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?

2 thoughts on “Sleepwalking: wanting to escape/slip away

  1. Daniel

    Sleepwalkers as a commonality in the pre-pandemic era versus if you sleepwalk in      the post-pandemic, you will not survive. There are a lot of sleepwalkers in the pre-pandemic era, including Clark, Arthur and Jeevan. How  is/are  this/they significant? by their absence in the post pandemic era? as an monument to the dissatisfaction in the pre-pandemic era…you had “everything” in the pre-pandemic era but you were a sleepwalker! so you really had nothing!

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