Station Eleven ~ Emily St. John Mandel

“- not only to bring the light, to spread the light, but to be the light. We were saved because we are the light. We are the pure (60.)”

As a student who has a strong passion for reading, I usually come across many many books. There are some that I may adore, while others, I may question. While reading Station Eleven by; Emily St. John Mandel, I was introduced to an apocalyptic story where “survival is insufficient”. In Emily St. John Mandel’s post-apocalyptic story she created a new world that took all of the things we cherished and taken for granted. Within this new world, she constructed new friendships and relationships with different characters while damaging and destroying the connections that they had made along the way. Mandel wrote a story that connected the modern world to her world and connected how us humans feel, think, and try to survive in our everyday lives. Even if we’re not sick with a Georgian Flu, endurance can be difficult at times and we all know it.

I remember in one classic dystopian novel that I read this year in English, Fahrenheit 451 by; Ray Bradbury the main character had struggled with many things to simply try and stay alive, or to at least ‘feel alive’. The main character Montag simply had wanted to preserve the banned books and to keep the things that had meant something to him to continue in existence. In connection to Station Eleven, one significant character, Clark had done something similar. To preserve the past and the world that he had once lived in and had taken part in, Clark had created the; Museum of Civilization’. Which was located in the abandoned SkyMiles Lounge in a part of the airport that he had currently been living at. As I as a reader, noticed these similarities between the two novels, I began to notice the similarities between the characters and myself.

As we go about our lives trying to find our reason to this world, trying to find our calling. Each and every one of us is finding different adventures and experiencing different perspectives. We are thinking about new things and even if we don’t realize it, trying to find different ways to survive in this world. Each of us wants to gain something from the world. Some of us may want to be loved, while others may want to be appreciated. We all want to feel a certain way, to be treated a certain way and sometimes we may feel like we won’t survive until we’ve gotten these things in return. Sometimes I feel like I won’t survive in this world. I won’t be able to face what will soon come to me in the future. I always seem to over think about my ‘reason’ for this world and what I will grow up to do. I hope to do my best and to make people question and think about my writing just like I do to Mandel’s because “first we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered (187.)” And as a writer, I would love to become noticed, but what’s most important to me is to become remembered and for people to actually like and listen to my voice in my writing.

I want to be remembered like how the Traveling Symphony remembered how to go back to look for each other when one went lost or missing. Even so, the Symphony struggled with survival. The Symphony was insufferable, picked at each other like siblings but instead of fighting over who would eat the last cookie, the Symphony fought over who had used the last of the rosin, or whoever missed the most rehearsals. But no matter how hard it was for the Traveling Symphony, no matter how many steps they had to take to reach their new destinations, or how many steps they had to reach for a place with actual civilization, the Symphony was their only home and they only had each other. They were connected by their love for performing and for playing music and for acting. They were so close that in a heartbeat, they would do anything to make sure that they were okay and that they were surviving together.



Like the Traveling Symphony I have my own ‘home’. Yes, a home that I live in and that I have clothing, food, shelter and water and all the basic things that I need for survival yet there are other things that we all wake up to in the morning for, there are things that motivate us to do the things that we dream of and to accomplish the goals that we create for ourselves. To some of us, it can be a goal that motivates us, others it can be a person. Like the Traveling Symphony my home is my family. My home is my Mom who asks way too many questions and always makes sure to see if I am okay but that’s her way of being a ‘Mom’. She’s always there for me, even on my not so good days. My home is my Dad who drives way too fast and doesn’t understand why I like taco bell so much but he and I have a great connection, and that is we both reach for what we want and do what makes us happy. My home is my little sister who knows how to do flips that I don’t even know the names for and talks about going to the Olympics for gymnastics when she’s older. And even though my sister and I are six years apart she is my best friend.

So even if life gets hard and ‘survival becomes insufficient’, you’ll always be able to find the light at the end of the tunnel. I mean Kirsten did. As she looked through the telescope she saw, “pinpricks of light that arranged into a grid. There plainly visible on the side of a hill some miles distant: a town, or a village, whose streets were lit up with electricity.” Sometimes all we have to do to see the light is to have hope; because hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.


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