Knowing Characters Will Soon Die As They Plan for the Future
Mandel enhances dramatic irony by explicitly stating in the opening section that the characters that are introduced will not survive the coming apocalypse. In a bar following the death of Arthur, as the actors banter about Arthur, the narrator declares "of all of them there at the bar that night, the bartender was the one who survived the longest. He died three weeks later on the road out of the city." Characters such as Tanya look forward to a future where her student loans are forgiven by Arthur's generosity, however the dramatic irony is the readers understand that she will never get the chance, nor will she have student loans after the Georgia Flu runs its course.
Elizabeth As Arthur's Mistress
From the beginning of the novel, we know Arthur has three failed marriages, and Station Eleven non-chronological narrative imbues multiple aspects of the story with dramatic irony. An excellent example of this occurs when Elizabeth has dinner with Arthur and Miranda. We know, because of what we've learned from earlier chapters (which describe events that, chronologically, occur later) that the couple will separate and Elizabeth will become his wife, but we watch Miranda come to the devastating realization that her husband has been unfaithful.
The revelation that the Prophet's dog is also named Luli, the same name as his father's ex-wife's dog, provides situational irony. The name Luli has an origin as the name of Miranda's dog, which she then uses in the graphic novel of Station Eleven. The graphic novel was passed down to Tyler as a child through Arthur, and the graphic novel had such a great impact on him that he named his dog after it. The irony that Arthur's first wife's literary creation would affect the lives of her husband's child and a girl who she met towards the end of the life contributes to the "full-circle" quality of the novel.
Clark Receiving Criticism
Clark's job is giving CEOs unsparing criticism from their employees in the hopes that it will help them improve. Clark ironically receives the same treatment from Arthur in Dear V. which contains Arthur's most personal thoughts about his best friend. Arthur is unsparing about how boring he finds Clark, and Clark realizes the irony that after years of being the messenger of people's shortcomings, he is now the recipient of the criticism.
Station Eleven Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Station Eleven is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.