In Mrs. Dalloway, the narrative shifts subtly to present the innermost thoughts of many characters, including not only Clarissa Dalloway but other characters such as Peter, Richard, Septimus Smith (the shell-shocked veteran), and Doris Kilman, among others. In this technique, the subjective thoughts and feelings of different characters are presented as if the reader has access their minds. However, the narrative does not use "I," or the first person, but instead stays within the frame of an omniscient, or all-knowing, narrator—the third person. The shift from one character's thoughts to another can be very hard to detect at first, as the narration shifts subtly from presenting the thoughts and experiences of one character to another.
In addition, the narrative uses a stream of consciousness technique, a hallmark of modernist literature, to present characters' thoughts as they go about their day. The characters' thoughts appear as the thoughts pop into their minds in a jumbled, haphazard fashion. More momentous thoughts come in between fleeting impressions of the world around them. The narrative in the novel happens in one day, so Woolf captures the thoughts of her characters as they go through a single day.