Document Type : Original Article
23, Mercan 1, Mercan Complex, Sedef St., Atasehir Blvd., Atasehir Ataturk District
Studies on fictional and factual narratives suggest the prominence of memory and culture in
the formation of individual self-portrait(s). This study aims to foreground the milieu in Zadie
Smith’s Swing Time (2016), zeroing in on social semiotics underlying the narrative’s structure.
Drawing on Maurice Halbwachs and Pierre Nora’s theories, the paper dissects the mechanisms
of diachronic memory in the conception and development of the narrator’s lived experience,
hence her collective and individual identity. Through Juri Lotman’s semiotic ideation of
memory, the prevailing web of collectivity in Swing Time will be explored. In this fashion, the
eminence of collective memories in life narratives will be pinpointed. The life of the narrator in
Swing Time manifests how dominant discourses in societies give rise to the deprivation of
subjects from interpreting their memories autonomously, thereby, transforming the individual to
a witness to a pre-fabricated existence rather than a participant in a lived reality.