Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven
Directions: You are required to answer only one of the main questions, which will appear in bold. This question is due no later than Friday, January 12. Following the bold questions will be other questions which you should read and think about--they may help you answer the main question. However, you are not required to answer these questions in writing.
Please answer the question as thoughtfully as possible, after reading the lecture. Then post your answer to the English 102 Message Board by the deadline.
Your responses to other students' answers are due by midnight on Saturday, January 13.
In order to get the full 20 points, you MUST respond thoughtfully to at least 3 or 4 other people's postings.
We will be using the Canvas Discussion Board for this class. Click on the link below to get to the Canvas portal, sign in, and then click on the box for this class. You will find the "Discussions" link on the left side of the screen:
Remember: This discussion question is worth a possible 20 points. Late answers will receive 0 points. Points will be assigned according to the thoughtfulness of your answer, not by whether it is "right" or not, since sometimes there is no "right" answer. Just be sure your ideas are supported by the material in the story (see Lecture 1).
WARNING! These discussion questions will reveal plot points. If you don't want to know what happens, wait until you have finished the novel to read them.
1. Who is the central character of the novel? Explain.
2. How does the Station Eleven graphic novel relate to the characters and situations in the novel? Explain.
3. Is the Traveling Symphony a museum? Explain.
- How does the epigraph at the beginning of the novel, by Milosz, relate to the novel?
- "The king stood in a pool of blue light, unmoored." This is the first line of the novel. Why begin with this? And why begin with this scene of King Lear, halfway through Act4, in which Lear is mad and hallucinating?
- Why begin the novel with Arthur's death?
- What does Jeevan say the stage reminds him of, on page 5? How does this connect the beginning of the novel to the end?
- How is Arthur's name significant? Who is Leander, for instance? Google it and find out, and think about how it relates to the novel. How is Miranda's name significant? Again, Google it and find out how the name appears in Shakespeare's plays, and think about how this might relate to the novel.
- Why are the actors and musicians rarely referred to by their given names, but rather by the characters or instruments they play?
- Who is the little girl Jeevan speaks to in the theater? How is she connected to the rest of the novel?
- After leaving the theater, Jeevan doesn't want to talk to the papparazzi. Why? He used to be one of them; why not give them the story?
- Kirsten has the phrase "Survival is insufficient" tattooed on her arm. How is this phrase significant in the novel? Where else do we see it?
- On the night Jeevan leaves the theater, what images of isolation are presented? Why does the author draw so much attention to this idea at this point in the novel?
- See Chapter 6: An Incomplete List. What is the effect of this chapter?
- Why is Part 2 called "A Midsummer Night's Dream"? Look at the titles of the other parts of the novel and think about the significance of their titles.
- Why do you think the audiences in the novel prefer Shakespeare to newer plays? (p. 38)
- On page 38, the Symphony gives up on the King Lear rehearsal midway through the 4th Act. What does this echo? Why?
- What is the story of Dr. Eleven?
- What is the name of the dog in Station Eleven? How does this name come up again in the novel?
- Chapter 11 in Part 2 (beginning on page 57) begins with "What was lost." Why begin with that, and then talk of beauty?
- That section talks about the relationship between Shakespeare and the Plague. How does Shakespeare's experience compare to or contrast with the experiences of the Symphony?
- The Prophet believes that everything that has happened has happened for a reason. What is his reasoning? Who is the Prophet, and what is his connection to the other characters in the novel?
- How do the events and circumstances in Station Eleven relate to Mirnda's life?
- On page 42 (and again on page 214) there is a quote from Station Eleven: "I stoood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth." How does this quote relate to Miranda? To the other characters?
- Some characters debate the value of teaching children about the time before the pandemic. What are the arguments for and against teaching children about a past they can't remember? (see pages 114-115, 130, 187, 195, and 270)
- What are the similarities and differences between Kirsten and Tyler? Why do you think they turned out so differently?
- Clark starts the Museum of Civilization in the terminal. Why does he start it? Why do people value it? (see pages 254 ff.)
- The last line of the novel reads, "He likes the thought of ships moving over the water, toward another world just out of sight." How does this quote relate to each of the main characters in the novel?
*All page numbers refer to the 2015 paperback edition.