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.
Defamiliarization was expertly used by the author of Paradise of the Blind, by flashing back to the childhood of protagonist and then introducing the reader to common place ideas as the protagonist was. She did this with some simple items, like the rice cakes or basic manners, but she also does it incredibly well, in showing more complex, adult ideas, like the shaming of the protagonists mother, The flashbacks put us in the shoes of the character at the time of the occurrence of the events, even if they character themselves wasn’t present at the event.
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.
There are many times when the narrator retells stories that she was told as a child. Even here, the stories are clearly filtered through the mind of the character as a child, with points of confusion, strong emotion, and fear shining through otherwise normal events. When she is told of her fathers history with the town, the emotion of a child hearing about her Mother’s suffering shines through the story’s retelling. This creates the sense of immersion in the understanding of events that stimulates being told the story as a child.
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).
In Paradise of the Blind, no cue is given for the transition between times. Instead, the transition comes from mundane events that sometimes trigger memories of the past. The boarding of a train brings the character to return to her times abroad with her roommate, expertly identifying the types of connections that the human mind makes without wasting a single word. The interior monologue of the character essentially latches us on to her train of thought, meaning what triggers her flashback connects us to the past event as well.