CanGogolLove(OmeshwarJagdeoENG.1010736).docx - Omeshwar Jagdeo Professor Scribner Eng101.0736 Mixed Cultural Backgrounds and Love How would you define

CanGogolLove(OmeshwarJagdeoENG.1010736).docx - Omeshwar...

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Omeshwar Jagdeo Professor Scribner Eng101.0736 12/1/19 Mixed Cultural Backgrounds and Love How would you define love? When you love someone, you strongly feel an almost unexplainable passion and desire towards that person. We all fall in love whenever the time is right and throughout those relationships, we learn a lot about ourselves. Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Namesake observes the life of Gogol Ganguli, a young man who was raised in America but comes from a Bengali descent. Throughout his life, Gogol struggles to identify who he really is because he refuses to accept his cultural background and instead becomes someone he isn’t. Gogol tries to fit into the “normal” American lifestyle and shuns his parents attempts to embrace his Bengali heritage. His refusal of acknowledging his cultural background and trying to fit in leaves Gogol confused and searching for his identity. Throughout the novel, his attempts to find love help him define who he truly is. Gogol’s first conception of love began with his parents Ashima and Ashoke Ganguli. His parent’s relationship and way of love was very traditional as they were brought together through
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an arranged marriage. Even in America, they continued to follow Bengali traditions and religious practices. As Gogol grew up, he never witnessed any sign of affection between his parents as his father would work and his mother would stay at home to cook, clean, and take care of Gogol. Ashima and Ashoke were never in a relationship and never got to know each other before marriage. However, Gogol takes a different approach to life by living like a “normal” American, meaning no arranged marriages as he would if he lived as a “traditional” Bengali. As Lahiri states, “to fall in love first rather than years later” (279) Gogol’s experiences of love is completely different than his parents. Love is more complex and people are more affectionate in the modern world. These different ways of experiencing love obscures Gogol’s views on how to love since he is lost between two different cultures. A major issue Gogol has that affects his ability to find his identity is his name. Gogol is conflicted of the fact that his name has nothing to do with his Bengali heritage. His name is neither Bengali nor American, but instead Russian. Gogol never likes to explain to people on how he got his name and how it has nothing to do with his culture. He thinks of his name as “both absurd and obscure” (Lahiri, 76) and because of this he changes his name to Nikhil. Before Gogol changes his name, when he is in
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