An Astrologer’s Day


R. K. Narayan

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Themes and Colors
Mysticism and Religious Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Guilt, Fear, and Identity Theme Icon
Modernization, Tradition, and Inequality Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in An Astrologer’s Day, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Mysticism and Religious Hypocrisy

Indian author R.K. Narayan’s “An Astrologer’s Day” tells the story of a fraudulent astrologer who makes his living by selling cosmic insights to gullible villagers. Although he has no knowledge of the cosmos or actual spiritual insight, the astrologer exploits his customers’ search for meaning and reassurance, robing his lies in the vagaries of mystery and religion. Narayan’s portrayal of astrology and holy men does not eviscerate or prosecute religion, but certainly prods at it…

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Guilt, Fear, and Identity

The astrologer is not truly an astrologer, but merely a man masquerading as one. He has taken on a new, fabricated identity to escape the just consequences of his attempt at murder. The astrologer no longer has any opportunity to practice authenticity; his livelihood, marriage, and very survival are all predicated on lies. Narayan uses the astrologer to contemplate the ways in which fear and guilt can push an individual to live an unauthentic, self-deceiving…

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Modernization, Tradition, and Inequality

Throughout the story, Narayan intentionally contrasts the mix of ancient and modern, primitive and sophisticated that makes up modern India, particularly in the rural regions. Under British occupation, India was thrust into the modern world as the ruling class introduced technology and built infrastructure to suit their own tastes. Because of the speed at which this happened, as compared to the gradual progression of technology in Europe or America, much of the development happened unevenly…

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