Literary Elements In Station Eleven

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What core elements define the essence of humanity? In Mandel’s novel, one is compelled to reconsider the defining characteristics of humanity. Mandel structures the plot of Station Eleven around the main character Arthur Leander’s life. Throughout the novel, Mandel explores a series of sub character’s perspectives of the flu pandemic and each of their roles in the post-apocalyptic world it creates, encouraging the reader to delve into the relationships between humanity and art. Book reviewer Justine Jordan from The Guardian summarizes the book perfectly by claiming that “Station Eleven is not so much about [an] apocalypse as about memory and loss, nostalgia, and yearning” (Jordan, par. 5). Instead of following a typical linear pattern of plot,…show more content…
The memories that Kirsten grasps onto in the novel Station Eleven also display her human qualities, because humans commonly look to their past to define themselves. For example, Mandel mentions in Station Eleven how Kirsten would look through abandoned houses to find old articles in search of any remnants of her past (40). At another point in Station Eleven, Mandel offers insight into Kirsten’s mind as she reflects on the moment when she witnessed Arthur passing away in the play King Lear, and she remembers the stranger who comforted her and the lady who gave her the paper weight trinket which she treasured so much (41). Each of these moments connects the reader to Kirsten, because of her obvious desire to look to her past to better define and understand herself and simultaneously causes the reader to search his past and understand one’s self more introspectively. Although I would argue that each of these instances represents a positive moment Kirsten reflects on, Jordan also points out the moment when Kirsten said that “the more you remember, the more you’ve lost,” referring to the comparison between the pre-apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic world (195). Therefore, Kirsten seems to choose which memories to reflect on.…show more content…
The need for friendship manifests itself throughout all civilizations of humanity, because humans are social creatures that learn and grow from interactions between each other. Throughout the beginning portion of the novel, Kirsten and August share a special friendship whether it be through looting abandoned houses together or sharing secrets (Mandel 39). For example, when the conductor tells Kirsten what the prophet had said to her and asks her to “keep it to herself,” Kirsten asks to share it with her friend August (64). Additionally, friendship provides companions to enjoy the highlights of life and commiserate through the valleys of life with. August also provides this latter component of friendship towards the end of the book when August and Kirsten are separated from the rest of the symphony. Because of this social aspect of humans, humans need friendship to thrive. Thus, Kirsten’s special friendship with August displays another critical aspect of her humanity and provides another level on which the reader can identify himself within
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