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PUMPKIN HEAD (JOYCE CAROL OATES):

Outside, while Anton had been changing the floodlight, Hadley had thought, I will offer him coffee.

I have asked a question about using will in the past before. I got it answered:

StoneyB: "It is permissible (but not obligatory) to use will in these circumstances if it refers to an event which is still in the future at the time the sentence is uttered."

But the sentence I cited is not this case, because it is a happened story and everything is in the past. Can you explain this usage of will? Why would was not used?


I just thought that if the quotes were used, it would be understandable. Because it was the actual thought in her head at the moment.

Hadley had thought: "I will offer him coffee." (with quotes)

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Different authors may adopt different typographical conventions for displaying characters' thoughts. In this case apparently Oates has decided that thoughts do not get set inside quotes, but the use of first person is intended to make it clear that this is indeed Hadley's actual thought at that moment, and so the answer from your linked question applies here as well despite the lack of quotes.

  • +1 OP's next question is about another passage from the same work which exhibits the same convention. – StoneyB Jul 2 '13 at 15:31

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