Words of Wisdom:

"U only live once..... so wtf go jack off" - Vikusw


  • Date Submitted: 08/15/2010 06:48 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 67.9 
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Isolation is a major theme in the The Namesake. All the characters feel isolated in some way, especially the protagonist Gogol. Being raised in American by Indian parents, Gogol feels estranged by the two very unlike culture, and his name represents this isolation. While Gogol’s attitude toward his family background changes throughout the book, his name remains symbol of alienation and loneliness.
In the beginning of the novel, Gogol is named in the hospital at the last minute. His parents are expecting a letter from his grandma about naming him. Instead, they find that they have to name him themselves. The doctor suggests they name the child after a relative, but they have never seen people be named this way in India. “It has never occurred to them to question Ashima’s grandmother’s selection, to disregard an elder’s wishes in such a way” (28). The parents are quite shocked that they have to now forget about waiting for Ashima’s grandmother’s letter and instead name the child themselves. They cannot imagine that they would have to break such a tradition. During this event, the name can be seen as a symbol of isolation from culture, as well as physical isolation. Since the parents have to ignore the letter from India whom they are separate, the remoteness seems greater.
The next major event involving his name is when Gogol is told to use the name Nikhil but doesn’t like the name. This is also a sense of isolation because the child is young and he feels a bit scared to go by a name he has never heard of by strangers. “But Gogol doesn’t want a new name. He can’t understand why he has to answer to anything else” (57). So Gogol says this because he doesn’t like the idea of being called something that doesn’t seem to fit him. Gogol returns home that day, and his parents find that he is not going by Nikhil. However, the parents make no effort to communicate with the school staff; there seems to be disconnection and lack of communication between the parents and the...


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