Station Eleven


Emily S. J. Mandel

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Station Eleven can help.

Station Eleven: Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

The Symphony arrives in St. Deborah by the Water, where it left Charlie and the sixth guitar behind two years ago, since Charlie was pregnant. A young boy greets them and instructs them to set up camp by the Walmart. Though they play music on the way in, no onlookers come and there is no sign of Charlie or the sixth guitar.
The curious town of St. Deborah by the Water is another reminder of the fall of civilization and of the act of repurposing out of necessity, as the Symphony camps in what once was a Wal-Mart. The first indication that something is not right in the town is that no one flocks to watch the Symphony enter the town even though they are playing music, a rare and valuable commodity in a world without electricity. Note also that many Symphony members go by the names of their instruments after the collapse, choosing to rename themselves and suggesting the importance of music to their identities.
Civilization Theme Icon
Art Theme Icon
The Symphony decides to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream, since the small town seems too depressing for a production of King Lear. While they rehearse, Kirsten reflects that the town is creepy and seems changed since the last time they visited. She is playing Titania, and acts awkwardly with Sayid, who plays Oberon. The two used to be a couple, but have broken up, and now must play quarreling lovers to the delight of the rest of the Symphony.
The town feels creepy, and so the Symphony adjusts which play they will perform, matching art to reality. Within the play, however, the opposite happens, as reality mimics or matches art. Sayid and Kirsten’s relationship status is mirrored within their roles as Titania and Oberon. Art and reality are thus placed in conversation, as the awkwardness of their true relationship is able to make for a better portrayal of their theatrical one.
Art Theme Icon