The Indian Immigrant Experience
The experiences of the Ganguli family in America—a country that for some of them is an intensely foreign environment—offer a glimpse of life as an Indian immigrant to the United States.
What is familiar for most readers in America is deeply unfamiliar to Ashoke and Ashima, who therefore provide a unique perspective on seemingly everyday things within American society. Husband and wife have differing reactions to the barrage of new customs that greets them…read analysis of The Indian Immigrant Experience
Family, Tradition, and Ritual
The importance of family in The Namesake cannot be overstated. The novel is centered around the Ganguli family, and the ways in which two very different generations interact with one another.
For Ashoke and Ashima, the concept of a family life is inherited directly from their background in India, where entire families share the same home for generations, are deeply invested in one another’s lives, and reinforce their connection to one another through a…read analysis of Family, Tradition, and Ritual
Identity and Naming
As its title suggests, at its core The Namesake tackles the question of forming one’s own identity, and explores the power that a name can carry.
Gogol’s decision to change his name to Nikhil before leaving home for college demonstrates his desire to take control over his own identity. The name Gogol, which “Nikhil” finds so distasteful, is a direct result of the literal identity confusion at his birth, when the letter sent from India…read analysis of Identity and Naming
Love and Marriage
The novel examines the nature of love and marriage by providing an intimate view into a series of Gogol’s romantic relationships, which are seen alongside the enduring, arranged marriage of his parents.
Gogol’s story is grounded in the marriage of his parents, Ashoke and Ashima, whose conception of love is founded in their shared past in India. Characterized by clearly defined gender roles and less openly displayed affection, but also a deep sense of…read analysis of Love and Marriage