Names In Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake

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Throughout Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, as the title may imply, names play a very prominent role in the story. The most important name is that of Gogol, who only learns the true reason for his name after he graduated from college. This decision of his father, Ashoke, to keep the true story hidden away changes the way Gogol acts. Due to his lack of knowledge on his namesake, Gogol gains a hatred for his name, and eventually makes a drastic decision to change his name, which shows off the disliking he has taken towards his name.
Ashoke, Gogol’s father, has a very strong connection to the Russian author Nikolai Gogol, who his son is named for. Ashoke grew up reading many Russian authors, however, Gogol was his favorite. On a trip to visits
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He “hates having to tell people that it doesn’t mean anything in “Indian.” ... He hates that his name is both absurd and obscure, that it has nothing to do with who he is, that it is neither Indian nor American but of all things Russian” (Lahiri 76). Every bit of Gogol’s name infuriates him, he often views his name as not fitting to him as a person; his name is neither Bengali nor American, the two cultures he is from. Without knowing anything about the name besides the fact that his father likes the author, Gogol detests it. Likely, if he had known the true story at this point in his life, he would have been much more appreciative for his name. During his high school years, Gogol is required to read a book from the author of the same name. He becomes incredibly embarrassed when he hears the author's name spoken aloud to his classmates during a reading of his biography; “warmth spread from the back of Gogol’s neck to his cheeks and his ears. Each time the name is uttered, he quietly winces. His parents have never told him any of this” (Lahiri 91). Due to his name, Gogol feels distanced from his family and his peers. He believes that due to his name, his friends and classmates will think lower of him, purely because he thinks lower of himself for that

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