The Namesake

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Why is naming so important?
For Gogol, his name is a source of embarrassment and for his father it is more of salvation •His name is the start of his family traditions, but he eventually does not follow any of the traditions

Does your name identify who you are?
A person’s name is an identifier and may end up being more than just a name •A name may connect with something else (like naming after a grandparent to represent them) – Gogol’s name represents his father’s close to death experience •Pg 28: it is suggested to name the baby after the parents’ names, but in the Indian heritage you are not supposed to name the baby after the parents because to each person a name has its own meaning •Dislocation: Gogol feels at home in America, but his parents don’t because they are Indian and they live by Indian culture •The name Nikhil represents him better than the name Gogol because – Gogol more represent his father •In Bengali a persons name can serve the predestination of the person’s life

The Overcoat:
To be a copier you have to be literate
Person copies documents by hand - you are basically a copy machine

Is there another name Gogol could have been called in the book? •The letter from the grandmother could have shown up later

Pg. 286
Randomness of life: Are things determined or at random?
Survival guilt: why you were spared and others were killed – Gogol’s father has this feeling after the train accident – why is he the only one in his cart that is spared?

Hashimi – never feels at home in America, so she goes back to India when her husband dies Does Gogol feel at home anywhere?
He was never really comfortable anywhere because he is part of two different worlds •He feels like an outsider
He did not want to be connected with his father’s past – he did not go to MIT (like his father wanted), he went to Yale How does opening the book about his name for the first time affect Gogol? •Makes him miss his father and makes him wish...
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