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Namesake- Motif of names. In Jhumpas Lahairis The Namesake it becomes evident that Gogol never fully belongs as Gogol or Nikhil

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Emma Petterson- Namesake (first 5 chapters ESSAY) In Jhumpas Lahairi?s The Namesake it becomes evident that Gogol never fully belongs as Gogol or Nikhil. Gogol retains conflict regarding his name throughout the novel. Belonging is the fundamental nature of humans to connect with others. Names and naming and his name are a constant source of difficulty for Gogol. Names are closely linked to identity and can help or hinder a sense of belonging. However in Gogol?s circumstance he struggles to fit in both the America society and his Bengali home as he feels his name does not belong in either culture. The motif of naming causes Gogol to have difficulty in relationships with women and is a catalyst for the cultural and family conflict he experiences. Yet when Gogol acquires the new name ?Nikhil? ironically complicates his sense of identity and so struggles to find a sense of belonging. The motif of naming is used throughout The Namesake to represent the connection between belonging and identity. As Gogol ages his name represents the way in which he does not ?fit? into American society. ...read more.


He feels like he neither belongs to either of his dual cultures. Gogol?s name therefore acts as an extended metaphor for his sense of cultural identity. Gogol?s school trip helps forge a sense of belonging to his name and highlights the conflict that occurs around his name. It had ?not occurred to Gogol that names die over time that they perish just as people do.? Names in this instance are personified by Lahiri. Gogol becomes ?attached to? these names imprinted on paper. These American names are unusual, like his, and so Gogol feels connected to them. Yet these names are of the past and have little effect on his insecurity and confidence in the present and therefore, his sense of belonging. In rejecting the name given to him by his parents, Gogol feels he has achieved freedom of identity and a greater sense of belonging the American culture. Gogol when he is a school boy is to be given a good name along with his ?daknam?. Yet when Gogol?s teacher asks whether he wishes to be called Nikhil, ?after a pause, he shakes his head?. ...read more.


His new name allows him to be someone different and escape his cultural heritage and family. It allows him to belong to American society. At the college party, Gogol is reluctant to introduce himself to Kim as "Gogol," so he says his name is Nikhil. It gives him the confidence to kiss her: "It hadn't been Gogol who had kissed Kim... Gogol had nothing to do with it."Yet ?there is only one complication: he doesn?t feel like Nikhil?. The irony of this statement is that he still doesn?t belong even though he has changed his name and self. In this case, through changing his name, he has rejected his old name and therefore his true identity. In conclusion, Gogol?s distinctive name prevents him from fully belonging into American and Indian culture. Gogol feels he achieves freedom of identity and a greater sense of belonging to the hegemonic American culture through rejecting his name and cultural heritage. Yet the acquisition of the new name ?Nikhil? ironically complicates his sense of identity and so struggles to feel a sense of belonging. Only through accepting his cultural heritage, family and name can he achieve a true sense of belonging. ...read more.

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