During the climatic chapters numbers five through eight of the Namesake have some attraction but they do also fail to deliver on some aspects.
During chapter five the topic of conflict between the Bengali and American culture and tradition is very prominent as we see Gogol, whom is tired of his name and decides to change it. His family initially does not approve. But his father Ashoke eventually gives up and allows Gogol to change his name. “In America anything is possible. Do as you wish (100).” His new name Nikhil changes him physically but he does still have trouble accepting it in his mind.
He then meets a girl on his way named Ruth whom he had previously at Yale on a train ride home, they begin to have a relationship and in the spring Ruth goes to study abroad in Oxford, England. It is here I find the chapter does get exciting but it is let down by a very abrupt end to their relationship without any context towards what had led to their separation or what had made Nikhil decide this.
The action does pick up when a suicide is committed on the tracks of Nikhils’ train, alluding to Ashokes earlier experience in his youth. It is due to this event that Ashoke finally tells Nikhil his original names origin. The reaction from Gogol, and this is intentional as in this moment he has mentally gone back to being Gogol, is one of anger at first then shifts to remorse as he has no idea who is standing in front of him. He considers him a stranger. The chapter ends on a sweet father son moment. Setting a heartfelt mood in the story that showed how much Ashoke had come to love his new life. ” You remind me of everything that followed (124).”
Chapter six begins with Nikhil living in a small apartment in New York as a architect, he goes to a party and on that night he meets Maxine Ratliff. They spend the evening flirting with each other and after the party she invites him to her parents house. Maxine’s parents act the polar opposite to that of Nikhil’s family. Nikhil begins to spend more and more time with Maxines family to the point where he even moves into their home.
Chapter 7 begins with Ashima this time around which is a welcomed change of pace to the story as we have only seen the view point of men thus far. Ashima is busy creating and addressing Christmas cards, she then gets a call from Ashoke telling her that he is going to the hospital as he feels that something is wrong with his stomach. Ashima does not hear from him for two hours, she then receives a call from the hospital telling her that Ashoke has died of a massive heart attack. This creates a depressing mood as we see how Ashima reacts to her husbands expiration “Ashima hangs up the phone pressing down the receiver as hard as she can into the cradle (169).”
I felt that these chapters created a lot of mood that added to the stories climax such as the moment between Ashoke and Nikhil and Ashima over the news of her husbands demise. The action while not strong does generate plenty of conflict in which I think the story both benefits and takes loss from. Yes the mood is very and clearly established but there are details that are missing from the background such as, what had happened between Gogol and Ruth that had separated them from each other. Despite this I feel that chapters five through eight of the Namesake are a mixed feeling. Perhaps it is trying to reflect how life is and how things just change so quickly, maybe, maybe not.