In The Namesake, everybody is just a little bit lost. Or a lot lost, frankly. Practically every character struggles with his or her identity, because practically every character feels the tug and pull of different cultures, different traditions, and different dreams.
Gogol, in particular, is torn between two cultures – the Indian traditions of his parents and the mainstream American culture in which he grows up. His struggle is the same one that his sister Sonia goes through, and his wife Moushumi, too. It's also related to the struggle his parents undergo as immigrants. Each character faces a choice: should I assimilate into American culture? If so, how much? Will I be betraying my roots if I do? Characters wrestle with these questions through their relationships with their names, their relationships with their families, and their choices about the future. Shmoop's recommendation? Therapy.
As immigrants, Ashima and Ashoke create their own hybrid culture, a blend of American and Bengali elements.
Gogol's acceptance of his Indian-American identity is reflected in his gradual acceptance of his name and its history.