Gogol Lost

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As Gogol grows up we can use his name as a window to his psyche. When Gogol is young he does not mind his name. When he goes for his first day of school he does not want to be called Nikhil or anything else he knows himself only as Gogol and this is what he demands to be called this is important because this is the first time he was presented with the option to change his name. He has a strong sense of self at this point because he has known no other influences. Once he is exposed to the outside force of school he begins to doubt his name he realizes that it is peculiar. This is where he begins to have doubts about his name. He has these doubts because he is experiencing the typical doubts that accompany puberty and the ensuing paranoia. It is certainly normal to think that everyone will pick you out because of any stray from normalcy. Until you realize that for the most part the most an unusual name will evoke is fleeting thought. Gogol does what in many respects is a very normal thing he begins to change things about himself seeing how his environment responds positively or negatively. The abnormally is that he has the option of changing his name whereas most would not even consider it in a serious capacity. It is at this point that the problem of identity truly begins to develop. He has the positive experience with the girl he meets in the college dorm room after telling her his name is Nikhil. In a way this is his first real step outside of his shell so to speak and he does it as Nikhil. By doing this though he never gives Gogol a chance. If as proposed the situation is an experiment of sorts it is flawed by the changing of more than one variable. He changed his extraversion and his name in the same experiment. This confound... ... middle of paper ... ...ionship. He likes how he feels free. Then he sees a passing train and thinks about the consequences of what he is doing. Then he feels bad because he realizes that having no care and no choice can be as bad as it is freeing. Looking back this theme of indecision is foreshadowed by the rice ceremony scene on page 40. Gogol chooses nothing as his path for life and instead when being impelled to choose he breaks down and cries. This is a microcosm of Gogol's life. He is being torn in two different directions. On one side lies family and tradition while on the other he tries to be contrasted from his family by being stereotypically American. While this war for control of Gogol wages it would seem that the real Gogol the person defined and distinct from those two expectations the person that baby had the potential to be has fallen through the cracks. At least thus far.

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