Interior Monologue

Interior Monologue

What is the interior monologue?

The interior monologue is the stylistic device used to translate the psychic phenomenon of the stream of consciousness in literature. The stream of consciousness itself is the free flow of thoughts which continuously happens in every person’s mind and the thoughts are displayed as if they bounced from past to present to future and also from a situation to another. Hence, the interior monologue will represent the journey of a character’s memory, feelings and intentions based on what they see, feel hear, eat or touch in their life.

From the literary point of view, the interior monologue is obtained with:

  • Lack of punctuation
  • Puns
  • Onomatopoeic words
  • Grammatical and word mistakes
  • Sensorial impressions

Ulysses by James Joyce

Ulysses by James Joyce is a typical example of the use of the device of the interior monologue. The work, in facts, shows a period of the character’s lives using a different technique in each chapter. The interior monologue, for example, is used for the last chapter where the character is Molly Bloom.

Here she’s trying to go to sleep while her thoughts absorb her and her memory is guided by the images of flowers in a journey between the past, when she thinks about her husband’s proposal, and the future, where she actually fancies another man. The style is also compliant to her social state, as the grammatical and word mistakes show.

The recurrence of the word “yes” in the monologue is both a colloquial expression, an echo to sexual intercourse and also a reference to the acceptance of life, since yes is the most positive word in the english language. Its use also contributes to the message of the whole work: even common people are acceptable.

[…] I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

Ulysses, episode 18

This was D.H.Lawrence! 😉

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