Where does the actual narrative begin? 

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The actual narrative of "An Astrologer's Day" begins with the opening words.

Punctually at midday he opened his bag and spread out his professional equipment, which consisted 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 story problem, however, does not begin until the astrologer sees a client standing before him in the uncertain light, apparently planning to consult him.

He picked up his cowrie shells and paraphernalia and was putting them back into his bag when the green shaft of light was blotted out; he looked up and saw a man standing before him. He sensed a possible client and said: "You look so careworn. It will do you good to sit down for a while and chat with me."

It is not unusual for a good storyteller to start a narrative with some action and then interject essential description and exposition after hopefully getting the reader interested in the character or characters. It seems appropriate for the author in this case to be offering such information while the astrologer is getting ready for his day's work. Naturally the astrologer cannot expect to attract a customer as soon as he sits down. His life isn't that easy. But the narrative has started. So while the reader imagines the astrologer settling down, the author can describe the setting and provide just a little background information. Actually there is a great deal more background information to be learned--practically everything of importance, in fact. Much of the additional exposition will be conveyed in the form of dialogue, but this technique is understandable because there is now another person present. The dramatic part of the narrative will take up most of the story and will be limited to the conflict between the protagonist and the ferocious Guru Nayak. Then the astrologer will convey a small amount of additional exposition to his wife when he comes homes with his hard-earned money.

   
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