Why does the name "Gogol" have special meaning for Ashoke in "The Namesake"?

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The name Gogol is extremely significant to Ashoke in The Namesake. Ashoke gives his son the name Gogol, and at first, the naming is portrayed as somewhat arbitrary. Ashoke and his wife Ashima, a recent immigrant from India, are at the hospital and are told they cannot take the boy home until he is named. According to Indian tradition, an elder on Ashima's side of the family is meant to name the child, but they have not received her letter. Having to adhere to the American rules and name the child, they go with "Gogol" at Ashoke's suggestion.

Ashoke chooses the name because Nikolai Gogol is his favorite writer, but also because he was reading a collection of Gogol stories on a train one night when he was involved in a horrific accident. Many people were killed and Ashoke himself was seriously injured. After a long and painful recovery, Ashoke decides to move to the United States and pursue his career goals, as well as his desire to travel. Ashoke credits his survival of the train crash...

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