Choose one of the following subjects for your 4-5 page [1,200-1,600 word] paper on Lahiri's The Namesake. I have kept the subjects rather broad to give you an opportunity to focus on aspects of the novel that appeal to you and that, in your view, best develop the thematic concern or issue that you have chosen to discuss. You are required to narrow the broadly stated subject to an emphasis that you can state in a clear thesis and develop through discussion of a series of topics in a short [4-5 page] paper. As we investigate Lahiri's novel over the next four class periods, prepare for your essay by taking notes and marking passages that you suspect will benefit your analysis. Our classroom discussions, for the most part, will center on the issues identified below as reasonable emphases for your paper. You can assist this process and prepare to do well on the writing assignment by coming to class having read the assigned chapters and being prepared to identify key passages relevant to the concepts listed below. Of course, you are welcome to suggest additional approaches as we discuss the novel, but if you want to write about an aspect of the novel not listed below, you are required to seek my approval by providing me with a paragraph describing your alternative topic no later than Tuesday, September 19.

While you are required to examine Lahiri's address to one of these concepts in her novel and to cite relevant passages from the novel in your analysis, incorporating personal history is encouraged. That is, as you address one of these topics, you might in your essay's opening and closing passages discuss how Lahiri's address to naming, cultural assimilation, twoness, or issues of love and intimacy relates to some aspect of your own experience. The idea here is to engage the study of multicultural American literature as relevant to your own experience and not merely as an academic exercise.

Here are the suggested topics:


Cultural Assimilation

Twoness/Double Consciousness




Paper Length:  4-5 pages [1,200-1,600 words] Submission Procedures:  Make the first word of your Word file your last name and submit your essay by e-mail attachment to jake.jakaitis@indstate.edu For example, my Word file would be titled Jakaitis. Namesake Essay.

Paper Due Date: No later than 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, September 24, 2015.