Last updated: Station Eleven quotes: Pandemic and COVID-19 updates aren’t over

Station Eleven quotes: Pandemic and COVID-19 updates aren’t over


It’s frequently noted that real life is so absurd you couldn’t write it as fiction. When it comes to a 2014 novel by Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven, quotes within hit hard.

The book centers on several key characters, after the “Georgia Flu,” a swine flu pandemic, has killed much of the global population.

Station Eleven opens with a famous actor dying onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, there are warnings of a quickly-spreading pandemic, but few heed the words. Many who stay to mourn the actor’s death are themselves dead within the next three weeks, and by then, civilization has crumbled.

A troupe of actors and musicians known as the Travelling Symphony travel around the Great Lakes region of Michigan years after the pandemic has rendered life as we know it completely gone.

COVID-19 updates: Still here, still real

Meanwhile, amid reality, after a few weeks of bliss once the vaccines began to roll out, the world is once again facing stark data and unknown futures, as the pandemic continues to rage.

Station Eleven quotes: How the pandemic is still spreading

Although many are acting as though COVID-19 isn’t an issue, we’re actually very far from that reality.

“Days slipped past; the news went on + on until it began to seem abstract, a horror movie that wouldn’t end.”

Scientific communities in countries where vaccines are readily available cannot entice people to get the vaccine. The discourse around public health, rise of internet groups and people peddling disinformation, and fear surrounding the safety of the vaccine are noted as the top causes of this.

“furious because fury was the last defense against understanding”

“You can’t argue with them, because they live by an entirely different logic.”

The Olympic Games, which faced much controversy for moving forward amid a global pandemic, are now under further scrutiny as athletes begin to arrive, then become stricken with COVID.

“Jeevan was crushed by a sudden certainty that this was it; the illness Hua was describing was going to be the divide between a before and an after, a line drawn through his life.”

Wealthy nations purchased the vaccines, leaving African nations unable to secure the number of doses needed – barring Chinese vaccines and Covaxin (India), all vaccines predicted to be made in 2021 are already sold.

“How could so many die so quickly? The numbers seemed impossible.”

What does the future hold?

As businesses attempt to re-open and recall employees back into the office, schools are also planning to go back in-person.

However, the rise of the Delta variant and the fact that individuals under the age of 12 cannot be vaccinated leave gaping holes in these plans. Although masks are scientifically proven to thwart infection and spread, adoption of mask-wearing was always a controversial subject.

“The painted forest collapsed into folds and fell soundlessly to the pavement.”

Meanwhile, forward-thinking employers who can see the writing on the wall – and on their bottom lines/recruiting efforts, are moving to fully remote or hybrid roles, allowing the employee to have more control over how their days are spent.

Conversely, companies demanding that employees come back into the office full-time are seeing tremendous backlash.

“The lobby was empty now. The staff had fled.”

“Survival is insufficient”

Station Eleven quotes to remind us of what we face, possibilities, and what matters

“Hell is the absence of the people you long for.”

“Survival is insufficient.”

“What I mean to say is, the more you remember, the more you’ve lost.”

“No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes and photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons whole or broken, plans to meet up later, pleas, complaints, desires, pictures of babies dressed as bears or peppers for Halloween. No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in so doing, feeling slightly less alone in the room. No more avatars.”

“The more we know about the former world, the better we’ll understand what happened when it fell.”

“If there are again towns with streetlights, if there are symphonies and newspapers, then what else might this awakening world contain? Perhaps vessels are setting out even now, traveling toward or away from him, steered by sailors armed with maps and knowledge of the stars, driven by need or perhaps simply by curiosity: whatever became of the countries on the other side?”

“Adulthood’s full of ghosts… High-functioning sleepwalkers, essentially.”

“Why, in his life of frequent travel, had he never recognized the beauty of flight? The improbability of it. The sound of the engines faded, the airplane receding into blue until it was folded into silence and became a far-distant dot in the sky.”

“There seemed to be a limitless number of objects in the world that had no practical use but that people wanted to preserve: cell phones with their delicate buttons, iPads, a selection of laptops. There were a number of impractical shoes, stilettos mostly, beautiful and strange…Traders brought things for Clark sometimes, objects of no real value that they knew he would like: magazines and newspapers, a stamp collection, coins. There were the passports or the driver’s licenses or sometimes the credit cards of people who had lived at the airport and then died. Clark kept impeccable records.”

“But what made It bearable were the friendships, of course, the camaraderie and the music and the Shakespeare, the moments of transcendent beauty and joy…”

“it is possible to survive this, but not unaltered”

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