Class Notes for Tuesday October 10, 2017
Station Eleven is our first excursion into a full novel. As a novel is longer than a short story, we need to approach it differently.
We discussed our emotional response to the novel…the following words were volunteered: hopelessness confused…no purpose…some hope… intrigued .. curious … expectant …sadness … annoyed … devastated …pitying … lonely … insignificant
Four of us “liked” the book (raised hands that I counted)
Professor Belli spoke of the use of flashbacks in the novel:
Flashback Definition. Merriam Webster defines flashback as “an interruption of the chronological sequence (as of a film or literary work) of an event of earlier occurrence.” Flashbacks are interruptions that writers do to insert past events in order to provide background or context to the current events of a narrative.
Who is Miranda? Was it Kirsten or …as I forget names myself when under the gun and at the risk of incurring Professor Belli’s wrath, I have included a list of characters as a reference.. We should be creating this list ourselves as we read. Names that we read in the list below will not have the same impact upon us as names we write down (with associated notes and impressions), which will, in turn serve us well as inspiration for our blog writing.
Arthur is a Canadian-born actor who ultimately finds success in Hollywood. He has been married, at various times, to three different women: Miranda, Elizabeth, and Lydia. He dies of a heart attack while performing the title role in King Lear.
Jeevan is a paparazzi-turned-paramedic who witnesses the death of Arthur Leander. He survives the epidemic by stockpiling food before hysteria breaks out.
Kirsten is a child actress who first encountered Arthur during his final production of King Lear. She grows up after the epidemic and joins the Symphony, the band of traveling actors.
Miranda is the first wife of Arthur and the creator of the graphic novel Dr. Eleven. She ultimately despises the Hollywood life and divorces Arthur, entering the corporate world and becoming a shipping magnate before dying abroad in Singapore during the pandemic.
The second wife of Arthur Leander. She is a Hollywood actress who breaks up the marriage of Miranda and Arthur. She and Arthur have a son, Tyler, and she and Arthur survive the pandemic.
The son of Arthur and Elizabeth. He grows up during the pandemic, becoming increasingly religious and believing that the pandemic spared the morally good.
Arthur’s best friend from his days as a young Toronto actor, Clark becomes a corporate success in London as an adult. He ultimately becomes the curator at the Museum of Civilization.
Kristen’s lover and one of the Symphony members kidnapped by the Prophet.
A member of the Symphony, kidnapped by the Prophet.
A member of the Symphony who travels with Kirsten.
Jeevan’s brother, confined to a wheelchair.
A child wrangler for the production of King Lear, and Arthur’s lover.
Ita Flores likes the writing style of the novel…a poetic style, a crafted style, an “imaginary” style.
We discussed dog(s)/Luli in the novel
“The dog who’d been lying by the front row sat up at attention” (59)
““Luli” the prophet called over his shoulder and the dog trotted after him” (62)
Kina remarked that Luli takes us back to the comic book
Words/names/objects/people/ places (…the context escapes me!)
The notion of memories is very important.
Definition of eponymous
:of, relating to, or being the person or thing for whom or which something is named :of, relating to, or being an eponym When something is eponymous, it takes its own name as its title. For example, Foo Fighters’ first album was eponymous — it was called “Foo Fighters.”
“Loss” (which I could not hear with that twit speaking outside the door…remember to practice breathing!) is a central theme of the novel.. Loss and endings …end of relationships .. end of technology…different worlds before and after (pre and post Georgia Flu pandemic).
We discussed the epigraph written by Czeslaw Milosz (Polish poet & prose writer)at the beginning of Station Eleven. The quote speaks of being witness to “too much”.. living in an intense period of time. An epigraph is not to be confused with a dedication ( “In memory of my dear friend and mentor…”)
Gem: impression of use of epigraph ~overwhelmed…
Ita: person cannot take in everything (… do wish I could read my handwriting)
Shifts in location throughout book Toronto, New York ect…what is the importance of this…transient overtone? Opening setting .. winter night in Toronto…immediately before ( or day one ) of the Georgia Flu.. “calm before the storm” …symbolism of snow ( which I still do not get, will a kind soul please enlighten me)
Is Arthur Leander a central character, was he a pivotal character …yes! most definitely!
Jeevan (with a G) as a character? We meet him again on page 102 when he’s a news vulture.
Is Kirsten Raymonde a central character…undeniably so!.. eight years old at Arthurs death, twenty eight in part II ( A midsummer’s night dream) She carries the glass paper-weight ( “lump of glass with a storm cloud trapped inside” 15) and the comic novels (Dr. Eleven Vol 1 No 1 “Station Eleven” and Vol 1 No 2 “The Pursuit”) in her back pack along with three knives in her belt and she is proficient in the their use.
Blanca : “Both are intimately connected to Arthur” ..good point!…Kirsten is a walking memorial, but the comic novel was Miranda’s
The story is told in fragments.. at the end of part II and chapter XII Kirsten is looking at clippings of Arthur (67) and immediately afterwards Part III Chapter XIII Arthur and Miranda are in a restaurant together …and thirty four years before (14 BGF.. 14 years before the Georgian Flu) (71)
Part I: artificial snow within, a snowstorm in a glass paperweight, a worsening snowstorm without.
Acting as a theme in the novel…Arthur is an actor…Kirsten and the Traveling Symphony are actors. Arthur misused his acting talents, Kirsten and Traveling Symphony bring joy (Survival is Insufficient.. will their acting bridge that gap?)
Chris: expected the significance of the relationship between Jeevan and Laura to become apparent.
Blanca: In chapter II of Arthur “But who was his family” (14) …notice to next of kin is directed to Arthur’s lawyer. Even his best friend Clark has a falling out with Arthur.
Woe to he who has no one to mourn him….as you sow…
“But who was his family” (14)…part III is a direct answer to that question.
Criticism of Laura’s reaction to Jeevan’s heroics…which I thought as credible…”Can you pick up milk” (11) Laura did not take him seriously!.. she probably felt that Jeevan did not take her seriously!
How does Jeevan react….he goes on a buying spree.. and buys daffodils
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
O.K…. I starting to include poetry…time to finish this!. But “Survival is Insufficient” …..will daffodils (beauty) suffice to bridge the gap ?
So what remains after the Georgian Flu Daniel: Nature?
The theater remains the same! , Shakespeare and Lear remain…. will they satisfy “Survival is Insufficient” (58) ..and immediately after on page fifty nine we have….”Kirsten stood in a state of suspension that always came over her at the end of performances….a man in the front row had tears in his eyes”(59).
What is the travelling Symphony for its members: a family, a means of entertaining.
The good news….no additional reading for Thursday
The better news: Please read the response blogs for Station Eleven and choose a favorite post no later than midnight Wednesday.….and please include your rationale for choosing that particular blog.
P.S. The most recent blogs may not be the best!
The best news: Please choose an excerpt from Station Eleven for discussion on Thursday
a passage or quotation taken or selected from a book, document,film, or the like; extract.
The most best news: (my son’s superlative adjective of choice) I get to go home now!
Good night to all