The Namesake Culture

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In The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, everybody is just a little bit strayed. Or a lot lost, simply. Practically every character wrestles with his or her identity, because essentially every character feels the tug and pull of different cultivations, different customs, and different dreams. Gogol, in fact, is divided between two cultures. The Indian traditions of his parents and the conventional American culture in which he grows up. His undertaking is the same one that his sister Sonia encounters, and his wife Moushumi, too. It's also related to the encounter his parents endure as immigrants. Everyone faces a choice: should they take into American culture? But, with out betraying there own culture. They always battle with these questions through…show more content…
His parents expected for him to go by "Nikhil" at school and "Gogol" at home, but Gogol is confused and doesn't want a different name "He is afraid to be Nikhil, someone he doesn't know. Who doesn't know him." As a child, he associates a new name with a new identity. Gogol is not fazed by the weird nature of his name until he is 11 yrs old and realizes it on a class trip to a cemetery, that his name is special By his 14th birthday Gogol is coming to hate his name and take offense to being asked about it. There are many different names for Gogol and Sonia to remember for their relatives in Calcutta, "to signify whether they are related on their mother's or their father's side, by matrimony or by blood." At the college party, Gogol is discouraged to introduce himself to Kim as "Gogol," so he says his name is Nikhil. It gives him the assurance to kiss her: "It hadn't been Gogol who had kissed Kim... Gogol had nothing to do with it." Ashima has never proclaimed Ashoke's name in his presence. It creates a space between Ashoke's name and his identity, at least his identity to his wife. So, after Ashoke dies, Ashima explains to their friends what happened to him, she declines, "even in death, to utter her husband's name." She does not comprehend his identity as compared to his name. Moushumi knows Gogol as "Gogol," and is taken aback when he comes out with himself as Nikhil at the bar. It is "the first time he's been…show more content…
Moushumi and Gogol bond over their Bengali identities and how they are a opening of confusion for Americans. "They talk about how they are both routinely assumed to be Greek, Egyptian, Mexican - even in this misrepresentation they are joined." Neither of them thought they would go out with another Bengali for real, since it was something both their parents wanted for them so much. They know that their relationship will call to their Bengali parents, and they find this both comforting and surprising; they never thought they would please their parents in that way. Identity emerges in Chapter 9 while Astrid, Donald, and the people at the dinner party talk about what to name Astrid's baby. Moushumi reveals to the people indifferently that Nikhil was not always named Nikhil. This offends him because it feels like a betrayal of an intimate detail only she knew to people he doesn't

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