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Character Role Analysis

Sonia and Gogol

Gogol's younger sister Sonia seems to have an easier path through life than Gogol. They share a similar life, with the same rituals, family life, and trips to Calcutta, but by the time she came along, her parents had already learned a lot about raising children in the United States. Plus, there are more and more children of immigrants around, which means that Sonia is less alone than her older brother. Her popularity and social success help us to understand just how lonely Gogol must have felt as a child.

Dimitri and Gogol

Dimitri is the guy Moushumi cheats with, and he's sort of Gogol's evil twin. He, too, has a Russian name, but unlike the name "Gogol," the name "Dimitri" instantly seduces Moushumi, partly because it's attached to a French last name, "Desjardins." Dimitri is everything that Gogol is not: he has no job and no roots, lives in a messy apartment, has spent a lot of time abroad, and shares Moushumi's high-class tastes in food and literature.