The Namesake | Study Guide

Jhumpa Lahiri

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Study Guide
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The Namesake | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • October 20, 1961

    Ashoke nearly dies in a train crash. A page from Gogol saves him.

    Chapter 1
  • 1967

    Ashoke and Ashima are betrothed, get married, and move to the United States.

    Chapter 1
  • August 1968

    Gogol is born at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    Chapter 1
  • Three days later

    Ashoke chooses Gogol as his son's pet name and birth certificate name, after Nikolai Gogol.

    Chapter 2
  • August 1969

    Ashima's father dies, and the family travels to Calcutta for his funeral.

    Chapter 2
  • 1971 to 1974

    The Gangulis move to a university suburb, buy a house on Pemberton Road, and Sonia is born.

    Chapter 3
  • August 1982

    Gogol meets Moushumi. Ashoke gives Gogol a volume of Nikolai Gogol's stories.

    Chapter 4
  • Winter 1983

    The Gangulis spend eight months in Calcutta. Gogol is inspired by the architecture of the Taj Mahal.

    Chapter 4
  • September 1984

    A high school junior, Gogol goes to a party, has his first kiss, and uses Nikhil for the first time.

    Chapter 4
  • Summer 1986

    Gogol goes to court and changes his name to Nikhil, which he uses at Yale.

    Chapter 5
  • Autumn 1987

    Gogol meets Ruth and dates her for a year, but his parents disapprove of her.

    Chapter 5
  • Thanksgiving 1989

    Ashoke tells Gogol the train story and the origin of his name.

    Chapter 5
  • 1994

    Gogol graduates from Columbia, works at an architecture firm, and moves in with Maxine Ratliff.

    Chapter 6
  • Summer 1995

    Gogol introduces Maxine to his parents on his way to vacation with Maxine. Ashoke goes to Ohio.

    Chapter 6
  • December 1995

    Ashoke dies, Sonia moves home, and Gogol spends a month at home without Maxine.

    Chapter 7
  • Summer 1996

    The Gangulis scatter Ashoke's ashes in Calcutta, and Gogol breaks up with Maxine.

    Chapter 8
  • Fall 1996

    Gogol goes on blind date with Moushumi, and they fall in love.

    Chapter 8
  • 1998

    Gogol and Moushumi marry, but Moushumi reveals his pet name to friends, breaking trust.

    Chapter 9
  • 1999

    Moushumi teaches at NYU and starts an affair with Dimitri, but Gogol finds out.

    Chapter 12
  • Christmas 2000

    Divorced, Gogol visits Pemberton Road, finds the book by Gogol, and reads the note and story.

    Chapter 12

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 The novel begins in August 1968, 18 months after Ashoke and Ashima marry in India in a ceremony arranged by their parent... Read More
Chapter 2 When Ashoke and Ashima's baby is born, Ashoke comes to see Ashima and hold the baby. At first he doesn't know how to rea... Read More
Chapter 3 In 1971 the Gangulis move to the suburbs, to a university town where Ashoke will teach electrical engineering. At first ... Read More
Chapter 4 It is 1982, and Gogol is turning 14. His parents let him have an American party, complete with friends, a basketball gam... Read More
Chapter 5 Gogol prepares to travel to Yale University in 1986 for his freshman year, but before he goes, he decides he will make h... Read More
Chapter 6 Gogol has graduated both from Yale and from the architecture program at Columbia University. In 1994 Gogol works for a b... Read More
Chapter 7 Ashima, who at this point is living mostly alone on Pemberton Road, has developed a life at age 48 that she never would ... Read More
Chapter 8 One year after Ashoke's death, Gogol is still living in New York City, but he and Maxine have broken up. He is planning ... Read More
Chapter 9 Moushumi and Gogol have dated for a year, and they decide to marry. However, their wedding is not in their hands, and th... Read More
Chapter 10 A year after Moushumi and Gogol are married, 1999, Moushumi has passed her exams for her PhD and has won a fellowship to... Read More
Chapter 11 Moushumi is in Palm Beach at a conference, and Gogol is at home in their apartment, bundled up in extra clothing because... Read More
Chapter 12 Ashima prepares her famous mincemeat croquettes and reminisces about her husband and her children, the Christmas celebra... Read More
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