Stream of consciousness

james joyce

As we work on Unfamiliar Texts I will revise language techniques, aspects of style to help you prepare for the exam.  Today I will look at stream of consciousness which was pioneered by writers such as Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce. Stream of consciousness is a literary technique, used primarily in poetry and fiction, which seeks to portray an individual’s point of view by giving the written equivalent of the character’s thought processes, either in a loose internal interior monologue, or in connection to his or her sensory reactions to external occurrences. Stream of consciousness is characterised by a flow of thoughts and images, which may not always appear to have a coherent structure or cohesion. The plot line may weave in and out of time and place, carrying the reader through the life span of a character or further along a timeline to incorporate the lives (and thoughts) of characters from other time periods.

Writers who create stream-of-consciousness works of literature focus on the emotional and psychological processes that are taking place in the minds of one or more characters. Important character traits are revealed through an exploration of what is going on in the mind.

It can also be called interior monologue this is defined as a passage of writing presenting a character’s inner thoughts and emotions in a direct, sometimes disjointed or fragmentary manner.

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