Dialogue Examples in Literature | How To Write A Dialogue?

What is a Dialogue?

Dialogue is a conversation between two or more people. It is featured in a book, play, film and other narrative work. It is a method of storytelling and character development. In dialogue, the characters speak to one another and reveal their thoughts, feelings and intentions. Dialogue is helpful to provide information to the audience and reader about the plot and the relationship between the characters. In written works, it is normally enclosed in quotation marks. This indicates that dialogue is a spoken language. Effective dialogue drives a narrative forward, develop characters and create a sense of realism in a fictional world.

How to Write a Dialogue?

Here are some tips to write a dialogue: –

  • Know your characters. Give each one a unique voice based on who they are.
  • Make the dialogue move the story forward or reveal something about the character. Don’t just chat.
  • Mimic natural speech patterns but don’t overdo the ums and repeats.
  • Use contractions and slang if it fits the character.
  • Avoid long speeches explaining stuff. Reveal facts naturally bit by bit instead.
  • Read it aloud to catch awkward parts.
  • Combine dialogue with actions to show emotions.
  • Use few tags like “she said” so the dialogue flows.
  • Show conflict or tension between characters through how they talk.
Dialogue Example in Literature
Dialogue Example in Literature

Examples of Dialogue in literature

Example#1

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“‘I never met you at Gatsby’s house before,’ said Daisy. ‘You can’t remember every little party. I’ve been to a few, anyway.’ Hesitating a moment, I said: ‘What’s the matter with Gatsby, anyhow? I mean what brought you down here?’ Jordan’s eyes gazed for a moment at Daisy, and I thought she was going to cry. But she turned to me instead and answered coolly: ‘He’s in love with me.’ It was a remark completely devoid of meaning, but it was also pretty certainly not a lie.”

This dialogue reveals the openness of the Jordan about her relationship with Gatsby. It also highlights her ambiguous and enigmatic nature. The use of dialogue by Fitzgerald in this scene adds depth to the character of Jordan. It also subtly sets up the complex romantic relationship that unfolds throughout the novel.

Example#2

“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

“‘Who’s that great man you wrote about last winter?’ said Mrs. DuBose, nodding toward the patio as Doc and Greek left. I looked where she pointed her stick. I knew that both Gentleman Callers had mentioned Finn, but my ignorance of the rest of Maycomb was again apparent. ‘Who’s Finn?’ I asked, frowning. Mrs. DuBose smiled. ‘That scamp, Finn Tim Gree,’ she said. ‘Didn’t you know that?”

Through this dialogue, Lee sheds light on Finn’s identity and Mrs. DuBose formidable reputation around Maycomb. The conversation reveals Scout’s own inexperience and innocence. It also shows the knowledge and authority of Mrs. DuBose. The use of dialogue by the writer in this scene helps to flesh out the personalities and relationships of the characters. It also advances the plot.

Example#3

“The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

“You think too many goddam things should be allowed to happen. You should be an idiot,” said Phoebe. “What’d you say?” asked Holden, looking over at her. “I said you should be an idiot,” repeated Phoebe. “Why?” Phoebe didn’t say anything. She just sat there, wiggling her toes at the water. It was awful to see someone as nice as Phoebe roll something like that off her shoulders so easy.”

This dialogue shows the different views of Holden and Phoebe. Holden is skeptical about the world. Phoebe has a more innocent way of seeing things. Phoebe’s words bother Holden. He knows he’s smart and sensitive. The conversation shows Holden’s boredom and worries about growing up. It also shows his closeness with his sister Phoebe. The dialogue highlights Holden’s complicated feelings and loneliness. It also shows his strong bonds with his siblings.

example of dialogue in literature
example of dialogue in literature

Example#4

“1984” by George Orwell

“‘Do you happen to remember Winston Smith?’ asked Syme, looking up from trimming a red ribbon. ‘I remember Walworth Road very well, thank you,’ said Winston, with a slight awkwardness. There was no need to ask why Syme had mentioned the street. Only a short time ago it had been announced, withaclamation and symbolic ceremones, that Golden Country was being renamed Victory Mansions in commemoration of the Party’s triumph over Goldstein. ‘Yes, I remember,’ said Syme, ‘Of course,’ he added, ‘it’s possible he may have changed his name.’

The dialogue in this scene sheds light on the ubiquitous nature of totalitarianism. It is enacted in the most granular aspects of daily life. The conversation highlights the use of euphemism by the Orwell to conceal political oppression and the overt role the Party plays in shaping societal narratives. The use of dialogue in this scene underscores the rejection of tradition and the individual’s inherent vulnerability by the society to the omnipresent power of the state.

Example#5

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

“George Wickham pumped Mr. Darcy’s hand heartily and with seeming cordiality. “I am delighted to see you once more, sir,” he exclaimed. “It is perfect luck meeting here today. I have been in the neighbourhood for some days, in the hope of falling in with you.’ Elizabeth watched the two men with interest. There was something very nice indeed about Mr. Darcy, and she felt convinced that it would be horrible to marry such a man as Mr. Wickham! “Is not this an agreeable meeting indeed, Mr. Darcy?” she said as they moved off. Mr. Darcy greeted her pleasantlv and asked after her father’s health, making some remarks on the fineness of the evening. Elizabeth replied civilly, but could not help stealing sidelong glances at Mr. Wickham, for she was curious to see by his behaviour whether he were shy or not with such an old acquaintance. “I hope you are satisfied with your expenses at London, Mr. Darcy,” said Mr. Wickham, as they walked together.”

Jane Austen uses dialogue in this scene to contrast the personalities of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham. The words of Darcy are aloof and proper. Wickham is more charming and friendly. Through Elizabeth’s thoughts, we see her judgements of them. This shows how Austen uses narrative voice to explore her themes of marriage and socializing. The dialogue highlights Austen’s skill at conversations that blend etiquette with personal expression.

Dialogue Examples in Pop-Culture

The TV Show “Friends” – Season 4, Episode 16

“‘I wish I knew what it was about you,’ Ross said, his eyes fixed on Rachel’s. ‘Me, too,’ said Rachel. After a moment, Ross spoke again. ‘Do you know what it is? You remind me of myself, fifteen years ago.’ ‘That’s really sweet, but it’s not an answer.’ Ross sighed, speechless for a moment, but Rachel could tell he was thinking. ‘Well,’ he finally admitted, ‘I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have a crush on you.’ ‘Cr—’ Rachel couldn’t finish the word before Ross took her hand and pulled her towards him, then leaned in and kissed her.”

The dialogue is both witty and poignant, which reveals the emotional vulnerability and mutual attraction of the characters. The engagement of audience with this scene is intensified by the use of audiovisual cues, such as pauses, gestures and facial expressions, which enhances the overall impact of the dialogue.

The Movie “The Big Bang Theory”

“‘Sheldon,’ said Leonard, ‘I just heard. Congrats; you were granted tenure.’ ‘Yes,’ said Sheldon, looking up from his desk and beaming uncontrollably.”

This Big Bang Theory dialogue shows Sheldon happily thanking people for praising his academic success. The quick, easy banter displays the show’s humor: self-deprecating, sarcastic and nerdy. The audience enjoys how the characters subtly play off their distinct personalities and relationships. This highlights the show’s themes of friendship, intelligence, and career growth.

Related Terms with dialogue

Monologues and soliloquies are useful literary devices for revealing insights into a character’s inner world.

Monologue

A monologue refers to a speech delivered by a single character. It directly discloses the thoughts, emotions, motivations and perspectives of the speaker to the audience and other characters. Monologue provides backstory details, unveil secrets and foreshadow future events. They allow writers to articulate the internal struggles of the character and private reasoning.

Soliloquy

A soliloquy is a type of monologue most commonly used in theatrical works. It involves a character vocalizing their thoughts aloud while alone on stage, sharing their inner turmoil, conflicts and thought processes. Since the speaker believes they are unheard, soliloquies allow playwrights to expose confidential dimensions that the character keeps hidden from other personas. Soliloquies grant the audience special access – an intimate peek into the character’s state of mind and an understanding of their complex decision-making. This builds empathy while advancing the narrative by clarifying motives that propel the dramatic action.

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