The Namesake

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Rachel Wallace
English III
2nd Period
Mrs. Kaplan
The Namesake
The Namesake, written by Jhumpa Lahiri, has been dubbed one of The New York Times Bestellers and a follow-up of Lahiri’s Pulitzer Prize debut, Interpreter of Maladies. Lahiri’s specific style towards Gogol’s life makes it easy for an audience to understand the troubles of being raised in an Indian household surrounded by an American society. However, would The Namesake still be on The New York Times Bestseller list if it was written without the emphasis on details?

First, to understand Gogol’s background the reader was shown the perspective of not just Gogol, but Ashima and Ashoke. They had to culturally force themselves to satisfy their customs in a place far away from where they were raised. Lahiri writes about how proud Ashima and Ashoke are to be Bengali and they would never give up their heritage. Comparing the different point of views of Gogol and his parents gives a better insight on how opposite societies rules are in Massachusetts and Calcutta. After Ashoke passes away the change in Gogol is significant because he becomes more appreciative towards family life. Sense Ashima and Ashoke had no one in America they relied on one another to remind them of who they really are, while Gogol wanted to be anyone besides himself.

Throughout The Namesake Lahiri give much emphasis on simple details and events. The primal purpose of Ashima and Ashoke not giving their son a “good” name was based from a simple letter that Ashimas grandmother did not send. Also, while being told the story in Ashoke’s point of view the audience is shown why Gogol’s name, even if it is not a good, Bengali name, is important to Ashoke. The bond Lahiri creates between Ashoke’s favorite author and the train accident he is in pushes his reasoning further. By not telling Gogol where his name came from, he gives Gogol time to figure out who he really wants to be before being told why he is who he...
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