In Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf uses a newer style called Free Indirect Style which was introduced by Charles Bailey in 1912 (“Free Indirect Style in Mrs. Dalloway”, Gloria Jones, Winthrop University, p 70). It was Woolf though, who by employing it so beautifully in Mrs. Dalloway, made the style first known to most readers. Free indirect style can be distinguished from direct speech and indirect speech in the following simple examples:
1. Tom looked toward the end of the dock and said, “Is that the same boat I saw this morning?” (Direct Speech)
2. Tom looked toward the end of the dock and said to himself, is that the same boat I saw this morning? (Indirect Speech)
3. Tom looked toward the end of the dock. Was that the same boat he saw this morning? (Free Indirect Style).
The advantage of Free Indirect Style is that it allows the narrator to serve as the third party narrator while at the same time allowing the reader to experience the subjective thoughts and feelings of the character the narrator describes (Jones p 71). It is also an advantage because the narrator only reveals what the author chooses to reveal about the subjective thoughts of the character in question and the fullness of the character can be developed throughout the novel. The literary payoff is thus threefold and the emotions are expressed in a much deeper way than can be done with direct or indirect speech. The Inner monologue style for which James Joyce was famous is another useful technique to accomplish the same thing with a bit less narrator control or so it seems. (Jones, p 71)
Regarding the presentation of thought, Leech and Short say the following:
...many leading novelists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been deeply concerned with the portrayal of 'internal speech'. This is because one of the major concerns of the novelist for the last hundred years or more has been how to present vividly the flow of thought through a character's...