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Book IX begins as Ulysses answers King Alcinous' question as to who he is and where he has travelled. Ulysses' story also serves what larger function?
It delays the narrative in order to develop more suspense.
It reveals the events that have led up to the beginning of the story (Ulysses, stuck on Calypso's island).
It foreshadows what events are to come next in the story.
It fills in what happened between Calypso's island and Ulysses' return to Ithaca.
It provides an unrelated tangent to the main narrative because of its poetic value.