The Namesake Gogol Muses Essay

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1. In the closing pages of The Namesake Gogol muses “Without people around him to call him Gogol, no matter how long he himself lives, Gogol Ganguli will, once and for all, vanish from the lips of loved ones, and so, cease to exist.” (Lahiri 289) Taking this thought into account, to what extent is identity contingent upon the perceptions of others?

While what Gogol believes may seem like a generalized subjective assumption, this is an opinion that is only specific to Gogol. To Gogol, a name makes an identity, and if one gives into account culture and background, names are specific to certain people who come from certain places. So for Gogol, though born into a Bengali family, is named after a Russian writer, Nikolai Gogol. If a person is not sure of himself or herself, this will cause a lot of turbulence in their understanding of themselves. Not only that, it will make them wonder who they are meant to be.
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Many people find names to be beautiful purely because of what the meaning of the name entails. As an easy example, let’s say that a girls name is Belle. In French, the word “belle” means beautiful. Therefore, when Belle’s parents were naming her, they most likely took into account what Belle means and they may have named her because of what it means, or because they think it sounded pretty. Throughout Belle’s life, people will ask and some may even know that her name means beauty. This may shape how they see her and treat her, which in turn will shape who she is as a person. People may treat her like a beautiful woman, and this will give her confidence. In this way, a name can shape identity. Something a name does not have the power to do is change a person’s narrative. It cannot alter or negate where they grew up, how they grew up or how they progress through
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