Internal focalization

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Internal focalization takes place when events or thoughts are mediated through the point of view of the focalizer.

Contents

Definition

The opposite of external focalization, internal focalization describes the sort of focalization which emphasizes the description of the thoughts and feelings of characters and analysis and interpretation of their actions. These aspects are typically conveyed from the point of view of one character who interprets all events through his or her perspective. In addition to the method of internal focalization which utilizes only one character as this type of focalizer, using several internal focalizers to form a composite representation of a story is also common.

Examples

"It would certainly have been hard to see what injury could arise to her from the visit she presently paid to Mr Osmond's hill-top. Nothing could have been more charming than this occasion--a soft afternoon in the full maturity of the Tuscan spring. The companions drove out of the Roman Gate, beneath the enormous blank superstructure which crowns the fine clear arch of that portal and makes it nakedly impressive, and wound between high-walled lanes into which the wealth of blossoming orchards overdrooped and flung a fragrance, until they reached the small superurban piazza, of crooked shape, where the long brown wall of the villa occupied in part by Mr Osmond formed a principal, or at least a very imposing, object. Isabel went with her friend through a wide, high court, where a clear shadow rested below and a pair of light-arched galleries, facing each other above, caught the upper sunshine upon their slim columns and the flowering plants in which they were dressed. There was something grave and strong in the place; it looked somehow as if, once you were in, you would need an act of energy to get out. For Isabel, however, there was of course as yet no thought of getting out, but only of advancĀ­ing."

-Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Critical Debates

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Related Terms

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References

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