An Analysis Of Gogol's The Namesake

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Gogol’s lack of an ordinary cultural background shapes his view of the word “home” throughout the entire novel, The Namesake. From America to India and all around, he’s never quite sure where he belongs. In one part of his mind, he knows his family ties in India play an important role in his personal and family life. On the other hand, he spent much of his childhood learning and growing accustomed to American traditions. Through internal conflicts and multiple relationships, his definition of ‘home’ can be seen changing with each chapter. During the beginning of the novel, Gogol lived in America, the only place he truly knew as home. He was born there in August 1968 to his fully-Indian parents, Ashoke and Ashima. At his annaprasan (rice ceremony), Gogol was unable to choose an item which would determine his future career, and instead, he just cried. This was possibly the first hint that he may struggle with feeling ordinary as he ages. Even his name is out of the ordinary. Chapter four states, “He hates that his name is both absurd and obscure, that it has nothing to do with who he is, that it is neither Indian nor American but all of things Russian” (Lahiri, 76.) This shows that at this point in his life, he just wanted to feel normal. Gogol’s home then was America. And for quite a few years, Gogol grew up on Pemberton road with his little sister, learning American customs as more of the Ganguli family members passed away. For his fourteenth birthday, he got two parties- a

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