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The Namesake

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Kathryn Baldozano

on 15 May 2014

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Transcript of The Namesake

Barajas, Carlos Burgos, Rocio
Vang,Se Baldzano, Kathryn
The Namesake
The Namesake
by Jhumpa Lahiri
by Jhumpa Lahiri
About the Author
Mom wanted to raised her children to be Indian.
-Works were greatly influenced by Indian culture.
>Life of an Indian in an unfamiliar environment
Born on 1967 in London
Grew up in South Kingstown, RI
Writing skills developed in grade school
-10page novels during recess
MA in English at Boston University
PhD in Renaissance studies
Two year fellowship at Province town's Fine Arts work center
Raised by Indian immigrant parents
Interned for a Boston Magazine
-doubted her and so given little trust as a "real writer"
*Jokes on the Boston magazine
First book, "Interpreter of Maladies," received awards immediately
-PEN/Hemingway award for Best Fiction Debut of the Year
>"One of the 20 best writers under 40" --The New Yorker
>2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (first Indian to receive such award)
Main Characters

•Ashoke: Ashima’s husband, Father of Gogol and Sonia. Brought his wife to the U.S. after studying abroad. Earns his doctorate and becomes a professor. Decides on naming his son Gogol after the terrible accident in his youth.

•Ashima: Marries Ashoke after meeting him for a brief moment. Gogol and Sonia’s Mother. Experiences loneliness and Isolation, really misses Calcutta and her family more than anyone, never considers the United States home. Holds Bengali tradition high.

•Gogol: Son of Ashoke and Ashima. Named by his father after a Russian author. Unsure about where he belongs, struggles with his identity. Starts off disliking Indian traditions, but ends up appreciating his culture.

•Maxine: Gogol’s first serious Girlfriend. Lives in a four story mansion with her parents. Third floor is all hers.

•Moushumi: Gogol’s arranged wife. Ends up being unfaithful and end up divorcing.

Sonia: Gogol’s younger sister.


Chapter Review:

Ch. 1

- Starts off with Ashima and Ashoke in their Central Square apartment in New York.

- Ashima making her favorite Indian snack

- Ashima starts to go in labor

- They went to the hospital and Ashima becomes uncomfortable of being alone without her husband.

- Ashima remembers about when she first met Ashoke and she wore his shoes for the first time and felt a connection.

- Ashoke remembers about his accident back in Calcutta. He was on his way to go see his grandfather. He was in the middle of reading “The Overcoat,” by Nikolai Gogol when the train crashes. He was nearly missed by the rescuers but was noticed when a page from the book caught their eyes.
Ch. 2

- Ashima and Ashoke welcomes their son to the world

- Before releasing out of the hospital, they were told that the baby needs a name. They aren’t able to get a name on the baby because they are still waiting for the grandmother’s letter and it may takes weeks or months.

- Ashoke decides to call the baby Gogol for a temporary name.

- Months later they received a letter from her father stating that the grandmother have stroke and may not be able to name their son.

- Ashima and Ashoke celebrate Gogol’s annaprasan.

- Ashima founds out that her father died from a heart attack.


- Ashoke teaches at a university, Gogol goes to a nursery school, and Ashima is at the library

- Ashima is pregnant again with Sonali (Sonia)

- Gogol parents decides to give him the name Nikhil to be more formal, but he decides to follow the name Gogol

- Gangulis starts to adapt to the American life style

Chapter 10
Gogol and Moushumi celebrate their first anniversary
Moushumi begins teaching at NYU
She begins to have an affair with Dimitri
Gogol doesnt suspect anything about the affair
Chapter 11
Ashima his mother sells her home now that her husband is gone
she will be leaving to india to spend six months of every year
Moushumi confesses to Gogol about her affair
The marriage is broken
Gogol finds his father’s books and picks up “The short Stories of Nikolai” he sits and begins reading

Ashima calls her husband from the bathroom hospital but does not use his actual name. It is not the Bengali thing to do, a husbands name is considered to be very intimate. Even after death a Bengali would honor the name.
Pet names & Good names- Close family members are only allowed to use pet names in the privacy of their home. Good names are more formal used at school or work.
Ashima is not allowed to leave the hospital without giving her son a name first. Bengalis usually do not name their children a few days after they are born.
Gogol eats with Maxine’s family and finds the small portions of food that her mom serves strange. Ashima would never serve so little to a guest, and would have a row full of bowls for people to help themselves.
Parents plan the entire wedding for Gogol and Moushumi. People are invited who they never met and engage in rituals they do not understand. They do not find it intimate or honoring as their parents do.

Chapter 4
Gogol turns 14 and receives Nikolai Gogol book set from his father but has no interest in reading.
Parents plan trip eight month trip to Calcutta, Gogol has no interest in going.
Visit the family, both Gogol and Sonia do not feel close to them. Parents are completely different people with their Indian family.
Return to New York, Gogol goes to his first house party, uses drugs and has his first kiss with a girl named Kim.
Introduces himself as Nikhil for the first time.

Chapters 7-9
Chapter 5
Talks with his parents about changing his name.
starts his first day of college and decides to make a new start introducing himself as Nikhil.
Has his first girlfriend named Ruth.
Gogol really likes her but they end up breaking up because she transfers to Oxford University.
Catches a train to meet with his dad which is delayed by a suicide. Tells his father about it and his father decides to tell him the meaning of his name.

Calcutta, India
- Ashima and Ashoke met and got married

Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Ashima and Ashoke first home and Gogol was born

Boston, New York
- Settles into their new home
Gogol's father, Ashoke died unexpectedy

Chapter 6
Has graduated from the architecture program from Columbia University
works at a firm designing buildings. Meets Maxine at one of his Co-workers party an extremely wealthy women.
Has dinner with her that same friday and meets the parents.
becomes isolated from his family and becomes very close to Maxine’s family spends all his time with them instead. Enjoys being away from his actual family.

Ashima introduced Gogol to Moushumi Mazoomdar

Gogol and Moushumi got married.
Full transcript