Many of the names were chosen from the bible on the day of a child’s birth. Letting God choose a child’s name shows a level of faith in the parents which often results in awkward and weird names. The use of the name, Magdalena called Lena, is similar to the phrasing in the bible in names like Simon called Peter. Toni Morrison put a lot of emphasis into the characters' names in Song of Solomon. The main characters' last name of Dead has a lot of emphasis. The first man in the family that was named Dead ended up being murdered. Guitar repeated uses the joke, “You can’t kill someone that is already dead. The names have a greater meaning and Toni Morrison wants her readers to get a similar understanding, or any understanding out of them at
Now that the names have been presented it’s time to connect how the characters' names play a part in knowing the characters' identity opposed from knowing their self. Ms. Morrison made it very clear throughout her novel how identity, and self aren’t the same. Also showing that just because someone has an identity that was formed doesn’t necessarily mean that’s who they have to be, and nor does it mean that one must partake down a certain road. First let's talk about the difference between identity, and self. Identity is what people see you as, and self is what one sees their self as. The “Dead” family name was gained by their white oppressors meaning that they don’t have that ownership of a name that trace back to their roots, thus meaning their original name, and history died.
The reader can see this because Janet not only lists the various names which both characters have adopted and decided to go by, but also because she explains their significance to said character. For example she points out that, Turin gave himself his own name as a way to escape his past, but he never really wanted to escape his past, for he kept on renaming himself. While Aragorn according to Janet, embraced all his names and always answered to them.
In Julio Polanco’s poem, “Identity”, the author develops the theme that one should be true to himself through the extended metaphor of ugly weeds feeling beautiful. The narrator wanted to be freed from the burden and pressure of trying to fit in so he’d “rather be a tall, ugly weed” (Palanco). This expresses the idea that inward appearance trumps outward appearance and inner beauty is achieved through being yourself. The metaphor conveys how he wanted freedom and to live an adventurous life without being forced to be something other than himself and that had a greater meaning than beauty.
No matter what angle you perceive identity from; everyone is born with a name. This is a specific name that you are to be called in common acknowledgement. However “the precision of naming takes away from the uniqueness of seeing.” –Pierre Barnard-. Names may promote an individual’s identity, yet it can also defy it. In Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, multiple characters were given names that convey more context than what meets the eye. They are portrayed in a way that highlights their attributes and personality, and conversely demeanors their identity.
“There is only one you.Stop trying to devalue yourself by trying to be a copy of someone else.” ~Susie Clevenger. Susie Clevenger is one of the greatest poet and author. Her poems connect to life and identity. In this quote she rightly states that, in the world there is only one of us, and by trying to be identical to someone we forget who we really are. Sometimes in life, we are so determined to get what we want that we forget who we really are. Characters in these stories struggle with their identities at first but late realize that they need to be themselves. In the short stories “Fish Cheeks”by Amy Tan, “The Bass, The River and Sheila Mant” by W.D. Wetherell and “Papa’s Parrot” by Cynthia Rylant, the characters learn about their identities through significant moments.
Imagine yourself caught between two vastly different cultures in America- one you only see at home with your family and the other you see at school and in most other aspects of your life. Would you be able to pick just one culture? You know that choosing one would turn your back against your family, but the other would make you stand out in a crowd. How would you handle this dilemma? Jhumpha Lahiri, author of The Namesake, describes the journey of a Bengali family- mainly focusing on Gogol- who recently moved to America. Gogol, the son of Ashima and Ashoke, was born in America and spends the first half of his life trying to run away from his Bengali roots. Although Gogol does not feel as lost and detached as his parents in America, he has a difficult time trying to balance the Bengali culture he was born into as well as the American culture he sees and experiences all around him as he is growing up. Throughout the novel, The Namesake, Gogol struggles to develop his identity due to the clashing of Bengali and American culture in his life.
Have you ever found yourself, yet lost yourself? That question may be a mouthful but think about it. Have you ever steered off of who you are and the discovered a whole new side of yourself? In The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, the main character, Gogol, maintains two identities as Gogol, linking back to his past, and Nikhil, which develops as he grows up. Gogol is more family oriented and more true to Indian culture, while Nikhil follows the “American” way by showing independence and rebellion.
Immigration is when people leave their original homelands for various reasons, carrying their distinct cultures, religious beliefs, and live permanently in the new land. In the book The Namesake, Lahiri uses the Ashima and Gogol’s experiences to suggest the dark sides of the immigration, which involves the lost sense of belonging, loss of identity, presensence of microaggression, and the generation gap between the first-generation immigrants and their children.
To be alone on an island, painting the sky the desired shade of blue, but to be secluded, fending away civilization as it it were a parasite, is not one’s ideal state of mind. Yet, by a particular female character named Moushumi In the book The Namesake, they are confused. Moushumi is the ex-wife of Gogol and identified in detail by Jhumpa Lahiri. Moushumi’s identity is composed of her experiences, her values, and her background. She is defined by her independence in the novel.
In the novel The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri there are many relationships portrayed throughout the story. Ashoke and Ashima’s relationship doesn’t show their affection for each other. Gogol had three serious relationships with Ruth, Maxine and Moushumi one of which he ended up marrying. His relationship with Maxine was strong because he was very close with her and her family. Gogol’s relationship with Moushumi was based on secrets and their way of not being more open with each other. Gogol’s serious relationships began after he legally changed his name to Nikhil. The significance of relationships and marriage in the novel is purely based on intimacy and defining one’s identity.
In the other two stories the duality of a person becomes intertwined with the dual image of the city. In "The Nose" and "The Overcoat" the duality reflected both in microcosm of a person and the macrocosm of the city serve as a source of characters ' madness. The duality of the city develops through the Hoffman tradition of grotesque and surrealism. Gogolian Petersburg is the city of a "struggle between the dream and materiality" . In this city the real intertwines with imaginary to such an extent that it is no longer possible to detect the borderline. This dual atmosphere is created through an artistic space, where the fantastic essence hides under a seemingly ordinary facade. The artistic space Gogol creates "is achieved through the extreme concreteness, the materiality of the space, which at the same time appears to be completely imaginary" . Thereby, in "The Nose" a fantastically disappeared part of the body is cut during such a mundane procedure as shaving and is found in such an ordinary object as a loaf of bread. In the same way, in "The Overcoat" a mundane piece of clothing becomes a center of the fantastic events. In addition an ordinary barber and a tailor play the roles of antagonists, who personify the devil.
The Namesake, published in 2003, is Jhumpa Lahiri's first novel. The novel explores characters caught between two conflicting cultures; two worlds, India and America.This novel is based upon the author’s own experiences growing up in America as the child of Indian immigrants. Ashima and Ashoke Ganguli, the parents of protagonist Gogol Ganguli, her fictional counterpart, are based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s real parents. Gogol Ganguli is particularly torn between these two cultures. Born in America, immersed in mainstream American culture, but raised by parents who retain strong Indian traditions; in result, he struggles with his identity. As he grows up he questions who he truly is, and where he truly belongs. His past struggles all have an effect on his romantic relationships throughout the novel. Gogol’s three key relationships are animated by themes of belonging and alienation.
Many of the works of Jhumpa Lahiri focus on. The three stories build around the development of relationships is “The Namesake,” “The Third and Final Continent” and “This Blessed House.” In these stories, Lahiri not only connects these stories under one theme: relationships, but also cleverly uses motifs and word choice to fully seize the reader’s mind.