"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Read

Jhumpa Lahiri is an author we studied in our women's lit class, and she is one of the best short story authors I know of. I always thought that writing short stories is one of the most difficult creative writing genres to pull off, but Lahiri makes it look so easy.

The Namesake, however, is a novel, and Lahiri does such a wonderful job. Here are several themes to look out for when reading this novel:
  • names: unspoken names of husbands for various reasons, never thinking of someone's name when you think of that person, taking or not taking husband's surname, pet names/ good names, lost name, sacred nature of individual names, namesake, pet name turned good name, last name turned first name, name change, Ashima's address book because she is keeper of names and numbers, naming infants, nameless child, names can wait
  • paper and the written word: books, newspaper clippings, diary, address book, reviewing letters, "The Overcoat," phone book in India, collecting magazines to throw them away
  • bracelets: identification, wedding gifts, security deposit
  • pregnancy and being a lifelong foreigner
  • time: American minutes, time difference, watches
  • rebirth: christening, born twice, personality changes with name changes, renaming someone claims that person
  • solitude: loneliness, pride in doing things alone, "He was teaching me to live alone"
  • trains: accident, losing things, finding people, significant events and disasters
  • I can't: instances when different characters used these words
  • deliberate decisions to Americanize
  • art: paintbrushes, relatives who create art, art class
  • graves: rubbings of names, cremation of loved ones, shrine and picture as closest thing to a grave
  • returning, "I'm coming" = goodbye, "Remember this journey we made together. We went together to a place where there was nowhere left to go."
Happy reading!

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