Category Archives: Parts 4-6

Just Who is the Prophet ?

The story of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel carries and gets more intense through parts 4 through 6. Starting with part 4 We are brought back to year twenty with Kirsten and the traveling Symphony who are now all anxious that their newly met enemy “The Prophet” might be tailing them. “The Symphony walked armed and on full alert, Olivia and Eleanor in the back of the lead caravan for safety.”(Mandel, 127). This is just a small hint that the traveling Symphony were not at ease, though in a 20 year old lawless civilization it makes sense to always be on your toes, still the matter of the fact is that The Prophet might be onto them because the Prophets future wife Eleanor had escaped St. Deborah by hiding in the caravan of Symphony without them noticing. To them it feels like they have a bullet with each of their names on it especially if the Prophet finds Eleanor with them. Although they might be scared or anxious they are still well prepared for the Prophet and his men because of the tactics they are using to keep eachother safe, though as we soon find out it may not be enough. When Symphony sleeps there are always people keeping watch, it was Kirsten and August turn to keep watch, Sayid and Dieter had went ahead to scout the area. As Kirsten and August were having a peaceful shift they heard something rather disturbing. ” There was a sound just then, a disturbance passing over the surface of the night as quickly as a stone dropped into water. A cry, cut off abruptly? Had someone called out”(Mandel, 135). Sayid and Dieter went missing without a single trace. “It was as though Dieter and Sayid had been plucked from the face of the earth”(Mandel, 136). Not only have two members of Symphony been abducted but they also left no trace, we then find out later that Olivia gets abducted as well. They are messing with what appears to be professionals.

The story takes a weird shift between an interview with Kirsten and what happened to jeevan within the first 2 months of The pandemic. We get some clues about the two knife tattoos Kirsten has during the interview with Francois. Francois asks Kirsten about the tattoo but she refuses to tell him about them “You know what tattoos like this mean.”(Mandel, 132). Much like how gang members tattoo tear drops on their face to signify how many people they have killed this could be the same thing. Kirsten is always carrying knives as though they were a preferred weapon so maybe she has killed two people for whatever reason. Maybe her skill with knives can help her out in the future.

Jeevan seemed to have left his brother behind though it would probably be the smartest move even though it sounds messed up. I cant imagine Jeevan trying to survive as he is pushing his brother on a wheelchair for two decades plus.

I wonder if in year 20 Clark and Elizabeth are still alive. By the end of Part 6 we get the revelation that the plane Clark and Elizabeth and her son boarded on to leave for Toronto had to make an emergency landing on Severn City Airport in Michigan. This was before the collapse and one of the last few flights to have been departed. This is stated to be where the Prophet had come from so i wonder if they are tied together somehow. Like what if Clark is the prophet ? Or maybe it the son of Arthur ? I think this brand new mystery will get solved in the next few parts.

To happiness we strive, mere survival is thus insufficient

I would like to explore the theme of happiness in the pre pandemic and post pandemic eras. Psychologists would define happiness as a state of well-being that stems from a sense of meaning and satisfaction, which is not untrue. I would define happiness as a state of fulfillment or contentment that is derived from the ability to feel compassion for others and act upon that feeling. A starving man, when given two bread rolls, will derive great satisfaction from eating the first bread roll but he will derive happiness from the second bread roll if he can bring himself to give it to his starving fellow.

On the very first page of Station Eleven Jeevan Chaudhary, in an impulse of compassion, leapt instinctively to the stage to perform CPR upon a dying Arthur Leander. He was unable to save him: “But now there was a prickling at the back of his neck, a sense of being watched from above.”(5).   Jeevan told the young Kirsten that “he [Arthur] was doing the thing that he loved best in the world ” (8). As he departed the theater a few minutes later, Jeevan told the paparazzo “ I want to do something that matters..”(10). “Outside in the clear air, away from other people…….he [Jeevan] felt extravagantly, guiltily alive” (11). A few minutes later “.. he [Jeevan] found himself blindsided by an unexpected joy” (11), when he realized that he wanted to be a paramedic and help others.

Zooming forward to the first lines of part IV: “SOMETIMES THE TRAVELING SYMPHONY thought that what they were doing was noble. There were moments around campfires when someone would say something invigoration about the importance of art, and everyone would find it easier to sleep that night” (119). This state of fulfillment or contentment that is derived from the joy and hope that their art brings to the hard-pressed occupants of the towns that they visit, comes at considerable personal expense for the actors and musicians of the Travelling Symphony: “At other times it seemed a difficult and dangerous way to survive and hardly worth it…” (119). Such is the nature of happiness (state of fulfillment or contentment), like a salmon that fights her way upstream to spawn; it may exact a high price from it’s seekers but one which they readily pay to fulfill themselves. This sense of fulfillment, of having almost reached an ultimate state of release, brings with it a desire to transcend the present “Kirsten stood in a state of suspension that always came over her at the end of performances, a sense of having flown very high and landed incompletely, her soul pulling upward out of her chest” (59).                                                                                                                                                                                             “Perhaps soon humanity would simply flicker out, but Kirsten found this thought more peaceful than sad.So many species had appeared and vanished from this earth; what was one more?”(148)

Mere survival is thus insufficient.

“We want to be remembered”

 

After interpreting parts four to six in the novel, “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel, the reader can assess more about the characters because the narrator discusses events that occurred before the collapse and some events that transpire after the collapse. These chapters let the reader understand the circumstance that the characters went through before the collapse of civilization. This is where Emily St. John Mandel shines as an author, by displaying a more realistic portrayal of a dystopia, than an over the top science fiction novel.

In part four a girl named Eleanor comes to The Symphony to seek refuge with them, she claims that she ran away from the prophet, because he was trying to marry her, the Symphony was in search of their missing members Sayid and Dieter, Arthur Leander was being interviewed by Jeevan pre-collapse, on the other hand, Laura being interviewed about the post-collapse life, and Jeevan and his brother Frank trying to survive the first months of the post-collapse.

Yet, out of all these events the one that caught my eye the most was the conversation between Jeevan and Frank in chapter 34. During day 58, Frank was reading to Jeevan one of his many texts. He discusses why Hollywood actors rise to fame and their reasons for wanting it, and he puts that in relation with what they end up giving back to the world. He tells Jeevan, “I’ve been thinking lately about immortality. What it means to be remembered, what I want to be remembered for, certain questions concerning memory and fame” (186). What Frank is telling Jeevan is that Hollywood actors are immortal once they are seen, because they are always on the screen, even after they are long dead. Frank continues saying that, “First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered” (187). Frank believes that most actors originally want to be noticed, this is to fulfill their own human desire, but over time they evolve, they want to be remembered. Yet once they achieve their fame they become humanitarians, but they never truly become humanitarians because the whole reason they became actors was to fulfill their own desires.

Frank’s text has a strong resemblance to a song written by Diane Warren, “I Was Here”. The song was performed during the global launch of the United Nations’ World Humanitarian Day. A day that honored the humanitarians who put their lives in danger for the greater good. The song “I Was Here” sings, “I wanna say I lived each day until I died You know that I, been something in, somebody’s life The hearts I have touched Will be the proof that I leave That I made a difference And this world will see Brought someone some happiness Left this world a little better”. It’s strange but Frank’s text really connects here, “Beyoncé”, will always be remembered for this song not because she wants to be a humanitarian but because she was famous. Fame gives people the ability to proper bigger issues onto the scope of society, even if it wasn’t their original intention, they still had the humanity to discuss it.

 

 

 

The Importance of Memory

In parts 4-6 in “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel we started seeing how all the characters memories are connected.  As the characters start remembering stuff from the old work they do not know if what they remember is real or not. This leads us to think how much we can trust the characters and how we have to look at everything they remember with a grain of a salt.

In chapter 27 we see how Jeevan books an interview with Arthur, at first Jeevan worried Arthur will recognize him as the man who took the embarrassing photo of Miranda but Arthur does not seem to recognize him. As Jeevan is in his brother’s frank house he remembers about random memories and wonders about his life. “Jeevan kept thinking of his girlfriend, his house in Cabbegetown, wondering if he was going to see either of them again” (Page 174) Here Jeevan thinks about the past and as a means to escape and distract from the apocalypse that’s occurring. Jeevan while being unhappy about his past life as a entertainment writer/paparazzi remembers one of his few proud moments. “What are you smiling about?” Frank asked. “Arthur Lender” (Page 175) Jeevan remembers the promise he made Arthur as a rare moment of integrity in his past career.

Chapter 31 we see Kristen giving an interview to François Diallo’s she speaks of the production of King Lear and the day Arthur had a heart attack. Kristen remembers the audience member who tried to save Arthur but cannot remember the name of that man. Even though many people knew Arthur nobody remembers the name of the man who tried to save him as the name is lost in history but the story of the man is remembered. We see Kristen have a major lapse of memory during the interview as she remembers Peter dropping off her home but cannot remember anything about her parents as she never saw them again. I believe that she is using the memories of Arthur as a father figure to fill the gap of her parents.

In Chapter 37 we learn that Kristen believes that her fragmented memory is a actually a blessing. ”Diallo: I hadn’t thought about it Raymonde: What I mean to say is, the more you remember, the more you’ve lost” (Page 195) This chapter makes you think of the say ““Ignorance is bliss.” Yes sometimes not knowing is more comfortable but all you are able to life easier but like everything to much of something is bad. Kristen being ignorant of her past is just trying to cope of the horror of what is left.

In chapter 39 we truly see how all the characters are interconnected. Miranda realizes she forgot to give Arthur the paperweight and she ships to Arthur at the Elgin Theatre. This is the same paperweight that after eleven years that Kristen still carries in the post- apocalyptic world. We now see how significant that paperweight is at that moment.

Arthur Leander !

In Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, we once again return to the past before epidemic of the Georgia Flu, where we follow Arthur Leander. After going through three divorces and losing custody battle to his second ex-wife for his child Tyler. He is now in another crazy mess, when his old childhood friend Victoria sold the letters that he wrote to her all those years ago about his life and feeling he had, which will be the book called “Dear V: An Unauthorized Portrait of Arthur Leander”. In this event that transpire with this unauthorized book, we’ll see a more reasonable and kinder Arthur, and we may see Arthur Leander is not such a bad person as we’re all portraying him to be.

As Arthur reveals to Miranda about his old friend Victoria and the book called “Dear V: An Unauthorized Portrait of Arthur Leander” he admitted to Miranda “I was angry at first, I’m still angry, but the truth is, I think I deserved everything I got.”(211) In this one line, Arthur admits he is the one at fault for the crazy events that occurred so far that we know from earlier in Station Eleven. This is an example of taking responsibility for his mistake because he admitting he deserved this predictive. He told Miranda “I treated Victoria like a diary”(211) he admits to that and it is true, he never once wrote thank you in those letters that he sent to Victoria. He thinking back all those letters in Dear: V when he received a copy of the book, he realized he wasn’t acting like a true friend in how he wrote those letters.

As Arthur and Miranda are talking about the Victoria and Dear-V, we are accompany with Kirsten in her younger years. In this instance Miranda notice Arthur was acting different “In the way he looked at the girl, Miranda saw how much he missed his own child, his distant son”(213) we can see Arthur is lonely because he can’t be with son Tyler. This show Arthur does have human emotions because he can feel loneliness. From what we know about Kirsten in her later years and her connection to Arthur, and Kirsten is 7-8 years ago same as his son Taylor are around same age in this part of the story. We can see Arthur may have treated Kirsten with kindness and affection in place of his distant son. We’re now seeing a kinder side to Arthur because in the way he treats Kirsten right now because he suffer from loneliness of missing his son Tyler.

As Arthur is talking to Miranda about his old friend Victoria and Dear: V, we see he admits that he wasn’t acting like true friend in how he wrote those letters to Victoria for all those years. Then later, we see are accompanied with Kirsten in her younger years, and Arthur is treating Kirsten with affection and caring in place of his distant son. We see here Arthur is much more calmer and admitting, and is his loneliness he can’t be with his son. I feel this Arthur is better than the drama and crazy woman affairs he had with his ex-wives. In short, I feel there is large character development with Arthur in how we see Arthur Leander right now in this part of the story.

The Relevant and Fearful Significance of Being Invisible

Parts 4 through 6 of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven got me thinking about visibility versus invisibility. It’s a matter of being present or absent. Either you’re in attendance or you’re not. There’s also the idea of being physically present, yet your presence is not felt, acknowledged, or made to be significant/relevant. As I read parts 4-6, I thought that these were the ideas being explored in the text.

Part 4, in my opinion, seems to be centered on the ideas of being lost and inconspicuous. Chapter 23 touches down on absence and being watched. Three members of the Traveling Symphony, Sayid, Dieter, and the clarinet, are missing after one night of scouting. Later, Kirsten and August are fishing only to realize afterwards that the Symphony went ahead without them. One of the members, Alexandra, asks, “‘Are we being hunted?’… It seemed plausible.” (140). The idea that the Symphony is being hunted is a very plausible possibility indeed. It brings up the notions of being predator and prey, cat and mouse, etc. The group is the prey since they left St. Deborah by the Water after feeling uneasy about the prophet. The prophet is the predator after his requested desire to have Alexandra as his wife was denied. Even though both the town and the forest are in the Symphony’s territory, it’s like they’re traveling in an unknown region due to uncertainty and fear. The Symphony’s motto is “Survival is insufficient” (119). However, in the wilderness, it’s survival of the fittest. In forests or jungles, fear usually overshadows hope and predators are triumphant over their prey. But in regards to the story, all bets are off and only time will tell if the Symphony can remain unified and survive against the prophet’s disturbing, religious ideals.

In Chapter 26, Clark was interviewing someone named Dahlia. One of the things she says that intrigued me is, “adulthood’s full of ghosts.” (163). Clark applies what Dahlia says about sleepwalking to himself. “Because he had been sleepwalking, Clark realized, moving half-asleep through the motions of his life for a while now, years; not specifically unhappy, but when had he last found real joy in his work? When was the last time he’d been truly moved by anything? When had he last felt awe or inspiration?” (164). The sleepwalking part struck me because it can probably be applied to myself as well.

What intrigued me in Part 5 was Frank’s ghostwriting project about a philanthropist in Chapter 34. According to the philanthropist, “Before they were famous, my actor friends were just going to auditions and struggling to be noticed, taking any work they could find, acting for free in friends’ movies, working in restaurants or as caterers, just trying to get by. They acted because they loved acting, but also, let’s be honest here, to be noticed. All they wanted was to be seen.” (186). “First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.” (187). The philanthropist’s thoughts apply to celebrities in real life. I think it’s safe to say that celebrities are always vying for the spotlight to be on them. They’re constantly jockeying to be the focal point of the rumor mill that they feel should spin and revolve around them. Their existence is only meaningful as long as they continue to get attention from as many people as possible. 

Celebrities are as close to being real life heroes, villains, or deities as people can imagine. That’s why we tend to memorize them as best and as often as we could. It’s like an image. A picture’s worth a thousand words. Nobody, especially not celebrities, want to be in the background because that’s where they’re less visible and not as obvious to the viewer(s). The phony, flawed entities in our society fear that their legacies will not be carved into the stone memories of the public. Their turbulent lives resemble the instability of Earth’s waters. They want to stay afloat in the oceans of relevance and importance. They know that others, just like them, but younger, will replace them. Similar to an ocean’s waves and currents, contemporary celebrities will be washed away and nobody will realize that it ever happened because they all look alike and overlap one another. Once they find themselves in hot water, the vessel of fame that luminaries navigate starts to sink. Inattentiveness means celebrities cannot remain adrift so they drown and become invisible. They experience a lot of things in their downfall (or their fall from grace or humanity). One of those things is humility. Luminaries plummet like stock markets did in 1929 and experience their own personal Great Depression. They find themselves facing their deepest ethical fears at the bottomless pool of obscurity. 

For Part 6, remembrance is seen where Arthur and Miranda meet for the first time in eleven years after their divorce. Miranda does her best, “to make herself look as little like her old self as possible.” (208). They both show signs of aging over the years, especially Arthur who, “was performing the same reconciliations she was, adjusting a mental image of a long-ago spouse to match the changed person sitting before him.” (209). This is two weeks prior to the Georgia Flu and the final time Miranda and Arthur physically see each other. Upon hearing Arthur’s death, Miranda becomes delirious. One bad news seems to lead to another. While she’s mentally unbalanced from a fever, the flu seems to creep up on Miranda when she’s in her most vulnerable state.

Loneliness and Longing of the Past

Throughout Parts 4-6 of Station Eleven, I felt that there was a sense of sadness, loneliness and isolation in all of the character’s story lines, but especially with Arthur Leander.

As with the previous parts of the novel, the chapters are constantly shifting in perspective from character to character, and are disjointed in time. The chapters would usually denote the time that it takes place usually within the first few sentences, in relation to the day of the Georgian Flu pandemic. For example, the start of Chapter 32 begins with “On day forty-seven…”(182), and Chapter 39 begins with “Two weeks before the end of commercial travel…”(205).

Loneliness and isolation is prevalent in almost all of the character’s story lines in Parts 4-6, beginning with Kirsten and August’s separation from the Traveling Symphony at the end of Chapter 23. They begin searching for the missing scouts Dieter and Sayid, but end up being abandoned by the Symphony. Later, while scavenging, Kirsten and August find several items from before the pandemic, and are swept with feelings of nostalgia for the old world. “In the en suite bathroom, Kirsten closed her eyes for just a second as she flipped the light switch. Naturally nothing happened, but as always in these moments she found herself straining to remember what it had been like when this motion had worked: walk into a room, flip a switch and the room floods with light” (150). In this moment, Kirsten shows a longing for things that she had experienced in the world before the collapse of civilization, as evident in hoping that there would be working electricity in a derelict building. She even “admired the rows of Q-tips inside [the china box] before she pocketed them” (150), which is a particularly strange item to admire, as we consider Q-tips to be a trivial thing, but this shows how much the world has changed after the Georgian Flu pandemic.

In Part 5, we see the return of Jeevan Chaudhary, whose storyline wasn’t explored since Part 1. Jeevan’s story is particularly saddening, as he is left alone after the suicide of his brother Frank. I assume Frank had decided to commit suicide because he was paralyzed and wheelchair-bound, and would be unable to fend for himself in the new post-apocalyptic world, and he did not want to burden his brother Jeevan with the responsibility of caring for him. This is a particularly depressing situation to imagine. Jeevan, now all alone in a hostile world, walks aimlessly in the cold winter snow, in hopes of finding the military.

In Part 5 and 6, there is more backstory to Arthur Leander’s character. In Arthur’s interview with Jeevan, he is depicted as “…pale and obviously sleep-deprived with dark circles under his eyes” (171). Arthur is very tired of celebrity life, and is depressed and lonely, after having divorced two wives. He tells Jeevan that he gives “too many [interviews] … It was easier when it was just theater and TV work … But you get successful in movies, and Christ, it’s like this whole other thing” (170). Arthur continues: “It’s still somehow embarrassing, all the attention. I tell people I don’t notice the paparazzi anymore, but I do. I just can’t look at them” (170). This shows that Arthur was deeply uncomfortable with fame. I also found it ironic, and truthful, that in Frank’s memoir, he writes that “[actors] acted because they loved acting, but also, let’s be honest here, to be noticed. All they wanted was to be seen” (186). I think that this implied that Arthur had left his home island and pursued acting to escape being unknown and irrelevant and lonely at home, but after he has achieved fame, he finds himself regretting his choices and remains lonely.

a bit of hope

       

       In Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, Part 4 stood out to me in a very emotional type of way. It’s amazing what the group have been doing so far to continue surviving and moving on with the chaos that surrounds them.

         In the first page of chapter 19, The symphony is discussing their motto,  “All I’m saying,” Dieter said, twelve hours out of St. Deborah by the Water, “is that quote on the lead caravan would be way more profound if we hadn’t lifted it from Star Trek.” He was walking near Kirsten and August. “Survival is insufficient” Kirsten had had these words tattooed on her left forearm at the age of fifteen and had been arguing with Dieter about it almost ever since. Dieter harbored strong anti-tattoo sentiments. He said he’d seen a man die of an infected tattoo once. Kirsten also had two black knives tattooed on the back of her right wrist, but these were less troubling to Dieter, being much smaller and inked to mark specific events. “Yes,” Kirsten said, “I’m aware of your opinion on the subject, but it remains my favorite line of text in the world.” She considered Dieter one of her dearest friends. The tattoo argument had lost all of its stings over the years and had become something like a familiar room where they met.” (Page 119) I saw this type of communication as a form of escape from their actual reality. Kirsten and Dieter are using the subject of whether their motto is fine art or low art to help them survive their constant fear of being followed. In other words, this type of argument is their type of a distraction. Although this seems to be something that happens consistently, Kirsten is already aware of Dieters motives whenever he mentions what value their motto could or should have had, she will always cherish it and will always go along with this debate not only to help keep him calm but, to keep her mind steady as well.

      

 

       In chapter 19 we also meet a new character, Eleanor. She’s a twelve-year-old girl who ran away from The Prophet, mainly because she was promised to marry him and both of her parents are already dead. Although she also has a hurtful past now, The symphony is at more risk due to finding and being with the young girl who was supposed to be the next wife of The Prophet. But, they accept these risks and do not push her away. “What to do with Eleanor? They knew they risked accusations of kidnapping and they had long adhered to a strict policy of non-intervention in the politics of the towns through which they passed, but no one could imagine delivering a child bride back to the prophet. Had a grave marker with her name on it already been driven into the earth? Would a grave be dug if she returned?”(Page 124)

        

          In chapter 20, Kirsten, August, Jackson and The Viola go to a school that was found not too far from where they’re now camping in search for supplies. While some notes were found all around the school, Jackson found a skeleton with signs that it was shot in the head. “Jackson appeared in the doorway. “There’s a skeleton in the men’s room.” August frowned. “How old?” “Old. A bullet hole in the skull.” “Why would you look in the bathroom?” “I was hoping for soap.” August nodded and disappeared down the hall. “What’s he doing?” Viola asked. “He likes to say a prayer for the dead.” Kirsten was crouched on the floor, poking through the debris with a broken ruler. “Help me check the lockers before we go…….August emerged from the men’s room it was a relief to walk out into the sunlight, the breeze, and the chatter of crickets.”(Page 129)  The reality of surviving in such conditions is coming face to face with dead bodies on a daily basis. It was great to see that although the world has ended for the survivors who lost everything, August still has faith in religion, he shows it by praying for the dead bodies they come across. In my opinion, this helps to keep him sane, and also helps him manage to sleep at night without having nightmares.

              “We stand it because we were younger than you were when everything ended, Kirsten thought, but not young enough to remember nothing at all. Because there isn’t much time left because all the roofs are collapsing now and soon none of the old buildings will be safe. Because we are always looking for the former world, before all the traces of the former world are gone. But it seemed like too much to explain all this, so she shrugged instead of answering him.”(Chapter 20, page 130)  This quote shows that one should not only reminisce the past but, to cherish and protect it. This specifically relates to Kirsten, because she is constantly looking for any information that relates to her personal history.

Never Rains, But It Pours

Here we are! Parts 4-6 of this page turning, pulse accelerating, puzzle of a novel, Station Eleven. These 3 parts have been very thought-provoking and informative with regards to Arthur Leander’s life post the pandemic and the many paths that end or cross each other as the Georgia Flu swallows mankind whole.

The persisting themes we can sense as we read are definitely still survivalism, but also a sense of the significance of surviving. As Kirsten asks herself existential questions such as, “What did it mean to be yourself, in the course of such unspeakable days? How was anyone supposed to seem?”, (Mandel 140), I also as a reader found myself at a loss when imagining any sanity in the aftermath of the absolute end of civilization. As the Symphony begins to experience the perpetual disappearance of its members, the plot’s mood darkens and takes a twisted turn with Kirsten herself and her closest friend August losing contact with the group entirely. “Hell is the absence of the people you long for”, Mandel admits on 144, but then follows this statement with a seemingly contradictory question on 148 when Kirsten thinks, “If hell was other people, what is a world with almost no people in it?”. The world post the Georgia Flu is almost seen as an empty Heaven; almost entirely absent of humans and the machines all manmade that once were given life by man were now resting unmanned. This peaceful image of the post apocolyptic world reminded me of Kina’s unfavored point in class that life post the Georgia Flu was valued more.

Kirsten has conflicting and dissipating memories of her life prior to the end, giving her the realization that the younger you were during the pandemic’s origin, the less affected you are by the world that existed now. It is almost as though you are given a clean slate of a mind, barely remembering the luxury of cold air seeping through vents, (an air conditioner), or act of flipping a switch “and the room floods with light”, (Mandel 150). Kirsten’s difficulty in remembering if refrigerators had light inside brought back a flash of the first scene readers are given when Kirsten is a traumatized child watching death unfold before her, which is also the last day of the normal flow of life. Kirsten’s distant memory of her previous life allows her to mentally and physically adjust more efficiently to the only way of life there was now; survival and preserving what was left. We also see this in Alexandra; a very young Symphony member who relies utterly on the memories of the older members for merely an understanding of the kind of world that existed before her. There is nothing to reminisce if you never got to experience or live through it.

Mandel also brings us back to Jeevan and his way of coping with the fatal pandemic storm that was overhead, as his attempt of “waiting out” the flu was cut short along with the end of his food and water supply. It seems as though many people’s first instinct is to wait it out, as it was also Kirsten’s first action when she admits post pandemic in part of her interview with Francois Diallo that for the first time, “waiting seemed to make sense”, (Mandel 185). Waiting slowly but surely turns into survival as questioning what there was to wait for came into place. The air is thick with desperation and hope that the ending itself would end as Jeevan outlives the internet, the newscasters on television, and eventually his hope of survival in this vacated tower that reeked of death. Jeevan’s thoughts on Mandel 178 really had an affect on me as he realizes how much human presence mattered to all that occurred in the previous everyday world. “There had always been a delicate infrastructure of people, all of them working unnoticed around us, and when people stop going to work, the entire operation grinds to a halt”. Humans catalyzed the start of everything; planes, cars, buildings, stores, electricity… The absence of humans was the end of this continuous routine flow, which reminded me of our previous Ray Bradbury piece, “August 2025: There Will Come Soft Rains”. The gods were gone, and everything was frozen below Jeevan as the snow continued falling.

We jump to and fro from the vision of “iPhone zombies” and sleepwalkers to desolate lands and the fear of encountering other people. The coming across of corpses and skeletons in cars and in beds is the haunting reminder of the grand loss humanity has endured, and life on Earth barely succeeding with such a slow, faint pulse. The destination of Severn City seems to be a main point that will connect many and answer some of our bursting questions as we find out that Elizabeth and Clark were on the “twenty-seventh-to-last” flight to ever take off, (Mandel 224), headed to Arthur’s funeral in Toronto in the first hours of the pandemic but diverted to Severn City airport. Severn City is the destination of the Symphony as well, as they seek a larger population of surviving souls said to be sheltered in this very airport. The ending of part 6 reveals Miranda’s fate as she is engulfed in the news of Arthur’s death and aware the deadly virus that was now in her system. We are aware of how widespread this pandemic really was, as it originated in Moscow and was now apparently in Malaysia where Miranda was. These last moments of life for Miranda are full of light as people begin to disappear from around her, and as the world of Station Eleven flickered in her eyes just before her last sunrise.

 

Deterioration

Parts 4 5 and 6 from Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel show how t hings can fall apart extremely quickly, even when people try their hardest. After the girl was found stowed away in the caravans, the Symphony was at a crossroads. Should they go back and return the girl? Would it be moral since she was assigned to be the prophets next wife? They had a long standing rule of not letting strangers join or continue with them although it seems they will make an exception with the child. 

The Symphony took great care when sleeping with multiple teams of lookouts and scouts to protect themselves from danger. Even with all this added protection, Dieter, Sayid, and the clarinet player still managed to disappear. This makes me wonder if they got kidnapped, or did they possibly leave on their own will? I couldn’t really think of anything that would want to make anyone leave, unless they were tired of traveling which was mentioned. If someone had left, they would have needed a destination to go to, or they probably would not have survived. The note found from the Clarinet also made me curious on the reasons of their disappearances and if they were indeed not being hunted at all. The symphony couldn’t figure out when exactly the clarinet player had written the note. Both of the the disappearances seemed suspicious since they were both with one other person at the time. “Dear friends, I find myself immeasurably weary and I have gone to rest in the forest.” (140) The symphony perceived this as a possibly suicide note but I think if it was written recently she may have decided to leave the symphony. Since the symphony has a “separation protocol”, it is assumed that everyone will meet up at their destination, including August and Kirsten after they were separated from the symphony while fishing. Their destination ended up being the Museum of Civilization since they believe Charlie and the others went there after St. Deborah’s.

I thought Kristen and August’s reaction to entering a un-ransacked house pretty amazing. After grabbing most essentials around the house, they looked for things of interest such as poetry and Kirsten looking for Dr. Eleven. Kirsten Stated, “It was incredible. I almost wanted to lock the door behind us.” (199) I think this quote really gives the reader a quick glimpse of what they have been through since the collapse. They brought up a good point while inside of the house, the child had died in one room and the parents had both died in a separate room. 

Part 5 gave me a good glimpse of life before the collapse. Arthur seems to have used acting as almost a “crutch” when he felt uncomfortable. Jeevan and Frank (Jeevan’s brother who was paralyzed) were stockaded in Franks apartment for quite some time. During another excerpt from an interview with Kirsten, the glass paperweight with a cloud in it is mentioned again so I think it may have even more significance later on in the text.