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The Namesake - Flashcards

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Class:EA 3331 - Free-Lance Writing
Subject:English Communication
University:St Marys University
Term:Fall 2014
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The protagonist, Gogol, illustrates that discovery may be confronting and challenging to our beliefs, attitudes, relationships, outlook and personal values through the intrinsic nature of culture and family identity as he, as a second generation migrant, struggles to find a balance between his traditional Indian values and those of the dominant culture. The bildungsroman genre traces Gogol’s growth to maturity and identity, from his birth in 1968 up to the year 2000.

The author uses the name motif as a means of exploring the complex process of identity, self-acceptance and inner discovery experienced by second-generation migrants.The use of two names for Gogol is symbolic of his inner conflict and lifelong struggle to find a true sense of identity as an Indian-American with a Russian writer’s name. Gogol, like his parents, experiences alienation but ironically it is from his parent’s culture.

His upbringing makes him feel insecure, uncertain and angry as he is torn between feeling American by birth but Indian through his parents’ heritage resulting in his desire to reinvent himself and create an identity free of culture ties. He feels his name only emphasises his cultural differences to his peers, but the consequence of tis discovery is that he has a narrow and simplistic perception of identity.

We are innately curious creatures and have a deep desire to explore and discover, but second generation immigrants discover that there are conflicts between the codes and values of their culture and find their traditions rigid and repressive. Gogol’s annaprasanam, his rice ceremony, foreshadows his rejection of his culture, as he metaphorically ‘touched nothing’. 
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The family trip to Calcutta highlights Gogol’s transformation as an American epitomised by the repetition of without, ‘without a room of his own, without his records.. without friends’. This is juxtaposed by his and Sonia’s appearance in India as symbolically  ‘They stand out in their bright, expensive sneakers, American haircuts……’ and contrasts with Ashima’s comfort, ‘she wander freely around a city….,’. 

However, Gogol’s passionate interaction with the Taj Mahal foreshadows a growing acceptance of his identity, 'no other building has a affected him so powerfully'. The death of his father acts as a catalyst and as a result, Gogol and his family reach  self-awakening. As he packs his father's belonging as a series of rhetorical questions capture his guilty reflections,'

Was he at the stove making tea?' and pathetic fallacy, '.....the chill turns brutal, unforgiving...' represents Gogol's painful realisation that he had distanced himself  from his family. This experience draws him to closer to his heritage and confirmation of identity. When Maxine fails to understand the importance of the long mourning period, her euphemism, 'it might do you good... to get away from all this', highlights her cultural insensitivity. 

Gogol's emphatic reply shows he feels renewed self-discovery of the importance of family bonds. 'I don't want to get away'. The memory of his father as he returns by train to New York is made more powerful through the use of dialogue, 'Try to remember it always,' and represents spiritual discovery consequently resulting to Gogol's discovery and affirmation of his identity. 
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The most significant discoveries are those that profoundly and provocatively challenge our values and attitudes. these epiphanies of discovery aid in unveiling the composers concerns and lead to lead to rediscovery in the novel, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. 
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The protagonist, Gogol, illustrates that discovery may be confronting and challenging to our beliefs, attitudes, relationships, outlook and personal values through the intrinsic nature of culture and family identity as he, as a second generation migrant, struggles to find a balance between his traditional Indian values and those of the dominant culture. The bildungsroman genre traces Gogol’s growth to maturity and identity, from his birth in 1968 up to the year 2000.
  

The author uses the name motif as a means of exploring the complex process of identity, self-acceptance and inner discovery experienced by second-generation migrants.The use of two names for Gogol is symbolic of his inner conflict and lifelong struggle to find a true sense of identity as an Indian-American with a Russian writer’s name. Gogol, like his parents, experiences alienation but ironically it is from his parent’s culture.
  

His upbringing makes him feel insecure, uncertain and angry as he is torn between feeling American by birth but Indian through his parents’ heritage resulting in his desire to reinvent himself and create an identity free of culture ties. He feels his name only emphasises his cultural differences to his peers, but the consequence of tis discovery is that he has a narrow and simplistic perception of identity.
  

We are innately curious creatures and have a deep desire to explore and discover, but second generation immigrants discover that there are conflicts between the codes and values of their culture and find their traditions rigid and repressive. Gogol’s annaprasanam, his rice ceremony, foreshadows his rejection of his culture, as he metaphorically ‘touched nothing’. 
  

The family trip to Calcutta highlights Gogol’s transformation as an American epitomised by the repetition of without, ‘without a room of his own, without his records.. without friends’. This is juxtaposed by his and Sonia’s appearance in India as symbolically  ‘They stand out in their bright, expensive sneakers, American haircuts……’ and contrasts with Ashima’s comfort, ‘she wander freely around a city….,’. 
  

However, Gogol’s passionate interaction with the Taj Mahal foreshadows a growing acceptance of his identity, 'no other building has a affected him so powerfully'. The death of his father acts as a catalyst and as a result, Gogol and his family reach  self-awakening. As he packs his father's belonging as a series of rhetorical questions capture his guilty reflections,'
  

Was he at the stove making tea?' and pathetic fallacy, '.....the chill turns brutal, unforgiving...' represents Gogol's painful realisation that he had distanced himself  from his family. This experience draws him to closer to his heritage and confirmation of identity. When Maxine fails to understand the importance of the long mourning period, her euphemism, 'it might do you good... to get away from all this', highlights her cultural insensitivity. 
  
Gogol's emphatic reply shows he feels renewed self-discovery of the importance of family bonds. 'I don't want to get away'. The memory of his father as he returns by train to New York is made more powerful through the use of dialogue, 'Try to remember it always,' and represents spiritual discovery consequently resulting to Gogol's discovery and affirmation of his identity. 
  The most significant discoveries are those that profoundly and provocatively challenge our values and attitudes. these epiphanies of discovery aid in unveiling the composers concerns and lead to lead to rediscovery in the novel, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. 
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