How can I write a monologue

Examples of the inner monologue

A inner monologue is a form of character speech that provides insights into the head of a protagonist and his emotional world. The inner monologue is used by the narrator to convey thoughts. The difficulty often lies in identifying the inner monologue as such, since not every thought of a character can also be interpreted as an inner monologue. The decisive factor is that this narrative form is determined by direct speech and is aimed directly at the character himself.

Features of the inner monologue

Brief overview of the inner monologue
  • An inner monologue almost exclusively uses the indirect speech, even if there are examples that can do without them and yet meet all the other characteristics of the inner monologue.
  • In this narrative form, the respective protagonist addresses himself directly, whereby the stream of consciousness itself has its say, but is not only present in a loose list of sensations and impressions.
  • Furthermore, we get insights into the spoken and, above all, unspoken thoughts of the respective protagonist
  • It also gives the impression that the thoughts are on the one hand unfiltered and on the other hand very direct be reproduced. We are therefore immediate listeners to the whole.
  • No narrative instance availablewhich "interferes" in the immediate process of reproduction, so that the narrator is no longer present in the inner monologue.
  • The narrative reproduction of thoughts takes place in the 1st and 2nd person present indicative.
Note:Present indicative means the basic form of a verb. Present means present, whereby the indicative offers an opportunity to represent actual events or real actions. (Opposite are the imperative as a form of command and the subjunctive as a form of possibility).

Examples of the inner monologue

To illustrate what has been written, we would like to show the whole thing in more detail using three examples. the beginning is made by one of the most famous examples of the inner monologue from German-language literature: the beginning of Arthur Schnitzler's “Lieutenant Gustl„.

Lieutenant Gustl, Arthur Schnitzler
How long das will it take? I have to look at the clock ... probably not appropriate for such a serious concert. But who can see it? If someone sees it, he is just as little paying attention as I am, and I don’t need to be embarrassed about that ... A quarter to ten? ... I feel as though I’ve been sitting at the concert for three hours. I'm just not used to it ...

What is it actually? I have to watch the program ... Yes, that's right: oratorio! I meant ‘: fair. Such things only belong in the church! Another good thing about the Church is that one can go away at any moment. -

  • This excerpt clearly shows what really matters. Here the figure speaks to itself what through the I is signaled, using numerous W-questions.
  • In addition, in this short excerpt, when the protagonist speaks to himself, we only find them 1st person indicative present tense.
  • In the example, the narrator remains completely remote and we consequently have an immediate impression of Gustl's world of thought, which patters on us as readers unfiltered.
I'm such an idiot!! I should have known! Christy was right from the start with her skepticism about this experiment, but it was just too tempting to just test it out a little further, but I also make mistakes, I too am just a person, not just a teacher who does everything right and has an answer to everything!

I know that I made a big mistake and didn't think about the consequences this experiment could bring ... But what about the students, did they learn what I intended?

  • This example, which is intended to clarify the inner monologue, comes from Rhue's work "The Wave". Incidentally, in this book there are numerous examples of this kind, since the teacher consistently reflects on his actions and holds numerous dialogues with himself.
  • Also in this example we miss any intrusive narrator and participate directly in the teacher's thoughts.
  • The Figure speech is also in this section in the 1st person written and addressed directly to the protagonist himself, who torments himself with questions about the ongoing experiment.
Miss Else, Arthur Schnitzler
I want to kiss your blood red lips. I want to press your breasts against my breasts. What a shame that the glass is between us, the cold glass.
  • As a final example, we would like to use again a work by Arthur Schnitzler, who also often uses this form of narration in the monologue novella Fräulein Else, which gives us in-depth insights into Else's mind received (→ characteristics of a novella).
  • This inner monologue is also determined by the 1st person, whereby the ego speaks to itself when it looks at itself in the mirror.
  • Although this aspect is also due to the shortness of the section, in this example too we do not find any external narrator authority.

Inner monologue and stream of consciousness

The inner monologue must be clearly separated from the stream of consciousness. Accordingly, as illustrated by the examples, the figure must “speak” to itself and not just throw loose feelings into the literary space.

In contrast to this, the stream of consciousness is merely a series of various impressions that do not have a clear monologue. This narrative technique therefore only reproduces the impressions and sensations of individual characters as they pound on them. Let's look at an example.


"Hate. Malaise. Cold. What am I actually doing here? "

The blue marking would be clearly identifiable as a stream of consciousness and not an inner monologue, which we can find in the yellow part. Here the ego addresses itself directly through a question.

Note: Very, very often the stream of consciousness and the inner monologue are confused. We hope that the above examples have made the difference clear to you.