Station Eleven


Emily St. John Mandel

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Station Eleven: Chapter 37 Summary & Analysis

In the interview, Kirsten says that she remembers absolutely nothing of the first year after the collapse. She has memories of stopping in a town and from her entire life since then. She says that she can’t remember her time on the road, which she thinks means she can’t remember the worst part of it. The people who have the hardest time, she thinks, are those who remember the old world most clearly, since they remember what they have lost. Kirsten barely remembers her life before the collapse, including only small impressions of her parents. She also remembers looking out of an airplane window and gets chills thinking of the sea of electric lights. When sharing other fragmented memories from the past, she has to verify with François that refrigerators did in fact have light inside as well as cold.
Kirsten’s memory is fragmented, but she believes this to be a blessing of a kind, since it prevents her from remembering the worst part of her life and the horrors on the road as the world collapsed. Remembering exactly what one has lost is figured as more painful than simply forgetting. In other words, she believes in the cliché “ignorance is bliss.” Because she only has tiny fragments of memories of the world before the collapse, Kirsten must (like many young people) rely on communal memory and conversation with elders and those unfortunate enough to remember every horror and everything they’ve lost.
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