The Name Sake Essay

938 words - 4 pages

Throughout The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri cultural differences are seen. They are closely related to names and identity. Your identity is shown through your name and sometimes people may not be able to see themselves as their name shows them. Many cultures think certain names are ordinary but they also see names that are not ordinary or weird in some way. Throughout the book, you see the distaste Gogol has for his name. He does not like it and goes to great lengths to change it, although still maintaining part of his Bengali and Russian roots. Also seen is the distaste for his culture not wanting to keep in touch with the Bengali language trying to assimilate to American culture, which can ...view middle of the document...

Second, like the previous passage of names, many Asian Americans like to change their names because they do not like how it stands out or portrays them. In this second passage it states, ““I don’t get it. How could you guys name me after someone so strange? No one takes me seriously,” Gogol said.” “…In America anything is possible. Do as you wish” (Lahiri, 100). Cultural conflicts seen in this passage is the naming of people from different cultures. Some names seem weird or different to others. In this case Gogol is not happy with his name and wants to change it. He wants to fit into American culture and wants to get rid of his Bengali name. The conflict Gogol is experiencing is due to his roots. Although he is Asian American he still has to deal with his Bengali name. This cultural conflict is due to the uniqueness of his name, being different from all American names. It also begins to show how Gogol does not have to keep his name by the statement “anything is possible in America”. This shows how he can change his name in order to get rid of this cultural conflict.
Third, cultures are bound to conflict with one another in America. America is filled with immigrants from other countries and we can see through this third passage how someone who’s culturally different by birth disassociates himself with his own culture while in America. This passage states, “He is talking in Bengali on his cell phone, complaining of traffic on the FDR, of difficult passengers, as they sail uptown, past the shuttered shops and restaurants on Eighth Avenue. If his parents were in the cab they would have struck up a conversation...

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