Characterization on Gogol from The Namesake - Book Report/Review Example

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The author of the paper gives a characterization of Gogol in The Namesake, the protagonist of Jhumpa Lahiri’s first novel is on a quest who is compelled to reinvent himself, to achieve a sense of dignity that will overcome the embarrassment of his name…
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Characterization on Gogol from The Namesake
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Download file to see previous pages Gogol Ganguli, the protagonist of Jhumpa Lahiri's first novel, is on a quest: He is compelled to reinvent himself, to achieve a sense of dignity that will overcome the embarrassment of his name. Gogol gets his name from his father, who before he arrived in America was almost killed in a train accident. Rescuers spotted the volume of the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol's short stories that Ashoke held and hauled him from the train. Ashoke gives his son the name as a kind of placeholder and the awkward sounding name sticks. The name does not fit into either category -Indian or American and this makes him miserable. While a teenager, Gogol desperately seeks to fit in. His apartness makes his demand that his mother makes an "American meal" of hamburger and "shake-n-bake" chicken at least once every week. Although Gogol grows up to be a smart American lad who secures a place at the prestigious Yale and goes on to become an established architect, he never can make peace with his bicultural identity. He still suffers from the pangs of rootlessness and cannot really make a place for himself in the world. Gogol's has always been inclined towards the American way of life. Without paying any heed to his Indian origin and the inherent values, he indulges in several misbegotten relationships in an attempt to be accepted within the folds of the American Society. However, disappointment looms large as he realizes that there is exists a cultural divide between him and his girlfriends. Gogol's apparently living life on his own terms makes him all the more 'rootless' and 'displaced'. Though he maintains a somewhat amicable relationship with his family members, he always appears to be embroiled in an identity crisis.
The death of Ashoka is a wrenching experience for Gogol and a turning point in his life. The precisely detailed description of Ashoka's body, the hospital rooms, and the bare furnishings of the apartment are a stark reminder to Gogol of his loss, his discovery that he has never truly known his father. These scenes recall an earlier event when young Gogol and his father had walked on the sands at Cape Cod to the lighthouse, as far as they could go. ...Download file to see next pagesRead more
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