The Namesake essay

“The Namesake”¯ by Jhumpa Lahiri is a very noteworthy novel which depicts the life of Bengalis immigrants in the US. The author has managed to skillfully depict their major problems and difficulties they face in the new country. At the same time, she shows the links the family preserved with its mother land that makes the novel even more interesting to understand the background, tradition and lifestyle of the community which main characters of the book represent. However, the combination of visual images the author creates in her book and the textual presentation are very skillful and often produce quite a different effect. On the one hand, the visual images created by the author support or even enforce the textual message, while, on the other hand, visual images created by the author serve to oppose or even contradict to the textual information.

In this respect, it is possible to refer to the description of the life of the family in the US, which was a new country for parents and the motherland for Gogol. It should be pointed out that parents have serious difficulties with adaptation to the life in the new country since they have to totally change their lifestyle and they feel a kind of nostalgia, they miss India a lot. In this respect, the depiction of the empty streets of Boston (Lahiri, 103) creates a vivid image of the emptiness of their inner world. It should be pointed out that it is possible to estimate that the emptiness of the street supports the textual depiction of internal state of the newly arrived immigrants.

In general, their life in the US is absolutely different from their life in India. At the same time, the author depicts the US as a cold, bleak land (Lahiri, 87). Such a visual depiction of the new country where the family was supposed to spend the rest of their life enforces the negative impression of Ashoke and Ashima from the new country. To put it more precisely, the depiction of the new country creates almost a hostile image and this idea is repeatedly supported by the internal state and feelings of the main character who feel themselves as strangers in the US and they cannot really find their place in this country. At the same time, this image of the US as a cold, almost hostile country, is absolutely different to Gogol for whom this country is his real motherland he grew up here and he does not really feel that he is an Indian.

At the same time, probably the most striking difference may be observed between the image of the train wreck, in which Ashoke miraculously survived. The author depicts in details the catastrophe, which produced a shocking effect on Ashoke who was practically paralyzed with fear and shock. On the other hand, this picture of the great catastrophe is contrasting to the irresistible desire of Ashoke to act and to change his life totally. This steady, dead picture is actually opposed by the irresistible strife for better life which actually leads the family to the US.

Thus, taking into all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that Jhumpa Lahiri creates a very vivid images in her book which are skillfully supported by the textual representation of the internal world of the main characters, their feelings and emotions.

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