As we come to a closing with the book Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, all the questions we had while reading the through the story start to make senses. We finally understand the impact Arthur Leander has on many lives within the book. The holding of memories through time in order to not lose the old world completely is shown through the travels of a young female named Kirsten. She shows us how a apocalyptic world changes people and turns us into savage human beasts. The only way we seem to keep our humanity is through culture of time before remembrance and forms of art. The concentration the book has is on Shakespeare plays, that in this case have stood the test of time in this reality.
One example of this can be found with Clark and his collection of artifacts from the old world turned into a museum for anyone who is interested in knowing life before the flu-epidemic. “In Year Fifteen people came to the museum to look at the past after their long days of work.” (Mandel, 261), this place of old was a way for people to understand what came before the flu and how our civilization lived. For Severn City, we have a civilization that has moved on from the flu and has started schools to teach the young kids about the life they are going to live and the basics for life in the future. The people in this society were building a community they can call home. However, there are people like Taylor and Elizabeth that seem to have lost hope in reality and fall under the spell of religion to look for answers. Eventually, that path led to Taylor speaking about the present like it was the end of the world. The difference between the end of the world and the end of a species is different. Life continues but a dangerous combination of religious instructions with non guide and isolation from the “real” world leads to Taylor becoming the prophet. When it comes for him to die he encounters his makers in the form of Station Eleven quotes, “We long only to go home, ” Kirsten said. This was from the first issue, Station Eleven. A face-off between Dr. Eleven and an adversary from the Undersea. “We dream of sunlight, we dream of walking on earth.” (Mandel, 302), this is the lines that she [Kirsten] used when The prophet had her at gun point and was about to execute her and at that moment we can see that a part of Taylor’s inner humanity flickers into his being but as he is about to eliminate Kirsten, he essentially is getting rid of his past and his memories in order to move on with his future.
Another form of preservation of the past can be seen by the gift Kirsten gives to Clark, one of the copies of Station Eleven, “she wanted to ensure that at least one of the comics would be safe in case of trouble on the road.” (Mandel, 331), a gesture that allowed for Clark to remember the past, the past being the scene where Miranda is in the dinner party with everyone and it is a reflection of that point in her time and it is also a form of preserving the past. Which in this case Clark was part of that past and he alone is able to rejoice and remember it, leaving the reader to come full circle on the story that is Station Eleven.