Happiness is elusive for the characters in The Namesake. Often, the characters' discontent is caused by the difference between their dreams and the reality they live in. For some, like Ashima, the primary source of unhappiness is homesickness, as they constantly compare life in the United States to life back in India. For others, like Gogol, unhappiness stems from not fitting in, about the cultural differences that set them apart from everybody else. These characters feel isolated, and alienated from both Indian and mainstream American cultures. These feelings of alienation seep into their relationships with their family and their lovers and cause all kinds of dissatisfaction.
Cultural differences are the main cause of dissatisfaction for the characters in The Namesake.
Many characters are unhappy in The Namesake because their lives don't match up to their fantasies.