Meaning of Life

Death and survival

In the novel Station Eleven, we have the main character Kirsten, a young girl that experiences death of someone she admired deeply and with mass death of almost everyone, because of the Georgia Flu Death. Survival changed Kirsten to become a survivalist in a post-apocalyptic world which forces her to make choices to continue with her life.

Body 1

One aspect of the novel that comes up with the antagonist Tyler, Arthur’s son is the idea of religion and its role in this post-doomsday world. This is one of the ways people like Tyler and Elizabeth (Tyler’s mother) deal with the death surrounding them in the world where they lost everything. We get a glimpse of the outcome of not having a father figure to guide Tyler or in this case a father figure with a contradicting ideology that is the bible. We get a glimpse of how the prophet (Tyler) views the world, “”The flu,” the prophet said, “the great cleansing that we suffered twenty years ago, that flu was our flood. The light we carry within us is the ark that carried Noah and his people over the face of the terrible waters, and I submit that we were saved”—his voice was rising—”not only to bring the light, to spread the light, but to be the light. We were saved because we are the light. We are the pure.”” (Mandel, 60). This shows how the mass death has affected a young boy growing up in an apocalyptic world. The many deaths in his short life including the one from his father at the beginning of the novel, has made him find comfort in religion. He has taken a religious text and without a guide he took the New testament from the bible and made himself the “light” or in other words a divine being chosen by God. Yet, we have regular people just happy that they have found other human beings, trying to survive and longing for human interaction, which is what we have from the male in the hotel that arrives in Severn city, ““I was in the hotel,” he said finally. “I followed your footprints in the snow.” There were tears on his face. “Okay,” someone said, “but why are you crying?” “I’d thought I was the only one,” he said.”” (Mandel, 257). This shows us how death and survival go hand in hand, how death shapes characters within the novel, especially Tyler due to the impact we see in his life as he goes from a little boy playing his Gameboy to a religious cult leader.

 

Body 2

Even though there is death on an imaginable scale, there is still death surrounding the characters of the Traveling Symphony, especially the character, Kirsten. She gives an insight on how she thinks of the Prophet’s ideology of light and darkness, “If you are the light, if your enemies are darkness, then there’s nothing that you cannot justify. There’s nothing you can’t survive, because there’s nothing that you will not do.” (Mandel, 139). For Kirsten, it is simple enough to deduce, if you believe that you are the light or some form of “hero”, then you will do anything to keep on living. There is nothing you won’t be able to overcome, even if it is just to survive. Even in the face of death the narrator starts chapter eleven with the quote, “What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.” (Mandel, 57), refers to the fact that there is still art and literature that still stands the test of time. The one example that the beauty this quote speaks of is in the form of how Shakespeare’s plays have survived surrounded by such death, which ironically his plays cover the same type of theme with Kirsten as the main actor in some of the plays. We get to see how much death and her surviving time has changed her from a little girl with a dream into a woman that makes her goals possible through her own will.

Quotes:

  1. 257: “I was in the hotel,” he said finally. “I followed your footprints in the snow.” There were tears on his face.

“Okay,” someone said, “but why are you crying?”

“I’d thought I was the only one,” he said.”

  1. 139: “If you are the light, if your enemies are darkness, then there’s nothing that you cannot justify. There’s nothing you can’t survive, because there’s nothing that you will not do.”
  2. 60: “The flu,” the prophet said, “the great cleansing that we suffered twenty years ago, that flu was our flood. The light we carry within us is the ark that carried Noah and his people over the face of the terrible waters, and I submit that we were saved”—his voice was rising—”not only to bring the light, to spread the light, but to be the light. We were saved because we are the light. We are the pure.”
  3. 57: “What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.”

Reflection:

I have procrastinated this assignment the entire weekend and started writing Monday evening. However, I have given the them for my essay a lot of though and I want to go with the theme of surviving and death. For obvious reasons, there is a lot of death in the novel Station Eleven however it is the way these deaths affect the other characters in the story that made me think of the reasons why we as a species strive to live a life full of goals and accomplishments. Getting of topic but I don’t start strong with my thesis statements since I could remember, so I started with finding quotes that could be good for this theme of Death and survival and the is coexistence with each other and created my body paragraph and then set out to create my thesis.

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