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The Namesake

The Namesake

by Jhumpa Lahiri

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Quote #1

Ashima has been consuming this concoction throughout her pregnancy, a humble approximation of the snack sold for pennies on Calcutta sidewalks and on railway platforms throughout India, spilling from newspaper cones. (1.1)

Poor Ashima. She wants desperately to recreate Calcutta life in the United States, be she has to resort to Rice Krispies and Planter's nuts. No wonder the snack doesn't taste quite right.

Quote #2

The apartment consists of three rooms all in a row without a corridor […] It is not at all what she had expected. Not at all like the houses in Gone with the Wind or The Seven-Year-Itch. (2.46).

For Ashima, America is not all it's cracked up to be. Can you blame her for being disappointed? Life as the wife of a graduate student is a humble one. She will not be living the Scarlett O'Hara life.

Quote #3

They all come from Calcutta, and for this reason alone they are friends. (2.64)

Calcutta becomes a powerful bond for these émigrés, which holds them together even when they move apart and have families. Friendship is yet another way they can try to recreate their Calcutta homes over in the states.

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