Construct a character analysis of Gogol from The Namesake.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one major element of Gogol's characterization is confusion.  Gogol is confused about much related to his identity and his sense of being in the world.  It is almost to the point where he consistently does not recognize who he is and what he thinks turns out to be something that evolves into something else.  Gogol thinks that his identity is "American" and has no trace of Bengali roots.  At the same time, his identity is one that is divergent from his parents.  However, with his father's death and the moment of reckoning within him that a loss has been experienced, Gogol moves closer to his family and closer to his Bengal identity.  This culminates with him going to India to marry Moushimi, a relationship that reveals more questions about him and his own beliefs than anything else.  In the end, when this relationship fails, Gogol has to endure more questioning.  This allows him to better understand who he is and allows him to embrace his father's naming him, something that represents him starting the process of moving closer to personal comfort and a more stable sense of identity when all else is gone from him.  It is here where Gogol's character finally emerges out of the shadows of uncertainty and takes a step towards solid ground in defining who he is and upon what values he is to place primacy.

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