The Namesake Questions and Answers
by Jhumpa Lahiri

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In The Namesake, how does Gogol's definition of home change throughout the novel?

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In the beginning of the novel The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, a Bengali couple named Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli leave India to begin a new life together in the United States. Their marriage was arranged, according to custom. Ashoke has been studying in the United States and is somewhat familiar with the culture, but Ashima has difficulty adapting. Their first child, who has the pet name of Gogol and the public name of Nikil, grows up conflicted by the two cultures.

Gogol's definition of home is always based on the culture of which he feels more a part. In the beginning, when he goes to primary school, he insists on being called Gogol instead of Nikil. This is an expression of his acceptance of his Bengali background and his parents' wishes for him.

However, as he grows up, he becomes more and more immersed in American culture. By the time he is a teenager, he grows to dislike the name Gogol. At this point, we can say that his definition of home includes an acceptance of American culture and a...

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