The Namesake

Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title The Namesake

author  Jhumpa Lahiri

type of work  Novel

genre  Realism

language  English

time and place written  Rome, early 2000s

date of first publication  2003

publisher  Houghton Mifflin

narrator  Unnamed

point of view  Third-person, subjective

tone  Dispassionate (straightforward reporting of emotions and actions)

setting (time)  1968-2000

setting (place)  In and around New England and the Northeast: notably the Boston area, New Haven, and New York City

protagonist  Gogol, with Ashima and Ashoke as secondary protagonists

major conflict  Gogol’smarriage to Moushumi begins to flounder

rising action  Moushumi begins an affair with Dimitri, her old friend

climax  Moushumi reveals to Gogol, on the train, that she is having an affair

falling action  Gogol attends a final Christmas party at Pemberton Road

themes  Change, and its Dependence on Stability; The Universality of “Foreignness”; the Formation of Identity

motifs  Naming, Riding the Train, Reading

symbols The Stories of Nikolai Gogol, the house on Pemberton Road, the spit of land on Cape Cod

foreshadowing  Moushumi encounters Dimitri’s name among a stack of letters at NYU; Gogol realizes that, on her trip to Palm Beach, Moushumi has not taken her bathing suit