The Namesake Movie Essay

2015 Words9 Pages
In Mira Nair’s, The Namesake, Nair sheds light on American immigrants and the internal tug-of-war between one’s ethnic identity and cultural assimilation. Narratively full of layers, this film uses cinematic techniques to exemplify global flows such as Appadurai’s ethnoscapes and ideoscapes to develop its implicit plot. In the case of the character, Gogol, he struggles to separate humble his Bengali roots from his more secular life as a second generation American. In this film, Nair uses a literary technique called frame story as a means to uncover character traits and connect its narrative. Furthermore, because Nair touches every corner of Gogol’s conscience, the viewer is able to witness his journey to self discovery with regards to adjacent…show more content…
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. In Gogol’s case, his name is his cultural identity. The clerk without his overcoat is an ordinary man with no since of uniqueness. Gogol exemplifies much more than a name. With its Jewish origin, Gogol represents rebirth and renewal. When Ashoke survived a train collision, he decided to start life anew in America, in the same way Jewish immigrants migrated to the United States to escape the perils of WWI. Ashoke isn’t the only member to leave Gogol with words of wisdom. Gogol’s aunt encourages him to have fun with girls while in college, but to “only marry
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