The Namesake Essay Thesis

1885 Words8 Pages
The Namesake Essay
Melody Su
A Block
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. Primarily, immigrants might lose their sense of belonging. We could see it clearly from Ashima’s perspective. In the beginning of the whole story, she is in the hospital giving birth to Gogol. As she calls out to her husband, she doesn’t call him
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She educates Gogol and Sonia both Bengali and American culture by giving in and cooking them American food once in a while. In the meantime, though she has lived in America for most of her life, has a social security number and driving license, and has raised two kids here, she never sees the U.S as India, her root. Long after her husband’s death, Ashima is experiencing a complicated moment, According to her, “True to the meaning of her name, she will be without borders, without a home of her own, a resident everywhere and nowhere.” (p276) She is going through a hard time thinking who she truly is: “For thirty years she missed her life in India. Now she will return to India with an American passport. She will return to a world where she will not single handedly throw parties for dozens of people...” (p276) When living in America, she doesn’t feel her belonging. When she’s back in India, she doesn’t feel her belonging neither. She completely lost her sense of belonging for she is culturally displaced, and this is what Immigrants face.
In addition, immigrants may face the loss of identity. The book started from the day Gogol was in Ashima’s womb to the day he wonders about his identity at the age of 32.
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The difference between first-generation immigrants and their children are significant. When Maxine invites Gogol to have dinner with her family in her house, Gogol is surprised and confused. As described, “This unexpected piece of information deflates him, confuses him. He asks if her parents will mind his coming over, if perhaps they should meet at a restaurant instead.”(p129) This proves the difference between American culture and Indian culture. As Gogol is more familiar with American culture, he feels his parents’ way of inviting people to dinner is vaguely foolish, and that leads to the fact that he prefers to spend more time with Maxine’s family rather than his own. The gap also widens in the relationship aspect. When they are curling up on the sofa in the evenings, Gogol is reminded that, “in all his life he has never witnessed a single moment of physical affection between his parents. Whatever love exists between them is an utterly private, uncelebrated thing.”(p138) He loves every companion and that is why he chooses to be with thim. On the other hand, his parents choose to be with each other and then they started to love each other. Marriage to them was like an obligation. It was their duty and that was why they had to remain as couple forever till the end of time. However, Gogol is different. After he marries Moushumi, they are happy for only one year, then Moushumi
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