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The gulls landed in Athertown on July 11, 1979. Clouds of them, in numbers unseen since the ornithologists began keeping records of such things. Scientists all over the country hypothesized about erratic weather patterns and redirected migratory routes. At first sullen Nal barely noticed them. (53)


The shift in point of view from dramatic third person to third person limited on the first page allows for the reader to learn about the setting  an the unnatural nature of the gulls without Nal commenting on it. This portrays Nal’s character as indifferent to everything around him and shows how wrapped up he is in his his own thoughts, so much so that he “barely notices them” (53). It also allows the original narrator to explain how the “clouds of” gulls are not a normal occurrence as well as describe the flimsy explanations that are being offered by the experts that make it clear that nobody knows why this is happening (53). This knowledge of everyone’s lack of knowledge along with the lightning quick change in point of view instantly knocks the reader off balance. Leaving them with an uncertainty of what to trust that carries through the rest of the story. It also establishes early on, along with the title, the importance of the gulls and their relationship to the setting, to the rest of the story.

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