Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Role of names in Jasmine

The role of names in Jasmine correlates with the protagonist's various relationships with other characters as she travels to various places throughout the course of the novel. Jasmine grew up in Punjab India and was originally named Jyoti by her parents. Her name seems to change in accordance with the relationships she fosters with others. Her birth name Jyoti represents closeness and affinity not only with her family, but with her Punjab culture as well. Her father refers to her as Jyoti until his death and eventually Jyoti meets and falls in love with a young man named Prakash. He begins calling her Jasmine as their relationship blossoms and Jasmine's new name signifies her coming of age and marriage. It also represents her new life with Prakash. Years later Prakash is murdered and Jasmine moves to Manhattan with her close friends. Jasmine's friend Taylor affectionally refers to her as Jase, signifying another chapter in her life with new relationships. Jasmine flees to Iowa after encountering her husband's murderer and meets an older banking agent in his fifties named Bud. Her name changes once again to Jane as she lives in Iowa caring for her adopted son Du. Jane seems to derive the least fulfillment from her life with the much older and crippled Bud. Her transition correlates with the prophetic insight provided by the fortune teller in the beginning of the novel. Jasmine's transition from Jyoti to Jane correlates with her gradual loss of self.

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