The movie The Namesake explored many issues with regards to culture and the relationships in which we create within different cultures. Throughout the movie issues with parents, partners, different cultures and death all play a key role in purveying the messages the director wanted to get across. When the Ganguli family has to move from India to New York we see how relationships change and how Ashima has to change in order to adapt to the American lifestyle.
Gogol who is Ashima’s son first started having a relationship outside his culture and without the backing from his parents with a wealthy white girl, Max. In the Bengali culture it is not accepted to have a relationship outside the same ethnicity. At first he embraced it and took on the American way of life, listening to American music, drinking wine and socializing with Max and her parents. Ashima never directly showed her disapproval of his choices but would frown upon them. From this relationship he drifted further away from his parents, spending more time with Max until the death of his father. From this tragedy he resorts back to his Indian culture where Max does not support this change. Furthermore the relationship fails due to not seeing eye to eye on the cultural differences and understanding his heritage and ways in which his family are bounded together through this connection.
Later in the movie Gogol starts a relationship and marries Moushumi she is within the same culture, Ashima had previously tried to bring the two of them together in the past. She approves of the relationship and the practicing of the Indian culture they do together. However later on in the movie we find out Moushumi has been unfaithful. Even though both sets of parents approve of the marriage and the relationship it still fails, as this is not what Moushumi wants. It is more of what her parents and Gogols parents want. Due to this their relationship is doomed from the start as they are both living their parents wishes rather than their own.
In contrast to both of Gogols relationships his parents Ashima’s and Ashoke’s marriage is a success in regards to the fact that it didn’t end from any doing of their own. Their marriage started as arranged through their parents. Due to both of them missing their Indian heritage after moving to the US they wanted to keep that very much a part of them. With this connection they both seemed to be happy and not want to rebel against societal norms and therefore their relationship seems to be a success. They embraced the American way of life but kept their Indian culture a big part of their life.
Overall I really enjoyed the movie. It gave a lot of perspectives on life and how it is easy to get caught up in the society you live in and forget about who brought you into the world. The movie gave the audience a great insight into how family relationships form and how they can drift apart if you don’t make a conscious effort to stay in touch with that side. This is very much relevant to my life and me being in this American society as I have family back in England and it is easy to get caught up with everything America has to offer and the opportunistic way of life. However I still need to remember my family and keep a strong connection between them even though I am in another country.
Courtney from Study Moose
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