The sections four through six of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven revolves around the idea of isolation, survival, and disconnection. Each section has a different character(s) focus in which we see each striving to survive in the old world or trying to stay alive in the new world, after the Georgia Flu.
We see the character Kirsten ending up looking through a school with her friend August and what they find in this school has many connections to the past world and also has the truth about the new world as well. In chapter 21 they are seen searching for new instruments to use for the Shakespeare plays and what they find is unsettling but not surprising. One of the other members of the search party for the school, Jackson informs the rest of the group of his findings, “Jackson appeared in the doorway. “There’s a skeleton in the men’s room.” (Mandel, 129), “”Old. Bullet hole in the skull.” (Mandel, 129). This moment shows us how different and cold our new world could be, were everyone is out for themselves, and that this is the realty of the new world. Yet, we have characters like Kirsten still looking for bits of the old world to peer through, “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.” (Mandel, 130), this shows how futile it is to keep looking for the past and that most people are just accepting it and trying to continue to move forward where ever that may be.
Still out of reading these three sections of the book, the quote that really stood out to me the most is on page 163, and it may not seem like anything big but I know people have to at least though about this once in their lifetime. If not then they should think about it, it can be an eye opener, “I’m talking about these people who’ve ended up io one life instead of another and they are just so disappointed. Do you know what I mean? They’ve done what’s expected of them. They want to do something different but it’s impossible now, there’s a mortgage, kids, whatever, they’re trapped. Dan’s like that” (Mendel 163). This quote had me thinking about the people in the old world and how they believe they haven’t lived up to their full potential or that they are unhappy with life as it is right now. Reading this I begin to wonder about my life and how I ended up where I am today, even though I am still twenty-one. Still, in the book itself the characters think about this question in some way or another before the epidemic started. This quote was out of an interview from Clark and Dahlia, as Clark is hearing all of this, he begins to ask himself if he is happy with his life at that moment.
In the end we will always search for happiness, something that is a recurring theme in our literature readings, but is it just an illusion that we give ourselves? Are we, in Dahlia’s words, just a bunch of High-functioning sleepwalkers? (Mendel, 163).