than his own. He realizes that "his immersion in Maxine's family is a betrayal of his own" (Lahiri, The Namesake 141). Maxine's family provides Gogol with something that his own cannot: a sense of belonging. As shown, Gogol looks to white women to become more immersed in American culture. He associates with them more than he does fellow Indian Americans because "they remind him too much of the way his parents
reinforces to Gogol that his name is a factor in his identity and how others perceive him.
Through the novel Gogol is in the situation of building his character within two cultures. In the story he is raised to follow his mother and father’s culture and also brought upon into the American culture. The theme of identity begins in chapter 3, where Gogol begins kindergarten. Gogol is explained that when entering school, he will not be enrolled as Gogol, but as Nikhil. “Not only is this a respectable name, a good name, which his parents have finally decided on, just in time for him to begin his formal education.”(Lahiri56) AShoke and Ashiman, Gogol’s decide to give him that name because it is rather easy for Americans to pronounce. The perspective of Gogol’s parents to the name “Nihkil” was with good intentions of his future. Although tension begins to rise when Gogol informs his teacher that he did not want to be called by the name Nikhil, but by Gogol. As Gogol claimed his original name during the first day of school, Mrs. Lapidus acted upon it. “At the end of the first day he is sent home with a letter to his parents from Mrs. Lapidus, folded and stapled to a string around his neck, explaining that due to their son’s preference he will be known as Gogol at school.”(Lahiri60) When Mrs. Lapidus sends a note home