The Namesake Summer Reading

But imagine life from the Gauguin perspective. They do not know American sports, or how to tell time. They are forced to change the ay they do things, and turn away from their cultural heritage. This, in my opinion, proves to hurt to the family as a whole. The move to America was detrimental to the family because it changed their Indian traditions, caused an identity struggle, and changed the way their family functioned. The first step away from their Indian heritage occurs shortly after Mr…. And Mrs…. Gauguin arrive in America.

A major choice is made that determines the cultural impact on the Gauguin family future. This mistake is when Googol is born. Instead of waiting for the letter from the Grandmother to arrive as custom says, they go ahead ND name the baby themselves, something looked down upon had they been in Calcutta. Another part of their life that changed was their eating habits. They began to eat traditional Indian dishes less often and move towards classic American foods, thus proving their gradual transition away from their roots and into their new American life.

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The final and most important change is language. Instead of teaching and speaking their native language to and around the children, they choose to speak English. This is the biggest example of the transition into American Fife. A second result of the family move to America was the identity crisis their children experienced. Googol is a better example of this. Goal constantly struggles with his Indian heritage versus his new American identity. A good example of this struggle is his name.

Originally given the name Googol, he goes back and forth between this and his American name, Nikkei. These two names are representative of the identity crisis he was going through. Torn between the two lives, he likes the name Googol in his early life, but quickly changes it a few years later, permanently choosing to live the American way, opposite of his parent’s. Rather than do Indian activities and celebrations, Googol chooses to have an American birthday party. It is clear that Googol is more comfortable with the American lifestyle.

Gogol’s identity crisis is a major theme in this book, and only at the end of the story does he finally begin to appreciate his name and what it really meaner. A third factor that proves the Ganglia’s activities. Throughout the whole story, you can see that the family has began to turn away from their Indian roots. From the meals they ate to the things they celebrated, he move to American life was becoming more apparent as the novel progressed. It is obvious that the children are uncomfortable with where they came from.

When the family takes the annual trip to see their relatives in India, Googol and Sonic embarrassingly ask for things in English and find the trip boring, while wishing they were back in America with all of their friends at school. When Googol is at school, he constantly introduces himself fast Nikkei, obviously embarrassed by the name his parent’s had given to him. In conclusion, the move to America was detrimental to the family. Instead of herding their roots, the children are embarrassed by them and choose the American traditions instead.

People should be proud of their heritage, not denounce it. The children’s negative attitude towards Indian life is known to their parent’s, who choose to accept that they are American, not Indian. Googol goes as far to change his name to Nikkei to prove to himself that he is American and that is the life he wants to live in the future. All in all, if the family had stayed in India, they would have lived and died a normal Indian life, respecting the traditions and customs they refused to follow in America.

Jesse
from Nandarnold

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