Catherine KiyokawaDoctor Kagawa English 10415 March 2012Gogol’s RevelationIn The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri displays the bildungsroman of Gogol, a first generation Indian American boy and his self-revelation throughout his life in America and India. In this novel, Gogol struggles to find his self-identity, which coincides with his pet name (i.e. namesake) “Gogol”, and his good name “Nikhil”. From the beginning, Gogol’s names have been a constant issue. As a child, he grew up as “Gogol” often insecure to his name’s originality and the reference to a mentally unstable author, Nikolai Gogol. As an adolescent, he officially changes his name to “Nikhil” to identify himself as Nikhil an American, from “Gogol” the Indian American. The character, Gogol, is an example of postmodernism, a literary approach or style of writing that has multiple, often contradictory prepositions (Kagawa Lecture). By the end of The Namesake, Gogol is ultimately “Gogol”, a product of his Indian family customs as well as his American customs, by Gogol’s realization of his self-identity, the origin of his namesake, and the narrator’s name-reference in the novel.One may argue that Gogol ends up as “Nikhil”, an American who is finally able to isolate himself from his Indian lifestyle and traditions; this throughout the novel appears to be Gogol’s overall goal. Gogol’s official name change to Nikhil, his relationship with Maxine (i.e. American lifestyle), and his father’s death causes him to lose a part of his Indian customs. By the end of the
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