An Astrologer's Day Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 39 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of An Astrologer's Day.
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An Astrologer's Day Summary & Study Guide Description

An Astrologer's Day Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on An Astrologer's Day by R. K. Narayan.


The story begins with a description of the astrologer, who is the central character in the story. In minute detail, his appearance, his clothes, and all the materials he uses to ply his trade are described. The astrologer, who is not given a name, comes across as a type, one of the many street vendors in India, who sit under the shade of a tree or a temporary shed and sell anything from vegetables to newspapers. This astrologer belongs to the same category although, given the nature of his trade, there is a need to dress and behave in a particular manner. He does that effectively by giving the impression of a holy man whose special powers enable him to function as an astrologer.

Almost casually, the surroundings of the astrologer begin to take shape. While there are no clear references to a particular city, it is likely, since Narayan consistently uses the fictional city of Malgudi, that this story too takes place in Malgudi. In any event, one gets the impression of a somewhat backward city which still retains a measure of its rural character. The reference to "municipal lighting" is one of the strategies employed by the author to suggest a sense of the place. In addition, the reference to other vendors who sell a variety of goods gives a sense of a bustling community in which the astrologer operates.


Nayak then pays the astrologer and leaves; the astrologer too leaves for home. Since he is late, his wife is at the door waiting for him and insists on an explanation for his delay. This becomes the occasion for the astrologer to give his wife the extra money he earned by winning the wager and to add that now a great load has been lifted off his mind. All these years he had thought that he had killed a man, and that is why he had run away from the village. Today he realized that the victim was in fact alive and well. The wife is mystified and doesn't understand the full story, and the astrologer does not care to elaborate. For the reader, at this moment, the entire sequence of events makes perfect sense. The client was none other than the person who had been stabbed by the astrologer; for obvious reasons, Nayak fails to recognize the astrologer. The author's strategy of ensuring that the encounter takes place late in the evening ensures that the two do not recognize each other initially. In fact, it is only because Nayak lights a cigar that the astrologer gets the opportunity to see his face and recognize him. The story ends with the astrologer going to sleep, completely at peace with himself.

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This section contains 949 words
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Literature of Developing Nations for Students
An Astrologer's Day from Literature of Developing Nations for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.