Death and survival
In the novel Station Eleven, we have the main character Kirsten, a young girl that experiences death of someone she admired deeply and with mass death of almost everyone, because of the Georgia Flu Death. Survival changed Kirsten to become a survivalist in a post-apocalyptic world which forces her to make choices to continue with her life.
One aspect of the novel that comes up with the antagonist Tyler, Arthur’s son is the idea of religion and its role in this post-doomsday world. This is one of the ways people like Tyler and Elizabeth (Tyler’s mother) deal with the death surrounding them in the world where they lost everything. We get a glimpse of the outcome of not having a father figure to guide Tyler or in this case a father figure with a contradicting ideology that is the bible. We get a glimpse of how the prophet (Tyler) views the world, “”The flu,” the prophet said, “the great cleansing that we suffered twenty years ago, that flu was our flood. The light we carry within us is the ark that carried Noah and his people over the face of the terrible waters, and I submit that we were saved”—his voice was rising—”not only to bring the light, to spread the light, but to be the light. We were saved because we are the light. We are the pure.”” (Mandel, 60). This shows how the mass death has affected a young boy growing up in an apocalyptic world. The many deaths in his short life including the one from his father at the beginning of the novel, has made him find comfort in religion. He has taken a religious text and without a guide he took the New testament from the bible and made himself the “light” or in other words a divine being chosen by God. Yet, we have regular people just happy that they have found other human beings, trying to survive and longing for human interaction, which is what we have from the male in the hotel that arrives in Severn city, ““I was in the hotel,” he said finally. “I followed your footprints in the snow.” There were tears on his face. “Okay,” someone said, “but why are you crying?” “I’d thought I was the only one,” he said.”” (Mandel, 257). This shows us how death and survival go hand in hand, how death shapes characters within the novel, especially Tyler due to the impact we see in his life as he goes from a little boy playing his Gameboy to a religious cult leader.
Even though there is death on an imaginable scale, there is still death surrounding the characters of the Traveling Symphony, especially the character, Kirsten. She gives an insight on how she thinks of the Prophet’s ideology of light and darkness, “If you are the light, if your enemies are darkness, then there’s nothing that you cannot justify. There’s nothing you can’t survive, because there’s nothing that you will not do.” (Mandel, 139). For Kirsten, it is simple enough to deduce, if you believe that you are the light or some form of “hero”, then you will do anything to keep on living. There is nothing you won’t be able to overcome, even if it is just to survive. Even in the face of death the narrator starts chapter eleven with the quote, “What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.” (Mandel, 57), refers to the fact that there is still art and literature that still stands the test of time. The one example that the beauty this quote speaks of is in the form of how Shakespeare’s plays have survived surrounded by such death, which ironically his plays cover the same type of theme with Kirsten as the main actor in some of the plays. We get to see how much death and her surviving time has changed her from a little girl with a dream into a woman that makes her goals possible through her own will.
- 257: “I was in the hotel,” he said finally. “I followed your footprints in the snow.” There were tears on his face.
“Okay,” someone said, “but why are you crying?”
“I’d thought I was the only one,” he said.”
- 139: “If you are the light, if your enemies are darkness, then there’s nothing that you cannot justify. There’s nothing you can’t survive, because there’s nothing that you will not do.”
- 60: “The flu,” the prophet said, “the great cleansing that we suffered twenty years ago, that flu was our flood. The light we carry within us is the ark that carried Noah and his people over the face of the terrible waters, and I submit that we were saved”—his voice was rising—”not only to bring the light, to spread the light, but to be the light. We were saved because we are the light. We are the pure.”
- 57: “What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.”
I have procrastinated this assignment the entire weekend and started writing Monday evening. However, I have given the them for my essay a lot of though and I want to go with the theme of surviving and death. For obvious reasons, there is a lot of death in the novel Station Eleven however it is the way these deaths affect the other characters in the story that made me think of the reasons why we as a species strive to live a life full of goals and accomplishments. Getting of topic but I don’t start strong with my thesis statements since I could remember, so I started with finding quotes that could be good for this theme of Death and survival and the is coexistence with each other and created my body paragraph and then set out to create my thesis.
In Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel we meet Arthur Lender on the first line. ILL try to prove in this essay how the main character in the novel is Arthur Lender and how his life impacted each of the other characters. I’ll show that he impacted each character not only a physical aspect but also a mental aspect. I’ll show how each character has memory of Arthur that will either affect in a positive way or a negative way. Some of the character that Arthur affects are Kristen, Miranda, Tyler, Clark, Jevvan and Elizabeth.
Arthur was not the perfect man nor was he a good husband but it was these character traits that make him the perfect main character. At the end of the novel we Arthur giving his collection of the Station Eleven to Kirsten. By doing this he starts a domino effect that will somehow end back with Arthur. There is a moment in the first chapter where we see how each character will be connected one way or another after Arthur had passed away Jeevan comforts Kirsten and attempts to distract her from Arthur’s death. Even In his death Arthur is somehow bringing the character together. Clark reads Kirsten’s retelling of Arthur’s death, that he saw from a newspaper. This moment we see how Arthurs death brings two character together even though they are not next to each other by reading this article Clark believes that there is a possible future for civilization.
Now if Arthur was a good husband and never cheated on his first wife Miranda then maybe all these character would of never met it was these events that led to everything. After divorcing his wife he meets and marries a woman by the name of Elizabeth and they have son name Tyler. Now Arthur Leaves Elizabeth and she takes her son Tyler to Israel and it was these events that led Tyler to become the prophet. Due to Tyler’s mom being unstable and Arthur barley being involved in his life he has to grow up on his own and becomes the man he is. Tyler becomes obsessed by the Station Eleven comics and this obsession is the only thing that saves Kristen. Now Arthur being the bad father informs his son he won’t be going to Israel and will miss his birthday. Tyler then starts explain his love the “Station Eleven” comic books, and begins excitedly explaining them to his father.
One thing I’m still working is how Arthur being married to Miranda allowed all the characters to meet. Also the difficulty of showing how Arthur not Miranda is the main character. I’m currently trying to find proof in the short story. I’m also working on the cover letter.
What influenced Tyler to be the Prophet was what he inherited from his parents and the experiences he had from his time traveling through the world after the Georgia Flu. He inherited his mother ideals from young age well before he started to travel. The knowledge and ideals written in The New Testament. His time traveling through the world post Georgia Flu. Then leading into him become the Prophet based on The New Testament and Dr. Eleven.
There are many possible influences that could’ve led Tyler to be the Prophet, but none is more important than the beginning with his mother. Tyler’s mother Elizabeth is considered to be woman that kept a positive outlook with ideal “Everything Happens for a reason” this ideal was engraved onto Tyler from a young age. In year one, Tyler told Clark about why he read to the dead people in quarantined airplane “I just want them to know that it happened for a reason” the word reason is there just like Elizabeth’s believes. This is related to Elizabeth’s believes “Everything Happens for a reason” and Tyler is asking for a reason to why everyone in airport was alive to Clark. Even Clark was not happy because reason doesn’t exist it because it just happened they were lucky not to be infected. This show the amount of influences that Tyler’s mother Elizabeth had on him from young age.
After Elizabeth and Tyler departed from Severn Airport with religious wanders, there could’ve been major influences in time span to present time that could’ve make Tyler decided to be the Prophet. From what the Prophet said “I saw my mother die twice” he mentioned that death of body and death of soul, it could mean he saw mother death physical and then he could’ve burn body to represent the death of the soul. The major influences were Tyler witnessing his mother death, and combine with Dr. Eleven quote on comic “You were his second-in-command, you must lead in his place” he taken up his mother believes as he became the Prophet.
I really don’t know what to do for my topic. I want my topic to be like “what influenced Tyler to the Prophet” but that doesn’t sound persuasive at all. I feel like trying to deepen into Tyler the Prophet character because he wasn’t mentioned at all for those years he was traveling and why he became Prophet. It not matter not having much type it doesn’t feel like I’m persuasive, but exploration into character frame.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel gives the readers a taste of death, survival, fate, civilization and memories. She takes us through what once was and how things are now. As the story goes on we also see how everyone somehow interlinks. We also see how any decision that the characters in this story make begin to shape them for who we now know them as.
Constantly throughout Station Eleven we are inside of Arthur’s life. It is almost as if this story was mainly written to tell his story. The thing is, everything does eventually come right back to him. The protagonists in this story have either come across Arthur or have had an actual relationship with him. Kirsten is only this child actress who took part in Arthur’s final production King Lear. However, for some odd reason her life seems to revolve around this man. She did not remember too much from before this new world but she remembers him. She is always looking for pictures or pieces of him in any magazines that she can find. “There were countless things about the pre-collapse world that Kirsten couldn’t remember…but she did remember Arthur Leander.” (40) She carried around pictures of him and Station Eleven the comic that Arthur had given to her.
Similar to Kirsten there is Tyler. Tyler is not only Arthurs son but he is also The Prophet. Tyler witnessed a broken marriage. He did not get to see his father all that much. But Arthur does give Tyler Station Eleven the comic book as well. This was the one thing he held most dear to him because his father gave it to him. Even after this pandemic he too carried around a version of Station Eleven the comic. “A folded piece of paper fell out of the book. It was a page torn from a copy of Dr. Eleven, Vol. I, No: I: Station Eleven.” (304) Kirsten kind of includes Arthur into her life so much that anything regarding him seemed as though it was something valuable to her. With or without realizing this comic book ends up being a character as well just like Tyler and Kirsten. Tyler let Station Eleven and religion influence him so much he became The Prophet. Without the comic book, Kirsten would not have ever been able to “defeat” Tyler.
I am not exactly sure where I want to go with my topic. I do however know that I want to focus on Station Eleven the comic book is of importance in this story. I also want to touch upon religion to further explain Tyler’s part in the story. I know how everyone connects in the end and it actually is important with the point I am trying to make. Not every single character in this story is important to mention for the point that I’m making but I do need to figure out how to tie in Miranda, Tyler, Arthur, Kirsten, religion and the comic book together. The quotes needed to back up my point are already highlighted. I just don’t know how to go about writing this essay. I don’t even like the temporary title.
Unyielding Progress. This seems t be the very thing that defines the of Station Eleven. Regardless of the obstacle that might get in there way or mistake that might stunt them or an uncontrollable incident that sets them back to the very beginning, The human beings of this world and, in reality seems, they never stop improving progressing and Living, In the book Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (good lord, this is a long name) There have been countless scenarios where humanity have proven themselves capable enough to survive in their new post flu environment but, survival isn’t where they stop at. Survival may be mandatory, but as human beings, we also deem it as nothing but a stepping stone towards our unending yearning for progression. In this essay, i’m going to argue that the multiple groups in this story like, the symphony, the airport settlement and even Tyler’s religious group are considered symbols of the multiple facets of progress and improvement in their own right.
First, let’s talk about the symphony. The symphony represents the more artistic and creative yearning that humanity tends to crave. This craving comes from our deep seated yearn to be able to express ourselves in ways that we personally enjoy. This form of expression may differ from group to group i.e the actors and the musicians, and even person to person Like Kirsten and August. The form of yearning can even differ in intensity from one to another. For example. Kirsten Has had a lifelong dream (or a life long drive if you want to look at it another way, it that way)to on on stage for the enjoyment of others. From being a no named child actress playing a small forgettable role in a Toronto play titled King Lear to a young woman who can only feel truly alive while on stage by pouring her heart and soul into her theatrical performances, This is also true when it comes to her caravan mates, Sure, each one of them joined decided to join the symphony with their own reasons in mind but, the collective goal of everyone to put on performances that would wow crowds which should be considered there own enjoyable forms of expression such as Theater and music. August is another prime example. August has played the violin ever since he was little. He played the violin anytime he could. Haven’t played it while watching star trek if you could believe it. The entirety of the symphony are comprised of people that do what they love which is why they are considered the symbol of expression when defined under the category of human progress.
The Next group are Tyler and his religious group of post apocalyptic worshipers. This part of the thesis is going to talk about religion so..i apologize for any awkwardness or anger you may feel during this paragraph. I am by no means trying to belittle or insult a religious group of any background…
(Sorry..can’t think of anything else to type..Midterms have been taking their toll on me in the past few days.) I’ll definitely be able to type much more than this when midterms are fully over.)
Jordan Jean Pierre
What is the purpose of life? I can safely assume that most self aware beings in the universe have asked themselves or others that question at least once. It is one of the greatest questions to have ever been asked, and yet the answer is painfully obvious. The purpose of all life is to end. Whether or not someone believes that is inconsequential to the fact that death will eventually consume all life. A great example of that statement can be found in the novel Station eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. The majority of the novel is about a post apocalyptic world devastated by the Georgian flu pandemic. The story is saturated with suffering and death leaving the characters vulnerable to thoughts such as what the purpose of life is.
The first official encounter the reader has with death in the story, is when Arthur passed away on stage during his performance as king Lear. “Jeevan realized this charade must be for Arthur’s family, so they wouldn’t be notified of his death via the evening news” ( Emily 7 ). The preceding quote is the quote that solidified the reader’s assumptions of the possible death of Arthur. Despite Arthur’s many successes and failures, happiness and sadness, love and hatred, none of it mattered in the end, none of it could prevent his unfortunate and sudden demise. Arthur’s life was a somewhat accomplished one, because he chose to give purpose to his life. Even though he knew death would eventually claim it, he decided to make the best of his time. The purpose of life is to end, but what happens in between someone’s birth and death is completely their responsibility.
The Georgian flu pandemic according to the characters in the story, wiped out most of humanity, it is a horrible thing that has happened to the world inside the novel. It makes one wonder what the purpose of life is. People often seek answers to such a question in religion, or other forms of comfortable ideas, anything that would make them be less afraid of what’s to come. “ Have you considered the perfection of the virus” (60). The preceding quote is a small but effective example that shows the reader that the prophet somehow sees the flu as a divine disease set upon humanity by an omniscient God. Even while facing the truth, certain people will find a way to modify it to their own needs. After all of those deaths people are still looking for the purpose of life, instead of worrying about how they will give purpose to the time they have in between their births and deaths.
I am working on a cover letter for my essay, which is coming along well. My essay will be based on what the purpose of life is in the world of the novel, and the different ways the characters in the story deal with that. I am struggling to find major quotes and statements throughout the story that are useful to the development of my essay, however I am confident that I will find plenty once I put my focus on finding them.
Sometimes in life one feels like they are stuck and it may be hard to change that. I think the best way to get out of that situation is to find something or a goal and work hard to achieve that goal. This is very true in the novel Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. In this novel the characters are in a probable future where 99% of the population had been killed off by a deadly virus. Even in a world with no laws and no hope people are still living with goals. Not only am I going to mention characters who are in the future that live while working on a goal but. I will also touch on major characters from before the collapse.
What defines us as human beings are what we have experienced in our lives and what connects ourselves with these experiences are our memories. Coincidentally we have a character in Station Eleven who lives day by day trying to find pieces of her childhood that could possibly bring back memories of her childhood and of the first year of the collapse. This character is Kirsten.” There were countless things about the pre-collapse world that Kirsten couldn’t remember– her street, her mother’s face, the TV shows that August never stopped talking about– but she did remember Arther Leander, and after that first sighting she went through every magazine she could find in search for him”(Mandel, 40). Kirsten is living life as she could scavenging food/ Supplies/ and pieces of herself. If it was not for having the goal to find herself she would just be serving but. as we all know ” survival is insufficient”(Mandel, 58). This is the motto of Traveling Symphony and it basically means that simply surviving is not enough, you must have something worth working for as you survive and for the Traveling Symphony it was the preservation of the past.
Finding yourself can be a very good goal but simply doing what you love is very admirable in itself. Of course I am talking about Miranda. Miranda was with her boyfriend for years until she got tired of the ways he put her and her hobby down. Her hobby was the graphic novel” Station Eleven”. She left her boyfriend and became Authur’s first wife where he was more supportive. On the contrary though Arthur lived his like wanting attention and he became famous yet he was still unhappy.
Please note this is just a pre. draft and anything is subject to change. This was a bit rushed especially by the second body paragraph so I apologize for not getting a quote but I figured a grade is better than no grade
I contend that Miranda Carroll, the “.. preternaturally composed and very pretty, pale with grey eyes and dark curls [girl, who] comes into the restaurant in a rush of cold air, January clinging to her hair and her coat..”(77) is none other than the narrator herself and is the true central character in the novel. Every artist desires to resolve an internal conflict upon the canvas, after mixing the frenzied paints of their emotions in the palette of their consciousness. Thus too, does the narrator of Station Eleven resolve her feelings toward herself and her cocharacters in Station Eleven.
An indication of an ulterior motive in the narration of Station Eleven first became apparent to me by the repeated and almost clumsy references to Arthurs three marriages.. ““I think there were maybe three or four” Goneril said talking about the ex-wives ”Three”“……”“ Three divorces” Gloucester said “Can you imagine?””. I certainly can imagine a person have three great loves in their life, the phenomenon is not uncommon and Arthur Leander simply chose to formalize those relationships, perhaps in a naïve belief that by doing so he might enhance their resilience. Admittedly, having three failed marriages is statistically uncommon but it is also insignificant from a human perspective, yet the fact pops up like a bad penny for Arthur to confront and embarrass him time and time again; and to what end I ask myself. I thus began to suspect that the character Arthur was in real life a person who was significant for the narrator yet had fallen short and disappointed her. In Station Eleven the character Arthur is very unsupportive of his first wife, the girl whom he could not forget after first meeting her when she was seventeen and whose phone number he kept with him for years before finally calling her again “ Once in the room , he sits on the bed, relieved to be alone and unlooked-at but feeling as he always does in these moments a little disorientated, obscurely deflated, a bit at a loss, and then all at once he knows what to do. He calls the cell number that he’s been saving all these years.” (79) How beautifully romantic! Yet the fool humiliates Miranda on their third year wedding anniversary “This time I’ll be damned if the girl hasn’t got her worldly belonging with her”(97) he recounted their second night together and then, later that night, he flirts with Elizabeth Colton “Arthur thanks everybody for coming to his home, meeting everyone’s eyes except Elizabeth’s, who had lightly touched his thigh under the table, and this is when she [Miranda] understood” (98). These slights could not be forgotten or forgiven and Arthur was condemned to die in the opening pages of Station Eleven, although he was afforded the privilege of being rehabilitated before his death when, on the night of his death..”…he didn’t want the comic because he didn’t want possessions. He didn’t want anything except his son” . Arthur Leander was allowed to die with a clear conscience, in a state of “grace” but die he must before the novel may start.
Miranda Carroll is the only true three-dimensional characters in the book . While working at Neptune Logistics we see a mature, yet not mature, twenty-four-year-old Miranda and her work colleague Thea : “Thea, who is impeccable in a smooth, corporate way that Miranda admires…..In Thea’s presence [Miranda] feels ragged and unkempt, curls sticking up in all directions, while Thea’s hair is glossy and precise, her clothes never quite right whereas Thea’s clothes are perfect. Miranda’s lipstick is always too gaudy or too dark, her heels too high or too low. Her stockings all have holes in the feet…”(80). This description rings so true that I am sure that it is from real life. It would be so difficult to make it up. This is the voice of the narrator recalling a personal experience. “The problem is that she is colossally bored with the conversation, and also bored with Pablo,” (85) is also, I believe from a real-life experience. “I repent nothing…Miranda is a person with very few certainties, but one of them is that only the dishonorable leave when things get difficult” (89). Here we see an ambivalence toward herself as she abandons her relationship with Pablo” (89) her failed artist boyfriend. This statement sticks out like a sore (conscience) thumb and also comes, I believe, from a real-life experience. As she attempts to fit into the lifestyle of a Hollywood wife, we see Miranda struggling with self-doubt “ “I wish you’d try a little harder” Arthur had said to her once or twice, but she knows she’ll never belong here no matter how hard she tries.”(92). This repeats the strong feelings of inadequacy that we see in the quote from line eighty above. Again “The thing about Hollywood Miranda realizes early on, is that almost everyone is Thea, her former colleague at Neptune Logistics, which is to say that almost everyone has the right clothes, the right haircut, the right everything, while Miranda flails after them in the wrong outfit with her hair sticking up” (96). In the character of Miranda we see a true three-dimensional character, developed to a degree that would be hard to imagine if Miranda were not in fact intimately known to the narrator which I believe Miranda is, as she and the narrator are in fact, one and the same.
“A reflection of where I am in the process” said the man to himself as he explored the maze. “I honestly do not know but I believe that I will thoroughly enjoy the journey”.
Reading Emily St. John Mandel’s novel, Station Eleven, is about the adventures of the Traveling Symphony as they wonder through to the apocalyptic world. The world has become very difficult to survive and meaning try live. In this world meaning people have to do actions to get themselves or other safe. In this story, the characters have to kill or die to safe others and their actions have influenced other characters.
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Frank gave everything up to save his brother. Frank is a minor character to the novel of Station Eleven and is the Jeevan’s brother. During the Georgia Flu epidemic a large number of people around the world are dying. Very few are immune to it however it left destruction and chaos everywhere. In order to survive Jeevan and Frank stay at their apartment for nearly two months but they would not survive for long. Since Frank is paralyzed and he is not able to travel long distances. He would be able to survive because “Jeevan sometimes heard gunshots at night,” (182). You smell rotting corpses going into their apartment from outside and you can smoke in the distance (182). Frank values civilization, since he has gone through war and fought for civilization, however he believes that whatever is out in the world civilization and order is gone. He later implies to Jeevan that he will kill himself, “I’ll leave first, I’ve given this some thought” (183). This is a major sacrifice so that Jeevan can leave Frank behind so Jeevan can survive. Frank would not be able to survive in a post apocalyptic world since it requires him to adapt quickly but he can’t due to his paralysis. If Frank didn’t do this then Jeevan would never have reach to the Severn City Airport. This is where he created his Museum of Civilization. This is where he will soon meet on of the main characters Kirsten.
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There are times when you must be prepare to kill in order to survive. Killing people can cause a negative impact on many people, especially if it is a child. During chapter 49, there is boy who is having a conversation with Sayid. Sayid is a member of the Travelling Symphony who was capture by a group of people who follows a person called the Prophet. The boy explains that he must follow the orders of the Prophet and if he does not he fears that the Prophet will kill him. “What choice do I have? You know this… this time we live in, you know how if forces a person to do things”(292). The boy reveals his feelings of how terrible his actions are. He is very afraid of this individual that he believes that he has to kill in order to survive. This shows that the apocalypse can have a huge negative effect in the minds of young children.
At first I was thinking about to write about death in this essay but it really didn’t explain clearly what I want. So I decided to write about how the characters survive and how their actions influence others in the novel. I am unsure if this is a good argument or not. I have some other ideas from the book that I can put into this. I really do need some help with it.