Writers and their works are full of such a deep relationship with their pen and the unending world of their imagination. But it is not just the imagination. To become a good writer, you need to understand different aspects of writing and grammar. Maybe you already know and have used different literary devices, styles, or techniques in your works but lack the necessary knowledge. Like a stream of consciousness and interior monologue, have you used any stream of consciousness example? What writers use a stream of consciousness in literature? Let’s begin and learn about it.
1. What is Stream of Consciousness?
In the 19th century, it was a term used by psychologists to describe how people’s thoughts and feelings change all the time. It is a constant flow. Towards the early 20th century, literary critics began using it. It is a style or technique of writing in which the writer tries to capture the natural flow of the character’s thought process through writing. This is called a stream of consciousness. It is done by using incomplete ideas, rough grammar, sensory impressions, and unusual syntax.
- It is primarily used in poetry and fiction.
- It is used to describe plays and films that attempt to visualize the thoughts of the character.
- In unconventional ways, it is used to represent the complicated pathways of thoughts.
- It can be written in the 1st and 3rd person.
2. Why is Stream of Consciousness Different?
The usual pattern of traditional prose is highly linear, which means one idea follows the next one like everything follows a line. But stream consciousness is different as it is non-linear and uses associative leaps, plot structure, unusual syntax, and grammar.
a) Grammar and syntax
Among the stream of consciousness and interior monologue, the former does not follow word order because thoughts are not fully formed while the writer writes. Sometimes the thoughts may change course in the middle and the other time other thoughts interrupt the previous one. Thus, syntax and grammar are used in such a way that is neither grammatically nor syntactically correct, but it replicates the process.
- An unusual way of using punctuation
- Use of line breaks to define pauses
- A shift in the trained thoughts of the character
Stream of consciousness uses associative thought. With this technique writers put in their thoughts as the personal experiences of the character. This technique helps in better representation of human thoughts. Associative thought seems random because sometimes thoughts of the character are presented in response to the sensory impressions of the reader.
A certain thought or sensory impression to which the character keeps coming back is represented by the repetition of certain words or phrases. This is also to point towards significant motifs and themes.
d) Plot structure
Writers use structure by incorporating non-linear plots and unreliable narrators, like the one that moves forward and backward in time. This is done by showing a swift shift between the perspectives of different characters. This way you get to experience a stream of consciousness of different characters.
3. Why do Writers Use Stream of Consciousness in Literature?
As a part of modernist studies, the stream of consciousness in literature created a new writing technique and various modernist writers pioneered it.
- Modernist writers used this technique to represent the experiences of humans in the modern, industrialized, and urban world.
- New writers consider this technique to be true to life, therefore they use it.
- They use it to replicate the actual experience of thinking.
- To enable the reader in connecting with the character by enabling them to enter the mind of the character.
- Allows readers to think in many different ways.
4. What is Interior Monologue?
It is a way of thinking out loud. The writer describes the thoughts of the character in his or her language. A part of a narrative play, biography, poem, book, or other work of writing. The author writes what he thinks a character should be thinking at that specific moment.
- It is used in fiction.
- It has a straight narration that can be integrated from 3rd person.
- Reveals unspoken thoughts
- Describe from a specific point of view
- Self-perception and mentality are revealed.
- Shows personal associations
a) Direct monologue
A free flow of thoughts from the mind of the character is known as a direct monologue. In this technique, the author does not present his views on what the character thinks.
b) Indirect monologue
This is the selective representation of the thoughts of the character. The reader gets a clearer glimpse into the thoughts of the character and the author comments on them too. Must read What are You are the Blank to my Blank Sayings?
5. What is the Difference between Stream of Consciousness and Interior Monologue?
Though both of them are used to present the thought of the character to the reader, the stream of consciousness and interior monologue have some differences, which are:
|Interior Monologue||Stream of Consciousness|
|In this technique, the thoughts are related as coherent and fully formed sentences.||In this, the reader is made to experience those thoughts in the same way as the character is thinking those thoughts.|
|It is more like the character is talking to him or her.||The major difference between the stream of consciousness and interior monologue is that the former is like a self-thinking experience.|
6. What are Some Examples of Interior Monologues?
Even though this technique enables the readers to connect more accurately with the character and story, many writers do not prefer to use it. However, there are many writers who use and are using interior monologue in their works. Some examples are mentioned below:
I was a Flower of the Mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair………and yes, I said yes, I will Yes – James Joyce.
b) Mrs. Dalloway
She felt very young and at the same time unspeakably aged. She always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day. By Virginia Woolf
c) Cloud Atlas
Grelsch glares at her. I got a lead, Dom……. Sixsmith’s case was processed. By David Mitchell
d) Crime and Punishment
But at the same instant several men talking loudly…………… and which, as though for his benefit, they had just left. By Fyodor Dostoevsky. Check out What is the Difference between Mood and Tone?
7. Would You Like to Know Some Stream of Consciousness Example?
Stream of consciousness and interior monologue during the years before and after World War I mark the widespread usage of this literary technique. Writers like Dorothy Richardson, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Marcel Proust pioneered this technique. Here are a couple of examples for stream of consciousness.
a) The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock
I grow old … I grow old … I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled………… I do not think that they will sing to me. By TS Eliot (Modernist poet)
I am alone I want to be the two of us …………. It is the face I lost she is my face smiling at me. By Toni Morrison
c) Mrs. Dalloway
She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone…………and she would not say of Peter, she would not say of herself, I am this, I am that. By Virginia Woolf
d) As I Lay Dying
Because I said If you wouldn’t keep on sawing and nailing at it until a man can’t sleep even………… One lick less and we could be quiet. By William Faulkner
8. Which is Some Interior Monologue and Stream of Consciousness Novel?
Try your hand by reading the following stream of consciousness novels. The stream of consciousness and interior monologue examples will give you a much better understanding of these techniques.
- Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1864)
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925)
- As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (1930)
- Molloy by Samuel Beckett (1951)
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957)
- Ulysses by James Joyce (1992)
Well, now the concept of stream of consciousness and interior monologue is pretty much clear now. Both of these techniques make writing interesting, which is why writers use a stream of consciousness in literature. (Also read What is Expository Text Meaning?)