The Namesake Themes

1352 Words6 Pages
ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on the predicament of name, sense of identity and belongingness of the characters who belong to the Indian origin and become immigrants in USA. The novel, The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri unfolds the lives of Indians and Indian Americans who struggle for adoption and assimilation of culture. It also displays the sole of the characters experiencing assimilation, displacement, fear and guilt, who are perplexed to balance their own culture with a new culture. The novel makes it the best kind of ready reckoner to explain Diaspora as the term ‘Diaspora’ and its role in the present scenario. The plot and the characters in the novel portrays the life of first and second generation immigrants, their sufferings…show more content…
He struggles with a name he is embarrassed by and a heritage either Indian or American he is not sure of either. Gogol wants to redefine himself as a born and brought up of USA rather than to be identified from his parent’s Bengali immigrant culture. In order to get self definition, he abandons the name Gogol and tries to become someone else. The question of identity becomes crucial when a person is culturally displaced and he cannot co-relate with any of the two worlds in which he is living. While experiencing identity confusion from a change of names, Gogol is nonetheless able to define his identity. Since Gogol is born after his father survives in a horrifying train accident, his father sees the name Gogol as a pet name as a gesture of his rebirth. However, Gogol does not understand how meaningful his name is when he is young. Gradually, he starts knowing the uncommon nature of his name which creates problems with his identity when he grows up. The main problem with Gogol is that he is a hyphenated character living in two totally different worlds, the stress of which he can’t cope up, he is lost and drifts away from his parents and culture. Gogol does not understand the emotional significance of the name. He does not like to be known by a name which is neither Indian, nor American, nor even first name. The name becomes a problem for Gogol, because he feels uncomfortable with the Russian name. It makes him to detach himself from his family members. Later on, Gogol develops dissatisfaction towards this name during adolescent, and decides to use his legal name, Nikhil, as an overcoat to escape from Indian culture. Although the name Nikhil brings him more confidence, Gogol is always present inside him. Soon he feels a sense of futility and dissatisfaction about avoiding his
Open Document