Category Archives: Parts 2-3

jumping in time- fleshing out a plot device

The time jumps started in the second and third parts of Station Eleven  by Emily Mandel  is an effort to compare the past and future of the story.  Now this seams a bit strange to say automatically as there are other reasons for time jumps in texts, some general and others a lot more genera specific.  The reason that I believe that the jumps are to compare the past and the future in the story is because there is the comic that first shows up on page 42 and is repeatedly mentioned and created in part 3, the Dr. Eleven comics.  On the previously mentioned page it refers to a dog in the comic that Kirsten, the character that owns the comics, does not recognize as a dog.  Later when the creation of the comic is shown it is revealed that the dog in the comic is a near replica for the creators dog(100).  While this is easily explained by the twenty years passing after the flu outbreak and toy dog breads dying out, it shows an piece of life that is taken for granted so much in one time it’s added without a thought while in a later time it is seen as strange and supernatural.

Another interesting thing about the time jumping in the third part is that it develops the plot device of the comics beyond the mere macguffin that it was in the second part.  If someone asked me what the point of the comic was had I not read the third chapter I would have said it was just a macguffin to explain Kirsten’s research into Arthur Leander.  The important thing about this conclusion is that in the second part the comics could have been anything; with the explanation of the creation of the comics we can start to think about the difference  between the creator of the comic and the reader of the comic, and how this comparison shows how life after an apocalypse is without having to describe it to the smallest detail.

There is nothing which vanity does not desecrate

There is nothing which vanity does not desecrate. Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

Station Eleven….. “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” and “ I Prefer You With a Crown”. There is a pattern, there is a purpose……of that I am sure, but what? It’s probably something so simple that I overlook it, but what, I think to myself “Why would I want to write a story, for profit?, for fame?, to resolve an internal conflict?, or perhaps a combination of all three”.  If I were writing Station Eleven, why would I include whatever is included in the story. Clearly because whatever is included is significant to me; pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that I want to piece together to understand something of myself.

The plot in Station Eleven shifts in time, swinging over and back like a pendulum: pre-pandemic, post pandemic, pre-pandemic, post pandemic, woven into a braid of contrasts….contrasts …of what?: life before and life after, we have, we have not, we have!, we have not! …..what? …modernity, technology, yes! Technology. Like ungrateful children we are awash in technology which we take for granted but do not appreciate. “This was during the final month of the era when it was possible to press a series of buttons on a telephone and speak with somebody on the far side of the earth” (30). The pain of isolation is undoubtebly the greatest pain that the loss of technology could bestow upon me.

The narrator in Station Eleven is talking to us, admonishing us for taking our privileged lives for granted, admonishing us, the egocentric Arthur Leander from Delano Island who at seventeen is accepted into the University of Toronto only to discover there that “The point was to get off the island” (74) and do what? …seek fame? …which withers in insignificance as we (Arthur) die, unloved and without dignity, under plastic snow on a stage “His name was Arthur Leander, he was fifty one years old and there were flowers in his hair”(3), a conceited King Lear who wants to bestow the lion’s share of his kingdom upon the daughter who professes to love him the most. The egotistical King Lear who is knowingly lied to by his devious daughters, Goneril and Regan, who feign affection for the foolish King, in self-seeking homage to his pathetic ego.

In “I Prefer You With a Crown” a reference to King Lear, the pathetic life of Arthur Leander is bared before us. He woos Miranda, the woman that he cannot forget: “Once in his room he sits on the bed, relieved to be alone and unlooked-at but feeling as he always does in these moments a little disoriented, obscurely deflated, a bit at a loss, and then all at once he knows what to do. He calls the cell phone number that he’s been saving all these years” (79). Once married to her, she loses her allure for him. He starts to ridicule her: “This time, I’ll be damned if the girl hasn’t got her worldly belongings with her” (97) he thus recounts their second night together. “She [Miranda] knows from the gossip blogs that people here see her as an eccentric, the actor’s wife who inks mysterious cartoons that no one’s ever laid eyes on” (94). It is these very cartoons or graphic novels that the ungrateful Arthur Leander gives to an eight-year old Kirsten Raymonde before his death “I have a present for you” (41). “The contrabassoon, who prior to the collapse was in the printing business, told Kirsten that the comics had been produced at great expense, all those bright images, that archival paper…”(42). These ridiculed cartoons become a testament to a lost civilization and a damning condemnation of Arthur Leander.


The past and present

In the novel Station Eleven by Emily Mandel the story has begun with a sort of flashback to what was

The story of an ending of the world is similar to many shows and stories that are presently showing like the walking dead and other apocalyptic novels. In this particular novel the survivors form a sort of family or group which call themselves the Traveling Symphony. They are introduced briefly in the following parts of the novel and they are in way remembering how they all came to be. How it started in the Elgin Theatre where Arthur collapsed to his death. How it shocked everyone who was there including Kristen who is now introduced as an adult 20 years after the tragedy.

There are still many questions that remain unanswered, like what exactly has happened throughout the world at this point. Is the group of people still alive living in pure ruins the only humans around the world. It is very interesting to see the way machinery and technology have become obsolete. How humanity has come to a point where the next new thing is not what phone will come out next year or who has the lastest gadgets but everyone is back to basic survival mode. It gives me a sort of perspective of life today and what really is important in everyday life.

It will be interesting to see how many other questions will be answered throughout the novel and how the characters in the novel will prioritize what really is important to them in this apocalyptic world. Knowing how cars are practically useless and singing and arts become the essence of everyday life will be good to see how they all evolve and become different people throughout.


In Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, There appear to be stories broken up into pieces that are slowly coming together. In section three, the story begins to tell the past of Arthur Leander, whom we recall passed away due to a heart attack in section one. The narrator begins to show a glimpse of the start of his career and his past relationships. Anyhow, the story opens up with Arthur and Miranda at a restaurant in Toronto. Miranda seems to be venting to Arthur and searching for comfort and help to leave an abusive relationship that she is in. She has bruises on her face and tells Arthur, “I’m going to leave him.” The girl, Miranda, has a recent bruise on her face. They’re speaking in whispers to avoid being overheard by the restaurant staff. He nods. “Good.” He’s looking at the bruise, which Miranda hasn’t been entirely successful in concealing with makeup. “I was hoping you’d say that. What do you need?” “I don’t know,” she says. “I’m sorry about all this. I just can’t go home.”( Page 13, My page numbers will be different for now since I am currently reading the story online and not a paperback version) From this moment I knew that Arthur was going to become a huge part of Miranda’s life, and she would also become a huge part of his. For example, I believe Miranda helped Arthur become more recognized by society. After discussing and planning what she should do, the two leave the restaurant and have photos taken by paparazzi. This most definitely leads Arthur to have more attention on him by others now that he has been seen with this mysterious women.

Arthur becomes an important part of Miranda’s life because he helps her move on from her abusive boyfriend. To be more specific, Arthur and Miranda end up falling for eachother. For example in chapter 14  there are a few lines that show Arthur’s genuine interest and care for Miranda and her love for him,  “I’m working on a comic-book project,” she tells him later, when he asks about her work. “Maybe a series of graphic novels. I don’t know what it is yet, “What made you choose that form?”
“I used to read a lot of comics when I was a kid. Did you ever read Calvin and Hobbes?” Arthur is watching her closely…..”Are you still with Pablo?” he asks, when they’re out on the street. He’s hailing a cab. Certain things have been decided without either of them exactly talking about it.

“We’re breaking up. We’re not right for each other.” Saying it aloud makes it true. They are getting into a taxi, they’re kissing in the backseat, he’s steering her across the lobby of the hotel with his hand on her back, she is kissing him in the elevator, she is following him into a room. And she feels a peculiar giddiness when she reads this fourth text. There are thoughts of freedom and imminent escape. I could throw away almost everything, she thinks, and begin all over again” ….”There are tears in her eyes now. Miranda is a person with very few certainties but, one of them is that only the dishonorable leave when things get difficult.”(Pages 18-20) Miranda finally ends her thought process. These lines show that she choses Arthur over her ex and seems to slow grow into what happiness really is now that she’ll be free. He honestly helped her without realizing, how to escape her sadness.

Before and After the Collapse

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

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

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

After the collapse.

Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel in her novel, “Station Eleven, uses an apocalyptic future to discuss her narratives frightening and gripping moments. The setting of the novel is twenty years after the “collapse”, an event that eradicated modern day society. We are introduced to the Traveling Symphony,  a group of actors and musicians recreating Shakespeare’s plays through elaborate performances . It’s amazing not only that people survived and were able to start their lives all over again, but they were still able to bring some form of joy and entertainment to one another. I would imagine the world to become dark and dreadful with people walking around the town feeling depressed and unsafe of the future, even twenty years after the collapse. The world has changed so much that there was no longer technology, the young citizens didn’t even know about the existence of ‘wifi’. In the middle of part two, the survivors who are part of the Symphony, Kristen and August were reminiscing about the past, they discussed their favorite shows, comics, and even talked about the TV guides from back in the day.

During the third part of the story, the narrator starts discussing the time before the collapse, a time period where Arthur Lender was still alive, and was about to meet his second wife Miranda. The couple had a lovely beginning, but it was quick to end, it had become an unpleasant marriage, soon after their third anniversary they got divorced. Arthur was a famous Hollywood star and his lifestyle was extravagant,  but that was exactly what Miranda disliked most about their marriage. She didn’t fit into this life and felt very unhappy with her marriage. In her novel, “Dr.Eleven”, Miranda writes that she, ” stood looking over [her] damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth”, which may resemble how Miranda felt in her life during her marriage to Arthur (105). She was living in this beautiful Los Angeles home, but in reality it was damaged on the inside. Miranda was unhappy and lonely, she only had her dog, Luli, and her art. You can feel her disappointment and devastation in her life and Arthur Lender was the direct cause of these feelings, but I do think she knew exactly what she was getting into by marrying a Hollywood star.

By the end of part three, the narrator takes the reader back to the present day setting. Kristen is being interviewed for a newspaper about the collapse. The idea was to create an oral history of the collapse. She talks about what happen in towns when she would pass through with the symphony, she said during the interview, that “Everyone’s afraid, or it seems like some people have enough to eat and other people are starving, or you see pregnant eleven-year-olds and you know the place is either lawless or in the grip of something, a cult of some kind”(114). The author is saying that civilization needed to be rebuilt, but it wasn’t easy for all members of society. The pregnant eleven year old was a symbol to the collapse of culture. A societies infrastructure can’t be rebuilt only through material but the sanity that organized culture can bring. Some towns were taken over by cults and were extremely dangerous. It’s so unfortunate people were taken advantage of in such horrible circumstances.

Panic or Stay Calm…Past or Future

People are dying left to right in the novel Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Part 2 shows the people in sheer panic and jump to any conclusion to calm the blow. One example of this is in (47) where a traveling band leaves behind two members behind because one of them (Charlie) was pregnant. As the band came back around to the city they notice their crew members are gone and a cult rises up control by their “prophet”. This example shows people at their all time low where they accept anything to explain the unknown or unwanted facts that go against their traditional thinking.

Part 3 clarified the past of Arthur which was missing in part 1. Part 3 goes on about Arthur who takes or multiple small time roles which eventually leads him to Hollywood where he meets an artist who is writing a novel called Station Eleven. Arthur and the artist eventually get together but he ends up having an affair. To be honest i like back stories more due that they give more depth to the character intended.

The Aftermath: Year 20

We’ve arrived to part 2 of Station Eleven! Part 2 begins with author Emily St. John Mandel suspending us over a scene somewhere near Lake Michigan as we are introduced to The Traveling Symphony. This group trekked in temperatures of “106 Fahrenheit” and were made up of numerous actors and musicians who aided in preserving and keeping the culture of art and theater alive in what remained of their desolate, destroyed country. We can easily see the juxtaposition of part 1 and part 2, with Mandel placing us in the moments before the downfall of mankind and now showing us readers what was left of mankind; close to nothing. We are reacquainted with Kirsten Raymond who is a Traveling Symphony member, who wore “sandals whose soles had been cut from an automobile tire, three knives in her belt”, (Mandel 35). This line helped me visualize the rawness of the scene and how set back mankind was because of this epidemic; using remnants of a world they once lived in to survive in the world that existed now.

Even time itself had been stopped and restarted at Year 1, as we see Mandel mention that by Year Three “all the gasoline had gone stale…and you can’t keep walking forever”, (Mandel 37). The gears of mankind were grinding slowly but surely with the help of the Traveling Symphony keeping the works of jazz and orchestral arrangements and Shakespeare alive. This seemed to suit Kirsten’s future, as she stated in Part 1 at such a young age that acting was the thing she loved most in the world. This also made me question why she was given a small nonspeaking role in King Lear, the production she’d been apart of until the final days of normal life as she knew it. I cannot even imagine living through two eras of completely differing times like Kirsten did, as she can barely remember what a computer screen looks like let alone her own mothers face and her street address on Mandel 40. Interestingly, Kirsten has flashes of memory retaining Arthur Leander, “a fleeting impression of kindness and gray hair”, (Mandel 41). Kirsten remembering Arthur but scarcely remembering her own mother reveals the essence of those days and how much working in that production really meant to her. Kirsten also memorizes the rare comic books in her possession gifted to her by Arthur himself, which she holds very close as if it were the absolute  last piece of her life.

The quote on the bottom of chapter 8 really stood out while reading as it rang a similar sounding bell to the current situation Kirsten and the other remaining people were facing:

I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth”, (Mandel 42).

With only ruins and pieces of the humanity they had once been apart of, they were left to face the emptiness of what was ahead; they were left on square 1 of life with only themselves as support. We are reminded of the destroyed civilization when the Symphony settles into a former Walmart store in Chapter 9, as they arrive in the elusive and quiet town of St. Deborah. The repurposing of these stores that once served as shopping centers and restaurants shows how the remaining humans got by; scattering and settling in groups in places that were once big, electric cities. As they played music announcing their entrance into the town, “the music drew almost no onlookers as they passed”, (Mandel 43), suggesting immediately that something was odd about this particular stop in the Symphony’s tour. They even adjust their normal performance of King Lear to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in efforts to correspond with the dreary, strange town they would perform for.

The Symphony’s motto also stuck with me, as it pertained to their sole purpose. “Because survival is insufficient”, (Mandel 58). Surviving the pandemic wasn’t enough for them, and spreading the arts and creativity of artists and authors from their world before the Flu was so significant to their existence. They took it amongst themselves to protect and deliver the artistic remains of humanity, as to not let it be forgotten with the restart of their world.

Religion is revived in the form of a Prophet, someone who seems to control the small town of St. Deborah as he darkens the mood of Chapter 12 suggesting the occurrence of the epidemic was “perfect”.

“Earlier in the day I was contemplating the flu… and let me ask you this. Have you considered the perfection of the virus?… The flu, the great cleansing that we suffered twenty years ago, that flu was our flood”, (Mandel 60). This prophet’s speech following the performance casts a shadow over everything, as he suggests that this tragic human downfall happened for a reason. There’s a mysterious foreshadowing as Kirsten and the Prophet seem to have an edgy encounter with a long stare that suggests something possibly sinister beneath the words of faith and light from the Prophet. As the Symphony exits the town as fast as they’d arrived, Kirsten admires her paperweight which was first given to her in Chapter 1 during the chaotic death of Arthur Leander. This piece of her childhood symbolized the world that had existed once; the world that was now barren and gone with the wind.



A dim future

Initially upon beginning to read Part 2 of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, I was a little confused on where the plot picked up off from Part 1. I understood that many of the people who saw Arthur die, or came to pay respects to him died shortly after the Flu started spreading. At first I thought they were performing a play or an act about the “collapse” of society after the outbreak, but then quickly realized that they were a nomadic symphony around 20 years later. The picture I formed in my head after this realization was the setting of any recent “end of the world” or “zombie apocalypse” movie. I found it quite odd that not much else is revealed in specifics about the Flu until further into the reading. Although not a very large number of people survived, I was still slightly surprised that technology had come to almost a stand still in the post infection time. Many things are described in parts 2 and 3 such as the traveling symphony’s relationships with each other as well as parts of their pasts.

I think my favorite part in these sections of the reading would have to be the situation around the St Deborah community. My first impressions when they arrived were that they would perform and at least somewhat enjoy staying in the area for the few days as planned. I did find that the grave markers they discovered for their not dead yet friends was odd though. They performed for the community successfully and let the prophet speak after their performance. The conductor was feeling uncomfortable during his speech, and after some quiet talk between the two, the conductor instantly decided that they had to leave immediately. The conductor referred to the community as “a doomsday cult” (62). I thought it was a crazy plot twist when the conductor revealed what the prophet had told him quietly after the performance in St Deborah. I knew some of the symphony members felt slightly uncomfortable when they saw the armed guards around the gas station. As they were leaving, a little boy called out, “You have permission to leave?” (63). He explained how if people left without permission, they would have funerals for them. This explains what probably happened to Charlie, Jeremy, and Annabel.

Part 3 helped clarify information about Arthur’s past that wasn’t explained in Part 1. It’s revealed that Arthur goes to Toronto for school, but quickly decides that he doesn’t want to continue with his planned major, and takes up acting lessons instead. He eventually ends up continuously getting small time roles finally landing him in Hollywood. Arthur meets an Artist while working in Hollywood who is writing a graphic comic called Station Eleven. She finds comfort in Arthur I believe, unlike her boyfriend so she eventually ends up with him, although further down the line Arthur has an affair. I believe the fame quickly got to Arthur’s head.

The grown girl, and the light and dark path to the future.

In Station Eleven by Emily St. John Madel, the story is broken up to different sections each focusing on a different character who serves as the protagonist for that story. In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” it focuses on Kirsten, who was a little girl in Toronto production of King Lear, where Arthur Leander died. In her story, twenty years has passed since Jeevan part of story and epidemic of Georgia Flu. The setting of the world has retrogressed to time when machine like automobile and such thing didn’t exist or was in progression to become machines that were run by electrics.

The story opens up with twenty years’ time skip after Jeevan part. We focus on Kirsten, she is described as “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.”.” To describe Kirsten, she is still performing in plays, why else would she carry a script for play. As for what she wears, she wearing sandals whose soles has been cut from car tire, so how you look isn’t important. The most important things she is wearing is the belt with three knives, this could be signifying that everyone needs to carry a weapon to protect themselves. (Mandel, 35)


The picture above shows the young Emperor of Yamato from Utawarerumono Itsuka no Kamen, who in reality is a human scientist named Mito that survived the apocalypse before the start Utawarerumono Itsuka no Kamen. Mito discovered a laboratory in the ruins that was once human civilization that contained data files about all things from technology to medicine from the time before the apocalypse occurred, thus he spent the rest of his life reengineering the technology he founded to the building of his nation.


While traveling Kirsten met an inventor, “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 grader aspirations: the point wasn’t actually the electrical system, the point was that he was looking the Internet.” The purpose of this invention is to get on the internet. The Internet is a massive storage of information, where we documented everything that humanity has achieved and experienced. The inventor thinking, we can recreate all the technology from before the epidemic of the Georgia Flu. What we need most is information, which is humanity strongest weapon, if we can find that information. Where we can find it, it is the internet. It similar to Mito’s situation when he discovered the laboratory’s database, where he reengineers the technology he found in data files, so we can imagine this inventor is trying to do what Mito did in Utawarerumono Itsuka no Kamen. He will try recover the information from the internet then rebuild the technology like oil-plants and other things to bring back progression to their regressed world. (Mandel, 38)

A doomsday cult is used to describe a group of people who believe in apocalypse. In post-apocalypse setting, a doomsday cult focus on rebuilding civilization to a paradise they invisioned, but this paradise can bring no good, only horrors awaits. 

When Kirsten met the Prophet and his doomsday cult, it was no surprise the senior members of her party acted fast “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.” We see conductor here is smart, he knows this group of people is a sign of trouble, and he making the call we leaving right now because no good can come from staying here. From the story, Kirsten was looking for her friends Charlie, the sixth guitar, and the baby Annabel, and they found a graveyard with the tombstones with her friends name on it. It no surprise that doomsday cult intended to kill off her friends to bury them as live-sacrifices to who know what. There many crazy thing people believe in, and the goals of most doomsday cult in video-games as example is rebuild civilization in the sense of paradise in the image of the leader of cult known as the prophet.  (Mandel, 62)

In the world twenty years after epidemic of Georgia Flu, we see humanity trying to rebuild. We see a nameless inventor trying to rebuild the technology they had, and we see doomsday cult who believe in rebuilding their civilization to paradise for themselves through dark methods. All these events occur around Kirsten, who only want to protect the people she cares about in Symphony. In the end, everyone desires a future that a better place than what they have now, and Kirsten is thrown into storm of these events to follow.