The Namesake and Bend it Like Beckham Belonging essay

1715 WordsOct 16, 20137 Pages
My two texts are “The Namesake” and “Bend it like Beckham”. Our prescribed text, Jhumpa Lahiris “The Namesake” explores the link to belonging in detail. The emphasis is on Gogol Ganguli. Gogol struggles with a sense of belonging to his family and his Bengali culture and heritage throughout his life in the course of the novel. Born and raised in the U.S., while his parents spent their entire life in India following Bengali culture and practices and moved on to America as young adults. Gogol must try to find a sense of belonging as he deals with trying to belong in American society, while following his Bengali traditions. This shares many similarities with Jesmindar Bhamra, the main character in my related text, “Bend it Like Beckham”. The…show more content…
He is bewildered as to why his father named him Gogol as it not Bengali nor a normal American name which leads him to struggle to understand himself and his identity. In Bengali families, "individual names are sacred, inviolable. They are not meant to be inherited or shared" (28). However, Gogol grows up living in America, where children are often ashamed of their differences from others. As a teenager, Gogol desires to blend in and to live unnoticed. This presents a struggle between two cultures. Ashima and Ashoke want to raise Gogol and his younger sister with Bengali culture and values. On the other hand Gogol grew wanting to belong by relating mostly to peers and the surrounding culture in America. It is only much later in their lives that they begin to truly value their Bengali heritage and that Gogol finds the importance in his name. During high school Gogol struggles to accept his name as he sees it has no real significance not him. When Gogol heads for college he rejects his identity completely and legally changes his name to Nikhil which allows him to somewhat feel a sense of belonging as this name relates to his Bengali roots, even though he had been ashamed of those exact roots in schooling. Gogol dreads having to go visit home and return to a life where he is "Gogol". To him, Gogol is not only his name; it bears all his discomfort and struggles to fit into two different cultures as he grew up. His life at college makes it easy for Gogol to live as

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