Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel Parts 2-3
While reading this book I cant’ help but get the feeling of religious undertones. Take for example the word “Prophet” appears on page 51 seems to indicate that there is a new Messiah which makes me wonder if Arthur is a form of a Messiah? When I think about part 1 which is called “The Theater” Shortly after Arthur dies we see that Jeevan gets phone calls from his friend telling him about the Georgia Flu and then on (31) we find out that there ” No more flight…..No more countries…No more certainty of surviving a scratch on one’s hand…”
Arthur death is similar to the biblical death of Jesus Christ and shortly after his death a “Darkness came over all the land.” Matt. 27:25 From noon on Friday until 3 pm, the skies grew dark. ” and “The earth shook and the rocks split.” Matt. 27:51. A huge earthquake shook the land right at the very time Christ died.” ( qtd. in McDaniel). In Arthur death there was a flu epidemic that was the “Darkness” that came over the land. Arthur was acting as the king in the “King Lear” play (3). Which had him acting as someone who was a leader over a group of people just as a Messiah tend to be.
After his death and the “collapse” of civilization, as the characters in the story have known of, there came out of it a group that called themselves the “Traveling Symphony” ( 35) which brings me back to the idea of the religious influences in the story. Like how “Shortly after Jesus was executed, his followers were suddenly galvanized from a baffled and cowering group into people whose message about a living Jesus and a coming kingdom, preached at the risk of their lives,” (Steinfels).
It seems like the same thing happened after Arthur died. He had a love for acting and according to the book he always wanted to act as “King Lear” in the Shakespeare play and he had the chance to do just that. Now this group called the Traveling Symphony is keeping not only acting alive, but also keeping the memory of both Shakespeare and Arthur alive. For Kirsten, I see this as a way of keeping Arthur’s memory alive and spreading his love for acting around to others. The Traveling Symphony Travels from one town to another doing plays and putting on shows “at the risk of their lives,” (Steinfels), We can get a feeling of what type of dangers this traveling group had to face during the interview of Kirsten by Diallo when she was explaining what the group went through right before they found her in Ohio “they’d lost an actor to some illness on the road…..they got shot at three times in various places. One flautists got hit and almost died of a gunshot wound” (114).
However, just like in most religion if one Messiah dies there is always another one to take his place. As we learn about a man who is called the Prophet on (51) when the Traveling Symphony went back into the town called “St. Deborah by the Water” (43). I believe that this prophet has been brought into this story to rival against the memory of Arthur, as in Arthur being the unseen Messiah, verses the “real” Prophet. This prophet seems to have control over his people by force and power while Arthur had his “control” through acting and popularity. I wonder which messiah, the memory of Arthur or the Prophet would win out in the long term.
I had found this picture because this is my vision of what the world would look like to the Traveling Symphony after the outbreak.
Here are the links to the articles that I have used in this blog:
McDaniel, Debbie. 5 Miraculous Things That Happened When Jesus Died On the Cross. 25 March. 2016, www.crosswalk.com/blogs/debbie-mcdaniel/5-miraculous-things-that-happened-when-jesus-died-on-the-cross.html
Steinfels, Peter. Jesus Died–And Then Happened. 3 Apr. 1988, www.nytimes.com/1988/04/03/weekinreview/jesus-died-and-then-what-happened.html?pagewanted=all