From "Fever" by Raymond Carver:

The next morning, when the alarm went off, he wanted to keep his eyes closed and keep on with the dream he was having. Something about a farmhouse. And there was a waterfall in there, too. Someone, he didn't know who, was walking along the road carrying something. Maybe it was a picnic hamper. He was not made uneasy by the dream. In the dream, there seemed to exist a sense of well-being. Finally, he rolled over and pushed something to stop the buzzing.

(italics mine)

I'm studying forms of speech and thought representation in literature (indirect speech, direct speech, free indirect speech). People who studied narratology, specifically, "discourse representation" would be able to identify this. I'm new to Stack Exchange and I don't know where to find them.

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    Commented Feb 28 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


Yes. From the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature:

In free indirect discourse (FID), the narrative discourse of a text incorporates the language and subjectivity of a character, including emotional coloring, deictics, judgments, and style, without an introductory attributing frame like “she thought that” and without shifts in the pronouns or the tense sequence to accord with the character’s perspective. By combining the immediacy of direct quotation and the flexibility of indirect discourse, FID allows for the seamless integration of a character’s thought or speech, with all of its distinctive markers, into the narratorial discourse. Because FID occurs in the context of narratorial discourse and allows for a fluid movement back and forth between narratorial and figural subjectivities, it characteristically entails a mixture or interplay of two voices—the narrator’s and the character’s—in the same utterance, as in parody or mimicry.

The excerpt from Carver shares the characteristics of FID enumerated in the article:

  • The narrative incorporates the language and subjectivity of the character in the portion you have italicized. It tells us what is going through the character's mind.
  • There is no attributing frame: no "he saw a farmhouse" or "he saw a barn, but mistook it for a farmhouse," simply "Something like a farmhouse."
  • There are no shifts in pronouns or tense sequence to indicate that the narrative has shifted perspective.

Se also this answer on Woolf's Mrs Dalloway and this one on Joyce's Portrait of the Artist for some more discussion about the characteristics of FID; you can apply the material there, mutatis mutandis, to Carver.

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