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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)

602978-0e4ecfce-d31b-11e2-96e3-1b2db4673cefThe shift in point of view from dramatic third person to third person limited in the first page allows for the reader to learn about the setting without Nal commenting on it. 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 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. 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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