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Definition[ edit ] Stream of consciousness is a narrative device that attempts to give the written equivalent of the character's thought processeseither in a loose interior monologue see belowor in connection to his or her actions.
Stream of consciousness writing is usually regarded as a special form of interior monologue and is characterized by associative leaps in thought and lack of some or all punctuation. In stream of consciousness the speaker's thought processes are more often depicted as overheard in the mind or addressed to oneself ; it is primarily a fictional device.
The term "stream of consciousness" was coined by philosopher and psychologist William James in The Principles of Psychology A 'river' or a 'stream' are the metaphors by which it is most naturally described. In talking of it hereafter, let's call it the stream of thought, consciousness, or subjective life.
In the following example of stream of consciousness from James Joyce's UlyssesMolly seeks sleep: Internal monologue While many sources use the terms stream of consciousness and interior monologue as synonyms, the Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms suggests, that "they can also be distinguished psychologically and literarily.
Clay notes that Leo Tolstoy "when the occasion requires it Indeed, James Joyce "picked up a copy of Dujardin's novel It has been claimed that Hamsun was way ahead of his time with the use of stream of consciousness in two chapters in particular of this novel.
Streets that follow like a tedious argument Of insidious intent To lead you to an overwhelming question Oh, do not ask, "What is it? In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo.
Eliot, "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" The term was first applied in a literary context in The Egoist, Aprilby May Sinclairin relation to the early volumes of Dorothy Richardson 's novel sequence Pilgrimage.
Richardson, however, describes the term as an 'lamentably ill-chosen metaphor". Some hints of this technique, are already present in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Manalong with interior monologueand references to a character's psychic reality rather than to his external surroundings.
Earlier in Joyce, when working on Dubliners, considered adding another story featuring a Jewish advertising canvasser called Leopold Bloom under the title Ulysses. Although he did not pursue the idea further at the time, he eventually commenced work on a novel using both the title and basic premise in The writing was completed in October Ulysses was finally published in While Ulysses represents a major example of the use of stream of consciousness Joyce also uses "authorial description" and Free Indirect Style to register Bloom's inner thoughts.
Furthermore the novel does not focus solely on interior experiences: Another early example is the use of interior monologue by T. Eliot in his poem " The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock "a dramatic monologue of an urban man, stricken with feelings of isolation and an incapability for decisive action,"  a work probably influenced by the narrative poetry of Robert Browningincluding " Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister ".
Dave Eggersauthor of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Geniusaccording to one reviewer, "talks much as he writes — a forceful stream of consciousness, thoughts sprouting in all directions".Further Study.
Test your knowledge of The Grapes of Wrath with our quizzes and study questions, or go further with essays on the context and background and links to the best resources around the web.
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