Category Archives: Essay 1, Pre-Draft

Forgotten Memories

Adrian Zhang

Essay #1 Pre-Draft

Forgotten Memories

Introduction

            A flu name the Georgia Flu has nearly wiping out the population of Earth and those who remain, struggle to survive and find purpose in the lawless world. Devastated, a selection of the survivors finds themselves raiding, committing criminal acts, murder, gone insane, travel or someone has come to a decision that repopulating the world would be a lot better. But what a clear majority of them share, is that they all have “forgotten memories.” Many of the survivors forgot what happen to them before the epidemic and that isn’t okay. What Clark is doing for the future generation is a great example of preserving the past and people’s memories.

Body 1

            Kirsten, arguably the main protagonist, sets out with her crew, the Traveling Symphony, to play their instruments and preform Shakespeare plays for the remaining survivors. The Traveling Symphony face many difficulties such as death and survival. The loss of her family because of the Georgia Flu, traumatizes her. Kirsten chooses to remember certain things that are important to her and any other detail is a blur to her. For example, Kirsten remembers the comics, Station Eleven. “Dr. Eleven, Vol. I, No. I: Station Eleven and Dr. Eleven, Vol. 2: The Pursuit. By Year Twenty, Kirsten has them memorized” (Mandel 42). “Survival is insufficient” (119) means a lot to Kirsten. She in in a world where basically everyone is dead, and the remaining survivors are in it for themselves. It’s a lawless world and what she contributes to the Traveling Symphony is what keeps her going. Art has become one of the reasons why she still surviving. “That everything that has ever happened on this earth has happened for a reason” (59).  Many of the people who have come to watch them preform, enjoy what they do for the community, especially the Prophet.

Body 2

            We can argue that Tyler/the Prophet acts like his father in a similar way. Most children growing up, imitate their parents and his father, Arthur has been in several relationships. Although Arthur may not have been there in his life much, he has impacted Tyler in the wrong way. Arthur’s affairs impact Tyler and ultimately, he marries multiple wives, including those of who are underage. Tyler comes off as an extremist and believes that the Georgia Flu is a “cleansing.” We can see that his ideology is twisted, and we can also imply that his insane mother, Elizabeth, had an impact on his unfiltered language when it comes to his philosophy. “Everything happens for a reason” (253). His memory of his parents is without a doubt messed up and Tyler implements what he experiences in his past life to his current life.

 Reflection

  • What have I done: I have been looking through where to find certain things because I didn’t write on a sticky note.
  • What am I still looking for: Looking for more textual evidence of things to improve upon the paper
  • What am I struggling with: Re-reading the book to find the evidence was a struggle.
  • What I

 

Survival at its Finest

“Survival is insufficient”, some might say but throughout the novel ‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John Mandel that’s how the characters got by. Survival might not be enough for one to live life but it sure is needed to get through a flu pandemic. Throughout the novel we see the difficulty in adjusting to a new world and what it takes to stay alive. People are creating spiritual cults, closed off cities, living in airports, and even created a traveling music and theatre group. Though some characters in the novel think survival is not enough, surviving brought a few of the characters a long way and I will discuss few of the characters who successfully and unsuccessfully depended  on survival.

One of the main characters in the novel who subconsciously depended on survival is Kirsten Raymonde. I refer to Kirsten as a subconsciously survivalist because even though it’s not exactly stated in the novel that Kirsten agrees with the quote survival is insufficient it’s tattooed on her and on the side of the caravan(58) of the musical theatre group she belongs too which gives me the impression that she does agree with the quote; but as long as the outbreak and the after outbreak has been in effect all Kirsten has been doing is trying to survive. On several pages such as 113, 185, 188, and 195 Kirsten is having an interview with François Diallo, a liberian, publisher and editor of New Petoskey News where she tells him about the times her and her brother has been surviving by themselves after the pandemic. In one interview where Kirsten stated but didn’t realize that her actions and circumstances were relied on survival is on page 113, where Kirsten is addressing how she found the Traveling Symphony. She states, “Ohio. The town where we ended up after we left Toronto, my brother and I, and then after he died I was there by myself.” During this period of time Kristen was fourteen years old, and she doesn’t talk about much of her journey by herself in the novel but perceived from the quote it’s obvious that she had to survive on her own after her brother died, and she did an outstanding job at the age of fourteen because soon enough she was founded by the Symphony and continued to survive alongside with them. Along with the quote on Kirsten forearm, she has another tattoo of two knives crossed together on her right arm, which we found out that they stood for the amount of people she had to kill (265). In chapter 22, paragraph 1, Kirsten reflects on Alexandra, a child part of the Traveling Symphony and how different she is, she states, “Kirsten thought, that Alexandra would live out her life without killing anyone. She was a younger fifteen- year -old than Kirsten had ever been” Kirsten mentioned about killing at the age of fifteen, maybe that’s the age when she first had to defend herself and killed someone; and at the age she was by herself,  her brother died when she was fourteen so she had no other option than to protect herself at all cost. This is survival by any means necessary, even if that means having to kill someone at a very young age. But throughout everything, Kirsten has always been trying to survive to get by in this ‘new world from the youngest of age to her successfully becoming a grown up’, this is survival to its finest.

A second character who turns to survival is Jeevan Chaudhary. Jeevan can be seen trying his best to survive throughout the parts he was mentioned in the novel. The very first time we as readers see Jeevan in survival mode is in the beginning when he first finds out about the flu outbreak. He goes hysterical into survival mode and buys the whole store and pushes all seven carts to his brother Frank house(25). Another sense of survival is the multiple jobs Jeevan had. You could say he didn’t receive his calling until that night Arthur died on stage. One of his jobs as a paparazzo can be seen a survival job. Jeevan had to do whatever to get good pictures of celebrities, even if that meant “stalking celebrities from behind sidewalk planters and lying in wait in parked cars.” He had to do whatever to survive as a paparazzo, which isn’t an easy job.

The last paragraph isn’t so well constructed because my life started spiraling out of control and I felt like I needed to rush and get this done before it was marked late, but I know i ca do a lot better. 

What’s Necessary

Intro:
In the post-apocalyptic novel,” Station Eleven”, by Emily St. John Mandel.The world has collapsed in the book, the story is mainly focused on a group of young adults who call themselves, The Symphony. The group tends to travel a lot in search for items that can help their memories but, they also take it upon themselves to keep acting in plays alive. Of course, on this journey that can seem to lead to nowhere but danger, the characters face many challenges such as loneliness and both good and hurtful memories from the past. Memories can hold a lot of power to oneself. Emily St. John Mandel uses her novel to show readers how important it can be to preserve what matters to someone and how it can add on to history.

One of the most difficult challenges that the characters must face in this new harsh reality of theirs is how lonely they truly are. After the destruction of the Georgia Flu, the cities and towns that were once well known became fictitious. What was once civilization, became small settlements. “You’re not from around here, are you?” in various accents, these encounters interspersed with moving trucks. If it was hard to break into new places then, in that ludicrously easy world where food was on shelves in supermarkets and travel was as easy as taking a seat in a gasoline-powered machine and water came out of taps, it was several orders of magnitude more difficult now. The Symphony was insufferable, hell was other flutes or other people or whoever had used the last of the rosin or whoever missed the most rehearsals, but the truth was that the symphony was their only home” (Mandel, Chapter 10 pg 48) Of course, loneliness affects people differently. Some may prefer to be alone but, others might find it hard to accept that this is what the rest of their life will consist of, of no family and no place to call their own. Just imagine a life where one day you’re able to make your own cooked meal, and then the next day suddenly needing to manhunt for something to eat, or a safe location to sleep.  But, the absence of family and a home brings The Symphony closer together, and at the end, that’s what truly matters. “Hell is the absence of the people you long for” (Mandel, Chapter 23 pg 144) What mattered now are the people that they got to share their life with, and the new beginnings that were created.


Memories can be people’s salvation. In the novel, Clark creates the museum of civilization in order to preserve the old world and the importance it once had. “There seemed to be a limitless number of objects in the world that had no practical use but that people wanted to preserve: cell phones with their delicate buttons, iPads, Tyler’s Nintendo console, a selection of laptops. There were a number of impractical shoes, stilettos mostly, beautiful and strange…..Traders brought things for Clark sometimes, objects of no real value that they knew her would like: magazines and newspapers, a stamp collection, coins. There were the passports or the driver’s licenses or sometimes the credit cards of people who had lived at the airport and then died. Clark kept impeccable records”(Mandel, Chapter 44 pg 258) Clark preserves such items to help him and the survivors who lived before the collapse of what the world was once like. It is painful for those that have lost communication with their families but, now the younger generation may know what a cell phone is, and a laptop. The memories of the past have used a form of art here, and history. One can say that the passports are what citizens would use to cross to other countries etc, But now there are no borders, and there are no airplanes. And, although these items have no practical use, it helps bring people and their memories together in the attempt to make their new world a better place.


Reflection:
For my essay I will be mostly focusing on one’s memories and if it either has a positive outcome to remember such things or a negative outcome. My evidence will probably change but, in the meantime this is it.






Loneliness is a silent killer

Introduction

Humans are social creatures, its because of this we as a species survived for so long, but what happens when an event or situation causes isolation to many people? When people experience extreme isolation they start to break down mentally, start to exhibit weird behavior  Mental health is  something many people take for granted, especially when in dire need of help and in lesser cases temporary isolation brings mental epiphany of oneself. In Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel these themes of loneliness and Mental Health are touched on in varying degrees. 

Paragraph 1

When discussing loneliness there are many examples to point to because of the situation the characters where put thru. In the very beginning of the book the character named Jeevan was left in the theater after trying to resuscitate a man.  “His phone vibrated in his pocket. He stopped to read a text message from Laura: I had a headache so I went home. Can you pick up milk? And here, all momentum left him. He could go no farther. The theater tickets had been intended as a romantic gesture, a let’s-do-something-romantic-because-all-we-do-is-fight, and she’d abandoned him there, she’d left him onstage performing CPR on a dead actor and gone home, and now she wanted him to buy milk.” (11) This quote shows the anger that this isolation brought him and also the pain of trying to be closer to someone you love being nonchalant about your efforts. Laura, Jeevan’s girlfriend temporarily isolated him, which brought him confusion, anger and shock.

Paragraph 2

To discuss Tyler would be to discuss many of the Themes in the story and how many characters intertwine with him. ” I should have pulled her back from the edge. But it had taken everything he had to stay back from the edge himself, and what could he have done?” (261). Tyler is so lonely that he develops a disturbing obsession with the new testament. He had a absentee father and a enabling mother who did not bother give her son attention, even when it seems that he desperately needs it. He had none around him who he could call a friend or loved one who could just keep him in reality of the situation he is in.

Reflection

I will focus on the themes of loneliness and Mental Health and try to convey the connection to each other. The characters are affected differently when faced with the end of the world. With this we can accurately show how themes treated created weird and unique situations that pushed people to either contemplate life and purpose or show how damaged they have become.

“Survival is Insufficient”

Okay guys here it is, it is not perfect. I am putting ideas in, I may end up changing the title or the “argument” and keep going on with my idea. Please comment if you have any ideas and want to help. I have much more to add later on, I am still looking for more quotes.

Being human means more than just surviving. It means moving on, finding peace and happiness within yourself and coming to terms with what is what isn’t. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel has proven that being alive is not all there is to life. Surely like after an apocalypse wiping out almost an entire species, we the readers have seen how these people have come together and unified, at least some of them anyways.

After almost all humans have been wiped out of the face of the earth, there are still remnants of what would be called the old world. Technology as we knew it, is gone. No phones, no television, no electronics and no way of communicating with those around the globe. It means that it is time to move on, your girlfriend or boyfriend or wife or husband is most likely dead. They are not coming back and instead of suffering or killing yourself, why not move on? Find someone else to grow old with. Maybe have kids, try to be happy for the rest of your life. Find peace within yourself and those around you. Sometimes moving on means changing. You will not be the same person you used to be before it all happened. “What choice do I have? You know this… this time we live in, you know it forces a person to do things.” (Mandel 292). You may end up being stuck in a group, some bad influences.

Finding peace is a process , just like being happy and moving on. It is okay to remember the past. Don’t forget all the good stuff you had. Those are great memories and it is okay to hold on to them. Jeevan was starting a new career, I like to think his life was going somewhere and now it has all been changed. “He rarely thinks of his life anymore, although he has dreams sometimes about a stage, an actor fallen in the shimmering snow, and other dreams where he’s pushing shopping carts through blizzards.” (Mandel 312). But not to live in the past. It is not healthy for your soul nor your mind and heart. There was a time where people did not know what would happen to them, they used to think that help was on the way. Times have changed. “In the summer of year Ten, Jeevan had married one of the settlement’s founders, a former sales assistant named Daria.” (Mandel 269). Jeevan eventually found  way of moving on, starting a family and living his life.

An Analysis of Leadership in Station Eleven

 

Introduction

It is difficult to comprehend why only certain people take control of chaotic situations. In Emily St. John Mandel’s novel, Station Eleven, a vast cast of characters were put in situations that challenged their leadership abilities during chaotic situations. The Prophet was one of the many protagonists that was capable of having a following of people during the novel, his story was differently the most fascinating and compelling ones. It is very interesting to find out the story behind this character and try to figure out what influenced him to become the person he was during the book. What was it that made him believe that he was the chosen who? Could he really be the chosen one or was this just him loosing his mind in all the chaos? 

Part 1

As I mentioned earlier the Prophet was a important character in the post collapse world. The Prophet influenced many events throughout the story, mostly in negative ways. The prophet’s name was Tyler. He was the son of Arthur, another protagonist in the novel. Arthur was a famous Hollywood actor living a luxurious life. Unfortunately, Arthur was not able to see Tyler so often during his career. The narrator discusses that during the collapse Tyler was still a young child, only eight years old. He was stuck in an airport with his mother Elizabeth Colton when it all happened. Tyler was a very quiet young man, he focused most of his adolescence reading. He didn’t have much to choose from just his comic books, and his mothers New Testament. He was so enthralled by the new testament that he hadn’t realized the hard times after the collapses life.

Part 2

At a point Tyler and his mother decided to leave the Museum of Civilization.  It’s unknown what occurred during that time to Tyler and Elizabeth, yet it doesn’t matter to the reader because the result would still be the same with us not knowing what had actually occurred. His mother would still be dead and Tyler would still be a broken leader in the post apocalyptic society. Tyler became a very anger and dangerous man, ironically “The Prophet” had done nonreligious actions during his time in leadership. 

Reflection

After reading the novel I wanted to focus on what effects the collapse had on people, specifically Tyler. The greatest argument in the novel is if his actions were truly effective for the people during the time. His journey from a boy stuck in an airport with his mother to a man effecting the lives of so many. I want to try and figure out why he turned into such an aggressive character.

I am excited to focus on Tyler’s story and the people around his, how he influenced them and vice versa. I need to focus on adding more textual evidence. I am struggling to understand what could have happened when he and his mother left the airport. During those years the changes in Tyler’s life had began, what could have happened then? Furthermore, I need to find more comparisons to Tyler? I believe that I can choose a character from the book to compare to Tyler and his leadership. The hard part is picking one.

To survive is not enough

Introduction

When the world is collapsed by pandemic or some other disasters, the fatalities appear continuously, most of the technologies from the modern civilization such as  communication technology, convenient transportation and the internet technology all disappear after this, how is the people who were left over going to react on this? Are they going to struggle just for taking the last breath before the end of the world? Are they going to live as usual and treat that situation like a part of life for sure, continue living without pursues and slowly forget their memory of how people built up their previous civilization? Are they going to kill each other and gather the last goods and materials and make themselves survive a little longer? However, none of these were the best choice. To survive in the collapsed world was not enough, if you have a chance to survive under the disaster, there’s things that more valuable for you to do but just struggling to survive only.

Body Paragraph 1

In the book, “Station Eleven” written by Emily St. John Mandel, the narrator indicated that the real attitude which people should have under the destruction of the Georgia Flu. This can be reflected by one of the main characters, Miranda which was the ex-wife of Arthur. She was always yearn for the life of the modern civilization and never ever lose hope on the life in the future, even though the scene of her death was sad but still beautiful. She always try to escape from the ordinary but she was lost on it. Through the comic book she wrote, it clearly express how was she thinking about the current world and the future world, there should a hope and attitude for continue living in the world. It indicated this more detail in the time Clark was reading her books. (332) Second is the story between Jeevan and his brother, Frank. Frank commit suicide and Jeevan had a strong chance continue living and moving forward. Here strongly indicated that to survive is not enough, Frank held an opposite side to the thought of Jeevan, Frank is the person which was more realistic and pessimistic, he would just continue living without pursues and wait for his death. However, Jeevan had a strong hope on restoring the modern civilization, he wanted to get back the modern society and continue living there, but not just straggling hard just for the survival. The suicide of Frank here indirectly  support the narrator’s point of view on the attitude of living in this collapsed world.

Body Paragraph 2

Another important point which supports the narrator’s opinion was the existence of the traveling symphony and another important character, Kirsten. Not like the other people, they did not give up on hope for the future world. Even the condition was hard for them, they just keep performing the best works left from the previous human society and keep encouraging people which were blinded by the horror of the pandemic. They used some essences especially the beautiful works from Shakespeare to light up the atmosphere of hopeless in the world and take people out from the darkness. As Kirsten said, “We long only to go home, we dream of sunlight, we dream of walking on earth.” (302) What it mean here is that surviving for a short period does not make a difference from death, other than just surviving, it’s better to have the hope and work a little on it, continue living with your pursues and willing to make a change during your survival period, some people had never lost their hope on a brighter future.

Reflection

I am trying to redefine the meaning of surviving based on the story of Miranda, the Traveling symphony, Frank and Jeevan and Kirsten. First I will do some analysis on the behaviors of different characters which related to the idea of the point to survive. My central idea is going to be living but not just surviving. I will continue working on my body paragraph structure and make it more clear, straight to the point and avoid the repetition. Then I will try to analysis how the experiences of Kirsten and things did by the Traveling symphony support my opinion.

 

Possessions Define the Individual (Pre-Draft)

Canadian writer Emily St. John Mandel, writes Station Eleven, a 2014 science fiction novel with a post-apocalyptic theme. It has a strong focus on everyday life after a cataclysmic event that devastated the world population. The main catalyst of the story is the spread of the Georgian Flu pandemic, which had killed ninety-nine percent of the global population. In the story of Station Eleven, characters cling onto memories of the past by attaching themselves to items of great sentimental value. These personal items become important in defining the characters’ motivations and values.

One of the major protagonists, Kirsten Raymonde, has two important items in her possession that she is very attached to. One of them is a glass paperweight with an image of a storm cloud inside of it. Kirsten is a member of a traveling troupe called the “Traveling Symphony”. They are a large group of musicians, artists, and actors that travel from settlement to settlement performing plays for the populace. The Traveling Symphony has grown especially fond of Shakespeare plays, because they feel that Shakespeare represents the best of humanity. The motto of the Traveling Symphony, written on the side of a caravan, is “because survival is insufficient”. Kirsten likes the paperweight because she believes it is the most beautiful object she has ever seen, and she keeps the paperweight in her possession, despite it being dead weight and impractical in a post-apocalyptic environment. Kirsten reflects on her feelings on the paperweight in an interview with Francois Diallo for the New Petoskey News: “DIALLO: You’re still the only person I know who carries a paperweight in her backpack. RAYMONDE: I know, but I thought it was beautiful. I still think it’s beautiful” (184).This is representative of Kirsten’s appreciation of art and beauty, which goes hand-in-hand with the motto of the Traveling Symphony. Appreciation of art and beauty goes beyond simply surviving in life, and leads to development of culture.

Another one of Kirsten’s most important possessions is an incomplete set of Station Eleven graphic novels. These books were given to Kirsten by Arthur Leander when she was a small child, before the spread of the Georgian Flu. The main quote from the graphic novel that defines Kirsten’s struggle with reconciling with the end of the pre-disaster world is “I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth” (42). This quote particularly resonates with Kirsten’s character, because Kirsten has problems with remembering much of her life before the Georgian Flu pandemic, as well as Year One of post-pandemic. Though the quote in the comic book is melancholic, Kirsten yearns to remember more of the past, and her most cherished possessions, the paperweight and the comic books, are her only connection to the pre-apocalyptic world.

REFLECTION:

I decided to focus on the possessions of the characters of Station Eleven, because I feel like their belongings are important in determining the motivations of the characters. I might change to a different topic if I discover a more interesting topic to write about. So far the first two body paragraphs are focused on Kirsten, I plan on writing more about August, Clark, the wandering man with rifle, and the prophet.

Don’t take things for granted

Introduction

It’s quite easy to take some of our most valuable possessions and services for granted when even thinking about losing this is hard for us to imagine. Basic things such as electricity, cell phone service, emergency medical / police services and access to food are things we all admittedly take for granted. In Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, all of these services are not only non existent, but some of the younger generation have not even experienced any of it. Imagine having to thoroughly explain yourself because they didn’t believe the concept of electricity or say WiFi.

Paragraph 1

In the novel, it’s shown that the younger children must be taught about the concepts of flight, electricity, and other concepts that we overlook every day because we already see them as a normal thing. Devices such as cell phones, laptops and the like are definitely something we take for granted everyday. Mentioned in the story, “–larger machines that opened up like books and had screens that hadn’t always been dark, the insides brimming with circuitry, and these machines were the portals into a worldwide network.”(262) No one really questions how these devices we have work, but it would definitely have a great impact on civilization now if all of these devices just stopped working altogether. Having to have scouts, who then have to report to each other by walking face to face is a drastic difference from today, where we have the leisure of cell phones or the internet to relay information.

 

Paragraph 2

Proper and available medical services are also something we may take for granted. “I trained as a paramedic, before the flu. I apprenticed t o a doctor near here for five years, till he decided to move further south. I’ve picked up what I can.” (271), Jeevan stated to the couple that came to him for help. When we are injured, we immediately just think to call 911 so someone you trust is a doctor will eventually treat you. In the story, the couple had to hear from word of mouth, then seek out Jeevan, who was not even technically a doctor. Most of us would also be very uneasy about the fact of being administered moonshine as an anesthetic.

 

Reflection

I decided to write about the services, possessions, and maybe even privileges that had disappeared in the story that we may take for granted everyday. I’m working on an outline to better organize my ideas, as well as accurately back claims with quotes from the book. I do need to find more quotes to further support my argument, as well as comparing and contrasting situations in the book with some situations that may have happened in history already.

To Survive and To Thrive

Here are my first three paragraphs of what will possibly, but not surely, be my essay for Station Eleven. 

Surviving in this world is held as a number one priority for anyone; it is why we wake up each morning/night and set off on our routines for work and/or school, which provide us with the funds to survive. But solely surviving can’t be our only tasks as evolving human beings living on such a wondrous planet with endless possibilities; we create, invent, innovate, enlighten, and inspire others. In Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel proposes a world in which modern day humans acclimate to a post-pandemic environment. With the regress of civilization in effect, Mandel presents the essence of what it truly means to survive through the actions of different protagonists like Kirsten and Clark. Mandel probes the significance behind the statement “because survival is insufficient” by instituting a newer meaning: surviving is preserving.

After the prominent fall of mankind caused by the Georgia Flu, the planet is an empty shell of abandoned structures, cars and homes. The majority of Georgia Flu survivors have maintained the mindset of simply surviving and remaining alive, while a group of former musicians, actors/actresses, and artists come together and form The Traveling Symphony in efforts to enlighten the darkness that now existed around them. “Survival is insufficient” is first seen on Mandel 58, as these three words are the prime definition of what the Symphony stands for. These people have dedicated themselves to what beauty and humanity still remained of their previous lives, keeping works of Shakespeare alive after the restart of time and life as they knew it.

The repurposing of buildings and items is very prevalent in Station Eleven, but what Clark initiates on Mandel 254 signifies his version of putting deeper meaning into the words “survival is insufficient”. With its first pieces being a seemingly useless iPhone, a couple of identification cards and an Amex, The Museum of Civilization is born and brought to life. These items were now artifacts of a historical point in time when they were held to high value. “He stood by the case and found himself moved by every object he saw there, by the human enterprise each object had required”, (Mandel 255).

 

Reflection:

I am not one to plan an essay out for weeks ahead, and I am still contemplating changing my thesis and title as well. My body paragraphs will be much fuller once I work on my actual essay but I don’t think its fair for an “outline” to be perfect. My second idea aside from providing pieces from the novel that show how surviving is insufficient, was to make this essay about how loss institutes new and innovative beginnings, or how loss gives survival a new definition. Aside from my indecisiveness, this draft is subject to change completely and I am still trying to find a thesis I can stick with and pull multiple pieces of evidence from the text for.