Lahiri writes about the story of Gogol Ganguli, who confronts his desires in life while struggling with conflicts regarding his name and issues with his parents’ expectations, all affecting Gogol’s searches for his identity.
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
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.
The major reason that causes Gogol to rethink his relationships and his identity is the meaning of his name. When he was younger, he wanted to be called Nick and went by this name after high school. As he used the name, Nick, he severed ties with his traditions which showed from when he did not visit his parents and completely forgot his life before becoming Nick. Flashbacks were utilized several times in this film to portray Gogol growing up and the train crash which inspired Ashoke to name his son Gogol. In the scene where Ashoke drives with Gogol, he finally discloses how Gogol’s name really came to be. We see a flashback to the train collision when Ashoke was found
In the beginning of the novel, Gogol’s struggle with his identity begins with his name. The first issue was when he was first born. His mother, Ashima, and his father, Ashoke, had planned on waiting for a letter containing the chosen names for their child from Ashima’s grandmother in India, to arrive. But the hospital would not let them be discharged until the baby had a name. Soon enough Ashoke had come up with a name. When Lahiri writes, “But for the first time he thinks of that moment not with terror, but with gratitude” (Lahiri 28), it is evident that after the train accident Ashoke does not remember the
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
Scene: Gogol Ganguli rejects his parents’ choosing of his name when he was first born. Before going to college, Gogol formally changes his name to “Nikhil” so that everyone would recognize him as
In the book “The Namesake”, the main character goes through many struggles trying to find his true identity.The theme of the story is when two cultures are introduced into a child’s life, it can be hard for them to find their true identity. The character deals with a lot of ups and downs trying to find who he is and what he wants to be in life. The struggles that Gogol goes through are what everyday people go through during a lifetime.
In this collection of quotes from page 96 Gogol says Nikhil for the first time while talking to his new friend Kim. After he says it for the first time he goes back thinking about what he had just said and how he said it. He mentions how he was cautious saying it, with hesitation and uncertainty. His own voice sounds unfamiliar, stressed and artificial. One can notice he was overwhelmingly nervous and anxious as if he was forcing himself to say it. He pronounces the two words unknowingly to himself as a question; wondering if this is the right path for him. Without knowing this moment will change him forever regardless of Kim's response. This college student is setting his life path for him. One with a path of adventure with the name Nikhil,
The reader is convinced that Gogol has had many experiences of his name being said with hesitation and lack of ease that normal American names are pronounced with. Gogol must often compare himself to his peers via how teachers and other authorities handle his unique name. Furthermore, Gogol himself is consumed with doubt in regards to his name, what it means, and how it ties him to his heritage in a way he in unsure how to accept. However pleased Gogol may have been with Mr. Lawson’s approach, everything changes when the class reads “The Overcoat” by Nikolai Gogol. “With growing dread and a feeling of slight nausea, he watches as Mr. Lawson distributes the books...the sight of it [“Gogol”] printed in capital letters on the crinkly page upsets him viscerally” (89). Gogol wants nothing to do with his name at this point, even the book it is printed in is “particularly battered, the corner blunted, the cover spotted as if by a whitish mold,” (89). The confusion Gogol associates with his own name infects him and things around him, just like the “warmth [that] spreads from the back of Gogol’s neck to his cheeks and his ears,” (91). The rest of his classmates, “begin to moan in unison,” (92), and Gogol “feels betrayed,” (91). Gogol takes the class’s negative reaction to the Russian author’s biographical information as a personal assault. It reinforces his rejection to his own name as “each time the name
After years of living with the name his parents had given to him, he made the decision to change his name to Nikhil. I believe that this was the initial step that Gogol took to distance himself from his family, and his Indian Culture. It’s ironic that shortly after changing his name Gogol takes a train ride, and later Ashoke would tell the story of how a train wreck inspired his name. The timing of Gogol changing his name, and then meeting his first love, Ruth on a train ride perfectly allows Gogol to take his first steps as the new person he has created. The time spent on the train together allowed Ruth and Gogol to learn about each other and their families.
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,