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The Namesake

The Namesake

by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Namesake Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Poor Gogol doesn't seem to have much luck in love. Do you think he will ever find lasting love? Do you think he will have a family of his own? What kind of family would it be?
  2. Do you think Gogol's life would have been different if he were born Nikhil? What if his name had been Anglicized – what if he were born Nicholas?
  3. Do you find Moushumi's affair understandable or unforgiveable? Are there other reasons why Gogol and Moushumi's marriage fails?
  4. All of the characters come from relatively privileged backgrounds. The Indian-American characters are children of parents who have advanced degrees, while the white American characters are wealthy and also graduated from elite schools. How would the novel be different if there were characters with less privileged backgrounds?
  5. Now that we think about it, we realize that Gogol doesn't seem to have any male friends in the story – just girlfriends. What's up with that? Why doesn't he have a sidekick?
  6. What minorities are not represented in the novel, and how might the novel be different with a more diverse list of characters?
  7. What would happen in the sequel to The Namesake?
  8. Many of these characters have fraught relationships with their heritages and identities. Whose is the most fraught? Does he or she find any reconciliation in the end?
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