The Pageturner: “Station Eleven” Mirrors Reality

Emily St. John Mandel's dystopian novel illustrates a world following a major, unprecedented pandemic.

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Kortney Huggins

“Station Eleven” gives readers a glimpse of a world where everyone is fighting to survive. I found the book fitting to read right now because of the correspondence between the characters pandemic and ours.

Kortney Huggins, J1 Mentor and Student Life Editor

While the world faces uneasiness as COVID-19 (coronavirus) spreads from place to place, readers everywhere are searching for material that fills their hours at home and feeds their souls. 

Ann Patchet, author, writes about why it is important, especially now, to have titles that are life changing in her recent New York Times piece. “Station Eleven” is one of those books that fills the need Patchet mentions. 

The pandemic that the characters of the book faced essentially happened overnight and changed the world as they knew it. The society faced what the survivors refer to as “the collapse.” The collapse left survivors in a world that had fallen apart; no more airplanes, cars, food, electricity, or even ways to communicate. 

I’m not saying that the world or even America is going to experience its own collapse, but it’s definitely eye-opening to see how people are acting now in comparison with the characters of “Station Eleven.” 

The coronavirus has provoked worry and fear in people to the point that it’s hard to stay positive. After reading this book, I noticed that one thing the survivors had in common was their perseverance. 

…people working together can better navigate the current situation…”

— Kortney Huggins

Parts of today’s population are tempted by fear of scarce resources to be selfish rather than to be neighborly. However, “Station Eleven” shows that people working together can better navigate the current situation than those who choose to work against everyone else. 

 

In the meantime, people across the world are currently at home in quarantine, bored with nothing to do. I am one of those people. So here is a small list of dystopian novels that portray different ways society can react to a drastic change: 

 #1: “Brave New World” by Aldous Huexley

This classic novel is set in futuristic times that focuses on a protagonist who is the only person to challenge their heavily modified intelligence, citizens and society. 

#2: “Dry” by Neal Shusterman

As a drought escalates to devastating proportions, people are forced to make major decisions. Suddenly there is no more water in society if forced to cope. Shusterman shows how humans react to drastic conditions in atypical ways. 

 #3: “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury 

This classic is set in a time period where literature is on the brink of extinction. The story follows a not-so-typical fireman and his journey to discovering a past where societies did not live in fear. 

 #4: “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood

Set in a time where women are only valuable if they can have babies, Atwood is able to show how drastically a society can decline through this classic novel. The main character watches her world fade away and instead is faced with handling this new lifestyle chosen for her. 

#5: “Scythe” by Neal Shusterman

The first in the series of three also by Shusterman, this novel focuses on a world who has bested natural things such as war, starvation, and even death. Now it is up to scythes to handle “population control” but two young apprentices have been handed the role without wanting it.

While the students from Henry County Schools are learning from home, books can be checked out through Sora, a digital library that can be searched for on Chromebooks or downloaded as an app.