Internal Journeys of the Characters of Station Eleven
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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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, […]