Thinking Out Loud

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Soliloquy: A dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character talks to themself or reveals their thoughts without addressing a listener.

Lopez: I have no idea why humans need to speak out loud when they think.

Bob: Now, this goes over here.
Alice: You want me to move that?
Bob: Oh, no. Just thinking out loud.

Thinking Out Loud occurs in the odd circumstance that a character is talking to him/herself out loud and they could easily be thinking the same thing, but just don't. Villains do this a LOT. It's usually a form of As You Know: often the character would be better off hiding their thoughts from people who might hear them, but, of course, the audience needs to be informed...

The difference with Did I Just Say That Out Loud? is that that trope incorporates an Outer Monologue when other characters are in the room and happen to hear what the character was thinking because he/she blurted it out. This is where they are speaking out loud intentionally, and/or if they learn nothing from the experience.

Surrogate Soliloquy and Inner Monologue are tropes which are deliberate aversions. Inner Monologue conversation is an aversion in which others respond anyway. Audience Monologue is similar, but is intentionally directed to the audience. Breaking the Fourth Wall and addressing the audience is another aversion, but much older. If the character is looking in the direction of the audience but not saying anything that strictly proves they're aware of the audience rather than just Thinking Out Loud, that's Aside Comment. Placebo Eureka Moment is when there is someone else there, but the character isn't really talking to them. An extremely common case of Truth in Television; people often forget to close their mouths while thinking.

Examples of Thinking Out Loud include:

Anime & Manga

  • Bleach's Squad 4 third seat (Yasochika Iemura) does this, even in the DS video games (where they account for most of his lines). Everyone tells him they can hear him, but he continues.
  • Gatomon in Digimon Adventure does this while pondering her past. Wizardmon overhears her and asks a question. Not realizing she was talking out loud, Gatomon gets angry believing Wizardmon was reading her mind.
  • From Digimon Savers we have Bio-Hybrid Ivan. He constantly blurts out embarassing thoughts outloud, not realizing his mistake even when Namani and Yoshi inform him they can hear every word he's saying.
  • In RIN-NE, chapter 28, Egawa gives one, and it's lampshaded.

"What an easy-to-understand soliloquy."

  • Chopper of One Piece combines this with I'm Standing Right Here when he both thinks out loud and badmouths his hosts because he'd thought them crude primitives at first glance.
  • Pretty much the trademark of Shinji Ibu. Hilariously invoked in one of his Image songs and the Talk time track of said CD, which is basically Shinji mumbling nonstop.


Comic Books

  • Deadpool, as Medium Aware as he is, sometimes thinks out loud completely unintentionally. This "outer monologue" often still uses the narrative boxes. Example from Cable & Deadpool issue 30:

Mr Immortal: "We are not feebs!"
Deadpool: Hey, that's twice now. What's going on here?
Big Bertha: "You're saying everything out loud!"
Deadpool: I am?
Big Bertha: "Yes!"
Deadpool: Oh. Weird. Coulda sworn I was in first person narrative form.

  • A downright ridiculous example is the Disney comic "The Mystery of the Old Mansion", where the villain is busy with his work and suddenly, for no reason, spontaneously decides to recite four pages' worth of backstory, complete with dramatic acting.
    • Lampshaded in "Snow It Goes", where the villain, in the middle of his soliloquy, mentions that he's going to use the money he's villained away to get a psychiatrist and cure his inexplicable urge to talk to himself.
  • Extremely common in Superhero comics in general, at least as recently as the Bronze Age. Characters' thoughts would be written in regular round voice bubbles half the time, rather than bumpy thought bubbles, indicating that they were speaking out loud. It would frankly be easier to list superheroes of the era who did not do this.
    • Of particular note though is the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15, where Spider-Man annoucnes quite clearly that he is Peter Parker while holding a ne'er-do-well in one hand, thus telling him his Secret Identity.
      • Retconned in the more recent Amazing Fantasy series in a two-page story called "I was the Guy in Spider-Man's Armpit," where he was just a White Collar Worker who fell out of his office window and Spider-Man saved. He was too busy screaming in terror to hear what Spider-Man was saying.
  • Doctor Doom does this a lot. In Secret Wars, Klaw calls him out on it, asking if Doom is taping himself. Doom then reveals that he is, because "Every utterance of Doom must be recorded for posterity!"


Fanfic


Film

  • In the first Austin Powers movie, after Austin himself is thawed out, he monologues out loud his desire to sleep with this movie's Bond Girl, then realizes that everyone in the room heard him. That is an example of Did I Just Say That Out Loud?, but when he says a side effect of the cryonic freezing process has left him with no inner monologue, that is Thinking Loudly.
  • In Waterworld, the main characters meet a tramp sailor who's been alone on his ship so long, he talks out loud to himself without realizing he's doing it. He even mutters his own thoughts of betraying them in front of the new arrivals.
  • Lampshaded in the Children of the Corn remake, in which the harried hero's verbal monologue is echoed by his inner monologue, culminating with him both saying and thinking to himself that he needs to stop talking to himself.


Literature


Live Action Television

  • Because of the Big Finish Doctor Who audios, talking to himself is actually considered a character trait of the Eighth Doctor.
  • The characters on Criminal Minds often do this if someone else isn't present, usually starting with "I'm the UNSUB." Lampshaded in one episode when Prentiss was muttering about what she was doing (reenacting the victim's last moments) when another character came up behind her.


Radio

  • Radio Dramas are prone to this, because, you know, how would you tell the difference between narration and someone talking to himself?


Theatre

Lord High Executioner of Titipu: Can't you see I'm soliloquizing?


Video Games


Webcomic


Web Original

  • Fenspace: The man known only as "Kyon" is prone to doing this without consciously realizing it, even when others respond to his monologuing.


Western Animation

  • Professor Farnsworth, in the Futurama episode The Sting, does this intentionally to get a point across:

"No no, I'm not saying that. But I'm certainly thinking it loudly."

"Your final challenge is..." (to herself) "...pause for dramatic effect..." (out loud) "--a race against me, through Ghastly Gorge! |DUHN DUHN DUHN!"


Real Life

  • Some people really do catch themselves doing this sometimes, or so I tell myself.
  • Depending on how one processes information, hearing the information can help with reasoning through it or holding details in memory until dealt with.