I'm looking for a significant change that a character undergoes in the book, and the other part is pretty self explanatory.
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As far as facing changes, I'd have to go with the character of Ashima. She marries a man she doesn't really know, and then leaves her home to live in another country. Ashima then goes through her pregnancy and ultimately raises a child far away from her family, in a place that she never really makes any friends; she misses her family and mourns that they have no special place in Gogol's life.
As far as what the author means to convey, we have a woman who becomes isolated in a way she's never experienced. Human nature often cowers from the unknown, and in turn, Ashima isolates herself in addition to experiencing the alienation she feels by others. Sometimes feelings of alienation come from nothing more than our own minds. Human nature sometimes tends to look for the negatives rather than the positives.