Station Eleven

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The Reflection of Life in Art in Station Eleven

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

Thousands of decades ago, civilization created a language, symbols and cultures all over the world and the moment this all appeared researches have called it “the cultural big bang” (UAAU,Ollivier Dyens, 2014). The reason the world is what it is today is because humanity has brought the art from the past to the present life. Humans have done this because society knows that art is enhancing the civilization and it is helping the world solve challenges that humanity faces in the world today. Humans are always looking for “new history” because people know art/history is what moves the world forward. Throughout the novel Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, there are many characters; Kirsten, Jeeven, Clark, Miranda, and Arthur, that show the readers why “survival is insufficient” throughout life. Kirsten has this tattooed on her because she believes that people have to live life for more than people take for granted. The novel also shows the lengths that people go to for survival in their life, as the characters in Station Eleven killed people just to stay alive. Throughout the novel Emily St. John Mandel hints at how the art and memories from the past help to move humanity and the civilization forward when the world goes to a complete collapse. Emily St. John Mandel’s novel Station Eleven seeks to prove why “survival is insufficient”, noting the means people will take in order to survive as well as how art and memories of the past help maintain normality and humanity within society.

Emily St. John Mandel’s novel, Station Eleven, is a pre and post apocalyptic novel were “ninety-nine point ninety-nine percent” (60) of the world’s population is destroyed by a mass pandemic known as the Georgia Flu. When the collapse occurred the characters in Station Eleven needed to cope, survive, and deal efficiently with the terrific collapse that wiped out the civilization. The novel has a random beginning as one of the main characters, Arthur Leander, died on the stage while performing, King Lear, the play. Arthur’s death had a massive effect on all the other main characters: Kirsten, Jeeven, Clark, and Miranda, because they are all connected in a way with him. The characters in Station Eleven needed to survive and live differently after the collapse of civilization. Kirsten is a person that is able to cope and deal well with the situation of the total collapse of the “new world” because she has trouble remembering Year One in the first place and is always looking for the past to keep the society surviving. As there are other characters, the people at the Museum of Civilization, who tried to remember the past and bring back all the “lost” art. The people in the novel are all in the need for survival, but people do this in different ways. Kirsten has knife tattoos on her wrist because they show the lengths that people will go to survive and she knows “There’s nothing you can’t survive, because there’s nothing that you will not do” (139), meaning that people will do anything to make sure their life does not end. Kirsten also joined the travelling symphony because she knew just like the others in the symphony that if civilization is going to live on, the world can not lose human relationships and need to stick together.

Clark in the Severn City Airport made a museum to bring the people together and to teach people about the past. Through the novel Emily St. John Mandel shows how close survival is to the death of people. She shows that for humanity to stay alive there needs to be human relationships and people need to rebuild the communities that were lost, so the people at the airport, the symphony and the people following the Prophet are showing the small communities that are regeneration the world. The novel proves that humans need to do more than just “live”, they need others on their side and they need the art and relationships to have the true meaning of living.

Throughout the novel, Station Eleven, “art reflects life” is shown perfectly as art and the history of art is very crucial for the survival of the characters. In Year 0 on “a winter night at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto” (1) in the novel, Arthur Leander died while performing a piece of art and a tragedy made by Shakespeare called, King Lear, the night right before the collapse occurred. Ironically after ninety nine percent of the population has died and the societal collapse, the art from before did not die and is still alive. The point the novel Station Eleven is hinting at is that art is stronger and closer to humanity than people think because it is powerful enough that it can withstand and survive a deadly pandemic. The art in the novel is what keeps the characters still in contact with the past and to help rebuild the culture that was lost during the pandemic. To do this the travelling symphony goes around to different settlements of people to perform old Shakespeare plays to remind people of the past and the art that is never lost. The symphony does this to give people the knowledge of the world and to help people understand the world that is gone from the collapse.

On the symphonies travels to different settlements, the group “performed music-classical, jazz, orchestral arrangements of pre-collapse pop songs-and Shakespeare” (37), for everyone in the group and the people watching to help people escape from the world and remember the past. Kirsten who joined the travelling symphony knows that art is something beautiful and will always survive because, “What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty” (57), meaning even though “ninety-nine point ninety-nine percent” (60) of civilization was destroyed the art has never. She knows no matter how much is gone, that the art will never be gone as long as life exists. Kirsten has “survival is insufficient” (119) tattooed onto her left forearm, which is from the show Star Trek. Before the pandemic, people would drag along with regret and be committed to what they think as “living”. The characters tried to hide their disappointment under wealth, makeup, and higher smiles.

After the collapse, all the survivors realized that to survive, the civilization needed more than bare essentials and everyone needs a new journey to create and cultivate beauty. Losing electricity, citizens, water supply and almost everything it forced the survivors to see life differently as it was previously just overlooked. The collapse made the comic books and Clark’s museum collections take on a new meaning. This shows that “art reflects life” and that people need more than the basics and that to live. People just living and surviving in life is not enough anymore, so civilization needs relationships, art, memories, history, artifacts, and beauty or the survival of human lives are just hopelessly insufficient.

Station Eleven is a novel that the characters need to store their memories and history from the past close with them throughout their life because it kept them thinking and rebuilding the society. The characters that survived through the collapse/pandemic, live in a “new world”, a world that is destroyed, but these survivors always remember the civilization as it was before the collapse. Through the novel, characters such as Kirsten and Clark are very important to the people that always remember the past and help move civilization in the right direction. Kirsten’s memory is foggy from Year One in the novel, “I can’t remember the year we spent on the road, and I think that means I can’t remember the worst of it.” (195), she is determined that the reason she can not recall anything from that year is because it was the worst year and the worst things happened. As she believes this, she is always wanting to find out more about the year she can not remember, so to do this Kirsten is always looking for gossip magazines and comics to hopefully spark memories about the world before the collapse. Kirsten is always seeking for information about the old world to connect to her childhood and thinks “Well, it’s nice that at least the celebrity gossip survived” (201), because all the artifacts from the past help people remember. The characters search for artifacts from the past because the memory from before the collapse is a comfort zone and a place for them to escape to “the garden” and have hope that everything is going to return to normal. To get this “return to the garden” feel, Clark is a character in the novel that also provides artifacts from the pre-collapsed world to the people in the post-collapsed world. Clark’s Museum of Civilization in the Severn City Airport “seemed to be a limitless number of objects in the world that had no practical use but that people wanted to preserve:” (258) because he realized that people need to show acknowledgment to the world before the pandemic and to help teach the newlings about the history of the world. The museum is also to help connect all of the survivors together, so they can retain historical memories and rebuild society. Through these events Station Eleven shows how the memories shared between people from different years help a civilization rebuild itself and shows that human relationships and keeping people connected keep societies strong and “unbreakable”. This shows how powerful the connecting of people is through the Museum of Civilization, art, and through telling stories from the pre-pandemic life. Memories in Station Eleven are very significant because they are collected by people and groups to engage everyone in human history, to rebuild and regain a grasp on humanity after the pandemic broke free.

The novel, Station Eleven, shows and proves why “survival is insufficient” in human lives, providing evidence on the lengths people will go to for survival and how the art and memories from the pre-pandemic world help the civilization control normality and humanity. Throughout the novel Emily St. John Mandel has proven that people need to have human relationships in order to cope in terrible situations and for human survival. She also shows that the world needs and lives off of art from the past to move civilization forward and proves that “art reflects life” because with the art there is hope and freedom through it. As the novel goes on there are instances that the reader realizes that memories and artifacts from the past help build human relationships and keep people in contact with each other. Emily St. John Mandel has proven clearly why “survival is insufficient” through her novel Station Eleven and has proved that art is a major part in why we are where we are today. Without the survival of art from the prehistoric ages decades ago the world and people would not be here today. Art is apart of the civilization and will always be apart of the future.

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121

Emily St. John Mandel is a Canadian Science Fiction Writer and Your ‘Station Eleven’

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

One of the most timeless and universal concepts in our existence is art. Even cavemen, the most primitive of our species, used art to express themselves, even before a spoken language, and far earlier than a written one. Arts including singing, dancing, drawing, painting or even acting can be found throughout all of time, enjoyed by rich and poor alike; a truly universal concept. These arts hold a special and important place in our society, playing a great role in our lives. In the post-apocalyptic novel Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, art is used as a means of bringing people together through hope and inspiration. Art carries this importance because it has the unique ability to convey thoughts and emotions across time, cultural differences, and all lifestyles. Regardless of when art is created or by whom it was created, all people can understand it, appreciate it, and see the perspectives of others. Throughout the book, art helps people come together, shows the perspectives of others, and allows anyone to freely express themselves, whether to convey a message or to vent their emotions.

A strong sense of togetherness is arguably necessary to human survival and happiness. One of the Station Eleven’s largest overarching themes is the importance of a sense of community and bringing people together, and art is in a large part responsible for that. Throughout the beginning sections of the novel, the author introduces characters of the Symphony, along with their backstories. Many of these characters backstories follow a similar structure, with the character traveling alone, enduring hardship, when they found the Symphony and became a part of it. For example, towards the beginning of the novel, the members of the Symphony are introduced, including a girl named Alexandra, who”..was fifteen, the Symphony’s youngest actor. They found her on the road as a baby’. Another example comes at the beginning of chapter 45, when Francois is interviewing people, and he learns that “Viola had a harrowing story… burnt-out ruins… grievously harmed… walking alone for a hundred miles…” about her life before joining the Symphony. Another example comes soon after with the story of “The third cello had buried his parents after both died… spent four years holed up… feared he’d lose his mind…” All of these examples show the terror and danger of life alone, and conclude with a joyous life after the characters found one another and began to perform together. This in turn helps create the image that art brings people together, and is essential to our society.

When people are judged in today’s society, it is often said that one should “Walk a mile in their shoes” first. The idea behind this saying is that everyone has a different perspective in life, and being able to view life from someone else’s eyes can not only help change your view on life, but can help you understand the actions of others. This principle is used quite often in the novel, with art being the median through which one can view another’s perspective. In the beginning of chapter 12, Kirsten is concluding a performance when she notices “A man in the front row had tears in his eyes”, and another man who “alone had sat on a chair… raised his hands over his head”. All these characters were brought together by experiencing Kirstens art, and seeing her perspective and her past through her artwork, and in turn relinquishing their own past. This as well helps contribute to arts importance in our society.

Freedom of expression can be argued as one of the most important and necessary freedoms in our life. It is common knowledge that expressing one’s own thoughts and feelings is therapeutic and healthy for the mind. Art is one of the many ways people can use to express themselves, and this theme is very evident in Station Eleven. In the opening paragraph of Chapter 12, Kirsten is finishing a performance and receiving a standing ovation, as she was overcome with “a sense of having flown very high and landed incompletely, her soul pulling upward out of her chest”. The connotation associated with the words “flown very high” and “soul pulling upward” insinuate that Kirsten is in a moment of utter joy, utmost happiness that she achieved through performing. The text reads that this sensation “always came over her” after her performances, illustrating the fact that when she performs, this almost magical feeling comes over her every time. This helps demonstrate the fact that the arts have the power of expression, and putting your heart and soul into your art for others to enjoy has a therapy like effect, and truly heals the soul, solidifying the importance of art in society and human identity.

Art indeed has many aspects to it, being sung, written, acted, by the rich and the poor, the old and the young, in ancient times as well as recent ones. It’s incredible ability to bring people joy as an artist does their work is a magical thing, and it also brings communities together, only furthering its impact on our lives. Over time, art has proven to be truly important to our society and to our identity as humans, and will continue to do so until the end of time.

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190

Station Eleven’ Life-affirming Heroes

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

In Emily St John Mandel’s 2014 science fiction, dystopian novel Station Eleven, a majority of the world is deceased due to the Georgia-flu pandemic spread unknowingly by a passenger on a flight from Russia to The United States causing an apocalyptic world. All technology and modern inventions during have collapsed but, the Arts remain as an important part of society even after the fall of civilization. While the preserved, broken technologies remain only in abandoned houses and the Severn airport museum of civilization unable to be used, the arts were one of only a few pre-pandemic aspects actively preserved in the aftermath of the Georgia flu. In this novel the arts function as a measure of how stable society is. When the arts begin to diminish, society begins to fall and when the arts slowly begin to strengthen again, as does society. This idea stated above is further supported in a research paper published by Princeton University entitled “How the Arts Impact Communities: An introduction to the literature on arts impact studies” written by Joshua Guetzkow, it is argued that the arts have a positive impact on the development of communities and society. This article acts as a lens to understand why members of the travelling symphony were able to collect themselves in the aftermath of the apocalypse and live thriving, productive lives. To explain why the arts help communities and society, Guetzkow uses three main pillars that can be found throughout Station Eleven. The first pillar in Guetzkow’s article argues that a direct involvement in the arts fosters the health of those involved in the arts by “Build[ing interpersonal ties and increaseing opportunities for self-expression and enjoyment” . The second pillar of Guetzkow’s article argues that a direct involvement in the arts allows for positive cognitive and psychological impacts through an “Increased sense of individual efficacy and self-esteem [and an] Improved sense of belonging or attachment to a community.” The third and final pillar in the article argues that amongst the aforementioned benefit’s, direct involvement in the arts improves one’s interpersonal skills by giving an “Enhanced ability to work with others and communicate ideas.”

Each of these skills acquired from the incorporation of the arts in a person’s life are a key part to explaining why the amount and quality of the arts found in a society is a measure of societies competence. Simply put, the more art in society the more interpersonal ties, self-expression, sense of belonging, and communication there will be. Each of these things, provided by the arts, create a competent society especially in Station Eleven. Initially in the first chapter of Mandels novel, the arts, specifically a rendition of Shakespeare’s play king Lear, are spoken of as an important aspect to the plot of the novel. Before the other character and the audience of the play realize Arthur is having a heart attack “there was a change in his face, he stumbled, he reached for a column but misjudged the distance and struck it hard with the side of his hand.” From one perspective this could be judged as Arthur ruining the play and in turn the arts being diminished as a whole. Following Arthurs death, and a decline in the arts because of his death and the ruined play, a mass death began. This is the first case of the amount and quality of art corresponding to the condition of society. This situation also relates to the first pillar of Guetzkow’s paper because when Arthur died the play ended and the other actors lost their way of self-expression then society went into a downward spiral into the apocalypse. Chronologically, the next example happens towards the end of the novel but it is in a flashback that takes place at the beginning of the apocalypse. While sitting in the Severn-City airport the first winter after the epidemic, everything began to stop working. by the third day in the airport “all the vending machines in the airport were empty of snacks, and the battery on Tyler’s Nintendo console was dead.”

Although video games are an unconventional form of art, time magazine argues that video games should be considered art because “They include many forms of traditional artistic expression sculpture in the form of 3D modeling, illustration, narrative arcs, and dynamic music that combine to create something that transcends any one type.” With the idea that video games are art in mind, Tyler’s Nintendo console dying is considered another type of are crashing as society crashes after the epidemic. When he found out his gaming console had died and wouldn’t be functional again “Tyler wept, inconsolable” as if he knew that society was worsening as the arts, his video game console, fell. Tyler’s loss of his video game console relates to the second pillar of Guetzkow’s paper because the loss of his video makes Tyler feel like he is losing his sense of belonging to his former life.

Another important case of the arts relating to how society is functioning happens when the novel fast forwards twenty years to the post plague world were once again people are beginning to live together in small groups or towns. The travelling Shakespearean company stops in a town named St. Deborah by the water to put on a performance. After their performance, once the traveling symphony left St. Deborah’s by the water they found a stow away twelve-year-old girl by the name of Eleanor. According to Eleanor she “was going to be next wife” because “he had a dream where god told him he was to repopulate the earth”. Everyone in the symphony was disgusted by the prophet and kept asking “why would he marry a twelve-year-old” By stowing away in the travelling symphonies caravan to get out of St. Deborah by the water, Eleanor escaped a life of being betrothed to someone she didn’t love. Therefore, the rekindling of the arts through the travelling symphony gave Eleanor her freedom and bettered society by setting the precedence that it is wrong for a twelve-year-old to marry a grown man. Finally, at the end of the travelling symphony stays in the Severn City Airport for five weeks. During this time, life for the traveling symphony slowly begins to return back to the way it was pre-pandemic as members of the symphony began incorporating music into their daily activities as they had done before the Georgia flu changed their lives.

One afternoon while still in the Airport “Garrett hummed a Brandenburg concerto while he worked in the gardens.”First, this quote is important because it shows the people in the symphony doing relaxing everyday chores that they couldn’t do post plague due to the condition of the world. Secondly, this quote shows the reemergence of music during these everyday chores meaning the world is beginning to heal. After garret was singing, Dolores was found “whispering fragments of Shakespeare to herself while she swept the concourse floor” prior to living in the airport, while the symphony was moving around and camping in different places each night, they would never have swept. It is the “fragments of Shakespeare” Dolores was whispering that pulled her through the apocalypse into this time where she could be whispering them while sweeping like in her time before the flu hit. All of the people from the symphony coming together and doing different household chores while they were living in the airport is a blatant example of the third pillar of Guetzkow’s paper; as the arts were reintroduced into everyday activities the symphony began to work together more efficiently to take care of one another. Overall, it is the amount of music, plays, paintings, and all other forms of art in Station Eleven that measures how competent society is. In the beginning of the Georgia flu outbreak art began to fall as society did. However, when the symphony began travelling and spreading the arts, society began to revive itself by reverting back to its old ways while also adopting new customs.

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214

Theme of Survival in “The Travelling Symphony”

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

Some would argue that the most important thing in this life is to survive, to live and breathe each day. But others would argue that survival is simply just not enough. The Traveling Symphony has it painted on the side of their caravan and Kirsten has it tattooed on the side of her arm, “…survival is insufficient” (Mandel 58). When faced with the question of what matters most one can’t put their finger directly on one item, not one person or calling. However, art manages to encompass a broad range of topics and prove a reason to live in itself; the idea that art is important to life is expressed beautifully throughout Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This book proves that art is one of the most important things in life and that it gives many a will and reason to live.

In the event that one is going through a hardship, they may turn to art in order to lift them up or encourage them to keep going. For instance, when Kirsten was crying at the beginning of the book she was given a piece of art to pacify her, “…and Kirsten, teary-eyed and breathless, a few days shy of her eighth birthday, gazed at the object and thought it was the most beautiful, the most wonderful, the strangest thing anyone had ever given her. It was a lump of glass with a storm cloud trapped inside” (15). The paperweight signifies a part of Kirsten and her childhood, art that represents where she has come from and all she has gone through. The cloud in glass was given to her to cheer her up in a moment of darkness and she held onto it throughout her life, showing the importance the object held in her life. Often through hard times one looks for something to brighten up the darkness around them. A good example of this is demonstrated in how the emotional hardship of taking someone’s life is represented through the art of a tattoo. This shows that beauty can spring up from a difficult time, near the end of the book it states, “Is there a tattooist here, Charlie?” Charlie brushed her fingertips over Kirsten’s right wrist, the two black knives inked two years apart. “How many?” “One. An archer on the road” (306). The act of tattooing the number of kills on one’s wrist shows that the act was done and that there will be no forgetting of it.

Continuing, during the hardships of living in the fallen world art has the power to transform the space that people exist in even for just a limited amount of time. The Traveling Symphony offered many types of shows and yet it states, “…what no one would have anticipated, was that the audience seemed to prefer Shakespeare to their other theatrical offerings. “People want what was best about the world,” Dieter said” (38). Art transports people back to what they believe would have been a better time. Another thing that art gives the characters is history, for instance, the museum that Clark makes can be thought of art itself. These relics of the old world have turned into art as Kirsten says, “Because we are always looking for the former world, before all the traces of the former world are gone” (130). Another old relic in the book was electricity and the internet. In life nowadays, people believe the internet to bring many people together and connect them, as it states in the book, “They were told about the Internet, how it was everywhere and connected everything, how it was us” (262). However, in a different world the thing that unites people is art. A great example of this is how the Traveling Symphony brings people together through its art making of music and shows. Correspondingly, the Traveling Symphony doesn’t just bring together the performers and their audiences but it unites all of the performers as a family, Emily St. John Mandel wrote, ““…but the truth was that the Symphony was their only home” (48). Art provides an outlet to meet people of similar beliefs who appreciate the same things. After years on the road with these people, Kirsten grows many bonds with the various people in the Symphony and it’s no wonder why the quote, “Hell is the absence of the people you long for” (144) is proven true when those she is close with get taken from her. Art provides a way to bring people together and unite them into a family that can be very tight-knit.

In addition, a particular art that is very beneficial during stressful times is music. Music has the power to transform any space into what one wishes. Just like how the Traveling Symphony transforms the fallen world for its audiences. Music gives life to everything, radios, tv, movies, live performances, remixes, there are many streaming sources to present this art to listeners. Art takes us to a special place, during troublesome times. Words can be a particularly important part to music and can hold lots of weight, such as the lyrics to a song or words to a story or poem. For example, August wrote a poem for Kirsten to help put her at ease even though he rarely shares his poetry with anyone, “A fragment for my friend-, If your soul left this earth I would follow and find you, Silent, my starship suspended in night” (141). Another work of written words in the book that is highly discussed is Station Eleven, the comics. It is safe to say that the comics represent art through the drawings that Miranda illustrated inside of it and by the story and words used to portray the story and its characters and how that relates to Kirsten and her life in the fallen world. A particularly beautiful quote states, “Station Eleven is all around them” (107). Depicting the idea that the characters are living in a similar state and showing that art encases their lives as well.

Arguably one of the most important quotes in the book states, “All three caravans of the Traveling Symphony are labeled as such, THE TRAVELING SYMPHONY lettered in white on both sides, but the lead caravan carries an additional line of text: Because survival is insufficient” (58). This quote shows the reader that surviving is nothing without a purpose to live. What the Symphony does shows people why surviving can be made better through art. During Jeevan’s time as a paparazzi, he states within his talk with Miranda, “… he says, “I live on that kind of gossip, actually. As in, it pays my rent. What I live for is something different.” “What do you live for?” “Truth and beauty,” he says, deadpan” (102). The simplicity of his words show how important these things are to him and how much art can impact a life and give someone something to live for.

In essence, art is what gives human life meaning and allows humans to flourish. What matters most is not just surviving, finding food and continuing to breathe. What matters most is finding a way to live, finding what one lives for and not on. Art presents a beautiful way to live throughout the book of Station Eleven. Art represents a way to unite people, to get through hardship and stressful times, and something to live for. Art will always survive through all disasters and if art can survive, who’s to say that humans can’t?

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182

The Issue of Reestablishment of a Society in the Book ‘station Eleven’

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

When viewing the reestablishment of a society through an outside perspective, such as presented in the book Station Eleven, one can recognize and determine the most important components of a society, community, and culture. The foundations of a society often center around its ability to establish and maintain a sense of “normality”, which in the case of the current United States, is the ability to use technology, freely travel, work, create a home, and live an ideal lifestyle. The loss of such normality, as shown in the novel, is disastrous and completely collapses the social laws and norms, causing a need for society to rebuild itself. Rebuilding a society after being destroyed is extremely difficult and takes an incredible amount of time; however, not only is such a task possible with the correct resources and sufficient number of individuals, but it also provides an opportunity to build an even better, more sustainable society for the future. To attempt rebuilding society, one must understand exactly what a society is.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of a society is “a voluntary association of individuals for common ends”. In a broader explanation, a society is a self-sufficient, sustainable group or community of individuals who can come together and create their own culture and identity. Societies commonly possess a legal system, and a form of hierarchy which governs and determines the types of laws the society should be subjected to; furthermore, they often have a structured economic system and language. The unity provided by a society helps to protect and promote order amongst those in the community, and also helps to promote prosperity for every individual. In general, the commonly accepted idea of a society can be found amongst all groups of people in the world, and is found alongside the many building blocks which help to shape and form a community. While many building blocks of a society exist, such as family life, legal system, and economic stability, certain building blocks are crucial in helping to form a new and sustainable community. In a situation where a society must be reconstructed from the ashes of an older society, such as the society in Station Eleven, focusing on the building blocks of human relationships, sustainability, and hope for a better future are all the most valuable. A society cannot be built or sustain itself if the individuals in the community do not share a common goal of a better future, have commitment to the society, and “…aspire to ‘do’ as they would be ‘done by’ and to live good lives that serve good ends”.

Moral and ethical laws are the key aspects in preventing a society from becoming corrupt, and respect, consideration, equality, and fairness all should be factors in how individuals relate to and treat one another. As shown in Station Eleven, a society under a dictator and built on fear will not be able to sustain itself for a long time, nor will the community prosper; therefore, focusing on human relations and a hope for a better future are incredibly important to any society, especially a new one, keeping hope alive and a positive attitude in the community stems from the society’s ability to provide a sustainable life for its inhabitants. Any successful society is built upon the building block of sustainability and should have the ability to survive on its own. A community should possess a consistent supply of food, water, a safe location for individuals to inhabit, and should be able to successfully defend itself from any harm. Developing such sustainability is important for any community, as it insures individuals possess time to focus their attention on making life more convenient, and eventually building a society which is superior to the previous one. The ability to scavenge and learn how to recreate many of the conveniences lost, such as electricity, cell phones, and automobiles is beneficial, and every capable individual in the society should attempt “…to rediscover how the world works and then exploit that knowledge for…improving…life”. This time also allows for creativity, and for individuals to explore new options which may advance society farther than before, such as more renewable energy and less pollution.

In Station Eleven, the ability of survivors to find practicality in so many items taken for granted today proves how useful extra time can be, how much hope it can bring, and how crucial such time is for improving life after a catastrophic event. The previously listed three building blocks, when combined together, are fundamental to rebuilding a society; however, to fully reestablish a new society, one must look deeper into how exactly societies should be reconstructed after all normality is lost. As with the list of building blocks, a list of steps to rebuild society also exists.

Firstly, individuals should survive the catastrophic event which wipes out nearly the entirety of the human race. As in Station Eleven, chance, fate, and pure circumstance are the biggest factors for survival, and a lot of individuals may choose to die voluntarily. Once the main portion of the catastrophic event has passed and survivors are scantily left all over the world, reestablishing any form of a community or society requires individuals to join together peacefully and willingly. Such a task may be difficult, as many will feel defensive and be willing to fight for basic life necessities; however, as with any society, different groups of individuals with similar mindsets and culture traits will eventually come together, such as the Traveling Symphony and their bond of music and Shakespeare. Finding others and forming a community comprise the second and third steps of the list to reestablish society.

The fourth step closely follows the second building block mentioned previously: sustainability. Food, water, a secure location to live, and renewable resources all are fundamental to a society; furthermore, to insure sustainability, a society should possess political stability and order, democracy, resilience, appropriately balanced demographics as related to gender and age, and good quality soil. While all of these may be difficult to obtain due to the consequences of the disastrous event which destroyed society, a community should attempt to possess all of these traits to be truly sustainable. A society should not only be able to sustain current members, but as addressed in Station Eleven, children and future inhabitants of the society must also be able to add to the society, and the population should continue to grow as long as the available resources permit it. Although in Station Eleven works had to preserve items from the past, such a task is not important; rather, the community should focus on creating new inventions and ideas to make their society even more practical than before. The fifth and final step in rebuilding society is to continuously work to make the society the best it can possibly be. In truth, the work of building a truly great society is never done; issues to solve will always exist, and problems to fix will always arise. Of the many items which will be left behind in a completely collapsed society, only one utmost important characteristic exists: “…the one thing you would need to preserve to reboot a civilization as quickly as possible and to accelerate that redevelopment would be the scientific method”.

Process, trial and error, and continually attempting to solve for new and greater ideas to add to a growing and expanding society are all integral parts in expanding a new world. Concepts such as fully green energy, new government systems, and organic communities can be used in a new society if desired, and even newer and brighter ideas could surface by new circumstances faced in the world. Working to rebuild society to its original state would be convenient; however, working towards a society which is superior to the old in more ways than one is truly the best any society could do. Reconstructing society after a catastrophic event would take considerable time, endurance, resilience, and persistence. To reestablish a feeling of normality and true sustainability amongst a group of people would be difficult, but most certainly not impossible. As shown in the society built in the Severn City Airport, human desire to possess a common culture and identity will always prevail and produce a society which desires to mimic the old; furthermore, a community may even be able to surpass the old in progress and produce something beautiful from tragedy.

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The Importance of Art to Society in Station Eleven

January 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

In Emily St John Mandel’s 2014 science fiction, dystopian novel Station Eleven, a majority of the world is deceased due to the Georgia-flu pandemic spread unknowingly by a passenger on a flight from Russia to The United States causing an apocalyptic world. All technology and modern inventions during have collapsed but, the Arts remain as an important part of society even after the fall of civilization. While the preserved, broken technologies remain only in abandoned houses and the Severn airport museum of civilization unable to be used, the arts were one of only a few pre-pandemic aspects actively preserved in the aftermath of the Georgia flu. In this novel the arts function as a measure of how stable society is. When the arts begin to diminish, society begins to fall and when the arts slowly begin to strengthen again, as does society.

This idea stated above is further supported in a research paper published by Princeton University entitled “How the Arts Impact Communities: An introduction to the literature on arts impact studies” written by Joshua Guetzkow, it is argued that the arts have a positive impact on the development of communities and society. This article acts as a lens to understand why members of the travelling symphony were able to collect themselves in the aftermath of the apocalypse and live thriving, productive lives. To explain why the arts help communities and society, Guetzkow uses three main pillars that can be found throughout Station Eleven. The first pillar in Guetzkow’s article argues that a direct involvement in the arts fosters the health of those involved in the arts by “Build[ing] interpersonal ties and […] increase[ing] opportunities for self-expression and enjoyment” (Guetzkow 3). The second pillar of Guetzkow’s article argues that a direct involvement in the arts allows for positive cognitive and psychological impacts through an “Increase[d] sense of individual efficacy and self-esteem [and an] Improve[d] […] sense of belonging or attachment to a community.” The third and final pillar in the article argues that amongst the aforementioned benefit’s, direct involvement in the arts improves one’s interpersonal skills by giving an “Enhanced ability to work with others and communicate ideas.” Each of these skills acquired from the incorporation of the arts in a person’s life are a key part to explaining why the amount and quality of the arts found in a society is a measure of societies competence. Simply put, the more art in society the more interpersonal ties, self-expression, sense of belonging, and communication there will be. Each of these things, provided by the arts, create a competent society especially in Station Eleven.

Initially in the first chapter of Mandels novel, the arts, specifically a rendition of Shakespeare’s play king Lear, are spoken of as an important aspect to the plot of the novel. Before the other character and the audience of the play realize Arthur is having a heart attack “there was a change in his face, he stumbled, he reached for a column but misjudged the distance and struck it hard with the side of his hand.” From one perspective this could be judged as Arthur ruining the play and in turn the arts being diminished as a whole. Following Arthurs death, and a decline in the arts because of his death and the ruined play, a mass death began. This is the first case of the amount and quality of art corresponding to the condition of society. This situation also relates to the first pillar of Guetzkow’s paper because when Arthur died the play ended and the other actors lost their way of self-expression then society went into a downward spiral into the apocalypse.

Chronologically, the next example happens towards the end of the novel but it is in a flashback that takes place at the beginning of the apocalypse. While sitting in the Severn-City airport the first winter after the epidemic, everything began to stop working. by the third day in the airport “all the vending machines in the airport were empty of snacks, and the battery on Tyler’s Nintendo console was dead.” Although video games are an unconventional form of art, time magazine argues that video games should be considered art because “They include many forms of traditional artistic expression—sculpture in the form of 3D modeling, illustration, narrative arcs, and dynamic music—that combine to create something that transcends any one type.” With the idea that video games are art in mind, Tyler’s Nintendo console dying is considered another type of are crashing as society crashes after the epidemic. When he found out his gaming console had died and wouldn’t be functional again “Tyler wept, inconsolable” as if he knew that society was worsening as the arts, his video game console, fell. Tyler’s loss of his video game console relates to the second pillar of Guetzkow’s paper because the loss of his video makes Tyler feel like he is losing his sense of belonging to his former life.

Another important case of the arts relating to how society is functioning happens when the novel fast forwards twenty years to the post plague world were once again people are beginning to live together in small groups or towns. The travelling Shakespearean company stops in a town named St. Deborah by the water to put on a performance. After their performance, once the traveling symphony left St. Deborah’s by the water they found a stow away twelve-year-old girl by the name of Eleanor. According to Eleanor she “was going to be [the prophets] next wife” (123) because “he had a dream where god told him he was to repopulate the earth” (123). Everyone in the symphony was disgusted by the prophet and kept asking “why would he marry a twelve-year-old” (123) By stowing away in the travelling symphonies caravan to get out of St. Deborah by the water, Eleanor escaped a life of being betrothed to someone she didn’t love. Therefore, the rekindling of the arts through the travelling symphony gave Eleanor her freedom and bettered society by setting the precedence that it is wrong for a twelve-year-old to marry a grown man.

Finally, at the end of the travelling symphony stays in the Severn City Airport for five weeks. During this time, life for the traveling symphony slowly begins to return back to the way it was pre-pandemic as members of the symphony began incorporating music into their daily activities as they had done before the Georgia flu changed their lives. One afternoon while still in the Airport “Garrett hummed a Brandenburg concerto while he worked in the gardens.” First, this quote is important because it shows the people in the symphony doing relaxing everyday chores that they couldn’t do post plague due to the condition of the world. Secondly, this quote shows the reemergence of music during these everyday chores meaning the world is beginning to heal. After garret was singing, Dolores was found “whisper[ing] fragments of Shakespeare to herself while she swept the concourse floor” (331) prior to living in the airport, while the symphony was moving around and camping in different places each night, they would never have swept. It is the “fragments of Shakespeare” Dolores was whispering that pulled her through the apocalypse into this time where she could be whispering them while sweeping like in her time before the flu hit. All of the people from the symphony coming together and doing different household chores while they were living in the airport is a blatant example of the third pillar of Guetzkow’s paper; as the arts were reintroduced into everyday activities the symphony began to work together more efficiently to take care of one another.

Overall, it is the amount of music, plays, paintings, and all other forms of art in Station Eleven that measures how competent society is. In the beginning of the Georgia flu outbreak art began to fall as society did. However, when the symphony began travelling and spreading the arts, society began to revive itself by reverting back to its old ways while also adopting new customs.

Works cited

Melissinos, Chris. “Video Games Are One of the Most Important Art Forms in History” N.d. Web. 22 Sept 2015.

Guetzkow, Joshua. “How the Arts Impact Communities: An introduction to the literature on arts impact studies” N.d. 7 June 2002.

Mandel, Emily St. John. Station Eleven. Subterranean Press. 2014. Print

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The Connection of Station Eleven to Concepts of Gender Equality, Human Rights and World Religion

January 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

Station Eleven connects to concepts of Social Justice such as gender equality, human rights and world religion.

Examples of the connection between Station Eleven and gender equality can be seen in many ways that those who identify as male are often the aggressors in conflicts with those who identify as female. This can be seen between Miranda, Arthur Leander’s first wife, and her boyfriend Pablo. Pablo is a struggling artist who is jealous of how Miranda can create better art in the form of the graphic novel Station Eleven and how she maintains a job that she seems to enjoy. This leads to him brooding around the apartment, not caring enough about Miranda to even attempt getting a job to pay for the apartment that they are supposed to be renting together. In addition to this, his paintings aren’t selling so he isn’t bringing any income to the partnership. Pablo doesn’t care for Miranda’s graphic novel, the art project in which she is pouring most of her time and effort. He even goes so far to accuse her of infidelity with her boss at work specifically because she works so much. Then he gets angry when she mentions that she works so much because they need the money.

Another example of inequality among genders can be seen with Arthur Leander’s actions in his various marriages to Miranda, Elizabeth, and Lydia. Arthur leaves Miranda for Elizabeth while cheating on Miranda. Miranda suspects that Arthur is cheating on her when she notices how Elizabeth is constantly near Arthur at parties and other meetings and events. But the first time that Arthur’s cheating becomes real for Miranda is when she finds Elizabeth passed out drunk on her couch. Arthur ends up leaving Elizabeth too, even after they have a son together. His next wife is Lydia, an actress with whom he costarred. Elizabeth takes her son, Tyler to live in Jerusalem. Arthur occasionally visits. Miranda continues living independently. Arthur visits her rarely, he remains very distant and uncaring. Another way in which Arthur seems to have more power than the women in his life is when he sends letters to Victoria and begins to treat her like an object instead of a person. But Victoria manages to expose him when she publishes his letters in a book for everyone to see what he thought of each of his wives/marriages.

In Station Eleven women also have less power than men. The prophet can travel (when everyone else has severe traveling restrictions) and he can choose women to marry because he is a man. He controls these future brides (some of which are children) by threatening, killing or maiming the people the women love. The prophet manipulates them, and they return to the city of St. Deborah by the Water to marry him. Because he’s a man he tries to force a young actress (Alexandra) to stay when he has demanded the Symphony to leave. Eleanor, another girl who is being forced to marry the prophet risks her life by escaping secretly with the Symphony. The prophet also raids a village and takes one of the women unwillingly to ensure that he can leave without being harmed. When she refuses to marry him, he shoots her and leaves her to bleed out on the side of the road.

Something that doesn’t entirely fit into the category of gender equality, but is equally important, is sexuality. Homosexuality is brought up several times throughout Station Eleven. In the beginning of the book, Clark thinks back to previous sexual relationships with men. In the middle and end of the book Clark thinks about a specific boyfriend named Robert before the collapse of civilization. Sexuality doesn’t exactly connect to gender equality, but it is important to note that Station Eleven includes diversity among the sexuality of its characters.

Station Eleven connects to human rights in several important ways. First is the way that many people are denied their essential rights to food, water, and shelter. An example of this is Jeevan stocking up on food and water before the collapse. Another example is people frantically looking for shelter. The need for food and water can also be seen when prophet raided villages to get food and water. In one village, after the prophet took the food and water, he also took one of the women from the village to be his wife. Basic human rights are blatantly disregarded by the prophet. With an iron fist the prophet rules the city (St. Deborah by the Water) where he bases his cult. He doesn’t let people leave the city. It is difficult for people to enter unless they have something he wants. The Symphony is allowed in because they entertain his citizens. This entertainment is like the bread that the ancient Romans gave to their citizens to keep them pacified. His control of the people and manipulation of them compares to a dictatorship. This is seen in the way that the prophet is the ultimate authority, and no one has the power to change his laws or remove him from power. He also doesn’t allow people to create an infrastructure that would allow them to keep orderly leadership. The prophet knows that this would encourage rebellion; he could be overthrown. He indoctrinates and terrifies his people into submission. He is absolute in his power. He marries multiple young women without their consent; no one resists him. Other men are willing to be part of his army and not protect women. However, there is an example of a basic human right is protected. A woman is raped at the Severn City Airport. The man who committed the crime is thrown into the woods with no supplies where he should die alone and in terror. While the law in America no longer states that the punishment for the rapist is death, I believe this punishment and even castration to be fitting.

Religion connects to Station Eleven with the obvious connection of the prophet twisting the words of the Bible to enforce his dictatorship over the people and his reach into the other villages that have formed after the devastation of the plague. The prophet uses words from Revelation, specifically Revelation 18:8 which references the destruction of Babylon. It seems that the author was trying to draw a comparison between the virus that wiped out most of humanity in Station Eleven to the plagues that are spoken of in Revelation that will wipe out Babylon. However, to me, this seems to be an odd analogy. Babylon in the Bible often is the oppressor of the Hebrews While it is likely that people who died oppressed people, it is doubtful that all of them did. Perhaps, a way to deepen this connection between Babylon in Revelation (in the Bible) and the virus victims in Station Eleven would be to depict those who died as oppressive. If we decide that the people who died from the plague oppressed others than the survivors can believe the plague was helpful not harmful. Another mention of the Bible is when the prophet mentions how the virus has effectively reset the earth so that only the pure remain. The author tries to compare this to Noah’s ark and the destruction of sinful people. This comparison doesn’t work because the plague randomly killed people. People were not killed based on their actions and motives on earth. Also, Noah did not become a dictator and he stayed married to his one and only wife. Given that this is a narrative story the “important” characters survived, but there is never a reason given as to why that would support the prophet’s theory of the virus cleansing Earth. Most of the characters seem to survive simply because they are lucky. Kirsten and Jeevan are extremely lucky because the Georgian Flu is airborne and begins spreading on a flight from Moscow. Kirsten and Jeevan both come into close contact with Arthur Leander who died from the Georgian Flu. Jeevan gives Arthur CPR and miraculously does not get sick. If the virus is a cleansing agent, it would make sense that these two are spared as they are protagonists, but this is doubtful as neither of them wonder about why they survived. The matter of them being so near to a man dying of the Georgian Flu and not becoming infected leads me to believe the author forgot that they should have died. What was the author thinking when Kirsten is more concerned about a clean dress than her own brush with death?

Social Justice connects to topics of history such as colonization in Africa, climate change, and the Haitian Revolution. Social Justice also connects to literature in books like, In the Time of the Butterflies, A Long Way Gone and Othello.

The Haitian Revolution and Othello both show evidence of gender inequality. In the Haitian Revolution, when the government was being formed, women could not vote or make any decisions. This was likely a remainder of France’s influence over their old colony. This is because women could not make any decisions in France at that time either. The first country to allow women to vote was New Zealand in 1893. This is interesting because New Zealand, like Haiti was a colony. However, New Zealand was a colony of Britain while Haiti was colonized by the French. Perhaps the difference in laws regarding women’s rights comes from the colonizers. In Othello, gender inequality can be seen in the gender roles throughout the story. Women are expected to be submissive to the men. The men are in power over the women. Desdemona, the main female character in the story, follows these rules almost perfectly. Emilia, the other main female character, does not obey these societal rules. Both women are dead by the end of the story. Both died because of their views on the way that women should live in relation to men. Desdemona dies because she does not fight back as Othello chokes her, submitting to him. Emilia dies because she speaks up about Iago, her husband, and his part in the conspiracy to kill Othello. She speaks against Iago, Iago kills her after she reveals that he masterminded the whole plot. The audience is left to decide which woman was right. The story ends with both women dead for taking opposite sides on a conflict that affected their lives and the lives of all women in the story.

Othello and the Haitian Revolution connect to each other in regard to gender equality. Italian women were not allowed to vote. This means that Desdemona and Emilia would not have been able to change their circumstances if they did not like them. Because the environment in Haiti was similar to Italy, with women not having the right to vote, a similar story could have happened if Shakespeare had set his story there.

Human rights are another important issue of social justice. Human rights were ignored or shattered in the book A Long Way Gone. Climate change in today’s world is another issue. A Long Way Gone depicts a true story of Ishmael Beah whose village is destroyed by rebels. He is forced to be a child soldier. Eventually he gets to the United States for a United Nations Conference where he finds a new life. Ishmael is set free from the oppressive political web that captured his home. Along this journey, most of his basic, fundamental human rights are stripped away. He does not have shelter and he can’t find safety. He runs from the rebels who continue to chase him. His search for essential food and water is practically impossible and he is hungry and thirsty for long stretches of time. It is only towards the end of the book that his basic human rights are met; he finally has access to food, water, and shelter.

Human rights can also be seen in the way that climate change is handled in today’s world. Human rights in the book A Long Way Gone were ignored. The essential need to eat, drink, and exist under some type of shelter is more important than our choices to handle climate change. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still rights ignored by national and international political structures. Rights are restricted by governments when governments issue laws that force people to live in different ways to combat or mitigate climate change. Creating carbon taxes and cap-and-trade systems would cost businesses profit and revenue. They would have to create higher carbon emissions to meet the wants and needs of their consumers and the world as a whole. In these systems there is also the question of who would receive the large amounts of money that are generated. Forcing countries to pay for climate change depending on where they are located in the world would severely limit the economies of these countries forced to pay. This would be detrimental if a large-scale war broke out. Countries forced to pay for adaption would likely not be able to put up any resistance to invasion. They also would not be able to aid other countries that might not be as militaristically advanced. Another way that rights are limited within climate change happens when the governments force countries into sustainable development. This could be especially destructive for countries in the global south because they have not reached the modern, western ideas of development. Forcing them to get their energy only from sustainable sources would change their ways of life and potentially take away important cultural aspects. It would also create a taxing drain on their resources, as sources of sustainable energy are generally expensive. Forcing the countries in the global north to pay for the sustainable energy for the global south is unfair. It would take away the rights are choices of the global north.

Religion can be seen within both the colonization of Africa and the book In the Time of the Butterflies. In the colonization of Africa, the people of Africa followed indigenous religions like voodoo. The colonizers of Africa were primarily Catholic and were in Africa to civilize the people. Native Africans were civilized through schools, places where people could get medical treatment, and the spreading of Catholicism. The people of Africa resisted the Catholics. They refused to practice Catholicism. They also blended their native religions, like voodoo, with Catholicism. They did this so that they could continue to practice even some semblance of voodoo. It is interesting that the two religions, Catholicism and voodoo, blended so well. Modern-day voodoo has similar doctrines to Catholicism such as praying to the saints to be able to pray to God. There are also many figures within voodoo that represent various saints and angels.

The book In the Time of the Butterflies depicts Catholicism as well, with it being the official religion of the Dominican Republic. Trujillo uses Catholicism to deepen his control over the Dominican Republic as the dictator. He limited the power of the Catholic church but used its authority over the lives of the citizens. He was able to control the people with fear. Usurping divinity from the Catholic church led people to consider him a god-like figure. This gave him extreme power over the Dominican Republic. The people of the Dominican Republic were harmed by his abuse.

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254

A Review Of Station Eleven Novel

January 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

“Survival is Insufficient”

Upon first consideration, I, an incoming freshman from Memphis, Tennessee, have nothing in common with Kirsten Raymonde, the protagonist of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. Kirsten Raymonde perseveres while her world crumbles around her thanks to the Georgia Flu; she watches worldly concerns, such as fame, money, and luxury, become obsolete and replaced by the necessity to survive. But a life based on survival alone is lacking. This thirst for more is why, in Station Eleven, the Traveling Symphony forms. In a world defined by loss, Kirsten and the other members of the Traveling Symphony remind people that there is beauty and richness in life when you strive for thriving as opposed to surviving. This lesson, however, does not stop with the survivors in Station Eleven; surviving at the University of Tennessee is not enough. I want to prosper and succeed.

Soon enough, my life will be drastically different as I move from Memphis, Tennessee, my home for the past eighteen years, to Knoxville, Tennessee. I will leave my parents’ house for a dorm room to live with someone who is not family. I will swap homecooked meals for dining hall food, and I will transition from a small private school to a large public university. Admittedly starting college is far less life-altering than surviving a pandemic, but the motto “Survival is Insufficient” still stands. I can easily survive my freshman year. I am mature enough to wake up, eat, go to class, exercise, study, and sleep without my parents telling what to do and when to do it, but I would not be truly living if my life were defined by these events. If anything, I’d be a “high-functioning sleepwalker” (St. John Mandel 163) as Dahlia in Station Eleven might say. I want to be able to reflect on college and remember something more meaningful than just my classes – I want to reflect on genuine relationships, spontaneous adventures, stimulating conversations, and teaching mistakes. The Traveling Symphony exists to remind the survivors that art enriches life past survival alone, and as I transition to life as a college student, I will prioritize the opportunities that turn the University of Tennessee from a school to a home. First off, I completed Ignite Outdoors; I chose to participate in Ignite Outdoors because of I enjoy hiking, camping, and paddle boarding and figured that it’d be a unique way to meet likeminded people. I arrived knowing no one and insecure in my outdoors abilities; just like Kirsten, I was alone and anxious, but that quickly faded. I camped, hiked, and spoke to my team for hours; we survived together, and as Ignite continued, we progressed from strangers to friends. Ignite is special to me because it gave me a group friends who enriched my experience as a UT student before even my first day of class. Ignite was the first of many steps of immersing myself into UT, and I firsthand know the benefits. I dedicated time and energy to participating and Ignite, and in return, I received memories, friends, experience, and confidence to further involve myself in UT and the outdoors program. Once I arrive on campus, there will be many new ways to involve myself: Greek life, clubs, classes, student ministries, volunteer work, and more. These opportunities, if I involve and apply myself, will be what enhances my UT experience past the point of survival alone. I will have a purpose and a place at a University that over 20,000 people call home, and not everyone can say that. Though my situation is very different from Kirsten Raymonde’s in Station Eleven, if I follow her example by being brave, open, and purposeful and refusing to settle for survival, I will do more than scrape by at the University of Tennessee. I will thrive.

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Art as a Measure of Society’s Competence in Station Eleven

March 29, 2019 by Essay Writer

In Emily St John Mandel’s 2014 science fiction, dystopian novel Station Eleven, a majority of the world is deceased due to the Georgia-flu pandemic spread unknowingly by a passenger on a flight from Russia to The United States causing an apocalyptic world. All technology and modern inventions during have collapsed but, the Arts remain as an important part of society even after the fall of civilization. While the preserved, broken technologies remain only in abandoned houses and the Severn airport museum of civilization unable to be used, the arts were one of only a few pre-pandemic aspects actively preserved in the aftermath of the Georgia flu. In this novel the arts function as a measure of how stable society is. When the arts begin to diminish, society begins to fall and when the arts slowly begin to strengthen again, as does society.

This idea stated above is further supported in a research paper published by Princeton University entitled “How the Arts Impact Communities: An introduction to the literature on arts impact studies” written by Joshua Guetzkow, it is argued that the arts have a positive impact on the development of communities and society. This article acts as a lens to understand why members of the travelling symphony were able to collect themselves in the aftermath of the apocalypse and live thriving, productive lives. To explain why the arts help communities and society, Guetzkow uses three main pillars that can be found throughout Station Eleven. The first pillar in Guetzkow’s article argues that a direct involvement in the arts fosters the health of those involved in the arts by “Build[ing] interpersonal ties and […] increase[ing] opportunities for self-expression and enjoyment” (Guetzkow 3). The second pillar of Guetzkow’s article argues that a direct involvement in the arts allows for positive cognitive and psychological impacts through an “Increase[d] sense of individual efficacy and self-esteem [and an] Improve[d] […] sense of belonging or attachment to a community.” The third and final pillar in the article argues that amongst the aforementioned benefit’s, direct involvement in the arts improves one’s interpersonal skills by giving an “Enhanced ability to work with others and communicate ideas.” Each of these skills acquired from the incorporation of the arts in a person’s life are a key part to explaining why the amount and quality of the arts found in a society is a measure of societies competence. Simply put, the more art in society the more interpersonal ties, self-expression, sense of belonging, and communication there will be. Each of these things, provided by the arts, create a competent society especially in Station Eleven.

Initially in the first chapter of Mandels novel, the arts, specifically a rendition of Shakespeare’s play king Lear, are spoken of as an important aspect to the plot of the novel. Before the other character and the audience of the play realize Arthur is having a heart attack “there was a change in his face, he stumbled, he reached for a column but misjudged the distance and struck it hard with the side of his hand.” From one perspective this could be judged as Arthur ruining the play and in turn the arts being diminished as a whole. Following Arthurs death, and a decline in the arts because of his death and the ruined play, a mass death began. This is the first case of the amount and quality of art corresponding to the condition of society. This situation also relates to the first pillar of Guetzkow’s paper because when Arthur died the play ended and the other actors lost their way of self-expression then society went into a downward spiral into the apocalypse.

Chronologically, the next example happens towards the end of the novel but it is in a flashback that takes place at the beginning of the apocalypse. While sitting in the Severn-City airport the first winter after the epidemic, everything began to stop working. by the third day in the airport “all the vending machines in the airport were empty of snacks, and the battery on Tyler’s Nintendo console was dead.” Although video games are an unconventional form of art, time magazine argues that video games should be considered art because “They include many forms of traditional artistic expression—sculpture in the form of 3D modeling, illustration, narrative arcs, and dynamic music—that combine to create something that transcends any one type.” With the idea that video games are art in mind, Tyler’s Nintendo console dying is considered another type of are crashing as society crashes after the epidemic. When he found out his gaming console had died and wouldn’t be functional again “Tyler wept, inconsolable” as if he knew that society was worsening as the arts, his video game console, fell. Tyler’s loss of his video game console relates to the second pillar of Guetzkow’s paper because the loss of his video makes Tyler feel like he is losing his sense of belonging to his former life.

Another important case of the arts relating to how society is functioning happens when the novel fast forwards twenty years to the post plague world were once again people are beginning to live together in small groups or towns. The travelling Shakespearean company stops in a town named St. Deborah by the water to put on a performance. After their performance, once the traveling symphony left St. Deborah’s by the water they found a stow away twelve-year-old girl by the name of Eleanor. According to Eleanor she “was going to be [the prophets] next wife” (123) because “he had a dream where god told him he was to repopulate the earth” (123). Everyone in the symphony was disgusted by the prophet and kept asking “why would he marry a twelve-year-old” (123) By stowing away in the travelling symphonies caravan to get out of St. Deborah by the water, Eleanor escaped a life of being betrothed to someone she didn’t love. Therefore, the rekindling of the arts through the travelling symphony gave Eleanor her freedom and bettered society by setting the precedence that it is wrong for a twelve-year-old to marry a grown man.

Finally, at the end of the travelling symphony stays in the Severn City Airport for five weeks. During this time, life for the traveling symphony slowly begins to return back to the way it was pre-pandemic as members of the symphony began incorporating music into their daily activities as they had done before the Georgia flu changed their lives. One afternoon while still in the Airport “Garrett hummed a Brandenburg concerto while he worked in the gardens.” First, this quote is important because it shows the people in the symphony doing relaxing everyday chores that they couldn’t do post plague due to the condition of the world. Secondly, this quote shows the reemergence of music during these everyday chores meaning the world is beginning to heal. After garret was singing, Dolores was found “whisper[ing] fragments of Shakespeare to herself while she swept the concourse floor” (331) prior to living in the airport, while the symphony was moving around and camping in different places each night, they would never have swept. It is the “fragments of Shakespeare” Dolores was whispering that pulled her through the apocalypse into this time where she could be whispering them while sweeping like in her time before the flu hit. All of the people from the symphony coming together and doing different household chores while they were living in the airport is a blatant example of the third pillar of Guetzkow’s paper; as the arts were reintroduced into everyday activities the symphony began to work together more efficiently to take care of one another.

Overall, it is the amount of music, plays, paintings, and all other forms of art in Station Eleven that measures how competent society is. In the beginning of the Georgia flu outbreak art began to fall as society did. However, when the symphony began travelling and spreading the arts, society began to revive itself by reverting back to its old ways while also adopting new customs.

Works cited

Melissinos, Chris. “Video Games Are One of the Most Important Art Forms in History” N.d. Web. 22 Sept 2015.

Guetzkow, Joshua. “How the Arts Impact Communities: An introduction to the literature on arts impact studies” N.d. 7 June 2002.

Mandel, Emily St. John. Station Eleven. Subterranean Press. 2014. Print

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Internal Journeys of the Characters of Station Eleven

January 8, 2019 by Essay Writer

Station Eleven includes a vast number of key characters and storylines, focusing on both the internal and external battles these characters face. Some characters, such as Kirsten, Jeevan, and Clark, long for community after a life of disarray, sadness, or lack of belonging. Others, like Miranda, realize their life was not what they believed and come to reality with how they truly feel. However, characters like Tyler find refuge in illogical explanation for the pandemic. Regardless of the differences, all of the characters changed—some for the worse, others for the better—as their journey progressed through the challenges of overcoming an apocalypse.

Kirsten, who plays a pivotal role as the central character of Station Eleven, gives a unique perspective due to the fact that she remembers very little before the Georgia Flu. Before the flu occurred, Kirsten was a child actor and there is evidence of her being lonely and independent. A few years after the pandemic, Kirsten lost her brother and found herself alone once again. However, a year after being on her own, she joins the Traveling Symphony and finally finds herself as part of a community for the first time in her life. The key difference in Kirsten’s internal transformation is that now, twenty years after the flu, she longs for companionship. Before, she felt indifferent with being an outsider and only associating with a few people. The change is most notable when August and Kirsten are stranded for the first time without the Symphony and Kirsten thinks, “Hell is the absence of people you long for” (144). Compared to before when Kirsten was used to being alone, now she cannot imagine a life without her community.

Like Kirsten, Jeevan also offers a unique perspective because his internal journey was a constant rollercoaster before the flu even occurred. At the beginning of the novel, it is clear to the reader that Jeevan cares deeply about people due to his efforts of trying to save Arthur and also learning that he is studying to be a paramedic. However, before the flu, Jeevan was a paparazzo who was only in it for the money and had no shame about taking scandalous pictures of people, like Miranda, for his own personal gain before quitting that life forever. He experiences difficulty with having healthy relationships with others. His girlfriend, Laura, does not treat him well and he avoids previous colleagues whenever possible. When the flu hits, he goes straight to his brother’s place and stays there for as long as possible, not wanting to go out into the new world. However, he eventually does go out and settles in a town called McKinley. He finds community there, becomes the doctor, and even has a wife and child, whom he honors his brother with the name. Although before and after the flu, Jeevan has a continuous profound care for others, the key change is that he learns to go out and find what he longs for—which, like Kirsten, is community, love, and the ability to no longer fear the judgment of others.

Miranda dies in the first few days of the Georgia Flu, but her death on a beach in Malaysia is a poetic end to her internal journey. The key change for Miranda was that she finally accepted that she belonged where she was. Before the flu, she spent her life searching for happiness in other people like Pablo and Arthur, but “she knows she’ll never belong here no matter how hard she tries” (92). When she returns to her work at Neptune Logistics and moves up the ranks, she finds she “almost always loves her life but is often lonely” (107). She draws her comics in hotels at night, which is what she truly loves. In her final moments, she imagines the Station Eleven comic books and how her death is like waking up from a dream. This comparison is Miranda accepting that the life she was pretending to live was like a dream—she did not belong there.

Clark Thompson lived a somewhat insignificant life before the plague occurred. His job was mundane, he attended superficial dinners, but he valued his friendship with Arthur. Despite the friendship he shared, he can’t help “thinking about the terrible gulf of years between eighteen and fifty” (112). The key change for Clark is that the plague gives him a purpose, and changes his attitude from one of a realist to one of a dreamer. His purpose becomes the Museum of Civilization and he is now fascinated with the idea that life as we knew it is possible one day. He values his relationship with people very deeply and shares his hope and optimism with others.

Probably the most drastic internal journey occurs within Tyler, Arthur Leander’s son. Before the pandemic, he is a young, innocent boy who enjoys playing his Nintendo and longs for his father. However, he begins to transform after the flu occurs when he reads the Book of Revelations and begins quoting his mother by saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” Tyler ends up becoming an evangelical, polygamous, cult leader with a ruthless reputation that stems hundreds of miles away from his town of Saint Deborah. Despite this, there is evidence that Tyler still longs for life as it used to be. He keeps the Station Eleven comics that his father gave him and names his dog after the one in the books.

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