Can someone please read my text response essay and give me some feedback. That would be greatly appreciated!
"but he kept getting trapped behind iPhone zombies, people half his age who wandered in a dream with their eyes fixed on their screens."
Characters in Station Eleven are lost without human connection. Do you agree?
Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven is a nonlinear dystopic fiction, that explores mankind’s dependance on connections, both mentally and physically. Communication is a necessity for a healthy, productive society. This is especially relevant in a dystopian post-apocalyptic world, where civilization’s unification is threatened, and humans are suddenly fragile for their interdependent nature. Mandel contends that human connections are significant from an individual to societal spectrum. However, she alleges that inauthentic relationships will cause distance instead of unity. Through the perspectives of different characters, she depicts how people will search for a way to escape struggle through art and beauty despite reality’s hardships. Furthermore, Mandel demonstrates the significance of unification amidst a modern society. However, she suggests that superficial relationships can become a threat to others.
Mandel suggests that human relationships are essential for survival and that they provide meaning and purpose in life. The Travelling Symphony demonstrates the importance of human relationships in a world where survival is uncertain. The iconic Shakespearean play 'A Midsummer's Night Dream' was performed at 'London's theatres' after 'two seasons of the plague’. This mirrors the themes of apocalypse and pandemic as the same play is performed by the travelling symphony and described as a 'beautiful respite from the cares' of the world, in Year Twenty. Mandel uses this reference to depict how the Traveling Symphony's alliance to pursue art serves as faith for a greater and positive impact in the post-collapse world. Through Kirsten's perspective, the scenery is often described as 'Twilight,' which reoccurs throughout the novel as a motif for the danger and darkness of the post-apocalyptic world. Mandel describes the Travelling Symphony's performance surroundings as a place under the 'twilight in the altered world,' to convey how the community of art injects continuity and resilience into a terrifying, changing world. Furthermore, art is a form of faith that guides union and friendship. Mandel’s belief that human beings need connections to truly be present and living, instead of solely surviving without purpose, is reinforced by the Travelling Symphony's motto 'survival is insufficient.' This quote is an allusion to 'Star Trek Voyage,' where Mandel utilizes art as a reminder of humanity and civilization, through its ability to unify people in a post-apocalyptic world. Without art, many meaningful communities would be nonexistent.
Mandel depicts human connection’s significance in the civilized world. The Georgian Flu highlights humanity’s fragility without connections. Civilization is viewed as disconnecting and stifling in the pre-pandemic world. Clark initially feels ‘minimally present’ while being ‘trapped behind iPhone zombies,’ in a problematic modern society. However, Mandel illustrates that a world without civilization is truly and physically disconnecting. She voices her opinions through Clark, who ironically learns to appreciate civilization, as it was truly created by the connectivity of humans. Clark’s attitude towards ‘beautiful objects’ is deprived from it’s processes of creation. Mandel traces the design, production and shipping of single ‘snow globe,’ from ‘the mind’ of the inventor to the ‘assembly line worker,’ then the ‘UPS man’ who are all humans that participated in a miraculous process. Juxtaposed to ‘pre-civilization’ where this process was invisible, it is finally acknowledged in the post pandemic world as it paints how modern civilization is built on connections, and highlights how only human enterprise is able to accomplish such marvels. Moreover, Mandel specifically illustrates the interior design of the ‘snow globe’ where ‘the planes were warped and caught in a whirling snow.’ Throughout the novel airplanes symbolize civilization through their connectivity of the technological advancement that exists in the pre-collapse world. Paired with the reoccurring motif of snow, which embodies the pandemic’s occurrence, Mandel portrays how civilization is engulfed by the Georgia Flu, where modern communication and human connection is truly lost.
Although human connection is deemed essential and meaningful, many relationships are flawed and disconnecting. In the pre-collapse time, Mandel focuses on the dysfunctionality of close relationships. Through Arthur's 'three divorces' and a question of whether he had strategized the affairs with his 'career' in the 'back of his mind,' depicts the shallowness of modern ideologies. Through his constant desire of empty thrills, he comes to 'repent everything,’ revealing his inner dissatisfaction and loneliness. Mandel views selfish pursuits as a method of seperation that results in no genuine value or place. Mandel accentuates the notion that Arthur’s life is a performance, by the choice of ‘King Lear’ as the play he performs. Arthur parallels King Lear as a character drunk on power and ego whose self-absorption end up harming the ones he loved the most, especially his son Tyler who is constantly ‘angry’ with him for missing his ‘birthdays’ while he is metaphorically described as his ‘heart.’ Arthur's character epitomizes how the materialism and shallowness of celebrity revolved around unauthentic relationships. Although being surrounded by an audience, Arthur’s death suddenly reduces to insignificance and ignominy, depicting the lack of genuine connection he holds with the real world. He dies surrounded by plastic snow. This serves as a motif, where Mandel utilizes the artifice of the snow, intended to reflect the false sense of satisfaction from his meaningless connections, representing both his regrets and the force of the fake world consuming him.
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel is a novel expressing the vitality of social connection, from a personal to worldwide perspective. The characters and their stories constantly remind the readers that authentic and genuine communal spirit is the core of faith and life, while the built-up connections are the basis of civilization in current modern society. The toxicity of modern relationships is also noted, as Mandel warns the readers to avoid the chase of superficial means. The novel demonstrates that any form of genuine human connection should be valued, as it is essentially what drives humanity forward.