Themes Of Death And Survival In Station Eleven By Emily St. John Mandel

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven was published in September 2014. The novel was a National Book Award Finalist and a Pen/Faulkner Award. The novel starts and ends with Arthur Leander’s death on the stage from a heart attack. Arthur got married three times and had a son named Tyler from his second wife. After Arthur’s death a world crisis happened called the Georgia flu, which is a national disaster that almost killed every human on Earth. In order to survive others death was necessary. Upon close reading, a number of themes emerge from the Station Eleven; however, the primary theme is death and survival.

It all started with Arthur’s death on stage in front of everybody. Mandel said: “In the lobby, the people gathered at the bar clinked their glasses together. “To Arthur,” they said. They drank for a few more minutes and then went their separate ways in the storm. ” In this scene, this quote comes in the end of the second chapter, after Arthur Leander’s onstage death during a production of King Lear. This saddened reaction shows the way a single death affects a network of people, even those only known peripherally or through one’s profession. However, Arthur’s death brought nothing but sadness to everybody in the theater and also to his relatives and close ones, but what they don’t realize that the worse has not come yet where all there loved ones will be gone before they see it. They drink to Arthur’s life, and then separate. However, after they all went their separate ways it was an indication of the mass death that is coming. After the post-collapsed world people started to get up on their feet and create and build a better future to our next generation, because they are the face of our future. Dieter said: “They’d performed more modern plays sometimes in the first few years, but what was startling, what no one would have anticipated, was that audiences seemed to prefer Shakespeare to their other theatrical offerings”. From this quote we understand that Dieter and his crew specialize in shakespearean. However, this quote in part explores the question of what art is preserved, since Dieter indicates that people want to preserve and experience what is the best about the world, which in his opinion seems to be the very best art. Not only Shakespeare isn’t the only art that survives, it’s significant that some masterpieces are able to make it past the collapse and provide continuity for human creativity and progress despite the seeming failure of the rest of civilization.

Everyday being alive is a risk where there is always a risk being alive and if you are more alive, there is a risk. The conductor speaks: “Being alive is a risk”. The theme of survival and death in the novel: “Being alive is a risk. ” This line rings true after the collapse, since the world is extremely dangerous and not ruled by law and order. But Arthur Leander’s pre-flu death and the novel’s exploration of timelines before the collapse seems to suggest that the statement applies to the human condition in general. Every day we go to sleep and we don’t know if we are going to wake up the next day or not, but it is something we don’t think about on daily bases but it can happen any time any day any moment to anybody. Everyone dies sometime, the world is extremely fragile, and part of being alive as a human means constantly being exposed to some sort of risk. In every human there is survival instincts, which means a wild side where the body won’t go to it unless your life is at risk. Kristen said: ‘If you are the light, if your enemies are darkness, then there’s nothing that you cannot justify. There’s nothing you can’t survive, because there’s nothing that you will not do’. Kirsten’s point is essentially that if the prophet believes that he is the light, that his enemies are the darkness, then there is nothing that he cannot justify to himself in order to further his ends and his survival, no matter how terrible (like marrying young girls or kidnapping and killing innocent actors) his actions might be. Kristen meant that people are willing to lie, kill, fraud, rape, and kidnap after the whole world collapse for there own sake to make them self feel good about them self and be ignorant about others or they gave up on the whole world where they see no hope in the human race at all (like everybody is dead for them).

Such an argument expresses the novel’s critical exploration of blind or fanatical faith, which can easily turn dangerous and has the potential to be used in the justification of despicable acts. Kristen always had a motto of Symphony: “Survival is insufficient”. In this motto Kristen means survival itself is not enough. Meaning that your mind goes into a state where you can’t get out of it and every moment you spend trying to survive you are carrying with you till your soul goes to the afterlife.

This novel has many themes and meanings, it also starts with Arthur’s death and end with Arthur’s death. Overall, this novel shows what our past generation sacrificed for us and they been through to give us the life where are living at the moment. 


Read more