The Namesake

Sonali (Sonia) Ganguli Character Analysis

Gogol’s younger sister, who calls him, affectionately, “Goggles.” She too struggles with the divide between her American friends and her Indian background, and moves to California for college. After their father dies, though, Sonia moves back in with Ashima to take care of her. She becomes engaged to Ben, a Jewish-Chinese journalist in Boston, and the two are planning a wedding in Calcutta at the end of the novel.

Sonali (Sonia) Ganguli Quotes in The Namesake

The The Namesake quotes below are all either spoken by Sonali (Sonia) Ganguli or refer to Sonali (Sonia) Ganguli. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Houghton Mifflin edition of The Namesake published in 2003.
Chapter 4 Quotes

Ashima, now Monu, weeps with relief, and Ashoke, now Mithu, kisses his brothers on both cheeks, holds their heads in his hands. Gogol and Sonia know these people, but they do not feel close to them as their parents do. Within minutes, before their eyes Ashoke and Ashima slip into bolder, less complicated versions of themselves, their voices louder, their smiles wider, revealing a confidence that Gogol and Sonia never see on Pemberton Road. “I’m scared, Goggles,” Sonia whispers to her brother in English, seeking his hand and refusing to let go.

Related Characters: Sonali (Sonia) Ganguli (speaker), Ashoke Ganguli (Mithu), Ashima Ganguli (Monu), Gogol/Nikhil Ganguli
Page Number: 81-82
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Namesake quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 7 Quotes

She passes over two pages filled only with the addresses of her daughter, and then her son. She has given birth to vagabonds. She is the keeper of all these names and numbers now, numbers she once knew by heart, numbers and addresses her children no longer remember.

Related Characters: Ashima Ganguli (Monu), Gogol/Nikhil Ganguli, Sonali (Sonia) Ganguli
Page Number: 167
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Now, sitting together at the kitchen table at six-thirty every evening, the hour feeling more like midnight through the window, his father’s chair empty, this meatless meal is the only thing that makes sense. There is no question of skipping this meal; on the contrary, for ten evenings the three of them are strangely hungry, eager to taste the blandness on their plates.

Related Characters: Ashima Ganguli (Monu), Gogol/Nikhil Ganguli, Sonali (Sonia) Ganguli
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptat

Chapter 9 Quotes

“I had it engraved,” she says, and when he turns the flask over he sees the letters NG. He remembers poking his head into Sonia’s room years ago, telling her about his decision to change his name to Nikhil. She’d been thirteen or so, doing her homework on her bed. “You can’t do that,” she’d told him then, shaking her head, and when he’d asked her why not she’d simply said, “Because you can’t. Because you’re Gogol.”

Related Characters: Sonali (Sonia) Ganguli (speaker), Gogol/Nikhil Ganguli
Page Number: 221
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit

Get the entire The Namesake LitChart as a printable PDF.
The namesake.pdf.medium

Sonali (Sonia) Ganguli Character Timeline in The Namesake

The timeline below shows where the character Sonali (Sonia) Ganguli appears in The Namesake. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...black hair. He gives his mother the drawing and she tells him the baby’s name: Sonali. His parents had prepared beforehand this time, with options for a boy or girl, and... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Over time, Sonali does develop a nickname—Sonia—which gives her links to Europe, Russia, and South America. As she... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...“Mithu”—pass away. They are left parentless within a decade of their arrival, and Gogol and Sonia are awoken by the news in the middle of night, embarrassed by their parents’ tears... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...for guidance—and learn to roast turkey, even if it is spiced with Indian flavors. For Sonia and Gogol’s sake they take up the ceremonies of Easter, build snowmen, and celebrate Christmas... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...for ballpoint, buys packs of six Bic razors, and even removes his wristwatch. They allow Sonia and Gogol to fill their cart with American groceries, and once a week Ashima cooks... (full context)
Chapter 4
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...leave, Gogol opens their presents—dictionaries, calculators, sweaters, and a card made with Magic Markers from Sonia that reads “Happy Birthday Goggles,” her nickname for him. Most of the gifts, which do... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
It is Christmas Day when they take the plane, and Sonia still expects to see the tree when she comes downstairs, but there are only suitcases.... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...arrive, they are swallowed by the embraces of their relatives, whose special names Gogol and Sonia must take care to remember. Ashoke and Ashima feel emotional at the reunion, but their... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...relatives, the parents fitting in with their old lives while the children feel like outcasts. Sonia has read the books she brought dozens of times by the end of their stay.... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...architecture as they visit a succession of tombs. Later, on their way back to Calcutta, Sonia has an allergic reaction to jackfruit. In another compartment of the train, a man is... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
When they return to Calcutta, both Gogol and Sonia fall terribly ill. Their relatives blame their discomfort on the air, the wind, the rice—these... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...days the lack of noise in their large home feels odd, but quickly Gogol and Sonia return to normal, eating peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, taking hot showers, and quarreling as they please. In... (full context)
Chapter 5
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...is home, however, he is distracted, and misses his life at school. He watches as Sonia dies her jeans black, and sees her becoming a true American teenager, arguing with Ashima... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...next year Gogol’s parents know about Ruth, but they are not interested in meeting her. Sonia, who has her own secret boyfriend, is the only member of the family who goes... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...inability to accept Maxine as a potential daughter-in-law. She passes two pages of addresses for Sonia and Gogol, amazed by how many homes each has already had, but for them it... (full context)
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Sonia flies back from San Francisco to be with Ashima, while Gogol flies to Cleveland. Maxine... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...complex. The apartment is sparse and simple, with a single picture of Gogol, Ashima, and Sonia on the refrigerator. He begins to dispose of the few items that are there, feeling... (full context)
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gogol calls home, but Sonia and Ashima are already asleep. He calls Maxine, who regrets not having come with him.... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...in the Bengali tradition, and how he had laughed at his father’s strange appearance, while Sonia, still a baby, had cried. Now Ashima has shampooed the vermillion from her hair’s part... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...for groceries or to visit Bengali friends. In January, Gogol returns to New York while Sonia stays in Massachusetts with Ashima. The two women come to see Gogol off at the... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...thing Ashoke has to a grave. Ashima’s mourning has caused her to age quickly, and Sonia now lives with and takes care of her. Gogol is enrolled in a course at... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...of Ashoke’s, and Ashima is dressed up for the first time since her husband’s death. Sonia gives Gogol a birthday gift, a red flask with the initials “NG” on it, and... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Independence, Rebellion, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...the week before. Gogol and Moushumi had cooked in their apartment, and her parents, Ashima, Sonia, and Sonia’s boyfriend Ben joined them, all speaking in English for Ben’s sake. Seeing Sonia... (full context)
Chapter 12
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
One reason for moving is the marriage of Sonia to Ben, which is scheduled to take place in Calcutta next year. Ashima looks kindly... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Sonia and Ben arrive, and Sonia greets Gogol, saying, “Welcome home, Goggles.” They go to the... (full context)
The Indian Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family, Tradition, and Ritual Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...relied on to translate American customs, customs that she only knows because of Gogol and Sonia. Ben is overwhelmed by all of the new names, but Gogol reassures him that he... (full context)