How did Gogol succeed in both worlds of the American culture and the Indian culture?

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

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I think that Gogol shows a level of success in both cultures because he recognizes that his identity lies in both worlds.  At first, he immerses himself in the American culture.  Gogol does so in order to avoid facing critical questions about himself such as who is he and what are the elements that define his being.  As he immerses himself in American culture, he understands that freedom and the ability to write his own narrative are parts of the American culture that permeates his sensibility.  He utilizes his after his father dies in order to investigate both the cultural and psychological dimensions that he had been so reticent to absorb in his life.  It is here where he is able to find success in the world of the Indian culture.  Gogol understands that there is a condition in his own life where being Indian helps to explain things, allowing connections to be forged with both identity and past that the American culture cannot give to him.  In Gogol's mind, being able to make peace with the relationship he held with his father is something that can only be appropriated once he investigates his Indian identity and heritage. While his marriage to Moushumi is not entirely successful, Gogol is at peace with his own identity and his place in the world.  In this state, he has come to terms with what it means to be a hyphenated American, and live at the hyphen of being both Indian and American.  It is here where his success in both worlds is evident.

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