JhumpaLahirisThe Namesake

Reading Response #2:  JhumpaLahirisThe Namesake

Due:Tuesday, Feb. 14th. Put a copy in the D2L Assignments Folder and bring a copy to class

Points: 10

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Directions:  Please use specific examples and quotes*** to support your observations and provide MLA in-text citations (author and page number). Each question response should be at least 100words.

  1. Describe the relationship between Ashima and Ashoke.  How has their marriage been impacted by their move to the U.S. and well as the birth of Gogol? Would you describe their relationship as a loving relationship?  Why or why not?

  1. Ashimauses the metaphor of pregnancy to describe the word “foreigner”: “Though no longer pregnant, she continues, at times, to mix Rice Krispies and peanuts and onions in a bowl. For being a foreigner, Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy – a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts. It is an ongoing responsibility, a parenthesis in what had once been ordinary life, only to discover that that previous life has vanished, replaced by something more complicated and demanding. Like pregnancy, being a foreigner, Ashima believes, is something that elicits the same curiosity from strangers, the same combination of pity and respect” (49-50). How has this connection between pregnancy and being a “foreigner” applied to Ashima’s life? Do you agree withAshima’s definition of the word “foreigner”? Why or why not?

  1. Gogol’s discomfort with his name is one of the novel’s main themes.What are the sources of his discomfort?  In addition, Ashima never addresses her husband by his given name, because such a name is “intimate and therefore unspoken.” Why are names and the act of naming so important in this novel?

  1.  Throughout the difficult period of adjusting to American life, Ashima encounters Americans’ friendliness on many occasions. When the package of gifts she has left on the train is returned to her the next day, with nothing missing, she feels “connected to Cambridge in a way she has not previously thought possible” (43). How does this event seem like a turning point in Ashima’s American life? Why does it seem like she now has something that holds her to this home away from home?

  1.  Find two critical approaches that you think would work well in this story.  What types of questions and observations would these critics make about this story?