The Namesake Book Report

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In Juhmpa Lahiri's novel, The Namesake, the reader is thrust into the daily life of Gogol Ganguli. Gogol is a promising young man from a Bengali family, which the reader gets the pleasure of knowing since his birth. Ever since Gogol's childhood all he ever wanted was to find a place where he could truly fit in, whether it be in his own culture, or in the American one in which he lives. During his life, Gogol searches everywhere to find out who he is and where he belongs. During his long search, young Gogol meets a beautiful, New York Intellectual named Maxine Ratliff. Gogol and Maxine share an eye-opening and carefree relationship which is misconstrued as true love. During this "Maxine chapter", it becomes quite apparent that Gogol and Maxine's relationship is solely based on the superficialities of American culture.

The beginning of Gogol and Maxine's history begins during Gogol's time working at an architecture firm. Gogol is invited to a dinner party hosted by one of his coworkers. Gogol arrives at this gathering, and is greeted by an environment which he never has encountered before; a party of intellectuals, eating grapes and discussing the latest films. At this party, Gogol has his first encounter with "the New York woman", and her name is Maxine Ratliff. The minute Gogol sets eyes on her he is intrigued by her seductive nature, her forward attitude, and her older image. Maxine is a new kind of woman to Gogol. She challenges him mentally and catches Gogol completely off guard by making the first move. The next morning after their meeting at the party, Maxine awakens Gogol at ten A.M., a time to which he is not accustomed to waking, and invites him to a "private dinner party" at her parents home.

The next evening, Gogol takes a cab to the home of the Ratliffs. He arrives at a large, elegant home, one which he, himself has never lived in. Gogol enters the home and is greeted by very minimal and modern furnishings. At dinner, Gogol meets Maxine's...
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