Describe the character of the astrologer.  

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The protagonist in "An Astrologer's Day" is an interesting character because he is a survivor. He came to the big city from one of the many small villages in India and had to find some way to exist without having any formal education or marketable skills. We do not know how he obtained his astrological paraphernalia, but it is possible that he found it somewhere and decided to become an "astrologer" on the spur of the moment. His "professional equipment" consists of

...a dozen cowrie shells, a square piece of cloth with obscure mystic charts on it, a notebook, and a bundle of palmyra writing.

The man who had owned the equipment before him may have been better versed in the pseudo-science of astrology, but he may have lacked the present owner's intelligence, glibness, personality, and "moxie." It is obviously very hard for any astrologer to make a living in this city because most people don't have any money to spare for anything but the bare necessities.

The astrologer's day is a long and precarious one. He has a wife and small daughter waiting for him at home. Even when he encounters Guru Nayak and his life is in danger, he resolutely insists on talking about money. Because of his brains and adaptability, he is able to bring home even more coins than usual. He lives from day to day. He doesn't even want to think about what he is going to do tomorrow. He has gotten through one day and that is enough for him.

"Time to sleep," he said, yawning, and stretched himself on the pyol.

The astrologer might be said to represent the millions of men who are migrating to the big cities of India from the villages. His story is just one of the many stories of these people, whose survival in the cities depends on their adaptability to very difficult living conditions.

He had left his village without any previous thought or plan. If he had continued there he would have carried on the work of his forefathers namely, tilling the land, living, marrying, and ripening in his cornfield and ancestral home. But that was not to be.

It is interesting to see how this nameless man has become transformed into a big-city dweller who deals with great numbers of people every day in order to eke out a living for himself and his tiny family. He needs money to survive and support his family, and he has to get that money from other people by providing something in exchange. The great subcontinent of India is changing in many ways because of globalization, expanding population, and other factors. "An Astrologer's Day" represents the macrocosm in a microcosm, which it what makes it such a memorable short story.