Cultural Hybridity, Identity and South Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Gogol seeks to escape his name and his past by re-naming himself, but when he does he gives himself another Russian rather than an Indian name -- Nikhil (and his sister is named Sonya) and the more he rejects his Indian heritage, the more it haunts him.

Like the Namesake, Amitav Ghosh's novel, the Hungry Tide is mainly populated by members of the Bengali community. However, Ghosh's novel is set back in India. The most obvious cross-cultural figure within the novel is that of Kanai Dutt, a professional translator who goes to visit his aunt on her small island in the Bay of Bengal to receive a package left to him by his late uncle. The last time Kanai spent any time on the island was when he was sent there as punishment for his arrogance as a young boy, and he remains just as self-satisfied as when he left. Kanai is a businessman and his skill with languages might seem indicate his comfort level with many cultures as well as his ease with translation. However, seems oddly immune to the influences of others, just as he ignored the teachings of his aunt and uncle when he lived with them. Linguistic fluency does not translate into cultural fluency in Ghosh's novel, and true multiculturalism demands the kind of sensitivity and understanding that Kanai lacks.

Even in the case of Gogol it is possible to argue that he is culturally hybrid in name only -- the difficulty of reconciling one's status as a 'hyphenated' American with the American melting pot ideal is an old story. Every American to some degree has had to struggle with what it means to be an immigrant, and thus Gogol may be less a cultural hybrid than simply a 'typical' American, more typical than even the WASPs whom he would like to emulate.

Works Cited

Ghosh, Amitav. The Hungry Tide. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Namesake. Houghton…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Ghosh, Amitav. The Hungry Tide. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Namesake. Houghton Mifflin, 2003.

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