The Namesake Theme of Family

Topics: The Namesake, Family, Short story Pages: 6 (1549 words) Published: April 21, 2015
José Miguel González Tamayo
Sara Gramley
October 27

Relationships between Parents and Children

“As we age, we become our parents; live long enough and we see faces repeat in time” something that Neil Gaiman, wrote in The Ocean at the End of the Lan. Jhumpa Lahiri in his great novel The Namesake agrees with this, but the relationship between parents and children in the novel "Namesake" is curious because as Gogol grows up and mature he was able to understand the teaching of his parents about life. In this novel, the relationship between parents and children is the main idea that determines the destiny of different stories. The Ashoke and Ashima relationship with their parents was attached to Indian culture. Parents are who decide the by choosing who they marry this was a decision it determined their fate and character as parents. When Gogol is a small child the relationship with his parents is completely normal. Over the years the relationship becomes a bit more complicated. Gogol is like any boy his age stubborn obstinate and rebellious. This behavior is strange to Ashoke because in their culture the behavior of young men as Gogol was different. Ashoke tries to educate his son as he was educated but definitely your method does not work. Lahiri wrote.

“That night at the dinner table, he brought it up with his parents. It was one thing for Gogol to be the name penned in calligraphy on his high school diploma, and printed below his picture in the yearbook, he'd begun. It was one thing, even, for it to be typed on his applications to five Ivy League colleges, as well as to Stanford and Berkeley. But engraved, four years from now, on a bachelor of arts degree? Written at the top of a résumé? Centered on a business card? It would be the name his parents picked out for him, he assured them, the good name they'd chosen for him when he was five.” (99) Gogol wants to change his name. His father is disappointed but decides to let him do what he wants to. Ashima and Ashoke believed in a sense of family independence. But this idea of independence Ashima and Ashoke had about his family not been applied to their own children and begin to experience what their parents felt years ago. Them have contrary feelings about this family independence. "What's done is done," his father had said. "It will be a hassle. Gogol has, in effect, become your good name." "It's too complicated now," his mother said, agreeing. "You're too old." "I'm not," he persisted. "I don't get it. Why did you have to give me a pet name in the first place? What's the point?" "It's our way, Gogol," his mother maintained. "It's what Bengalis do." "But it's not even a Bengali name."

He told his parents what he'd learned in Mr. Lawson's class, about Gogol's lifelong unhappiness, his mental instability, about how he'd starved himself to death. "Did you know all this stuff about him?" he asked. "You forgot to mention that he was also a genius," his father said. "I don't get it. How could you guys name me after someone so strange? No one takes me seriously," Gogol said. "Who? Who does not take you seriously?" his father wanted to know, lifting his fingers from his plate, looking up at him. "Then change it," his father said simply, quietly, after a while. "Really?"

"In America anything is possible. Do as you wish." (99-100)

The relationship between Ashoke and Gogol was like the typical relationship between a tough father and a shy son. Parents who want to raise their child based on their own life experience. Maybe his intension was to teach Gogol a lesson. But Gogol had a mix of cultures to handle. These determine the relationship between they. When Gogol decides introduce Maxine to his family. The story takes a determinate change. Ashoke tells the story of his accident years ago. The reason that he decided to put the name Gogol. "I want to tell you something," his father says when the piece ends, once they have already turned onto Pemberton Road....
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