To Survive and To Thrive

Here are my first three paragraphs of what will possibly, but not surely, be my essay for Station Eleven. 

Surviving in this world is held as a number one priority for anyone; it is why we wake up each morning/night and set off on our routines for work and/or school, which provide us with the funds to survive. But solely surviving can’t be our only tasks as evolving human beings living on such a wondrous planet with endless possibilities; we create, invent, innovate, enlighten, and inspire others. In Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel proposes a world in which modern day humans acclimate to a post-pandemic environment. With the regress of civilization in effect, Mandel presents the essence of what it truly means to survive through the actions of different protagonists like Kirsten and Clark. Mandel probes the significance behind the statement “because survival is insufficient” by instituting a newer meaning: surviving is preserving.

After the prominent fall of mankind caused by the Georgia Flu, the planet is an empty shell of abandoned structures, cars and homes. The majority of Georgia Flu survivors have maintained the mindset of simply surviving and remaining alive, while a group of former musicians, actors/actresses, and artists come together and form The Traveling Symphony in efforts to enlighten the darkness that now existed around them. “Survival is insufficient” is first seen on Mandel 58, as these three words are the prime definition of what the Symphony stands for. These people have dedicated themselves to what beauty and humanity still remained of their previous lives, keeping works of Shakespeare alive after the restart of time and life as they knew it.

The repurposing of buildings and items is very prevalent in Station Eleven, but what Clark initiates on Mandel 254 signifies his version of putting deeper meaning into the words “survival is insufficient”. With its first pieces being a seemingly useless iPhone, a couple of identification cards and an Amex, The Museum of Civilization is born and brought to life. These items were now artifacts of a historical point in time when they were held to high value. “He stood by the case and found himself moved by every object he saw there, by the human enterprise each object had required”, (Mandel 255).



I am not one to plan an essay out for weeks ahead, and I am still contemplating changing my thesis and title as well. My body paragraphs will be much fuller once I work on my actual essay but I don’t think its fair for an “outline” to be perfect. My second idea aside from providing pieces from the novel that show how surviving is insufficient, was to make this essay about how loss institutes new and innovative beginnings, or how loss gives survival a new definition. Aside from my indecisiveness, this draft is subject to change completely and I am still trying to find a thesis I can stick with and pull multiple pieces of evidence from the text for.

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