Station Eleven

Station Eleven Summary and Analysis of Section 8: The Prophet & Section 9: Station Eleven


Kirsten wakes up crying on the outskirts of Severn City. She had been dreaming that August had died. He is there beside her and calms her down. They bathe and walk through the ruins of Severn city, and they see a startled deer running away. They are on alert when they are ambushed by a gunman and an archer. August and Kirsten are able to attack them, and as the archer lays dying he reveals his reasons for kidnapping Sayid and Dieter and the Clarinet: the Prophet decided to trade them for Eleanor, the twelve year old stowaway, his bride.

Sayid appears, alive but beaten. He explains that they had been tricked into following the sound of a crying child during their watch outside of St. Deborah. They chloroformed both him and Dieter, and Dieter had a bad reaction and was poisoned. In a flashback to Sayid and the Clarinet’s time with the Prophet’s gang, Sayid challenges their methodology, and the young boy that captured them offers a mild defense of their action with the justification that “they are the light.” Ultimately they are not violent. The Clarinet is able to escape and rejoin the Symphony.

As Kirsten and August help Sayid towards the Museum of Civilization, they hear a dog in the distance. Kirsten follows the sound, trying to ambush the group with the Prophet. She finds the dog and with him, the Prophet with a group of men. She is ready to strike, until Luli, the Prophet’s dog, sniffs her out. She is discovered, and they force her to drop her weapons. The Prophet questions her about who killed his men. She asks his name, and he refuses to tell her, only preaching at her. As he preaches his vision of the world, she notices that he is quoting Station Eleven. He seems surprised, but they continue to quote it back and forth. The boy behind the Prophet is crying, and as Kirsten makes a final quote, the boy suddenly shoots his gun. The Prophet falls dead, and the boy then kills himself.

Kirsten reunites with Sayid and August. As they go through the Prophet’s belongings, they find an edition of Station Eleven in his bag. She pockets the front page as a token, suddenly realizing that the Prophet was around her age and a product of the horrible times he grew up in and plagued by memories of the old world. She adopts the Prophet’s dog, Luli, who stays close by her side.

They finally find Charlie and Jeremy in the Severn City airport. She meets their daughter and they reminisce about their travels together. Kirsten explains that she’s killed another man, and Charlie tells her that there is a tattoo artist who can mark her with a third knife tattoo on her wrist. The Symphony performs music that night, and after the performance she meets Clark, who offers to take her on a tour of the Museum. She declines, but he insists that she come with him to the air traffic control tower to show her something. They climb the tower, and he leads her to a telescope. Off in the distance they see a village. In the darkness, there are pinpricks of electric lights.

Jeevan, thousands of Miles away, enjoys the tranquilly of time with his family. His son, named after his brother Frank, notes that the bread is too hot to eat. Jeevan is thankful. At this time, the Symphony is arriving at the Severn City airport.

In the epilogue, entitled "Station Eleven," Arthur goes about his final day on earth. He wakes feeling groggy, hoping for orange juice. He decides that morning that he is going to move to Israel to be near his son Tyler. Arthur goes to the theatre for notes, but continues to feel slightly ill. He goes to a restaurant he used to frequent with Clark when they were boys and considers calling him, but decides not to. He returns to the theatre where his lover, the child wrangler Tanya, tells him that he had forgotten to meet her for breakfast. Feeling ill, he apologizes to her, but they share a glass of wine and she soothes him. She asks if he’s sick. Kirsten enters the dressing room and asks him about Dear V. Arthur changes the subject by giving her the copies of Station Eleven that Miranda had brought the day before. When Tanya and Kirsten leave, Arthur calls Tanya and tells her that he wants to pay for her student loans, moving her greatly. Arthur then calls his son Tyler, who is angry that Arthur missed his birthday. Arthur apologizes, but the two begin to bond over the comic books he sent his son: Miranda’s copies of Station Eleven. Tyler is excited by the books and explains them to Arthur. Arthur tells him he is looking forward to seeing him in New York. Someone calls places.

Arthur begins the play on a high platform as the audience comes in. They watch him sitting, silently, as “Lear” is engrossed in thought, pondering the vagaries of power, as Quentin, the director, intended. In fact, Arthur is pondering his own personal regrets: his failed marriages, his neglected friendships, his lack of family. On opening night Arthur decides to list off the joyful things in his life: from simple things like magnolias, to Tyler in a bubble bath, to memories of Clark, to Miranda’s loving gaze, and Tyler.

As Arthur makes his way to the stage, Kirsten stops him to tell him how much she loves Station Eleven. Arthur is in the middle of his scene with Edgar, when he feels the sharp pain in his chest. He falls and hits his hand on the set and brings his hand to his chest, just as he did at the age of seven on Delano Island, holding a wounded bird. He feels as though he is in two places at once, hearing the waves of the childhood home and watching the snow fall under the stage lights. Arthur thought “it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.”


Finally, the connections become more than just coincidences. Now, they tie together the narrative. Kirsten’s story would have ended in her altercation with the Prophet,; however, due to their shared knowledge of Station Eleven, she is able to disarm him and his loyalist. After this section we know why. The gift of the comic books was the last Tyler ever received from his dad, and the words and the illustrations became infused with meaning as he grew up.

Kirsten’s reunion with Charlie and Jeremy is the very thing she had longed for through her journey, but it came at a price of losing Dieter. Kirsten is again forced to face the brutality of the world she lives in, as we discover the knife tattoos on her arm mark the people she’s killed and she is forced to ink another one on her skin. Clark, a man with whom she shares a mutual love of Arthur, finds her to show her a miracle: electricity in the distance.

With the characters of the Symphony in a safe haven and reunited, Station Eleven strikes a hopeful ending. All surviving main characters are together in the final destination: the Museum of Civilization, with the exception of Jeevan (however, the reader gets to see him finally fulfilling his dream of being a doctor and at peace with his life). With the appearance of electricity in the distance, hope for a future that progresses towards stability is the last image in the post-flue era.

The section “Station Eleven” serves as an epilogue for the novel, tying up loose ends. The reader is able to see and fully appreciate the juxtaposition between the climax of the novel in the dangerous post-flu world and Arthur’s cosmopolitan morning in Toronto.

Why end with Arthur’s pedestrian day in New York? First of all, for dramatic irony; the reader knows that all of the problems and worries for the future that characters in this epilogue have are going to be wiped away by the upcoming epidemic, but the characters are very much living in the present in their lives, unknowing. The omniscient perspective allows the reader to be moved by the touching irony of the fact that Arthur’s gesture to pay off Tanya’s student loans will never be anything more than a gesture. Secondly, Arthur is the link of all of the characters in the play, and as he interacts with Kirsten, is watched (and is about to be saved) by Jeevan, thinks of his wives, his son, and Clark, the fleeting life of Arthur Leander suddenly seems so much bigger than we could have imagined.