Station Eleven

Station Eleven Summary and Analysis of Section 7: The Terminal


In the Severn City airport, the people on the diverted flight from New York continue to wait for the national guard to arrive. They go through the airport’s resources, from the gift shop to the restaurants, and begin to understand that likely no one is coming. It seems that no one in the terminal is infected, and they begin to work together to build a functioning society, sharing everything from socks to medication and washing clothes and hanging them out to dry. One flight that has arrived is quarantined, and the survivors inside try not to think of the horrors happening inside the plane.

Clark frequently visits Elizabeth and her son Tyler in the SkyMiles club. Elizabeth has cultivated a belief that everything happens for a reason; Tyler reads from the book of Revelations to the dead on the quarantined plane. The two grow increasingly isolated, and when a nomadic group of zealots come to the airport, Elizabeth and Tyler leave the airport to travel with them.

Clark imagines his boyfriend Robert is there with him, and uses that emotional role-playing to cope with the strange new world. He shaves every three days and tries to maintain some semblance of order. The occupants of the airport begin teaching each other languages and forming search parties and hunting. Seemingly, it’s the only place in the world that is peaceful. A group of people decide to try to fly a plane to Los Angeles to find out if their families are still alive. Clark opts not to go, though he still sheds a tear as he watches the plane leave the airport. People arrive in peace to the airport, including a peddler with a homemade newspaper from a town called New Petoskey, edited by Francois who runs the interviews described in previous sections. Inside is a review of a production of King Lear performed by the Symphony starring Kirsten Raymonde as Cordelia. Included in this newspaper is the interview from the previous sections.

We see the conversation between Kirsten and Francois in Year 15 in the interview, as well as Symphony members telling him how they ended up finding the Symphony after various run-ins with cults and wanderers. Kirsten admits to Francois off-the-record that she collects press clippings about Arthur Leander. They then go to attend a Symphony performance.

In year 15, Jeevan has settled into a peaceful community in a former resort town. He has married a woman named Daria and has a child. He is the town doctor, repairing broken arms and the like. A man named Edward arrives in the town with his wife, who has been shot. Jeevan sews up the bullet wound as Edwards tells Jeevan how his son was kidnapped by the Prophet, and in efforts to get him back they captured his wife. When she refused to marry the Prophet, he shot her, though not fatally, just enough to cause her harm.

In Year 19, Clark is now the curator of the Museum of Civilization. He discusses extinct email jargon with an assistant Garrett, and they reminisce about everything from texting to chocolate chip cookies. Three new arrivals are brought to Clark: Charlie, Jeremy, and their infant daughter Annabelle. They discuss their experiences with the Prophet, who says the Severn City airport was his home. Clark asks if the Prophet had a mother with him, and realizes who Elizabeth Colton’s son Tyler, standing on the tarmac and reading from the book of Revelations, grew up to be.


All roads seem to end at the Severn City airport. After hearing tell of the Museum of Civilization, the reader now gets to experience how an airport became a museum. The luck of the travelers who avoided the illness allows them to form an oasis of sorts out of the wild. Due to an initial stock of food, they are able to grow accustomed to life in the airport. This seems to be the only hub of education; here languages are shared and learned, and the pre-flu world history is documented.

The reveal of what exactly the standalone interviews are provides more context to the conversations between Francois and Kirsten than we’ve seen so far. We now know that it is part of a post-flu newspaper curated by Francois Diallo. The interview took place in the town during a production of the traveling Symphony, and Clark is touched to read that someone else remembers and cares about Arthur.

Most of the Museum of Civilization passages are related from Clark's point of view. He takes stock of what exactly he will likely never experience again; flight, oranges, her boyfriend Robert. Jeevan's loneliness is contrasted with Clark’s experience befriending other survivors and learning their languages.

The revelation that Tyler grows up to be the Prophet is heavily foreshadowed during the section. Tyler’s mother’s belief that everything happens for a reason, his petulance as a child, his religious zeal in reading to the dead on the plane, and their ultimate exit with a group of zealots sets up his fate. Still, as Clark comes to understand the identity of the Prophet, it should serve as situational irony for the reader: Arthur’s son is the one who is terrorizing the Symphony.

At this point late in the novel, the threads of plot are becoming deeply intertwined. Arthur may be the center of the wheel that connects the respective spokes, but now their stories too are coming together. The seemingly random inclusion of characters from across continents and time periods now seems to be a deliberate choice by Mandel.