The Namesake

Setting and Adaptation in The Namesake 11th Grade

In the novel The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, the main character, Gogol, is forced to adjust to many different environments as he ages; including Calcutta, the different apartments he occupied throughout college, and his ex-girlfriend Maxine’s house. Gogol’s parents, Ashima and Ashoke, were born in India; however Gogol was born in America. Because of this difference in upbringing, Gogol and his parents shared very different definitions of home. The culture clash between Gogol's Bengali heritage and new American ideals brought on internal conflict for him, as he struggled to decide where he really belonged during his childhood and even continuing into his adulthood.

Starting early in his infanthood, Gogol and his family made infrequent trips to Calcutta, India, where most of Ashima and Ashoke’s family lived. They would either go for just a visit, or make the trip due to a recent death in their family. Gogol never considered Calcutta his home, like his parents did. He and his sister dreaded the trips there, especially the one they took for eight months while Gogol was in 10th grade. While they are getting ready to leave Gogol expresses disinterest in India being his temporary home, “...labeled with the address of his father's home...

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