Station Eleven Analysis
by Emily St. John Mandel

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Station Eleven Analysis

The post-apocalyptic world that Emily St. John Mandel presents in her 2014 novel Station Eleven can be understood as a reflection of the Western world's current anxieties about various elements of modern existence. As well, the novel can be read as a humanist paean to art and culture that illustrates the value of voices like Shakespeare's to individuals whose lives have been reduced to the experience of mere survival. No matter which analysis makes the most sense on a personal level, Station Eleven presents to readers many a reminder to be grateful for the conveniences and the many positive elements of our current lives.

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In the novel, characters like actor Arthur Leander reveal their worst qualities at painfully privileged events like his dinner party in Los Angeles, where he demonstrates obvious affection for his lover in the company of his wife. It is during cringeworthy moments like this one that readers can reflect on their own relationships and their own lives at home in direct comparison to the ones presented by celebrities and the paparazzi. Thanks to advancements in technology like social media, anxieties inspired by this kind of voyeurism continue to climb and to impact lives in a negative way, yet the reality of a dinner party like Arthur's demonstrates that the truth of such lives are not as dazzling as they may appear.

As well, an obsession around wellness that has characterized the last decade is undercut by the description of the Georgia flu, a swine-flu mutation that wipes out most of humanity. No matter how wealthy nor how clear-complexioned you may be nor how easy your childhood may have been, you could fall victim too, to the deadly virus that decimates civilization in Station Eleven. Such a reality check as this one serves as a reminder to readers that shallow pursuits may seem worthwhile now, but circumstances can change suddenly; perhaps now might be a good time to explore what is really meaningful, before it is too late.

The Traveling Symphony, a Shakespearean theater company and orchestra that provides the nearest expression of art to the survivors of...

(The entire section is 530 words.)