His parents intend for him to go by "Nikhil" at school and "Gogol" at home, but Gogol is confused and doesn't want a new name: "He is afraid to be Nikhil, someone he doesn't know. Moushumi, too, is wrapped up in an identity that is “French,” continental, and intellectual. And Ashima feels again out of place when the family relocates to the suburbs of Boston, just as Ashima was becoming accustomed to her Cambridge neighborhood. For Ashoke and Ashima, the concept of a family life is inherited directly from their background in India, where entire families share the same home for generations, are deeply invested in one another’s lives, and reinforce their connection to one another through a…. Don Quixote Fahrenheit 451 Frankenstein Great Expectations Lord of the Flies Their husbands' names are considered too intimate to be used. 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." SparkNotes is brought to you by Barnes & Noble. Jhumpa Lahiri. This shows that, although the family’s circumstances shift as the years go by, certain truths remain apparent for each of them. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. The Namesake is the first novel by author Jhumpa Lahiri, who was born in the UK to Bengali parents and then moved to the USA as a small child.Like her collection of short stories published in 1999, Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake focuses on first-generation Indian immigrants and the issues they and their children face in the United States. As its title indicates, The Namesake is a novel of identities. Joyce, Meghan. Characterized by clearly defined gender roles and less openly displayed affection, but also a deep sense of…, Instant downloads of all 1368 LitChart PDFs It means that his birth, "like most everything else in America, feels somehow haphazard, only half true." Gogol tries on different identities at different stages of his life: in college, with Ruth, after college, with Maxine, and in his marriage to Moushumi. In her view, the pressure to settle for less than "their ideal of happiness" has given way to "American common sense." She hates returning in the evenings to a dark, empty house, going to sleep on one side of the bed and waking up on another." With Maxine, Gogol feels that the Ratliff family is fundamentally different from his own, that he does not understand their “city” lifestyle. 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. Gogol grows up perplexed by his pet name. But Ashima begins to feel, over the course of many years, that Cambridge is her home. At first, it appears that The Namesake is a novel “about” the Bengali-American experience. LitCharts Teacher Editions. The Namesake Themes Relationships between Parents and Children The theme of the relationship between parents and children becomes prominent, as Gogol grows old enough to interact with his parents as a child. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. As Sonia, Ben, Gogol, and Ashima assemble the fake Christmas tree together, Gogol remembers decorating the first plastic tree his parents had bought at his insistence. The thought is comforting to him. Completing the CAPTCHA proves you are a human and gives you temporary access to the web property. Surprisingly, Ashima is pleased with this outcome, as opposed to an unhappy but dutiful marriage for her son. Learn and understand all of the themes found in The Namesake, such as Importance of Names. But Moushumi longs for a foreign life that does not, ultimately, include Gogol. The tension between life and death is prominent in this chapter, especially as Gogol deals with the death of Ashoke, his father. She went to Paris so she could reinvent herself without the confusion of where she fit in.