Study Guide

The Namesake Chapter 3

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Chapter 3


  • The Gangulis now live in a comfy university town outside Boston. During the day, Ashoke goes to teach at the university, Gogol goes to nursery school, and Ashima hangs out at the library. Sounds like a pretty nice life.
  • A couple of years later, they move to their first house at 67 Pemberton Road. They spend their free time exploring the area, and sometimes they vacation on the North Shore of Cape Cod.
  • It is now August 1973, and Ashima is pregnant again. The poor woman has horrible morning sickness.
  • In September, Gogol starts nursery school. Ashoke tries to get the folks at school to call Gogol by a more formal name, Nikhil, but Gogol won't have it. He's Gogol through and through. In May, Gogol's sister Sonali is born. Her parents settle on Sonia as a nickname. See? Keep it simple, folks.
  • In contrast to Gogol's modest annaprasan (rice ceremony), Sonia's rice ceremony is a real shindig. All the fellow Bengali immigrants her parents have befriended over the years attend, and Sonia grabs the money and the dirt, unlike Gogol, who just cried.
  • As the years go by, more of Ashima and Ashoke's relatives in India pass away, and the Gangulis start to fit into American culture a bit more. They even start celebrating Christmas. Now that's American. Still, they try to keep up Bengali customs when they can.
  • By the age of 10, Gogol has made three trips back to Calcutta. On his last trip, he was totally surprised to find that over there Ganguli is a very common last name.
  • When he is 11 and in the sixth grade, Gogol goes on a field trip to visit the home of a famous dead writer. As part of the trip, the students are taken to the cemetery where the writer is buried and do rubbings of the gravestones, which sounds like a pretty creepy in-class activity for a bunch of kids.
  • When Gogol brings his rubbings home, his mother is shocked that the children would be exposed to death in that way. Morbid, much?

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