The Namesake Essay

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“All attempts to belong must involve sacrifice of some kind.” To what extent have you found this to be true in your prescribed text and at least one other related text of your own choosing? To belong is to fit in, and to fit in you feel you must sacrifice certain cultures, places and family to allow you to feel you’re fully accepted. However this self-sacrifice can bring upon feelings of betrayal to your old identity, which can give you a sense of isolation and not belonging. In both Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, The Namesake, and Christine Anu song ‘My Island Home’ we are shown the frustration and confusion that is brought upon a person sacrificing and compromising one’s identity in an attempting to belong in what they feel is the correct environment. The Namesake explores the inner conflict within a second-generation immigrant boy, Gogol; due to the clash of his family’s Indian traditions and his longing for the American way of life. The most obvious/overt way in, which this inner conflict is shown, is in the name of Gogol himself. The naming of a child in India represents more then just a name; it represents relationships and unique identity within a family and the outside word. The use of good name and pet name is to distance the close connection of a family from the rest of the world; a pet name used only when family are around and a good name one that is shared throughout the world. Gogol’s attitudes towards his name are ones of frustration. “It’s a though the name were a particularly unflattering snapshot of himself….”that’s not really me” ’ (page 89) In this section of the book Gogol is showing his discontent with him name but really he is trying to distance himself from his Indian culture. When Gogal changes his name legally to Nikhil he is disassociating himself from both his family and his cultural heritage. This act of changing his name is a symbolic

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