Ashima In Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake

1996 Words8 Pages
Ashima in The Namesake is being introduced by Lahiri as a pregnant woman in the beginning. After changing her identity she is surrounded by anxiety and restlessness that an exotic land gives her. She is still experiencing two things together. She is pregnant and also an alien. Combination of both makes her realize that she is in a tough situation. She meets with the doctor for a regular checkup and told by him that everything is normal. “Everything is perfectly normal” (6). She finds her situation ironic because she never feels normal. Though she has tried so much to live with American identity yet her past haunts her. She realizes that she can never get rid of her Indian identity. She feels everything is messed up. “But nothing feels normal…show more content…
His past haunts him so many times. Lahiri has given an intertextual reference of Nikolai Gogol’s story in her novel The Namesake to make a connection between the history and future of immigrants. Nikolai Gogol is Russian classical writer of the famous story The Overcoat (1842) and his story is given to Ashoke by his grandfather in his childhood. Ashoke was an admirer of his grandfather and adored him, he liked to read all the books and short stories like his grandfather. Since childhood he was fond of reading, he had ability to read books while walking even, he used to go school while holding books in his hands, nothing could stop him from reading, he was never distracted (Namesake 8). Ashoke always had a desire to grab all books from his grandparent. He took this hobby from his grandfather and besides that he started purchasing new authors’ books such as Graham Greene and Somerset Maugham from his college’s bookshop (8). Ashoke cannot forget his past, his grandfather. Similarly Gogol is unable to get rid of ancestry. In America he has a new friend Maxine he feels he is detached from past. But soon he feels alienated when he visits a family graveyard of Maxine. He thinks to himself that he is not going to be buried like Maxine family. Unlike them he is going to be burnt. He cannot be buried among his…show more content…
Ashoke moves to America but cannot forget his past, the history. He never leaves the habit of reading and he cannot get rid of his past as while sitting in the waiting room of the hospital and waiting for her wife to deliver his first child he remembers his past. He uses his old handkerchief from Calcutta to clean his cup of coffee, he keeps this handkerchief in his pocket always and there is design of a for Ashoke on the handkerchief which is embroidered by his mother with blue colour thread (7). This book reading hobby and handkerchief in his pocket clearly shows that identities of immigrants are always a matter of being and anything which is related to being or history cannot be fixed. Apparently he is settling down in America and is quite happy. He is trying to adopt the traditions of America and wants to have American identity and on the other side his history never allows him to move ahead. So his identity is in a shifting process. Immigrant always asks himself what he is doing here (Hall). Ashoke in America in different times is in this situation. He does not get whether he wants to connect with his Indian roots or wants to adopt American
Open Document