The More You Remember, The More You’ve Lost

In parts 4-6 in Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel we see how things change. We see how things once were and how they are now.

Jumping straight to part 5, in Kirsten’s interview she says how she actually does not remember too much of how the world once was before the pandemic. She goes on to say that “doesn’t it seem like the people who struggle most with it are the people who remember the old world clearly?” (195) Basically saying that the ones who were young when the pandemic hit do not realize how much they have actually lost. If anything, the world before seems almost like a dream to them. Not being able to differentiate between reality and their imagination. They adjusted to the world now. Whereas, the ones that do remember are constantly stuck in their thoughts. Thinking of how once this street was full of children. There was internet. There was electricity. There was discipline, law and not as much fear as there is now in this version of the world.

Similarly, we return to Arthur and the moments leading to his death and after part 6. We have already gotten a taste of what the letters that Arthur has written to his old friend Victoria are like. Arthur takes it upon himself to prepare for what is to come. At this time we see that Arthur calls his ex-wife Miranda and they eventually see each other once again. Miranda who once thought she would never fit in and change herself for this Hollywood world is now focused on her appearance. Using her appearance almost as a shield to the outside world this time. “Those previous versions of herself were so distant now that remembering them was almost like remembering other people.” (206) No one can rip her apart, she looks to be of this “world” and of this community now. She did her best to no longer look like her old self.

There is also this friend, Victoria, who we do not know too much about either has changed in her own ways as well. We are introduced to her through the letters that Arthur has been writing to her all these years. These letters are mostly one-sided oddly enough. However, as we find out that this so called “friend” Victoria was now publishing his letters Arthur blames himself for it to get to this point. He believes that he deserved this, “I treated Victoria like a diary.” (211) Victoria would write back occasionally a couple letters and postcards and then it became more like a note being passed to inform him of her change of address. This childhood friend was now a stranger who did not write back, even Miranda felt sad upon hearing that. She lost sight of friendship, she valued money over that childhood friendship that they once had. Even though this was a result based off of her current living and financial situation it was betrayal nonetheless.

Lastly, we go back to Arthur. Someone who was portrayed to us as almost as such a horrible person has now shrunken to this man who is now accepting his past mistakes in a way. He begins to acknowledge how he treated others. He also gives Jeevan an inside scoop about the affair he was having but asks for twenty four hours before Jeevan even mentions this to anyone else. (172) He asks for this time as if he was going to try and do right by those that will be effected by this. This was coming from a man who has had an affair before. The marriage that was currently about to end was the result of an affair that he had previously. Ironically enough he could not find the courage to tell her about the affair he was having despite all the chances he had to tell her. (173)

I know there are much more important things going on in the story like the airplane and the airport and how it all connects. But the growth of the characters is also important. We see different sides of them all. The backstory to all of these people give us a better understanding of why they are how they are now or why they reacted in certain ways.

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