Jenna received her BA in English from Iowa State University in 2015, and she has taught at the secondary level for three years.
Chapter 12 Summary
At the start of this chapter, Ashima is home alone on Christmas Eve, preparing mincemeat croquettes for a party she is throwing that evening. This will be the last party that she hosts at this house, which she has decided to sell. She plans on living in India for six months out of the year, at her brother's home. During the other six months, she will split her time between her children and her Bengali friends from the Boston area.
As she prepares for the party, she thinks about her children. Sonia is now engaged to Ben, and they will marry in Calcutta next year. She also thinks about her son, Gogol, and his decision to divorce Moushumi. This thought causes Ashima to feel guilty since she was the one who had set them up a few years ago.
While Ashima is getting ready, she starts to feel a terrible sense of loneliness. She misses her husband, Ashoke, greatly, and she also feels overwhelmed by her plans to leave the home she has been living in for the past twenty-seven years.
Meanwhile, Gogol has arrived at the train station in Boston. Sonia and Ben are supposed to pick him up, but they aren't there yet. While Gogol sits and waits, he thinks about his mother and the family house. He still can't believe she is leaving. He then starts to think about his failed marriage. Last year, while Moushumi and Gogol were on a train on their way to visit his family over Christmas, Moushumi accidentally mentioned Dimitri's name. She later admitted to having an affair and quickly made plans to return to New York to move out of the apartment. Gogol reveals that he still went to Venice, a trip he had planned for Moushumi. Now that a year has passed since he found out about the affair, Gogol no longer feels shocked. Instead, he feels ashamed.
Sonia and Ben then show up and take Gogol to his mother's house. They quickly decorate the Christmas tree and hang stockings while drinking champagne from Styrofoam cups. The party guests, who are mostly Bengali families from the area, start to arrive around 7:30. At the party, Ashima's famous croquettes are served, Ben is introduced to the families, and Gogol promises to keep in touch with everyone.
At one point, Ashima asks Gogol to go upstairs and find his father's camera. She wants this final party to be documented. Gogol listens to his mom and goes upstairs. He finds the camera, and then he wanders into his old bedroom. While looking at his book collection, he notices The Short Stories of Nikolai Gogol. He remembers that his dad gave him this book many years ago for his birthday, but he never read it.
He flips through the book and spots an inscription his father wrote. He feels a little guilty that he is only now looking at this book. Gogol thinks more about his life and his dad before he sits down on his bed and opens the book to the first story, which is titled ''The Overcoat.''
Important Quotes from Chapter 12
When Ashima is getting ready for her guests to arrive, she thinks about her husband and starts to feel overwhelmed by all of the changes that are about to happen.
- ''Ashima feels lonely suddenly, horribly, permanently alone, and briefly, turned away from the mirror, she sobs for her husband. She feels overwhelmed by the thought of the move she is about to make, to the city that was once home and is now in its own way foreign.''
While Gogol and Moushumi are on their way to visit Gogol's family for Christmas the year before, Moushumi accidentally mentioned Dimitri's name.
- '' 'Dimitri says Siena is something out of a fairy tale.' Immediately a hand had gone to her mouth, accompanied by a small intake of breath. And then, silence. 'Who's Dimitri?' he'd asked. And then: 'Are you having an affair?' ''
Gogol can't seem to place all of the blame on Moushumi, even though she was the one who had an affair.
- ''And yet he can't really blame her. They had both acted on the same impulse, that was their mistake. They had both sought comfort in each other, and in their shared world, perhaps for the sake of novelty, or out of the fear that that world was slowly dying. Still, he wonders how he's arrived at all this: that he is thirty-two years old, and already married and divorced.''
At the end of the book, Gogol realizes that his name will eventually vanish completely because there are only a couple of people who still call him by his old pet name.
- ''Without people in the world to call him Gogol, no matter how long he himself lives, Gogol Ganguli will, once and for all, vanish from the lips of loved ones, and so, cease to exist. Yet the thought of this eventual demise provides no sense of victory, no solace. It provides no solace at all.''
In the final chapter of The Namesake, we learn that Ashima is selling the house and is planning on living in India for six months out of the year. Sonia and Ben are now engaged, while Gogol and Moushumi are recently divorced. While she is preparing for the Christmas party, Ashima starts to cry as she thinks about her dead husband, Ashoke.
While Gogol waits for Sonia and Ben to pick him up at the train station, he thinks about Moushumi and how he found out about her affair. Later on, at the party, Ashima asks Gogol to look for a camera. While he's upstairs, he notices his copy of The Short Stories of Nikolai Gogol, which his father had given to him many years ago. He starts to read the book.
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