everything that followed." His son represents new life to him, the new life that followed his recovery. During chapters 5 and 6, Gogol makes an effort to alienate himself from his parents by spending all his time with Maxine and the Ratliffs. At their lake house in New Hampshire, his parents can't reach him by phone and "in this cloistered wilderness, he is free" from them. Nevertheless, he is also alienated from the Ratliffs and their friends, since they never knew him as Gogol and since they are unsure of his past.
13 Chapter 7 begins from Ashima's point of view as she sits at the kitchen table in the house on Pemberton Road. She is having a quiet evening, addressing Christmas cards and drinking tea. She has never lived by herself before, but now that Ashoke is working for a long period in Ohio, with his own apartment there, she is on her own. She has been working at the public library and has made friends there. Ashoke comes home to visit her and to take care of the household duties she doesn't know how to manage once per month. Ashoke calls at 3pm and tells her he is at the hospital. His stomach has been bothering him all day, so he has driven himself to the hospital to get it checked out. They get off the phone and Ashima continues addressing Christmas cards. She looks through her address book at all the addresses Gogol and Sonia have had over the years; she never erases any of the addresses in her books, just adds to them. Their "vagabond" lifestyle is very different from the one she has led, living in only three houses her entire life. After two hours, she has not heard from Ashoke and so she calls the hospital. An intern tells her that Ashoke has "expired." He has died from a massive heart attack. Gogol flies home the next morning, since he has missed his mother's calls the night before. He and Maxine had been at a book party thrown by one of Maxine's friends. When he arrived back at her parents' house, his sister had called and finally gotten through. Now Gogol goes to the hospital in Ohio to identify his father's body. Mr. Davenport , the mortician, shows him Ashoke's body and he touches the hair on his father's face delicately. Gogol drives Ashoke's leased car back to the apartment his father was renting in order to clean it. He brings most of the furniture down to the basement of the apartment complex,
14 to be claimed by someone else who needs it, and throws out all the food as his mother had instructed him to do. He feels guilty throwing away food, since his father would never have done that himself; Ashoke always appreciated having food to eat and resented ever throwing any bit of it away. Gogol calls Maxine and she advises him to sleep at a hotel, but he decides to sleep on the couch at his father's apartment instead because he doesn't want to leave it empty. He spends the night thinking about his father: the last time they had seen each other, when Maxine and Gogol had stopped by the house on Pemberton Road to have lunch before heading up to New Hampshire instead of staying overnight as his parents had hoped they would. The next morning, he flies home to Boston to be with his mother and Sonia.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 26 pages?
- Fall '14
- The Red and the Black, Kolkata, Nikolai Gogol, gogol