Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel in her novel, “Station Eleven, uses an apocalyptic future to discuss her narratives frightening and gripping moments. The setting of the novel is twenty years after the “collapse”, an event that eradicated modern day society. We are introduced to the Traveling Symphony, a group of actors and musicians recreating Shakespeare’s plays through elaborate performances . It’s amazing not only that people survived and were able to start their lives all over again, but they were still able to bring some form of joy and entertainment to one another. I would imagine the world to become dark and dreadful with people walking around the town feeling depressed and unsafe of the future, even twenty years after the collapse. The world has changed so much that there was no longer technology, the young citizens didn’t even know about the existence of ‘wifi’. In the middle of part two, the survivors who are part of the Symphony, Kristen and August were reminiscing about the past, they discussed their favorite shows, comics, and even talked about the TV guides from back in the day.
During the third part of the story, the narrator starts discussing the time before the collapse, a time period where Arthur Lender was still alive, and was about to meet his second wife Miranda. The couple had a lovely beginning, but it was quick to end, it had become an unpleasant marriage, soon after their third anniversary they got divorced. Arthur was a famous Hollywood star and his lifestyle was extravagant, but that was exactly what Miranda disliked most about their marriage. She didn’t fit into this life and felt very unhappy with her marriage. In her novel, “Dr.Eleven”, Miranda writes that she, ” stood looking over [her] damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth”, which may resemble how Miranda felt in her life during her marriage to Arthur (105). She was living in this beautiful Los Angeles home, but in reality it was damaged on the inside. Miranda was unhappy and lonely, she only had her dog, Luli, and her art. You can feel her disappointment and devastation in her life and Arthur Lender was the direct cause of these feelings, but I do think she knew exactly what she was getting into by marrying a Hollywood star.
By the end of part three, the narrator takes the reader back to the present day setting. Kristen is being interviewed for a newspaper about the collapse. The idea was to create an oral history of the collapse. She talks about what happen in towns when she would pass through with the symphony, she said during the interview, that “Everyone’s afraid, or it seems like some people have enough to eat and other people are starving, or you see pregnant eleven-year-olds and you know the place is either lawless or in the grip of something, a cult of some kind”(114). The author is saying that civilization needed to be rebuilt, but it wasn’t easy for all members of society. The pregnant eleven year old was a symbol to the collapse of culture. A societies infrastructure can’t be rebuilt only through material but the sanity that organized culture can bring. Some towns were taken over by cults and were extremely dangerous. It’s so unfortunate people were taken advantage of in such horrible circumstances.