Stream of consciousness

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Stream of consciousness is a method of narrative representation of "random" thoughts which follow in a freely-flowing style.

Contents


Definition

Primarily associated with the modernist movement, stream of consciousness is a form of interior monologue which claims as its goal the representation of a lead consciousness in a narrative (typically fiction). This representation of consciousness can include perceptions or impressions, thoughts incited by outside sensory stimuli, and fragments of random, disconnected thoughts. Stream of consciousness writing often lacks "correct" punctuation or syntax, favoring a looser, more incomplete style.

Examples

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Critical Debates

Gerald Prince contests the term's frequent association with "interior monologue in his Dictionary of Narratology, writing:

"Though interior monologue and stream of consciousness have often been considered interchangeable, they have also frequently been contrasted: the former would present a character's thoughts rather than impressions or perceptions, while the latter would present both impressions and thoughts; or else, the former would respect morphology and syntax, whereas the latter would not...and would thus capture throught in its nascent stage, prior to any logical connection" (94).

Related Terms

voice

References

Prince, Gerald. Dictionary of Narratology. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003.

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