Analysis Of Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven

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Emily St. John Mandel presents an image of a desolate future in her original novel Station Eleven. After 99.9% of the human population has been wiped out by a deadly contagion, the citizens left on Earth are stuck scavenging for food in a world without electricity. While most modern day people would consider this a nightmare, Mandel’s story has a constant undertone of hope; after twenty years of hardship, communities have formed and stabilized, a travelling caravan carries art throughout the new world, and people live their lives for a purpose instead of spending their days going through the motions. Kirsten Raymonde, Mandel’s protagonist, seems to prove this point further by stating her belief that “survival is insufficient” (58). Those still…show more content…
However, with this quote comes an often overlooked underlying message; in order to further creativity and intellect, one must first be able to survive. Mandel’s ultimate theme is that while the Georgia Flu did allow a certain disconnect from the modern fixation on technology, this retrogression was so severe that it was not entirely positive; characters that suffered from disability were not able to survive in this new society, and thus were not able to take advantage of it. The article “Shakespeare, Survival, and the Seeds of Civilization in Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven” attempts to analyze the theme of newfound community due to a separation from technology in Station Eleven and the broader apocalyptic genre. In his article, Smith states that “The destruction of the apocalypse, in certain incarnations of the genre, offers the promise of reconfiguration, of resetting and rebuilding a society…show more content…
John Mandel’s novel Station Eleven is her attempt to invoke the message that technology is being overused in our society. In order to prove this theme, Mandel utilizes both characters that flourish without the presence of technological expectations and characters that need certain essential inventions and medicines to survive. This range of reactions inserts the idea that technology should be used only for survival and not for needless extravagance into the reader’s mind, and is successfully tied together through the statement that “survival is insufficient;” once it is achieved, the human mind has to start doing more to further creativity and art if we are ever going to progress. This continuation of the common theme of “forward-backwardness” that often appears in other apocalyptic fiction expands upon the same idea that we need to return to a time of art, or our abuse of technology will ruin us. Technology is not inherently the problem; our over-usage and neglect of human life

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