All Our Names Themes & Motifs

Dinaw Mengestu
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This section contains 4,175 words
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Identity

The theme of identity is probably the most important of the novel. In the beginning, the narrator states that as he is leaving his village, he gives up the name that his family has given him. This is to suggest that he wants to start a fresh and anonymous life as a student at the university. The narrator does not fit in with people in his neighborhood as he tries to fit in with everyone around him. The narrator knows what he wants to study at the university, although he is not a student. He would like to be a famous writer, like the ones he has read about in an old newspaper article. At the beginning, the narrator's identity is unknown as he hopes to blend in as a nameless face in the crowd.

Over time, it is revealed that the narrator actually has 13 names...

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This section contains 4,175 words
(approx. 11 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the All Our Names Study Guide
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