Identity In The Namesake Essay

714 Words3 Pages
The identity and name crisis of Gogol developed throughout Lahiri 's novel The namesake is the central focal point. He has grown with two different names and with those names two very different personas. It becomes a source of constant frustration for Gogol and is not something that the reader is ever completely certain he comes to terms with. Toward the end of the novel we also see Gogol react differently and think critically about who he is and who he wishes to be. The way that he begins to look at the world and his life in the closing of the novel certainly points toward his ultimate acceptance of his true name and identity and the reader can argue that he eventually does come to make peace with the name he is given. Initially Gogol feels ostracized by his unique bengali name in american culture. When he first begins school his father pushes him to go by Nikhil but it is revealed to the reader that he is scared; "he is afraid to be someone he doesn 't know, and someone who doesn 't know him" (Lahiri 3.19). This is not something unexpected by anyone growing up in a foreign land, but that does not make it any easier to deal with. In effect this causes Gogol to retreat more into himself, into Gogol. It is the only name he truly knows. Later in the novel we begin to see a…show more content…
In the end of the novel the reader finally sees how he comes to terms with his namesake. Only after his father tells the story of how he came to be Gogol/Nikhil, and later his father 's death and Gogol 's later divorce does he truly regret severing his ties with his heritage. Gogol finally learns what his name truly means to him and how he deals with it. The author almost explicitly tells the reader how he deals with his name in the end by saying, "Without people in the worl to call him Gogol, no matter how long he lives, Gogol Ganguli will once and for all vanish from the lips of loved ones and so, cease to exist. Yet, the thought of his eventual demise provides no victory, no
Open Document