Category Archives: Parts 4-6

The Struggle To Forget

In “Station Eleven” Parts 4, 5, and 6 by EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL, this novel shifts from setting to setting causing one to have to pay attention and make the connection between pages in order to make sense of it as a whole. It describes how life was before and after the Georgia Flu. Life seemed limitless before the flu as everyone was already used to regular survival skills and did not see it as a privilege. However, once the Flu came about the value of life itself increased due to those who were left seeing it as almost impossible to forget life when it seemed normal hence why the very few of the people who were left saw the aftermath as not enough. Arthur, although confirmed dead the same day of the spread of the Flu had a very strong impact on those around him, more so because of his famous characteristics and the paparazzi. There is no one who could have predicted for life to be the way it is after the Flu has done its damage, worldwide.

Within the first half of the novel, the traveling symphony in order to survive comes together to be stronger as one. This is due to surviving becoming essential because people seem to be more in competition. It is said that “we are always looking for the former world”(130) which means that they are always looking for signs of life, signs of people who are left, and when day to day life wasn’t hard to live. In other words, life before the flu. This to me stood out because it symbolizes their motive for life after the Flu which is the more life shapes away from social norms, the harder it is to envision it causing one to have the motive to find the missing parts of life which are the lack of people, communication, and technology.Therefore, based on life becoming harder to live, it became common for those who were left to go in search for life because it seemed more stabilized and more within their comfort zone.

In the second half of the novel, life before and during the Flu was heavily talked about. During these times it is said “I almost wanted to lock the door behind us”(199) right when Kirsten and August were ready to head out. In other words, due to the world changing and becoming extinct the value of nature and basic day to day activities become more significant and tempting to Kirsten. Based on the aftermath of the Flu, day to day activities become less usual because now society is upside down and there is no Guidance to advance in any form what so ever. For example, this is heavily revealed when it is said that for the symphony it “seemed a difficult and dangerous way to survive especially when they were turned away at gunpoint from hostile places.”(119). The symphony enters another groups territory and their life being put at risk. Life itself is no longer safe and people seem so unsatisfied now considering all they think of was life before the Flu.This right here caught my attention because this signified that based on there no longer being any guidance for the advancement of society, life becomes more dangerous because no one is there to correct chaotic acts and everyone is now so hostile making life more of a challenge.

In a world so big, full of different dilemmas, and memories it is always tough to remember the little things that life gives us only until it is swiped out of our hands. This, unfortunately, is when we will finally realize that when you put down the things we nowadays value most such as cell phones and technology, life will always change right in the midst of a moment and it is always a eat or be eaten situation. The moral of these three chapters to me is that we value things most when we finally realize that it is not within our reach anymore. We take advantage of things we endure daily and reminisce on the things we let leave our fingertips whether it was voluntarily or involuntarily. Life is life, and we have control but to a certain extent.

 

 

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone

While reading through parts 4 – 6 of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, the line “You don’t know what you’ve lost until its gone kept running through my mind. We are in a time where we  fail to properly appreciate what we all have right now.

There are many things out there that we take for granted. Even the home that we are currently living in can be. “It was incredible. I almost want to lock the door behind us.” That’s what it would have been like, she realized, living in a house. You would leave and lock the door behind you, and all through the day you would have to carry a key” (pg. 199). There are many out there, myself included that don’t really take great care of our homes. While Kirsten is wandering out in the world without a home, we have the luxury of actually living in a home. We don’t really notice how fortunate we are to actually have a home because it is something that is always there, a place where we could relax and recharge our batteries. We should always take care of ourselves, but we should also take care of the homes we live in, it’s a place where we always return to, a place to relax, where we sleep, where we eat, etc.

“She was thinking about the way she’d always taken for granted that the world had certain people in it, either central to her days or unseen and infrequently thought of. How without any one of these people the world is a subtly but unmistakably altered place” (pg 225). Much like how it is with our homes, the people around us seem as if they are always with us. Much like how it was for Miranda, most people in the world would probably have reacted the same as her whenever they lose someone important to them. My grandmother lost her sister about one or two years ago. After the funeral it got me thinking that my grandmother’s end is coming soon as well. Throughout my entire life she was always there, she was always there to bring me and my cousins home from school, made breakfast, lunch and dinner for us, etc. Thing is, much like how it was for Miranda, I never really noticed because she was always there, but in life things happen on a whim. One day you could be talking to your best friend and the next day they could die of a heart attack and you’ll never see them again. Their end could come tomorrow, the day after, a week, a month, years, you never really know when their time will come. So when you get the time hangout with your friends and family because one day it will come to an end and you will never be able to see them again when it happens.

There are many things that always go unappreciated and taken for granted out there in the world. As a continuation for the part where I talked about valuing those around you, I knew a junior that was back in high school. Few years later I see rip Frank (Not their real name) on their page after a some of my friends in high school posted it and soon after I found out he had a heart attack. He was still an adolescent before he died of a heart attack. Here’s another person that died pretty early that I kinda looked up to, Monty Oum a animator for Roosterteeth died of a severe allergic reaction. Reading through the recent chapters reminded me that our time is limited here on this planet and that the people that are close to you could be here one day and gone the next. Treasure the time that you have with your friends and family because you will never know when your time will come.

 

 

Sleepwalking: wanting to escape/slip away

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

We are reading chapters 4,5,6, but page (163)  had struck a cord with me. What had caught my attention was when Clark was interviewing Dahlia about her boss Dan and while describing how she believes that her boss doesn’t like his job, she said “but I don’t think he even realizes it. You probably encounter people like him all the time. High-functioning sleepwalkers, essentially.” This made me think about the characters in the book a little bit more. Characters like Clark, I don’t think that he had ever even realized himself, how much he hates his job. At least not until he talked with Dahlia and she mention “sleepwalkers” and at the end of his interview with Dahlia he was “thinking of what Dahlia had said about sleepwalking,”… “and a strange thought came to him: had Arthur seen that Clark was sleep walking?” (164). I believe that Clark needed that eye opener to his own happiness like when he asked himself “when had he last found real joy in his work” (164).

I wanted to see if there any other characters in the book that may not like his or her job. Then chapter 5 had helped me with that when it start off with Jeevan Chaudhary. While reading this I got the feeling that Jeevan was just sleepwalking in all of his previous jobs. I don’t think that he was fully unaware of how he felt about his job, but he was just going through the motions just to make a buck. On page (167)  the narrator said “Jeevan had been working as a paparazzo for some years and had made a passable living at it, but he was sick to death of stalking celebrities from behind sidewalk planters and lying in wait in parked cars, she he was trying to become an entertainment journalist, which he felt was sleazy.” That’s why in the beginning Part 1 of the book when Jeevan jumped on stage to save Arthur it was the thing that “jolts” him awake from the “drudgery” of work. He found something, on the day of Arthur’s death, to give him joy in the work he does. I believe that “sleepwalking” happens even in our society. I feel that I do it too. I love working in the library, but I love my second job a lot less. I feel like I just go through the motion at my second job, almost robotic like.

However, I do look for things that can give me little escapes from living such a mundane life. Just like I think Arthur does when he feels uncomfortable about something, He acts. Page (211) gives an example of what I mean when Arthur was telling Miranda that his friend Victoria “had published the letters he’d sent her.” (210). He was drinking tea and by reading this I can tell it was uncomfortable having to tell Miranda that she might be in the book. So, when he said “I treated Victoria like a diary.” He “lifted his mug, blew on the surface of his tea, and returned the mug very deliberately to the table. There was a studied quality to the movement, and Miranda had an odd impression that he was performing a scene.” As we know that this is not the first time people accused Arthur of performing. On page (112) Arthur’s childhood friend Clark had thought that he was putting on a performance in the restaurant where they meet at to eat. I believe that it is some kind of escape mechanism from awkward situations.

It is just like how August and Kirsten was talking about “A parallel universe” when they were looking through the magazines on page (201) when August say “It would’ve been you in those tabloid pictures”….”he said, picking up the parallel-universes theme.” i believe this was their way of giving themselves a break from the reality that they have to face each day. This was their escape to other universes. Their imaginary escape.

I feel that in order to find out what really makes us happy we have to ask ourselves are we happy. We have to look at our own lives and see if we are just “sleepwalking” our way through it and if so, is that really living?

Almost Invisible

In Emily St.John Mandel’s Station Eleven, we are confronted with ideas of existentialism. What does it mean to exist, to be human? To be part of something much larger than ourselves and how what we choose to put in our spaces is a reflection of invisible aspects and values that we have. “We want to be remembered” (p.187) and what we leave behind is what we’ll be remembered by, do our lives reflect the legacy we want to be remembered for?

It’s the little things we miss. Throughout Parts 4 through 6 of Station Eleven, there are several instances where we see people at their most vulnerable moments, moments where they realize just how small yet intrinsic they are to the clockwork that is humanity, moments where these people realize just exactly what it is they will miss about life moving forward. There are several references to the objects that they will miss and while this may seem superficial and may speak to theories of consumerism and how it relates to existentialism I believe that at their very heart it’s just a show of how meaningful things can become to us. For Jeevan it’s cappuccinos, for Kirsten it’s the Station Eleven comic books, for August it’s television. Slowly, we begin to realize that these people are more than the objects they’ll miss, rather, it’s about what’s attached to those objects that they don’t want to forget. It needn’t be complicated memories like Kirsten’s, just the simple sense of availability and stability, a pleasure that just won’t be around anymore. There is a certain sense of security attached to the objects we have in our daily lives, they’re constants, reminding us that certain things in life don’t change, and it is this inventible withdrawal that happens when they’re gone that is a painful reminder of what once was, and just how something existed at a certain point in time, frozen only in memory. In part 5, in the interview with Kirsten and Diallo, Kristin points out that “…it seem[s] like the people who struggle the most with it are the people who remember the old world clearly […] The more you remember the more you’ve lost.”(p.196)

A picture from Leigh Davis’ series Residence. “These intimate photographs depict the careful detail of room interiors, while implying a larger narrative about the women who live there but who are not present in the images themselves.” These objects are a reflection of the people that live with them, in the same way and on a much larger scale what humanity leaves behind implies a story about us.

There is this belief that being attached to objects and certain things is superficial and materialistic, somewhat vain even. We know this debate well in our day and age with things like cell phones and computers and the internet. Many reduce the debate to a sort of technology is making us more superficial conclusion and ignore arguments that are larger, we ignore the complexities that technology brings to us. The truth is that the internet and technology, like phones and computers, are nothing more than objects, the internet perhaps something a little more but still a human creation. There is this intrinsic humanity in the nature of things, they were created for and to accommodate us, “There had always been a massive 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.” (p.178) Many people that hold up this argument against technology forget that before computers it was books, before it was books it was slates, and before it was slates it was rocks and caves. People have always been “minimally present.”(p.164) Things hold meaning to us as a species, humans are attracted to things. We put value on things simply because they’re pretty. Diamonds and gold there’s no intrinsic value to them, people, as a species just found them incredibly beautiful and so we made it worth what we thought it should be worth for no real reason, honestly. The aesthetic sense of humanity is reflected in what we put most value on, it could be considered our legacy, what we held to the utmost standard of worthy, what we held the most beautiful. It’s the idea of people coming back to learn about us, the history we leave behind and what people get from that, who were we? who are we?

All the objects we surround ourselves with are a visual interpretation of what our values are. These things and their meanings are invisible to us, almost. Only invisible until we don’t have them anymore.

Stationed in The Past

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Parts four through six

“I had to leave,  I’m so sorry, I’m sorry, I’ll do anything, just-” (123)

Eleanor is a twelve year old girl from St. Deborah by the water, who lost her parents therefore she was alone.Eleanor escaped, then was discovered hidden under the costumes days after the symphony left the town by August. August himself was a “stowaway” She had to leave because the prophet wanted to marry her. She was “promised” to the prophet which in my opinion I think that this is sick. Why would a grown man want to marry a twelve year old. In what sick mind of his would he even be attracted to that. And the worst part of it all is that he says that he is to repopulate. Something about being chosen to repopulate. Not just with anyone, but a twelve year old. I do not understand why the rest of the people from the town or village could not stand up to him and the rest, because we know that he is not alone.

“When people stop going to work, the entire operation grinds to a halt.”(178)

Jeevan found himself thinking about how human the city is. If you think about it, when there are no firefighters then the fire will continue to spread. If there are no one driving these big trucks the product which can be food, water, gasoline, medicine, and such will not get to the destination. There will then be no food, stores will close. People will stop making money. With no money you cannot pay rent, You cannot afford food, or clothes. Everything just stops, there is nothing you can do anymore. except survive, but of course survival is not everything. 

“I think there is just survival out there, Jeevan. I think you should go out there and try to survive.”(183)

These words were said by Jeevan’s Paralized from the waist down brother Frank. He knows that he can not be going this far and I think he is giving Jeevan a way out without hurting him not a lot anyways. Frank tells Jeevan to leave because eventually Frank was going to slow both of them down. If you think about it, Jeevan could have left from the beginning but he stayed because of his brother. He could not just leave him alone to die like that. It is family and if you are going to die, i guess it would be much better to do so with your loved ones.

“But let’s be honest here, none of them went into the entertainment industry because they wanted to do good in the world. They acted because they loved acting but also, let’s be honest here, to be noticed. All they wanted was to be seen.”(186)

I like to think that at some point of our lives, we all want to be seen, we all want to be remembered for something. We all want to have left a mark in this world, to have mattered. So that maybe someone could be like, ” Yeah, I met her and she was a great woman.”. 

Is the End Here Yet?

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

There are a couple of things I wanted to touch on so I broke it down in parts .

Page 123

In this part of the book we learned that a little girl from St. Deborah , Eleanor ran away and hid in the Symphony caravan because the prophet wanted to marry her.Reading this part of the book disgusted me because how low this prophet stooped , marrying a child? What does she have that she can offer you at such a young age? Whoever came up with the saying ‘History repeats itself’ was absolutely correct. The remaining people threw out their morals and took up the old ways of arranging marriages and what makes it worse is that she’s only twelve years old. Eleanor stated, “He had a dream where God told him he was to repopulate the earth”, which was the prophet reason for having many wives and to get married to Eleanor. Out of all the women in the city God told you to marry a twelve year old? I find that sickening , the fact that he thought his reason was acceptable. This reminds me of an article I read yesterday about the Supreme Court in India no longer permitted men to have non-consensual marital sex with girls as young as 15, as the Supreme Court made their decision, the government of India disagreed with their actions because “its part of their tradition.” Regardless of what happens on earth, morals shouldn’t change, if marrying a twelve year old is wrong before the collapse it should stay that way after the apocalypse. Some morals shouldn’t change, regardless of how much the population decreased.

Page 133

In the beginning paragraphs of chapter 22, it starts off with Kirsten analyzing how different Alexandra is at the age of fifteen from when Kirsten was fifteen. The narrator states, “Alexandra knew how to shoot, but the world was softening. There was a fair chance…that Alexandra would live out her life without killing anyone. She was a younger fifteen-year-old than Kirsten had ever been.” The world was softening. Could that mean that the world has become more soft, less chaos since the beginning of the outbreak? So because the world was becoming ‘soft’ Alexandra won’t have to worry about killing anyone because everything is slowly dying down and might go back to normal? From this quote it’s obvious that after the flu broke out Kirsten had to do whatever to survive, which mans that she most likely had to kill people at the age of fifteen to defend herself, and she was so young. Now since times are not that bad anymore, Alexandra, now fifteen years old won’t have to do that. The narrator stated that Alexandra was a younger fifteen year old than Kirsten, meaning that Kirsten had to mature at fifteen, she was either on her own or traveling with her brother but she had to survive in a way fifteen year old before the outbreak shouldn’t have too, maybe Alexandra reminds Kirsten on how ‘regular’ fifteen year old would act before the apocalypse

Page 178

In the first paragraph on page 178 Jeevan is looking out the window reminiscing and it stood out to me, “..when people stop going to work, the entire operation grinds to a halt. No one delivers fuel to the gas stations or the airports. Cars are stranded. Airplanes cannot fly. Trucks remain at their points or origin. Food never reaches the cities; grocery stores close. Businesses are locked and looted. No one comes to work at the power plants or the substations, no one removes fallen trees from electrical lines.” I think as Jeevan is thinking about this he realizing how much you take for advantage when you’re living life before something serious happens, and he’s right. As humans we do take things for granted but it’s not purposely, we get caught up with the latest phone release or the next vacation and don’t realize that the life we live could change in a blink of an eye. It’s hard to grasp that for however long you have been living things that don’t seem important because we’re use to it like walking into a grocery tore to pick up something you forgot for dinner or going to the doctor because you feel ill could change one day where life isn’t that easy. This made me realize how much i take for granted and how much I need to appreciate life .

Page 181

Chapter 31 is a dialogue between a librarian and Kirsten during year fifteen of the outbreak. As Kirsten is getting interviewed on the very first night when the flu spread throughout the city and where she was and what was happening at that time.She tells a summary of the night Arthur died and brings up Jeevan, but she doesn’t remember his name and the interviewer replies “I’m not sure anyone does”. That sucks, to know that Jeevan was the first responded to Arthur collapsing and even tried to sooth Kirsten and take he away from the chaos and one knows his name. He’s getting no credit for his work and that night when he took charge of the situation he was so happy, he felt like he found his calling as a EMT and not one person knows his name.

Page 187

Jeevan and his brother Frank are locked away in Franks apartment and he reads out loud to Jeevan the book he was working on and ass he read it all of it made sense. The  philanthropist Frank was writing about touched on something I found important to even our times, celebrities bringing attention to charities and causes. He stated, “What I like to see is when actors use their celebrity in an interesting way. Some of them have charitable foundations, they do things like try to bring attention to the plight of women and girls in Afghanistan, or they’re trying to save the white African rhino..” This is true, celebrities do use their fame to expose people to charities and causes and as they’re doing that it allows their fame to rise and gives them a good name, for example, after the flood in Texas, Beyoncé went to her hometown and helped the people in need, Chance the Rapper donated one million dollars to public schools in Chicago to fund their art program. Deeds like these expose other people and even other companies to help and pitch in. These actions causes them to be remembered. Frank also writes, “First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.” Which I find true, people don’t become celebrities to help bring more notice to charities, they usually become famous because they want their talents to been seen, and remembered. When celebrities do outstanding things for the people who needs help it changes how we see them, not only is Chance the Rapper a well song writer, he cares about the people of his city enough to donate his own money to help keep art programs running , that totally changes how people see him, and because of his actions, he will always be remembered, probably not by students in NYC but the kids who met him that day, and all the schools he helped , will definitely will always remember him.  Which goes back to my point about Jeevan, even though Arthur still died and a killer flu broke out right after no credit will be given to him because no one knows who helped to save Arthur but the cardiologist, who probably isn’t alive and Jeevan didn’t even jump to action to be seen, or to be considered a hero, but because he felt that it was right. He gets no recognition.

I also have a question about Kirsten tattoos for anyone who read ahead, does she explain what the tattoo of the two knives mean ? and if she doesn’t does anyone know what they mean ? Does it stand for something ?