20 Years Later and Many More Before

Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven Part 2

Part 2 deals with the future. Twenty Years after the epidemic named The Georgia Flu. At first I wondered like always, What happened  to Jeevan, Laura, Frank, all the people from the theater and Arthur’s ex-wives and his kid. Even though at the same time I knew they were dead, I was kind of hoping we would have had more information on them. Who knows what the next parts will bring us. Part 2 tells you how the symphony travels and what they are up to. Most of the people are not much older. mid to late 20’s and 30’s and on have seen the whole disintegration of the human race. While the younger ones do not remember a thing because they were either born after it or they were way too little to remember anything.

One character that stood out to me in this part, is Kirsten Raymonde, the little girl that was introduced to us in part one chapter one. Jeevan had gotten to her so she could not see any more of the commotion while paramedics tried to resuscitate Arthur. Kirsten is not a little girl anymore, She is 28 and has gone through tough times with the symphony. I am pretty sure you are asking yourself, what is the symphony. The symphony is a group of people that have been traveling since the 5th year after the collapse happened, the collapse of humanity and society, the big flu that killed thousands. These people  play classical music, jazz music, orchestral arrangements of pre-collapse pop songs and Shakespeare, We have to think that this has taken place in a future where things are completely different. There is no electricity, there is no internet, no social media, no cops, not trash disposal automated boxes or stuff like that. Caravans are made from old cabs and pick up trucks, pulled by horses. (36)

Most of the grownups had been kids during the whole collapse. Some of them or most of them do not even remember what computers were like. there are a couple that remembers how it was.Kirsten collects pictures of Arthur before when he was younger. I think she remembers him because all of what happened in on front of her eyes while the paramedics were trying to revive him. Before Arthur died, he had given Kirsten 2 comic books, No.1 Vol.1 “Station Eleven” and No.1 Vol.2 “The Pursuit”. She keeps them inside a zip-lock in a small very old red spider-man book bag. She has them memorized, and she keeps them close to her all the time.”Kirsten’s taken care the comics as best as she can, but they’re dog-eared now, worn soft on the edges.”(42)

As the Symphony reaches St. Deborah by the water they get this odd feeling when people don’t go out to greet them like they did two years ago. There is something wrong, they can feel it but they quickly dismiss it. “but what was strange was that the music drew almost no onlookers as they passed.”(43) Later on we discovered that there is something seriously going on in this town. Where are the people that used to live here? What do you mean they don’t know where those people left to? Someone told Dieter, ” There had been an epidemic in which thirty people died of a fever, including the mayor.”(54) After that the town went through some “management changes” There was now a prophet saying things to people. Dieter found some grave markers, Kirsten could not believe that her friends were buried in there, these graves were empty, it was just the marks that had their name, but why? Charlie, The 6th guitar whose name is Jeremy with their baby daughter named Annabelle (Named after Jeremy’s sister) were gone and the symphony  did not know where they went.

After the symphony performed their play, which happened to be A Midsummer Night’s Dream, everyone rose for a standing ovation. Personally for me, I immediately disliked the prophet, talking so much garbage,  like shut up already. I think he is the kind of people you meet and you want to roll your eyes every time you hear them speak. “That everything that has ever happened on this earth has happened for a reason”(59). This is one of those people that love to talk about that things happened for a reason, that there was a cleanse and stuff like that. I do not believe in things like that. Like we discussed in our previous story, “There will come soft rains” nature will always find a way to adapt. Hurricanes and other stuff will happen just like illnesses will happen that will wipe out part or most of humanity and sometimes none of it.

After the prophet was done speaking, he went up to the conductor of the symphony and “suggested that we consider leaving Alexandra, as a guarantee of future good relations between the symphony and the town.” All because he is looking for another bride.(65) They all grabbed all their stuff and left that same night,  this night they left south to see if they could find Charlie, Jeremy, and Annabelle. Just as they were leaving there was a small boy asking them if they had permission to leave. If they didn’t, the town was going to host a funeral for them, and after that funeral they were not allowed to come back.(63) Just as they passing through, the boy asked Kirsten to take him with them, but Kirsten was not going to be part of any kidnapping and creating more problems.

Emily St.John Mandel, Station Eleven Part 3

I found part 3 much more interesting because it reveals details from many many years ago. The first chapter in part 3 gives us an insight into Arthur Leander, and his life before wife number 1, whose name is Miranda . His mother calls him one day and tells him about Susie the waitress that used to serve him pancakes as a kid, she has a niece and had came to live to town and she wanted Arthur to come and take her out to dinner or lunch. Arthur was in his mid 20’s or late 20’s by this point and Miranda was only 17 years old. He was struck by her beauty and the way she carried herself at such a young age.

After that first chapter we get into Miranda and her life. We see what she has gone through and how things played out.  I was a bit shocked to learn that she was the author of the comic books that Arthur gave Kirsten many years later.(80) When Miranda met Arthur she had a boyfriend named Pablo, he was an artist, a painter i believe. After a while she was the only one contributing into the house and rent. It was only her income getting them through. Pablo hated her working so late. He also hated her working in a corporate office, working for a young executive Leon Prevant. (81) He does not trust her being out so late, he calls her to the office phone to make sure she is there but the thing is that she felt more at peace being in her cubicle at work, working on her comic book than at her own home. That same night they get into a somewhat of a fight because she is just bored with Pablo, the way he treats her and talks to her reminds me  a little of Jeevan and Laura from Part 1. Pablo always complained why Miranda spent so much time on a comic book wasting her talent or saying she had no talent at all to waste. (87) That same night Arthur calls her and asks her out to dinner, She basically ends up not going home that night. She goes back home the following morning to get her stuff and leave Pablo for good.

In a blink of an eye Arthur and Miranda are celebrating their 3 year anniversary(91). Miranda has a small white Pomeranian dog named Luli, who looks like a marshmallow. Instead of having dinner just the two of them to celebrate their anniversary, Arthur has hosted some sort of dinner party. “Miranda is finding it increasingly difficult to hide her unease. Why would a 3 year anniversary celebration involve anyone other than the 2 people who are actually married to each other.”(91) She feels like she doesn’t really belong there with all these famous people in her dining table. “Is it Miranda’s imagination, or is he going out of his way to avoid looking at her directly?”(95) Something is going on with Arthur and she feels this change, she feels the shift in the relationship. When the people ask her about her work or what she does, Arthur comes in. Its like if he doesn’t want her to speak. But she is happy with her work. She describes it as ” It makes me happy. It’s peaceful, spending hours working on it. It doesn’t really matter to me if anyone else sees it.” (95) She does her work for her own enjoyment.

She later on goes out to the terrace to let Luli out, “But Miranda, watching from the outside sees everything: the way Elizabeth goes still and looks down, the way Arthur thanks everyone for coming  to his home, meeting everyone’s eyes except Elizabeth’s, who has slightly touched his thigh from under the table. And this is when Miranda understands. It’s too late, and it has been for a while.” (98) All because of Arthur, she starts smoking again and everything goes downhill from here. Miranda ends up moving out and leaving Arthur of course. “She always found the house beautiful, but even more so now that she knows she is leaving”(102). Her heart is broken. She meets Jeevan the same night when she goes outside and asks him for a cigarette.  She expresses her feelings or thoughts by saying, “We were not meant for this world, Let us go home.”(105)

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