Narrating Brexit: Ali Smith’s approach to post-referendum Britain in the Seasonal Quartet
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¬¬ Abstract After the Brexit referendum on 23 July 2016 turned out in favour of the Leave campaign, multiple Brexit-themed novels appeared, concerned with the causes and consequences of Brexit. One example of this, is Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet, a cycle of four books. This thesis contributes to the growing field of research on Brexit and literature by asking the question: How does Ali Smith approach Brexit, using narrative strategies? Through a close reading informed by Gérard Genette’s Narrative Discourse (1972), this thesis analyses the narrative strategies used throughout the Seasonal Quartet to approach Brexit and its consequences. This thesis analysed three aspects: Smith’s use of narrative voice and mood, division as a consequence of Brexit thematized in family conflicts, and Smith’s use of analepses and intertextual references. The analysis of these aspects shows that Smith uses alternating narrative voices in the quartet, which enables her to express a myriad of subjective opinions in an objective manner. Additionally, distant homodiegetic narrators are used to describe family conflicts that mirror the division in post-referendum Britain. Furthermore, the analysis shows how Smith uses analepses and intertextuality in order to create a new context from which Brexit can be understood. Together, these strategies allow Smith to approach Brexit in an open and objective manner, focussed on observing and understanding Brexit. Smith does not judge either Leave or Remain voters, but sides against the dividing consequences of Brexit. Ultimately, she calls for more openness towards each other, instead of fear and violence.