Station Eleven

Station Eleven Metaphors and Similes

The Shock Around Arthur's Death (simile)

Similes are used to describe Arthur in his dying state; Jeevan notes that the actor watching Arthur's heart attack is in shock, his mouth "opening and closing like a fish" as he expires. This animal imagery ultimately highlights how shock reduces the actors back to an animal state as they watch the death of their fellow actor. The simile also helps to train the reader to see responses to death as almost animalistic, preparing the reader for the brutal fate that will befall humans in the novel's future.

The Medics (simile)

The medics who come in an attempt to resuscitate Arthur are described as "standing over the fallen actor like crows." The image creates the sense that Arthur is being crowded in his dying state. The image of crows is also associated with death; the darker simile suggests that Arthur will not be saved.

The Machine (metaphor)

Miranda notes with annoyance how her abusive boyfriend overuses the metaphor of "The Machine," often using phrases like “lost in the machine.” Often this is combined with a reference to the metaphorical "Man," as in “That’s how the Man wants us, just trapped right there in the corporate machine.” This metaphor juxtaposes how Pablo feels about Miranda's corporate job with how she feels about it; he sees her time at the office as selling out, while she draws peace from it.

Souls as cans on a string (simile)

Kirsten says she imagines the Prophet "dragging souls across the landscape like cans on a string." This simile creates the sense that the followers are being pulled by some imperceptible, mysterious power, such as the Prophet's vision of the new order in the world, rather than being physically or explicitly forced to do his bidding. The lack of force does not mean a lack of gentleness; that they are "dragged across the landscape" implies that they are not treated very well.

The Virus "Like an Avenging Angel" (simile)

In a sermon, the Prophet compares the virus to "an avenging angel" that came to cleanse the world of wickedness. This simile packs the punch of personification; by making the virus, a thing without a motive, have agency to make decisions, he creates the sense that there is rhyme and reason to who lived and who survived. This allows for the Prophet to organize the senseless death into an order with logic, where there are those who are saved and damned. The simile of an avenging angel allows for him to exert power over those he meets and capitalizes on the power of words.