Before and After the Collapse

The story of Station 11 by Emily st. John Mandel continues to provide the readers with unexpected situations. The story becomes very dark which compliments the dark tone of the new world after the Georgia Flu epidemic. This time around we started off with the young girl Jeevan met in chapter 1. Her name is Kristen who was only 8 years old at the time but we have fast-forwarded into the future 25 years. Civilization had collapsed and it seems as if the Georgia flu had gone away only after killing off 99.99% of the world with it. Kristen continues to travel with symphony, a group of actors and musicians. They go town to town and perform for the people although it is not said if they get compensated or if they do it because they want to. As she scavenges for supplies she often looks for things specific to her childhood and one of them is station 11. A limited graphic novel given to her by someone she had met. She just wants to keep a certain part of her life bright while everything is so dark, and everything is very dark.

With the world in collapse and not many people are alive foreseen things can happen. It gets all “Walking Dead” where communities in small towns are run by a certain figurehead yet it is possible to get raided by another group or being forced to work for said group. It seems like the town of St. Deborah had gone through this because Symphony had seen the change in management with the unnerve feeling they all get. A prophet who is probably just lying to everyone is running things. This man gives off an eerie chill when he speaks and that is seen when after symphony is done with their performance and the prophet speaks they all get nervous and anxious. The conductor who is essentially the leader of Symphony is not amused by the prophet as she demands to know what happened to the two members of Symphony that was left behind in that town. Graves with their names had been marked but they do not believe that they are dead. The prophet does provide a satisfying answer but proceeds to show his true selfish colors. He gets close to the conductor and whispers to her something profane which the conductor denied. Kristen asks the conductor what he told her and the conductor told Kristen, “He suggested that we consider leaving Alexandra, as a guarantee of future good relations between the Symphony and the town. He said he’s looking for another bride.”(Mandel, Chapter 12). Alexandra is one the members of Symphony, oblivious to things going on around her. This shows how the prophet is just demented or is just drunk on power. Everything the people do in town are according to his needs or ideals. He also wants another bride which shows how the culture has changed to where maybe it was not okay to have multiple wives but now that civilization is collapsed things have changed. Much like Neegan from The Walking Dead, he runs a community, sets up his own rules, and has multiple brides.

The story takes us back to before the collapse following the life of Arthur. The mood is somewhat dark surprisingly when the story is now taking place before the plague. We read as he gets through his first, second and third wife. Through this story line we find out that the author of Station 11 graphic novel is none other than Arthur’s first wife Miranda. She was with her boyfriend Pablo for 8 years until she had gotten bored of him and her life. proceeded to sneak around with Arthur and when Pablo knew she was leaving him he struck her. Arthur took care of Miranda and they then got married and during the point of their third year anniversary Arthur was a very famous man. Unfortunately this was the same day that Miranda found out about the affair that Arthur is having with his then later second wife Elizabeth. Miranda continued living a life of her own traveling for her company spending nights at hotels and occasionally sleeping with her downstairs neighbor but not to date them. The sad part is that she lives on telling herself “I repent nothing”(Mandel, Chapter 15). This is the same thing she told herself while she was sleeping with Arthur while still living with Pablo. She knew it was dishonorable and was guilty. She knew she was too weak but had to tell herself this to remain strong. This makes me wonder if she survived the epidemic or was she too weak for that too.

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