this is from chapters 8 through 12
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Nostalgia is prevalent in Chapter 12, as Ashima prepares for the last Christmas party she will ever host at the house on Pemberton Road. She remembers when Gogol and Sonia were little, helping her prepare the food for these parties: "Gogol's hand wrapped around the can of crumbs, Sonia always wanting to eat the croquettes before they'd been breaded and fried." As Sonia, Ben, Gogol, and Ashima assemble the fake Christmas tree together, Gogol remembers decorating the first plastic tree his parents had bought at his insistence.
The difference between Bengali and American approaches to marriage is clear in Ashima's evaluation of Gogol's divorce from Moushumi. She thinks, "Fortunately they have not considered it their duty to stay married, as the Bengalis of Ashoke and Ashima's generation do." In her view, the pressure to settle for less than "their ideal of happiness" has given way to "American common sense." Surprisingly, Ashima is pleased with this outcome, as opposed to an unhappy but dutiful marriage for her son.
Ashima feels alienated and alone after showering before the party. She "feels lonely suddenly, horribly, permanently alone, and briefly, turned away from the mirror, she sobs for her husband." She feels "both impatience and indifference for all the days she still must live." She does not feel motivated to be in Calcutta with the family she left over thirty years before, nor does she feel excited about being in the United States with her children and potential grandchildren. She just feels exhausted and overwhelmed without her husband.
The relationship between parents and children is prominent as a theme in Chapter 12. Gogol considers what it took for his parents to live in the United States, so far from their own parents, and how he has always remained close to home; they bore it "with a stamina he fears he does not possess himself." He does not think he can bear being so far away from his mother for so long.