The Book Desirable Daughters By Bharati Mukherjee English Literature Essay

Desirable Daughters by Bharati Mukherjee and The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri portray the voyage of self-identity through the protagonists of every book. The central individuals of both novels lose themselves by gaining artificial personalities while running away from their Indian identities. However, both personas mature through the frequent problems they face between retaining their Indian heritage while assimilating in America, the tragic happenings that happen in their lives, along with exploring their namesake. Tara Chatterjee of Desirable Daughters and Gogol Ganguli of this Namesake find their self-identity, noticing that running from who they are really will just increase the space between their Indian heritage and their American life-style.

In Desirable Daughters, the protagonist Tara Chatterjee, constantly is suffering from cross-culture activities while dealing with her American-born teenage boy and her Indian members of the family. After her divorce, Tara, who own the guardianship of her boy, lives in house of her own with her child. While trying to forget her history, she starts to create a new world in which she is free to live her own life. She manages to lose contact with her old friends and scarcely communicates with her sisters and parents (who aren't alert to the divorce). However, Tara's Indian beliefs, values and custom still continue to be with her. In adition to that, her personality is no not the same as before. As an individual mother, Tara encounters new issues in conditions of satisfying her son's needs and desires. Since Rabi (Tara's boy) exists and raised in the us, his lifestyle differs than his mother's in the sense that he's not used to living with a big family, where everyone has no rights inside family members (except the elders) and the actual fact the particular one cannot make his/her own decision. When Rabi first declares his sexuality, "Ma, I am gayIt's another first for the family" (Mukherjee 172), Tara gets the shock of her life. Regarding to Tara, not only is this unacceptable in the Bengali contemporary society and culture to be gay but it is also against her beliefs. Just like Rabi says, it truly is an initial for Tara. Regrettably, Tara accepts the reality and copes with it because she is in love with her son and she cannot manage to lose him by arguing with him. At this point in time, she realizes that she must leave behind her Indian lifestyle and worth to get along with Rabi in the future. With this effect, she slowly starts to adjust to an American lifestyle and eventually starts off to drift away from her Indian personal information. This severe change gets in her way when she goes to her sister Padma in New Jersey after many years. She realizes that she disappoints her sister in many ways. Her clothes were the full total contrary of her sister's sari and she spoke English inside the house instead of Bengali. With each 'American' move that Tara makes, she makes Padma irritated. While participating Bengali people with Padma, Tara receives disappointed looks from many friends. After observing Tara for a couple of days, Padma says her more radiant sister that "You seem to be so American, but you've got an obsession with India, an extremely strange facet of India" (Mukherjee 152). At first Tara finds this remark insulting, however, later, she realizes that someplace deep down she actually is still mounted on her origins and that is where her real personal lies. From gaining a artificial personality and lifestyle, she realizes that if she remains this onwards, she will just widen the gap between the two cultures she is an integral part of.

Similarly, the character of Gogol Ganguli in Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, also challenges to hold on to his interactions with members of the family and girlfriends because of culture clashes. Since Gogol exists and raised in America, his ideas always oppose those of his parents. This problem occurs regularly in his life, he never comprehends his parents. Also, because he's constantly required into a cultural conflict, he attempts very hard to hightail it from his puzzled self and finally ends up creating a false life. After moving out of his parents' house Gogol "prefers New York, a location which his parents do not know well, whose beauty they may be blind to, that they fear" (Lahiri 126). Soon, he begins to live two distinct lives; one as an Indian at home and one as an American outside of home. Sometimes, " he seems as if he's cast himself in a play, operating the part of twins, indistinguishable to the naked eyesight yet fundamentally different" (Lahiri 105). Gogol is placed to himself convinced that by assimilating into American culture and completely isolating himself from his parents, he will find a solution to his baffled talk about. However, it complicates things even more. In conditions of love affairs, Gogol's romantic relationships with ladies never last for a long time because each time, Gogol tries not to be like his Indian parents. Though, this is impossible because he isn't elevated as an American. His habits and his Indian personality always come among. Most of his relationships derive from secrecy and dishonesty. Gogol also will try to cover these affairs from his parents because he feels that they might not approve them. This not only creates a great gap between Gogol and his parents but it also becomes a reason for his never-lasting associations. At one time, Gogol dates a Bengali gal of his mother's choice. This affiliation lasts more than his earlier relationships and eventually turns into a marriage. Out of this strong connection, Gogol can start to see the failures in his recent and how his parents were able to retain their culture despite living away from their own parents. Eventually, he learns that he cannot create his own paths in life that sketch a boundary between his life beyond home and along with his family. His unsuccessful romantic relationships and his detached connection along with his parents taught him to redefine himself.

Certain happenings in both books symbolize the turning tips in the central people' lives. For Tara, her divorce makes a negative effect on her personality and her future. Prior to the divorce, she is an excellent housewife whose inner desire to be an American wife is not satisfied. Tara "still left Bish [her man] after a dozen years of relationship because the promises of life as an American wife wasn't being satisfied" (Mukherjee 85). Despite the fact that Bish is a wealthy entrepreneur in California whose partner doesn't have to work, Tara seems the need to pursue her profession and gain independence and freedom from her household tasks. This clash of ideology between Bish and Tara not only triggers her divorce, but it changes Tara's frame of mind towards her own life. Once she is free, she discovers to stop her identity in order to be friends with her boy. Thus, she adapts the American lifestyle very quickly. She lives with her Hungarian sweetheart, who educates her to live a life a carefree life. Nevertheless, Tara's exhilaration and happiness only last for a couple of days. Her struggles become that of a fresh immigrant; she has to earn her own money and increase her son on her behalf own. Since Tara is caught up in living an American life from her ex husband, she loses contact with his band of Indian friends (who had been also very close to Tara). With having less friends and support, Tara struggles to see how much she's changed after the divorce and no one is available to guide her back again to her true personality. Later, when Tara fulfills Bish through her child, she hears him mention that "marriage is a man's dharma, his test, his work, the outer signal of his interior strength and harmony" (Mukherjee 279). Experiencing this, Tara realizes that her married life was what provided her inner peacefulness. She also notices that whenever she actually is around Bish, she does not have to be other people.

Unlike Tara, Gogol comes to self-realization at the price tag on losing his dad. This tragic event brings him closer to his family. Gogol "knows now the guilt that his parents transported inside, at having the ability to do nothing at all when their parents possessed perished in India" (Lahiri 179), and having the ability to do nothing at all or even obtaining a chance to see his dad moments before he died. This guilt makes Gogol remember all the days he put in in his past endeavoring to defy his Bengali customs and the times he ran from his identity. After this unlucky event, "Gogol is back in his room, with a bed he's never distributed to Moushumi [his partner], or with anyone" (Lahiri 287). Not only will Gogol spend more time at home (where he locates serenity from confusion and problems in his life), but he is also in a position to better understand his mother. He does various rituals after his father's fatality which he once thought were ridiculous. The emptiness his dad leaves behind makes Gogol realize how important each member in his family is and this the feeling of togetherness is why is his life worthwhile at his parents' home than at his own in NY. Through remorse and pity, Gogol is able to connect along with his sister and mother which is also able to tie the relationship he once broke. The main lesson Gogol learns from his father's loss of life is that no matter how far he tries to hightail it from his family, and build a new life to please himself, in the long run he'll find inner calmness and his true well coming to home.

The protagonists of both novels eventually find their real identities through their namesakes. In adapting an American lifestyle, changing her personality to squeeze in and fulfilling the needs of her American-born kid, Tara Chatterjee gets a divorce, encounters new problems in life and becomes a big disappointment to her Bengali friends and family. Because of these events, she states that there is "No-one behind, no one ahead. THE ROAD the ancients cleared has closed down. And the path, everyone's way, easy and extensive should go nowhere. I am by themselves and find my way" (Mukherjee Prologue). Tara realizes that the dilemma created by living an American and Indian life, causes her to give up on her behalf culture and customs. It takes her a while to understand that her personality has transformed drastically and that it is her responsibility to find her in the past to her individuality before it is too later. With this thought, Tara determines to go to her ancestral origins in India. Upon getting India, Tara expresses "I've get back to India this time around for something more than rest and shopping and these gin-and-lime filled up evenings with my mirror-self. I'm like a pilgrim following span of the Ganges completely to its source" (Mukherjee 306). In the necessity to find her 100 % pure, inner-soul just like the people who go to the Ganges to eliminate their sins in the holy river, Tara discovers that she is called after her great-grandmother (who happens to be her namesake). After researching, she understands that her namesake was a saint who fought to maintain her Bengali culture contrary to the British. Out of this, Tara not only understands that she never lives up to her great-grandmother's name but she also realizes how different her personality is from her great-grandmother's. She comprehends that by living life on her own terms, without leaving behind her true personal information and culture; she will be satisfied and will please herself and her members of the family.

Gogol Ganguli of The Namesake tries to redefine himself by changing his name to Nikhil. According to him, changing the name he received from his namesake would be less associated with an embarrassment before his acquaintances, friends and girlfriends. He feels that by becoming Nikhil, he'll get a sweetheart and most significantly be able to participate in his American friends. Initially Gogol "fears being found out, having the complete world charade somehow unravel, in nightmares his data are exposed, his original name published on leading page of the Yale Daily Media" (Lahiri 106). Also, he manages to lose his self-esteem due to dread he lives in. Though, later after changing his name, "there is only one complication: he doesn't feel just like Nikhilbut after eighteen years of Gogol, two months of Nikhil feels scant, inconsequential" (Lahiri 105). Along, with this fear, areas guilt for changing his name. The name he acquires holds importance in his father's life because once his dad was saved with a book, written by his father's favorite author, Nikolai Gogol, throughout a tragic train car accident. Nikolai Gogol's booklet was given to Gogol on his birthday, by his daddy but Gogol never comprehends the significance of his name or the reserve until after his dad passes away. When Gogol's mom decides to go to India after her husband's fatality, she asks him to clean out his room. It had been then that Gogol saw the book written by his namesake. Because of what he discovered from his experiences through culture clashes, relationships and his father's death, he realizes how valuable his name is to his identification and how it connects him to his parents. Through guilt, he comprehends all the incidents that have occurred in his life and why those "events have created Gogol, designed him, motivated who he's. These were things for which it was impossible to prepare but which spent an eternity looking back at, trying to simply accept, interpret, and comprehend. Things which should never have took place, that felt out of place and wrong, they were what prevailed, what endured in the long run" (Lahiri 287). Gogol discovers that his name is what defines his true personality and that he must acknowledge his fate instead of trying to perfect it.

Desirable Daughters along with the Namesake have main personas who struggle to end up. Both individuals start with discovering American culture and finish up assimilating in to it. They also have issues with self-identity because they have differences they cannot come to terms with. Tara Chatterjee loses herself into American lifestyle very easily. Since there is no one to guide her, she gradually begins to drift away from Indian identification. However, after culture clash encounters and her divorce, she realizes that she has to re-discover herself by digging into her previous and finding the record behind her namesake, before she becomes baffled between two cultures. Gogol Ganguli, as an American-born, cannot understand and deal with the distinctions between his parents and his peers. As he matures, he is faced with disastrous interactions and the loss of life of his father which eventually leads him to self-realization through discovering his namesake that helps identify his Indian individuality. By overcoming culture clashes, tragic events and exploring their namesake, both personas come to understand that what they have been trying to get away from is just what identifies them.


Mukherjee, Bharati. Advisable daughters. USA: Hyperion, 2003. Print.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Namesake. USA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003. Print out.

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