Station Eleven

by Emily St. John Mandel

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Chapters 48–52 Summary and Analysis

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Last Updated on January 22, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1243

Chapter 48

Kirsten wakes from a bad dream that August has died. August consoles her, and they walk down to the beach and cut each other's hair, then walk on into Severn City. There, they see Sayid, looking filthy and bruised and being driven forward by two armed men. August shoots one; Kirsten throws her knife at the other, and then they rush to Sayid, who says the prophet is following with a dog.

One of the armed men is still alive; he says that the Symphony had something that belonged to the prophet: the stowaway girl, Eleanor. Sayid was taken in return.

Sayid tells them the clarinet got away, but Dieter is dead. They had been kidnapped and chloroformed in the woods, but Dieter never woke up, so the clarinet was taken to replace him.

Chapter 49

The clarinet hated Shakespeare and, a year before she was kidnapped, had been considering writing her own play. The "suicide note" the others found had been the play’s opening lines.

When the others were reading this note, the clarinet was waking in the forest with bound hands; the gunmen were discussing which route the Symphony might take to the airport. She heard them telling Sayid that they had been taken in exchange for Eleanor; turning, she saw Dieter and that he was dead.

The prophet told his men to let the clarinet sleep. When she next opened her eyes, the men were sleeping too. She could hear Sayid talking to a boy who said he was not really a true believer but that many of them were, as well as that the prophet sometimes came on patrols. The boy was sure they could pick off the Symphony one by one, even though the Symphony had thirty members.

The clarinet managed to unbind her hands and ankles because Sayid, noticing what she was doing, kept the boy distracted. The clarinet ran into the night, remembering what the gunmen had been saying, and met the Symphony's rear scouts, telling them they needed to change their route. This message caused the Symphony to veer off course, resulting in August and Kirsten being unable to find them.

Chapter 50

Sayid, Kirsten, and August keep walking, listening for the prophet's dog and following signs for the airport. As they near it, Kirsten thinks she hears the dog again, so they help Sayid off the road into the woods and hide in the bushes. Eventually they hear footsteps: the dog is approaching, and a man asks whether Luli sees something. She barks and stares directly at Kirsten, and a man with a crossbow shoots a warning arrow, telling her to stand up with her hands in the air.

To save Dieter and Sayid, she does stand, and the prophet, recognizing her as the actress who played Titania, tells her to kneel. She asks his name; he declines to give it and asks where the Symphony is, but Kirsten does not know. She tells him Sayid and August were killed that morning.

In the distance, horses approach. Neither Kirsten nor the prophet know who is riding them. The prophet says that he and his people are the light "over the darkness of the undersea," a word that strikes Kirsten because it is used by Dr. Eleven. On a hunch, she quotes from Dr. Eleven back to the prophet, but his expression is unreadable until, finally, he begins to answer her.

Suddenly, a shot rings out, and Kirsten realizes the boy who was speaking to Sayid, who does not quite believe, has shot the prophet in the head. August then shoots the other two men, leaving just Kirsten and the boy, who shoots himself in the head. The next moment, the Symphony's forward scouts appear on horseback.

In the prophet's bag they find a New Testament and a folded piece of paper: the first page of Station Eleven. Kirsten wonders who the prophet was and whether he remembered everything. She puts the folded page in his hand.

Chapter 51

Sayid, August, and Kirsten continue toward the airport, Luli following them. In the airport, they are greeted by Charlie, who takes Kirsten to her tent.

There are now 320 people living in the airport, all in tents for privacy. Kirsten asks after a tattooist—she has killed another man and needs another tattoo—and then tells Charlie she has been thinking of a nursery they once saw in an abandoned house, where, strangely, there was no dust on the miniature tea set and the room had felt haunted.

That night they play music, and Kirsten thinks of Dieter.

Later, she encounters Clark sitting on a bench. He knows her name and offers to take her to the air traffic control tower, knowing she has an interest in electricity. As they climb, Clark says he has read the interview she gave Diallo and would like to talk to her about it tomorrow. First, however, he beckons Kirsten to the telescope and tells her to look to the south. Through it, she sees pinpricks of light: a town lit up with electricity.

Chapter 52

As Kirsten stares at the electric light, Charlie and August tell Sayid about the concert being played that night. Meanwhile, a thousand miles to the south, Jeevan is baking bread. He asks his son, Frank, to go and see if his mother is hungry. When Frank returns to the table with his mother, Jeevan thinks he looks like his namesake.

At the same moment, the rest of the Symphony are arriving at the airport.


These chapters represent the climax of the book, as the title of the section implies: in this part, the reader finally encounters the prophet in action. Kirsten and August, meanwhile, encounter physical danger here as they rarely have in the preceding sections. Although it has been mentioned that Kirsten has killed men before, this has been an informed trait until now. In these chapters, the ever-present danger of the world in which Kirsten and August live becomes clearer. It is a world in which death and killing are facts of life, something which is easier for those like Kirsten, who remember little of the time before, to grasp, although killing still leaves Kirsten in a state of shock. Younger people, such as the boy who travels with the prophet, find death simpler. Having killed his prophet, the boy does not hesitate to kill himself; he values life differently because of his experiences.

Kirsten's encounter with the prophet is, in the end, a very human one. When she makes his acquaintance again, she recognizes that his dog is indeed named after Dr. Eleven's dog. She tries to connect with him through this shared point of reference, just as she has previously connected with others through the love, or imagined love, of Star Trek. Ultimately, however, the interplay is anticlimactic; the prophet is killed before he and Kirsten can properly talk, and in death, he is a small person, not a grandiose religious figure but simply a young man around Kirsten's age. As she sees the prophet in death, however, Kirsten recognizes that while they each put the material to different uses, both she and the prophet have relied upon Dr. Eleven as a central text around which their post-pandemic worlds revolved. As such, she places the folded-up page of the prophet's comic in his hand as if it were a religious text—which, in a way, it has been to both of them.

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