Untouchable

“He shivered as he turned on his side. But he didn’t mind the cold very much, suffering it willingly because he could sacrifice a good many comforts for the sake of what he called ‘fashun,’ by which he understood the art of wearing trousers, breeches, coat, puttees, boots, etc, as worn by the British and Indian soldiers in India.”

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (New York: Penguin Books, 1940), 10.

The free indirect discourse in this passage suggests that he was very cold since he was shivering but goes on to say that he was not bothered by the cold.  The reader is inside of his mind what he is thinking and the intelligence he has.

As I Lay Dying

“It was about a mile from the house we saw him, sitting on the edge of the slough. It hadn’t had a fish in it never that I knowed. He looked around at us, his eyes round and calm, his face dirty, the pole across his knees. Cora was still singing. ”

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (New York: Vintage International, 1985), 92.

The use of free indirect discourse tells the reader about the scene. We are given the location from the house and inside information about there never having been a fish. The descriptions given about his cleanliness and eyes seem to serve to contradict each other in the way that given his poor appearance, he still had the ability to present a calmness about him.

Mind Reading – Mrs. Dalloway

“Elizabeth rather wondered, as they did up the parcel, what Miss Kilman was thinking.”

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, 1925. Print. 127

In this passage, Elizabeth wonders what Miss Kilman is thinking as they shop for petticoats. Much of the novel is written in free indirect discourse. Though the book is written in third person, the reader is able to understand the thoughts of several different characters. In this particular passage, Elizabeth wonders about Miss Kilman as she guides her around the Army and Navy store. Though they get along, Miss Kilman and Elizabeth are completely dissimilar. While Elizabeth is young and beautiful, Miss Kilman is unhappy, scornful, and wretched with self pity. In this moment, Elizabeth wonders about Miss Kilman’s nature and she hopes to leave Miss Kilman’s side. As a born again Christian, Miss Kilman often attempts to persuade Elizabeth to accept her religious beliefs, and though she does not reciprocate Miss Kilman’s attraction, Elizabeth likes the new ideas and opportunities that Miss Kilman presents to her.

Mrs. Dalloway

“But suppose Peter said to her, “Yes, yes, but your parties – what’s the sense of your parties?” all she could say was (and nobody could be expected to understand): They’re an offering; which sounded horribly vague.” (118)

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1925. Print.

In this scene, Clarissa is contemplating the reasons she planned and hosted parties. The narration before this quote says, “what she liked was simply life” and she goes on to say out loud, even though she is alone, “That’s what I do it for”. No one is around to hear her talk through this justification, even though she sounds like she is trying to prove her point to someone. It almost seems like, by saying it out loud, she is trying to prove it to herself. She goes on to think, through free indirect discourse narration, “but suppose Peter said to her”. Attempting to convince herself that having these parties is just something she liked to do, Clarissa shifts to thinking about what Peter would say to her, knowing him well enough that he would question her. This sentence hints at Clarissa possibly being a little insecure, especially regarding Peter’s opinion of her. She not only thinks about his opinion, but also thinks of what everyone else would think in response to his doubt. She thinks, “nobody could be expected to understand” acknowledging the fact that she is aware no one else would back her up when she defended herself. But this is an entirely hypothetical situation, as Peter hasn’t even said anything yet. She even acknowledges that her answer would sound “horribly vague”. This style of thinking is common throughout the novel, as characters tend to get lost in their thoughts.

Mrs. Dalloway

“She had the oddest sense of being herself invisible; unseen; unknown; there being no more marrying, no more having of children now, but only this astonishing and rather solemn progress with the rest of them, up Bond Street, this being Mrs. Dalloway; not even Clarissa any more; this being Mrs. Richard Dalloway.” (Woolf 11)

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Penguin Group, 1992.

This selection is indicative of the feminist undertones to the character of Mrs. Dalloway and helps explain her function in the novel. The sentence also employs Woolf’s technique of run-on sentences, bridged by semicolons, which seems to create a stream of consciousness effect.