The Namesake Summer Reading Essay

Topics: The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri, Indian cuisine Pages: 3 (743 words) Published: September 24, 2013


Mr. O’Sullivan
APUSH 410
August 11, 2013

The Namesake
Life in a new country is extremely difficult. New customs, foods, and an unfamilliar language can make foreign occupancy even harder. Some families are quick to learn and adapt. For others, it may take much longer. In The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, the Ganguli family has a tough time adopting the American lifestyle so many of us are used to. For us it seems unimportant. Many of us work 9 to 5 and come home to eat dinner and watch the big game. But imagine life from the Ganguli perspective. They do not know American sports, or how to tell time. They are forced to change the way they do things, and turn away from their cultural heritage. This, in my opinion, proves to hurt to the family as a whole. The move to America was detrimental to the family because it changed their Indian traditions, caused an identity struggle, and changed the way their family functioned.

The first step away from their Indian heritage occurs shortly after Mr. and Mrs. Ganguli arrive in America. A major choice is made that determines the cultural impact on the Ganguli family’s future. This mistake is when Gogol is born. Instead of waiting for the letter from the Grandmother to arrive as custom says, they go ahead and name the baby themselves, something looked down upon had they been in Calcutta. Another part of their life that changed was their eating habits. They began to eat traditional Indian dishes less often and move towards classic

American foods, thus proving their gradual transition away from their roots and into their new American life. The final and most important change is language. Instead of teaching and speaking their native language to and around the children, they choose to speak English. This is the biggest example of the transition into American lfie. A second result of the family’s move to America was the identity crisis their children experienced. Gogol is a better example of this. Gogal...
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