Jordan Jean Pierre
What is the purpose of life? I can safely assume that most self aware beings in the universe have asked themselves or others that question at least once. It is one of the greatest questions to have ever been asked, and yet the answer is painfully obvious. The purpose of all life is to end. Whether or not someone believes that is inconsequential to the fact that death will eventually consume all life. A great example of that statement can be found in the novel Station eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. The majority of the novel is about a post apocalyptic world devastated by the Georgian flu pandemic. The story is saturated with suffering and death leaving the characters vulnerable to thoughts such as what the purpose of life is.
The first official encounter the reader has with death in the story, is when Arthur passed away on stage during his performance as king Lear. “Jeevan realized this charade must be for Arthur’s family, so they wouldn’t be notified of his death via the evening news” ( Emily 7 ). The preceding quote is the quote that solidified the reader’s assumptions of the possible death of Arthur. Despite Arthur’s many successes and failures, happiness and sadness, love and hatred, none of it mattered in the end, none of it could prevent his unfortunate and sudden demise. Arthur’s life was a somewhat accomplished one, because he chose to give purpose to his life. Even though he knew death would eventually claim it, he decided to make the best of his time. The purpose of life is to end, but what happens in between someone’s birth and death is completely their responsibility.
The Georgian flu pandemic according to the characters in the story, wiped out most of humanity, it is a horrible thing that has happened to the world inside the novel. It makes one wonder what the purpose of life is. People often seek answers to such a question in religion, or other forms of comfortable ideas, anything that would make them be less afraid of what’s to come. “ Have you considered the perfection of the virus” (60). The preceding quote is a small but effective example that shows the reader that the prophet somehow sees the flu as a divine disease set upon humanity by an omniscient God. Even while facing the truth, certain people will find a way to modify it to their own needs. After all of those deaths people are still looking for the purpose of life, instead of worrying about how they will give purpose to the time they have in between their births and deaths.
I am working on a cover letter for my essay, which is coming along well. My essay will be based on what the purpose of life is in the world of the novel, and the different ways the characters in the story deal with that. I am struggling to find major quotes and statements throughout the story that are useful to the development of my essay, however I am confident that I will find plenty once I put my focus on finding them.