When would you say that life was valued more: before the Georgia Flu or After it?
EXTENSION TO F 10/13: IF YOU HAVEN’T VOTED YET, PLEASE DO 🙂
It’s that time again! Read through all reading response blogs for Station Eleven, Part 2-3, choose a favorite post, and explain the rationale for choosing it. Then share the post/excerpt/rationale by “commenting” here on this post. Don’t forget to link to the post you are citing (you can now hyperlink comments rather than just copying/pasting the URL: give it a shot!).
Comments should be made no later than Wednesday, 10/11, and the one with the most votes will earn the coveted “People’s Choice” honor! As always, I’m looking forward to seeing what you choose, and why
Now we are reading up to the part two and part three of the story, “Station Eleven” which written by Emily St. John Mandel, it was basically telling about the life of a Traveling Symphony in the later twenty years after the break out of the Georgia Flu and part three was about the past story of Arthur Leander before he died on the heart attack. Through all contents from part two and part three, all you feel was the very pity to the past on the Earth and hopeless for the future life, however, life was still goes on and you still had to struggle.
In the beginning of part two, Mandel first introduced to you a new group to the story which was the Traveling Symphony, they were keep moving under a hard condition in the later twenty years after the flu destroyed the whole world. She said, “Tree pressed in close at the sides of the road and erupted through cracks in the pavement, saplings bending under the caravans and soft leaves brushing the legs of horses and Symphony alike. The heat wave had persisted for a relentless week” (Mandel, Page 34.) Mandel used a lot descriptions on the environment to create a vivid image for us to understand the hard condition of the Traveling Symphony, even the condition was hard, this group still kept moving, and comparing to other people, this group seems more like about the works from Shakespeare. Maybe that was the thing which encourage them to keep moving forward.
The sentence which impressed me a lot was the line of text across the bottom of the comic book, “Station Eleven” from Kirsten, it said “I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth” (Mandel, Page 42.) This sentence is telling the main idea throughout part two, it was true that their sweet home on Earth was already damaged, they had no ideas what to do after, they did not know what to do for this hopeless future for them, all they can do was just stick to what they were doing and struggle for living in such a bad environment on Earth. This scene really reminds about the TV show, “The Walking Dead”. What’s the future mean to them so far, and they did not have the exact answer for this yet.
Part 3 began showing the memories of Arthur Leander well before the Georgia Flu at the moment Kirsten was collecting the photos of Arthur to think back about the past life. This part is basically about Arthur’s start of his career and his past relationships, especially the relationship between Miranda and him. And how Arthur became an important part of Miranda’s life. I was not so interested in this part, but I still saw that Arthur did help Miranda a lot without realizing it.
The author put the flashback of the main character such as Arthur, this made the contents of the story getting completed, it greatly help with the development of the plot.
The story of Station 11 by Emily st. John Mandel in part two gets really interesting. We are set in the future twenty years later after the epidemic of the Georgia Flu. From the way how the part 2 describes it, the population has decrease drastically from the flu. We soon learn the Kirsten has manage to live up to this point. She starts travelling with The Traveling Symphony, a group of actors and musicians. The life she had before the flu changes a lot and now she is living a new life.
Kirsten travels with her group by performing plays. Since the flu broke out, many of the people living in the present created settlements and try to rebuild their lives as much as they can. It is understandable that many of the people are depress for living in a world that has become a place where it has most certain turned against. The Traveling Symphony has been performing for a long time, “The Traveling Symphony moved between the settlements of the changed world and had been doing so since five years after the collapse,”(37). This shows that they have been doing this for fifteenth years. They do this in order to make people happy during these difficult times of living.
Living in this apocalypse has not been difficult for Kirsten. She has lost her family members due to the flu but she keeps on finding reasons to live for. She is like a scavenger, she often looks for items in abandon houses to find anything useful or something fun to interact with (39). If someone is able to enjoy to look around abandon house must be trying to enjoy living this life style. This might even be an adventure for her. She also has these old comic books of “Station Eleven” and “Dr.Eleven” that were given by Arthur (42). She loves these comics so much that she rereads them many times. These comics are important to her and to the rest of the novel as it create future connections. These comics were not mass produced and to be able to find them is really rare (42).
There is no place to return to. The Traveling Symphony mostly travel to different settlements to perform. Everything is gone and nothing is left, however “What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty” (55). Even though many of normal everyday life they once knew doesn’t mean you should be sad. There is still many reasons to live for. Where there is destruction their will always be creation. In others words there will still be happiness. As soon the group starts travelling again, All three caravans of the Traveling Symphony are labeled as such, “THE TRAVELING SYMPHONY lettered in white on both sides, but the lead caravan carries an additional line of text: Because survival is insufficient” (56). In the writing of the caravan, it means surviving is not the same as living. You have to find a purpose to keep on living. This group keeps on living to perform to many people in order to bring happiness, this is their purpose to survive.
This is what is like to live twenty years in the future. This is what their purpose is.
In “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Madel, in this part of the story different characters are being focused on, Kristen. I loved the fact that kristen was basically like te new main character it felt as if te torched had been passed to her by jeevan in the first act.In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” focuses on the experience of Kirsten, who was the girl in the play of King Lear, where Arthur Leander died of a heart attack. In her part of the story, twenty years has passed since the epidemic. .“Now she walked in sandals whose soles has been cut from an automobile tire, three knives in her belt. She carrying a paperback version of the play, the stage directions highlighted in yellow. “Mad,” she said, continuing, “fantastically dressed with wild flowers.”(Mandel 35) I like the fact that she is carrying a weapon for some strange reason, it reminds me of Mad Max, Terminator or Book Of Eli where people just have to be tough in order to survive. The setting of the world is a post-apocalyptic time where the the fundamental knowledge of machines is rare and far apart, only a very few people can use technology and understand it fundamentally.
Kirsten meets an inventor named Mito, “In Traverse City, the town they’d recently left, an inventor had rigged an electrical system in an attic. It was modest in scope, a stationary bicycle that when pedaled vigorously could power a laptop, but the inventor had grander aspirations: the point wasn’t actually the electrical system, the point was that he was looking the Internet.” (Mandel, 38) Mito’s goal is to get access to the internet. The Internet has all the info on everything, a documented recording of human history, entertainment and power. Mito wants to reinvent all the tech from before the epidemic so he could control and manipulate anyone or thing. Mito’s impresses me because i thought for a fact that most people would be doing what he is doing now but from what i’m reading most people can’t or won’t learn anything more than just how to survive in the situation they are in. He is basically the key for human civilization to recover so we can jump back and regain our knowledge. He reinvents the tech he found in the internet, he will recover the info in the internet so humanity can progress and move past the state they are in.
Finally when Kirsten met the Prophet it was clear that he was in a doomsday cult, “Quickly,” the conductor said. “Harness the horses.” “I thought we were staying a few days,” Alexandra said, a little whiny. “It’s a doomsday cult.” . (Mandel, 62) The conductor knows this groupis nothing but problems,”The conductor stepped back.Absolutely not.”(Mandel, 62)The cult beliefs in human sacrifices. They wanted to kill her and her friends. This reminds me of plenty of video games where peole go insane or belief in crasy things to justify hhorrible actions toward others our themselves that creates very intense senarios.
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)
Continuing with the book, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel continues off from the first part of the book onto the future in which we see the main protagonist Kirsten rehearsing for the next play as they are traveling down Lake Michigan. It’s been twenty years after the flu ha–ps wiped out humanity almost completely, and now the status of progress within society has begun to digress, however people still keep the past alive in actions and memories. Kristen seems to be trapped in the past, remembering the actor that died in the first section of the book. “There were countless things about the pre-collapse world that Kristen couldn’t remember – her street address, her mother’s face, the TV shows that August never stopped talking about—but she did remember Arthur Leander.” (Mandel, 40), this shows how Arthur Leander’s gesture of giving her comics before he passed away so suddenly, and as the book mentions Kristen remembers other things that should be important comics, gives an insight on how important acting and the influence he had on her was. August a young boy enjoyed television, obsessed with classical music, and played the violin. For him, he keeps the past alive in his interest of T.V., “When they broke into houses now, August searched for issues of TV Guide. Mostly obsolete by the time the pandemic hit, but used by a few people right up to the end. He liked to flip through them later at quiet moments.” (Mandel, 39-40), as we can see technology was of no use as the flu rampaged through the world unless it was being used to find a cure.
If we continue to section three we are learning more about the past and how significant it is for Kristen’s keep sake of the two comics, “Dr. Eleven, Vol 1, No. 1: Station Eleven and Dr. Eleven, Vol 1, No 2: The Pursuit” (Mandel, 42), in which Arthur’s wife Miranda is writing the novel “Station Eleven”. However, before she became Arthur’s wife, her boyfriend Pablo wouldn’t support her dreams and that is something that she was looking for and was trapped in when living with Pablo. “You’re always half on Station Eleven,” Pablo said during a fight a week or so ago, “and I don’t even understand your project. What are you actually going for here?” (Mandel, 87), this explains how unhappy she was in the relationship and ironically, she also becomes unhappy in the marriage with Arthur after three years of marriage. Arthur goes on to have an affair and thankfully, Miranda goes onto publish the comic, Station Eleven. We can prove this simply because Arthur hands Kristen the comic to keep, which has stood the test of time. As of now, Kristen has both comics memorized by heart. Something that shows us that the future can be saved so long as the people that have survived can retain history and be able to move on into the future, regardless of any conflicts from people around the world.
Part two is basically the beginning after the end arc. And honestly..it’s not really all that special when compared to other post apocalyptic arcs. Society seems to have converted from a largely packed filled with people to pockets of smaller pocket communities who are formed in places like restaurants, gas stations, markets, etc. Scavenging for materials have become the norm and the constant fear of other people who might want to hurt you and the ones you love for selfish gains have become a common thing. The overarching story was somewhat boring but I will, however, admit that i liked being able to see Kristen, one of characters from part one after the 20 year time skip. I’ve always liked those kinds of transitions. Kirsten was just another no name, and somewhat shy child actress but now, she’s a young woman who is part of a traveling theater group called The Symphony. She’s now seen as a somewhat strong willed woman who has followed her dream to be an actor even after the apocalypse. Oh, and before i forget to mention. I still don’t understand her weird fascination with Arthur. He isn’t really much of a stand up or interesting guy when you compare him with the myriad of different other extremely famous actors you can compare him to. Why exactly is he considered extremely special to her anyway? The only reason i could think of would have to be because of the comics he gave her before he drew his last breath which she liked enough keep with her after all of these year.
Part 3 seemed to be a somewhat boring back story arc. It’s main story was about Arthur and his life to stardom from his humble beginnings. I’m sorry to say this but, this part wasn’t exactly interesting. Nor was it captivating. It basically went on about how Arthur and the people he met on his way to being a famous actor. One of the more interesting characters i somewhat liked had to be Miranda (she wasn’t interesting in the least but she at the very least was a tad more interesting than Arthur). She was a woman who lived a life that she was actually proud of. She had a job working at a shipping company which she genuinely liked and was creating a graphic novel called “Station Eleven” on the side. Miranda, however, didn’t have the best of luck when it came to the men she dated. Her first boyfriend, Pablo, was an aspiring artist who constantly lambasted her for being part of the corporate system. That relationship didn’t really last all to long before she ended up going out with Arthur who, at first, seemed like a genuinely nice guy. He even talked to her about her graphic novel. This relationship lasted for about 3 years until Miranda finds out, on her third wedding anniversary that Arthur was having an affair with Elizabeth (these two are still alive after the apocalyptic disease took hold and wiped out a good amount of civilization which, forebodes potential issues they both may have in the future. I really hope this doesn’t end up being true because it’s just going to lead down an annoying side story about two woman being annoyed by Each other because of Arthur and his bad choices. I’ll be extremely displeased if it boils down to “two woman have issues with each other because of past baggage and, because of this past baggage, either an argument happens or a full on fight happens” I really do hope it doesn’t come to this. I really don’t want to revisit a part of the past that i genuinely don’t care all that much about.
(after rereading my response, I’ve come to the realization that i sound really jaded about the story so far.. If this response annoys or puts anyone off from the story in anyway then i sincerely apologize.)
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel revolves around a epidemic going around called, Georgia Flu.
Part II was very confusing at first but then clear that this was a time skip/leap/post-apocalypse. Many of the population has died out due to the Georgia flu and from what I see, it focuses around Kirsten, a survivor of the Georgia flu epidemic. Some background information about Kirsten is that she saw Arthur die on stage when Jeevan tries to resuscitate him. The story shifts gears and now a group call the Traveling Symphony and what they do is travel to places to play music/preform plays. The epidemic almost wipes out everyone. Walking to each city with practically no one vacant in the cities to relieve the event that accord. Back in chapter 6, where Mandel writes about how there was no more of everything. She talks about how the epidemic takes the lives and many and no one would be left alive to know or remember.
The group wanders to play music for people but would people really remember, if there is no one to hear it or see their plays. “What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is such beauty” (57). What is nice about the group, is that they go around to find the beauty of the world and what is still left of the world. They find survivors and find out how they go on about their everyday lives post apocalypse. Traveling Symphony takes it upon themselves to travel around places, rather than staying in one area. It reminds me of those kinds of movies where they don’t have a physical location they can call home, but rather they going around with friends or family and wherever they go, they are home. They get to share their music, their plays through the survivors and show them that there is still beauty in this world even though many have died.
In Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven we continue to get a taste of the present and past. Many things have changed from before the pandemic. Population has decreased. Communities have gotten smaller. Some places go on peacefully whereas some places have leaders. There is also constant fear among the people, not knowing what may happen now. The only thing that has not changed is the feeling of not belonging.
The Traveling Symphony ends up visiting a town that they have already been in the past. They have been wandering for many years, “traveling back and forth along the shores of Lakes Huron and Michigan.” (37) This is just one of the many towns that does have a leader of some sort. This was once a place where you would see many children but now you only see two or three. Multiple families would be living in the fast food restaurants but now you see those same places boarded up. A armed guard can also be seen in the middle of the town, not like it was before. We are introduced to a man who we know as “The Prophet.” Not much has been said about him but it seems that he does run this place. His orders, his opinions do hold value to these people.
During this time Kirsten is looking for her friend who she finds out are no longer residing in this town. Kirsten comes across a midwife who informs her that her friend “rejected the prophets advances.” (51) She also tells her that her friend had to leave town and to stop asking questions and leave immediately. This shows that this town is not as safe as it once was and also that Kirsten and The Symphony might not be welcomed here the way they thought they were. The Symphony does eventually perform in the town, this is their first encounter with The Prophet. He acknowledges their presence but Kirsten feels otherwise. “Something in his tone made Kirsten want to run, a suggestion of a trapdoor waiting under every word.” (59) Kirsten feels odd and as if The Prophet has something else in mind for them. The way he is towards them makes her feel uncomfortable. Eventually The Symphony does end up leaving the town.
Similarly, in the past Arthur’s first wife Miranda also feels out of place. Their love story might seem so perfect in the eyes of others. Two people who grew up on the same island and one day end up together. However, Arthur is set to make a name for himself. He wants to pursue a career in acting. He wants to do what he loves. Miranda on the other hand keeps to herself, she is not one for the crowd. Fast forward to the night of their third anniversary, instead of having an intimate dinner or getaway of some sort they are surrounded by a few other people. They are celebrating their anniversary and the opening weekend figures to his movie. Arthur says, “two birds with one stone.” (91) Instead of feeling comfortable and seated next to Arthur she is at the opposite end of the table. She wonders why theres distance, why these people are here and why she can’t catch her husbands eye. She starts to feel small, she realizes that her marriage is over. Her husband is having an affair with his costar who is seated right next to her husband. Later that night she whispers to her dog after Arthur dismisses the conversation she was trying to initiate about his affair, “this life was never ours.” (101) She admits that no matter how much time passes, she can never be like these people. The attention, the cameras, the crowds it is just not her.
Whether it be the past or the present, sometimes you are just not welcomed or a part of a place the way you might have thought you were. Things change. People can’t always adapt.