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At what point in The Namesake is the theme of identity evident?

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krissy2 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted June 6, 2011 at 11:24 AM via web

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At what point in The Namesake is the theme of identity evident?

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

Posted June 6, 2011 at 11:55 AM (Answer #1)

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I would think that when Gogol is confronted by the reality that there is a void in his life that cannot be explained through traditional analysis, this would be one of the first moments where the theme of identity is apparent.  Gogol is raised as the typical first generation immigrant child.  While his parents were subject to the conditions of struggling to balance their identity between the life they led in the home country and the one found in America, Gogol did not.  His identity was completely based in the new world.  For all practical purposes, he was "American."   This consisted of living out the American vision of identity, complete with American girlfriend, and conceptions of wealth and privilege apparent.  In this, Gogol was set and his identity shaped.  Yet, when Gogol himself recognizes that this conception of identity is not satisfying, does not quench the thirs for answers, and when some emptiness is still present, he is compelled to reshape his identity, allowing him to establish connection to both his ethnicity and his psychology.  It is at this point where the theme of identity and the process of its exploration becomes extremely important to Lahiri's work.

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