However, as highly emotional beings, people can sometimes be helped mentally through the reassuring words of others. Another theme of this story is accepting new things, as Dr. Raman does not want to admit that words actually helped to heal his patient. The Question and Answer section for R. Narayan: Short Stories study guide contains a biography of R.
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Narayan, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Narayan: Short Stories essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of R. Narayan: Short Stories by R.
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Remember me. Forgot your password? Study Guide for R. Narayan: Short Stories R. About R. Narayan: Short Stories…. Essays for R. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play. LitCharts From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Download this LitChart! Themes All Themes. Symbols All Symbols. Theme Wheel. Themes and Colors Key. At midday, the astrologer lays out his equipment and readies for the day. He has brought a dozen cowrie shells , mystical-looking but unreadable charts, parchments, and other accoutrements.
1947 short stories
His forehead is painted with sacred ash and he wears a saffron-colored turban. Although the author leaves no room for doubt that the astrologer is indeed a fraud, the description of him is so compelling that it is easy to see how people would be fooled into regarding him as more than a mere man. Active Themes. Mysticism and Religious Hypocrisy. Related Quotes with Explanations. The astrologer is seated beneath a large tamarind tree near a road that leads through the Town Hall Park.
All the vendors are in the practice of overselling their own value.
Both the cloth vendor and the food seller create the illusion of luxury, while the astrologer creates the illusion of wisdom and power. Catering to a poor demographic, each vendor exploits a desire for the trappings of a more privileged life. Note the contrast of the astrologer, representing ancient tradition, with the Town Hall Park, representing modern administration. The astrologer prefers the indirect lighting , since he never aspired to be an astrologer at all, nor has he any business being one.
He does not know any more about the stars than any customer who may come to him. He tells people the things they want to hear. It both enhances the mysticism and helps conceal the fact that he is not actually a true astrologer at all. Despite this, the author sympathizes with him, noting the ways in which he acts as a therapist, listening to the problems of his customers and offering advice that may soothe them for a time.
Years before, the astrologer had to leave his home suddenly, without telling anyone and without preparation. Had he stayed, he would have been a farmer like his forefathers, working, marrying, dying, but it was not to be. Instead, he had to flee several hundred miles, an immense distance for a villager, and take up a new life.
Though it is later revealed that the astrologer fled after attempting murder, this foreshadow of it is dismissive, reflecting his own current feelings toward the situation. He seems to blame his departure on fate. Yet, he left the only honest life he could have lived.
Emily's English 9H: "An Astrologer's Day" Analysis
Guilt, Fear, and Identity. Download it! When someone comes to him, he first listens for ten minutes before speaking, by which point he has many things that could be said and passed off as cosmological wisdom. Often his answers are vague but sufficiently satisfying to give comfort to people; otherwise, they are self-affirming to the listener and as such leave them satisfied. He endears his customer to himself, but is careful to tie such praise to a cosmological symbol, such as the position of Saturn. Although the astrologer has no ancient wisdom, he does not seem to need it. The problems of mankind are the same as they have always been.
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But recognizing the desire for the illusion of control and significance, the astrologer manipulates his customers to their mutual benefit. There is no more light available to him, save for a small shaft of green light that strayed to the ground in front of him.
With the fading of the light, the astrologer has successfully upheld his ruse for another day. Yet under the cover of darkness, he is perhaps now bolder than he ought to be. As the astrologer is packing his garb and equipment , a stranger blots out the green light. The astrologer summons him to sit down, hoping to make money off of him.
The stranger resists but the astrologer presses, until finally the stranger steps to him and aggressively offers a challenge. The stranger offers a large sum on the cynical wager that the astrologer cannot tell him anything worthwhile. They haggle over the wager, eventually raising the price and the stakes. The stranger strikes a match to light his cheroot , and the brief light of the flame illuminates his face enough for the astrologer to see his identity. The astrologer gets very uncomfortable and tries to wriggle out of the wager and go home.
A Literary Review of an Astrologer's Day, a Short Story by R. K. Narayan
The stranger will not allow it, grabbing him by the arm and keeping him there, determined to expose the astrologer as a fraud or learn something useful. The fear he now feels is in part for his own safety, but also of the prospect of shedding his false identity and facing his past, as well as his guilt. The astrologer , fearful now, tries several times to offer the same vague, placating advice that has satisfied other customers in the past. The stranger , however, will have none of it.
The astrologer says a silent prayer and then changes tactic, revealing to the stranger that he knows that he was stabbed and left for dead some years ago.