Identity In Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake

Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Namesake, deals with the struggle of an Indian family trying to integrate themselves in America. Indeed, the main protagonist, Gogol is an American-born Indian who is trying to “find himself ” for he is split between his Bengali heritage and and the American culture in which he lives i. He struggles to find his own identity and culture. The question of identity is dealt through names. For instance, Gogol’s name comes from the Russian author Nikolai V. Gogol. He has written “The Overcoat”, a short story which also deals with identity and which has a particular significance for his father for it has in a way saved his life during the accident that occurred on his way to his grand parents . However, Gogol does not like his name for his schoolmates and teachers make fun of him, and it is also because « Gogol » is not even a name but only a pet name. In addition, Gogol's parents' names also somehow embodies this idea of multiple identity for they have two names (a pet name which is only used by family members and a formal name for the non-relatives). It is as if they have two identities. As such, we can say that Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel focuses mainly on the issue of identity and the problem of the second generation of Indian-Americans to adapt and accept their two cultures. However, if names appear as the …show more content…
Indeed, in this very same country, there different castes, communities but also a strict distinction between the gender ( men and women are not equal). As such, people from different castes, communities, or gender do not sit at the same table, nor eat the same food. Food is linked to social status and as such, it serves as a « medium, and sometimes the message, of conflict »1 . In other words, in India food is a symbol of differences between people. « The food of people from one region of India is sometimes unrecognizable as Indian food to someone from another.

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