Gogol is more family oriented and more true to Indian culture, while Nikhil follows the “American” way by showing independence and rebellion. As Gogol begins to grow up in America his attitude towards his name starts to change. The novel begins with Gogol feeling very uncomfortable with being called Nikhil on his first day of school. “It is very common for a child to be confused at first. Please
By vividly depicting Gogol’s name in such a way, Lahiri reveals how symbolic the name is by conveying the tangible power an intangible object has over Gogol. It implies that Gogol feels trapped by his name and that this word, which he detests so strongly, appears in every aspect of his life as shown by the quotes “He even hates signing his name at the bottom of his drawings in art class” and “He hates signing his name on the brown paper sleeve of the national geographic subscription”. These examples show the extent to which his name is incorporated in many other aspects of his life and are a way in which Lahiri portrays the name as continuously
We find him in a literature class where the lesson of the day is the works of famous Russian author Nikolai Gogol. Gogol is teased by his classmates, comparing him to the “misunderstood”, “paranoid”, and “suicidal” Russian author. After graduation, Ashoke gives his son a graduation gift, the Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol. Ashoke contemplates telling Gogol the truth behind the origin of his name, but decides against it and leaves him with the quote “we all came out of Gogol’s overcoat.” Nikolai Gogol’s The Overcoat is the tale of a clerk who goes crazy when he loses his fabulous new overcoat (Shmoop). The idea is the overcoat represents an identity.
The main character in this book, Gogol, is constantly struggling to carve out his own life while juggling both his strict Bengali culture and independent American culture. In the Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, Gogol’s quest for self was at first impacted by his desire to blend in with American culture, however, when his father dies he begins to grow closer with his family and his journey is
In the end of the novel, he finally picks up the book he also abandoned that was given to him by his father on his fourteenth birthday. He starts to read it and knows that by changing his name, he becomes a different person, and that the name Gogol is dead while under his new name, Nikhil, lives on. This reflection of his name change presents another struggle of the creating of Gogol’s identity along with his culture. He never wanted to just stick to one identity almost like what Gogol did during the rice ceremony. Using cultural identity and name, Lahiri emphasized how it isn’t easy to be set with one
Within Lahiri’s Novel ‘The Namesake’, the protagonist, Gogol lives an Americanised lifestyle where he becomes accustomed to understanding their culture. Both Gogol’s parents, Ashoke and Ashima, are reserved, traditional Indian citizens who abide closely by Indian traditions. The novel follows Gogol’s struggle in classifying his identity and belonging. Particularly within this extract, Gogol is revealed to be deliberately oppositional toward his parents as his emotions of isolation arise from his inability to relate to them. He feels indifferent toward his Indian heritage and persistently self depreciates himself for being apart of a migrant family who form a Bengali community purely based on the fact they share common backgrounds.
At least Ashima is relieved on hearing from Gogol that he has not got thought of his marriage. When children turn sixteen they are no more under the control of their parents and their individuality dominates. Gogol too is totally confused between his ‘Americanised Indian’ and Indianised American identity, though he was born and raised in America.
In Jhumpa Lahiri’s debut novel, The Namesake describes the ethical aspect of Indian immigrants. In the nineteenth century those Indian immigrants were migrating to the west directions as apprenticeship labourers. Now a day they migrate for the prospect of career building and also a way of profit manner. But in both the cases culture plays a significant role in their life. The immigrants were enjoying their life in economic subjugation but have an emotional emancipation in their contra-acculturation.
“Ashoka and Ashima are shocked. What about the parent`s preference? Ashima and Ashok wonder, shaking their heads. But since neither of them feels comfortable pressing the issue, they have no choice but to give in”. ( Namesake 60) The irony here is that, having been born to Indians and that too to Bengali parents; Gogol has to retain a Russian name in America.
Jhumpa explores and interprets the nuances in her stories since she herself is a second-generation immigrant of Bengali origin; in a way ‘The Namesake’ is her autobiographical sketch of the character, Gogol who frantically searches for his identity throughout the story. This paper aims at highlighting the characteristics replete in these stories related to the orient which also means the land of the rising and the occident denoting the land of the setting sun