Interior Monologue is a form of first person narration that focuses on the character’s thoughts to create a sense of intimacy between the reader and the protagonist. When used poorly, interior monologue can easily slow the pace of a novel and fill the texts with useless information. This is why interior monologue is paired with a variety of styles and devices to create a unique and interesting style that enhances the journey of the reader.
In the sample work given, Lodge shows us a work by the author (James Joyce), in which he introduces to the characters not by telling the reader about them but by sharing their inner thoughts (pg. 47). The process introducing ideas that everybody knows by describing them first and then giving them a name, to keep the audience in the dark and lead them on the same journey of discovery as the character, is called defamiliarization. It is a useful tool that makes the novel more immersive.
Interior monologue can be woven into commonplace third person narration to create snippets of the protagonist’s mind (pg. 48-49). Pairing this with a disjointed narrative style that mimics the nature of human thought creates a flowing narrative that has a unique and distinct style that matches the complex and instinctive thought process of the human mind.
The snippets also serve to develop character, by indicating the thought process behind a character’s actions. The character refusing to open a door is an innocuous, meaningless action but when the interior monologue reveals that he refuses to do so in order to not wake his wife, his actions take on a new meaning. The provide character traits in a unique and immersive manner (pg 49). It can also establish the background of the character, in terms of education or lifestyle. When a character struggles to name or identify a well known principle, it can establish their status as an uneducated or poor individual, because of their inability to come up with the words to describe something simple.
Interior Monologue is also used incredibly effectively to connect flashbacks to the present, by using seemingly random, unrelated events to trigger a memory. This mimics reality, where everyday objects can remind us of our past and our history, and it allows the reader to latch on to the thought process of the protagonist in an unparalleled manner, travelling their memories and their imaginations to enhance the narrative structure (pg. 49).
Interior Monologue can also be used to shift the focus of the work by shifting the focus onto a specific character, to bring their story and their struggles into the fold. It is the mark of a capable writer to show a variety of unique character styles of thought and rationale, placing the reader in the middle of each person’s thoughts and showing the development of the character by this means (pg. 50-51)