Why is this book called The Namesake?

Expert Answers info

Gaia Chandler, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseEditor, Professional Writer

bookB.A. from DELHI UNIVERSITY

bookM.A. from DELHI UNIVERSITY

bookM.A. from ASIAN COLLEGE OF JOURNALISM


calendarEducator since 2019

write95 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

"What's in a name?" goes the old, beautiful Shakespearean quote: "That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet." However, when it comes to questions of identity, it turns out names are more loaded than Juliet assumed. In the context of Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Namesake (2003), a name is not just a label on a person: it is a whole self. Thus, names and namesakes are paramount in the novel, and substituting one for the other is also like throwing off an old self and forging a new one. Therefore, its title: The Namesake.

As the book opens, Ashima and Ashoke Ganguli, young...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 1,308 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

linda-allen eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2004

write2,120 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


bigyandahal | Student

namesake means "one who shares the name of another person".

in the book, the namesake Gogol is the namesake of Nikolai Gogol who is a famous Russian author. But the irony in the book is Nikolai is the favourite author of Ashoke and its a reason why he named his son as Gogol, and the son dislikes his name.

the whole novel revols around the name of the protagonist, Gogol.this is probably the reason why the book is named as the namesake.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial