Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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The Namesake

The Namesake

Quotes

Quote #1

Ashima regrets that they can't go earlier, in time for Durga pujo, but it will be years before Ashoke is eligible for a sabbatical, and three weeks in December is all they can manage. "It is like going home a few months after your Christmas," Ashima explains to Judy one day over the clothesline. (2.72)

Not only is India geographically distant, but it also has a different sense of time, with different holidays. It's hard to live on an Indian calendar in America, where people have never even heard of things like Durga pujo.

Quote #2

He is old enough to know that he himself will be burned, not buried, that his body will occupy no plot of earth, that no stone in this country will bear his name beyond life. In Calcutta, from taxis and once from the roof of his grandparents' house, he has seen the dead bodies of strangers carried on people's shoulders through streets, decked with flowers, wrapped in sheets. (3.67)

Each culture has its own relationship to the dead, and the Bengali tradition of cremation just might freak out Gogol. It means that he will literally disappear from the face of the earth. There will be no tombstone to prove he ever existed.

Quote #3

Apart from visiting relatives there was nothing to do in Calcutta. He's already been to the planetarium and the Zoo Garden and the Victoria Memorial a dozen times. They have never been to Disneyland or the Grand Canyon. (4.30)

The tourist hotspots of Calcutta are compared to the tourist hotspots of the United States. It seems like Gogol resents being carted around to the sites of Calcutta when he's never even seen the sites back in America.

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