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Letter to Maxine, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 582

Essay

Dear Maxine,

I apologize for how things ended. I want to explain to you as best I can for my actions, but I understand if you never want to speak to me again. Since I was a child I have been searching for who I truly was inside. You knew me as Nikhil, my family knew me as Gogol, but I did not know who I was, and I think that while we were dating, I may have used you to try to find out more about myself.

“And then he remembers that his parents can’t possibly reach him: he has not given them the number, and the Ratliffs are unlisted. That here at Maxine’s side, in this cloistered wilderness, he is free.” (6.140)

Gogol views his romantic relationship as an escape from his past and the way his parents lived their lives in an unromantic marriage. As Gogol thinks about it more, it becomes more and more clear that Gogol was attracted to Maxine because she was different from him, and different from his family and his past.

I was fascinated by the American culture and the practices of the American people. I didn’t feel like I identified with my own people at all- it made me feel disconnected inside. It made me want to flee from my Indian culture and cling to this new American culture I had found.

“He didn’t want to go home on the weekends, to go with them to pujos and Bengali parties, to remain unquestionably in their world.” (6.2)

Unlike Gogol’s parents, who hated being in America and everything associated with American culture, longing to be back in the world of their parents and families in Bengal, Gogol wanted to create as much distance as possible between himself and his culture.

When I was with you and your parents in New York, I felt as if I was a part of a family, but when I received word that my father has passed, it was like a piece of me I never knew was there had all of a sudden disappeared.

“And then the house will be occupied by strangers, and there will be no trace that they were ever there, no house to enter, no name in the telephone directory. Nothing to signify the years his family has lived here, no evidence of the effort, the achievement it had been.” (10.11)

For most of the story, Gogol tries to avoid going back to Bengal to see his family or his home due to conflicting feelings about his Indian heritage. Now that Gogol has lost his father, his Indian heritage starts to feel a little more important.

I never meant to abandon you in New York City. I loved you from the first moment I laid eyes on you Maxine. If you could see me know you would see how I have changed, how I have learned to not adopt either the American or the Indian culture, but to combine the two harmoniously. I was trapped in a cage of ignorance and blindness that unfortunately was only lifted by my father’s passing. If anything, I hope this later brings you closure and clarity, because when we were together I didn’t know who I was or who I was supposed to become. I hope life has treated you well Maxine and know that I will always hold you close to my heart.

Love always,

Resources:

Lahiri, Jhumpa. “The Namesake: A Novel.” The Namesake: A Novel: Jhumpa Lahiri: Amazon.com: Books. Mariner’s Books, 1 Sept. 2004. Web. 10 May 2013.

 

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