The Namesake

Good Essays
1. Explain how the relationship between Ashoke, Ashima, and Gogol develops throughout the novel.
The theme of the relationship between parents and children becomes prominent, as Gogol grows old enough to interact with his parents as a child. During his young adulthood, Gogol is impatient with his parents and they, likewise, feel unable to relate to their American children. Gogol begins to feel tender toward his father after his death. He now understands the guilt and uselessness his parents had felt when their parents had passed away across the world, in Calcutta. When Ashima decides to spend half the year in Calcutta, Gogol considers what it took for his parents to live in the United States, so far from their own parents, and how he has always remained close to home; they bore it "with a stamina he fears he does not possess himself." He does not think he can bear being so far away from his mother for so long. 2. How is Gogol's name tied to his identity?
Gogol is not bothered by the unusual nature of his name until he is eleven and realizes, on a class trip to a cemetery, that his name is unique. He makes rubbings of the other gravestones with names he has never heard before because he relates to them. By his fourteenth birthday, Gogol has come to hate his name and resents being asked about it.
As far as Gogol's identity is linked to that of his father, Ashoke understands Gogol as representing the life that followed the horrible train accident he suffered in 1961. His name represents the life-saving book that Ashoke was clutching when he was rescued. Gogol does not understand that part of his identity fully until after his father's death.
Moushumi knows Gogol as "Gogol," and is surprised when he introduces himself as Nikhil at the bar. It is "the first time he's been out with a woman who'd once known him by that other name." He comes to like the sense of familiarity it creates between them. She still calls him Nikhil like everyone else in his life, but she

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