The Namesake Analysis

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Confusion. Distress. Frustration. All of these feelings were present and prevalent throughout Gogol’s life story as he had a difficult time identifying himself due to conflicting cultures. This is best represented by the people he chooses to maintain relationships with and his actions within the relationships with those closest to him. His parents, specifically his mother, are more in touch with the Bengali culture and want him to be as well, while his American friends want him to be more in touch with the American culture. Accordingly, his reaction to these relationships and their expectations shows his confusion regarding his identity. By ending the relationship with the woman who was enforcing an American culture, he was showing a new affinity…show more content…
In the novel, The Namesake, by Jumpa Lahiri there is the prevalent theme of confusion involving self-identity, this can be seen by the actions of the main character, Gogol, and his relationships. Bengali culture is unique and involves drastically different practices and expectations in contrast to the practices and expectations of American culture. Gogol’s parents are from Calcutta and place their beliefs in Bengali culture. (Through Gogol 's quest for self, Lahiri investigates not so much the generational divide between first and second-generation members of migrant communities as the difficulties faced by "desis" eager to forge a coherent sense of self while struggling with divided loyalties and conflicting identifications.) His parents follow the same expectations of that culture in America as they would in Calcutta, to the utmost extent. Gogol’s father, Ashoke, was involved in and rescued from a train wreck at a young age that was (the first miracle of his life) and gave him the desire to explore the world. Due to this tragic event he is more open to embracing other cultures and respects some…show more content…
Their relationship continues for a considerable amount of time and he slowly grows accustomed to living the way that Maxine and her parents live. Maxine has a great influence over Gogol during this time, her wants and needs are a first priority to him during this time in his life. He wants to feel accepted by the people of the country he grew up in, Maxine is one of those people he so desperately needs acceptance from. This fact proves that he feels self-conscious in regards to his identity, specifically in terms of his cultural identity. He learns from Maxine and his new home surroundings to be fully immersed in the American way of life in order to have that feeling of acceptance. As he is assimilating to fully accepting American culture he is (quote about being surprised) by some of the things he experiences and witnesses for the first time, such as Maxine’s parents being affectionate in public and in front of him. Gogol spends an increasing amount of time at Maxine’s house ad soon earns himself a key to the front door. By spending large amounts of time in the Ratliff household and being surrounded by the actions of Maxine and her parents, Gogol feels the acceptance he was searching for but he never quite feels as if he belongs in that world. Almost everything is different than what he grew up learning, this is a whole new
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