Gogol's True Identity In The Namesake By Jhumpa Lahiri

836 words - 4 pages

Sometimes religion can be a necessity for comfort. Over time, we may already possess our very own identities and then develop different ones after a tragedy. In order to easily move on from a plight, some sort of comfort or security is needed, whether its time, family, friends, a sport, or religion. In the novel, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, one can clearly see the viewpoint of how Gogol’s life over time has evolved from American to Bengali. With the comfort of his Bengali life he’s able to push through the tragedy of his father’s death. However, apart from when Gogol needs his family and culture for comfort, he is simply a true American.
In the beginning of the book toward Gogol’s early life, the reader may make the observation that Gogol is more American than Bengali. In Gogol’s teen years he shows more admiration for being American than Bengali when he listens to his new American tape rather than his Indian one. On Gogol’s birthday, his father sees the “Lennon obituary pinned to the bulletin board, and then a cassette of classical Indian music he’d bought for Gogol months ago, after a concert at Kresge, still sealed in its wrapper” (Lahiri 78). Even since Gogol was little he had always been a little different considering that he was born as an American, unlike his parents. His parents carry on their Bengali traditions and for the most part avoid becoming full Americans. As for Gogol, he continues to act, think, and be American before any tragedy is present. Lahiri writes, “But Gogol never thinks of India as desh. He thinks of it as Americans do, as India” (Lahiri 118). Gogol is American and he knows it, he doesn’t mind thinking like one either. As Gogol is more American than his parents, he is simply dragged away due to his little concern for their Bengali culture. Later in the book he is reminded of what he used to think as a child. Lahiri writes, “He remembers, back then, being bored by it, annoyed at having to observe a ritual no one else knew he followed, in honor of people he had only seen a few times in his life” (Lahiri 180). Gogol begins to distance himself and live his own life, and yet he never believes he will need his old one in the future.
When Gogol is older and moves out to his own apartment, his relationships bring another aspect into his...

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