In the lobby, the people gathered at the bar clinked their glasses together. “To Arthur,” they said. They drank for a few more minutes and then went their separate ways in the storm.
Of all of them there at the bar that night, the bartender was the one who survived the longest. He died three weeks later on the road out of the city.
This quote comes in the end of the second chapter, after Arthur Leander’s onstage death during a production of King Lear. Some members of the cast and the crew have lingered at the end… (165 more words in this explanation)
No more flight. No more towns glimpsed from the sky through airplane windows, points of glimmering light; no more looking down from thirty thousand feet and imagining the lives lit up by those lights at that moment. No more airplanes, no more requests to put your tray table in its upright and locked position—but no, this wasn't true, there were still airplanes here and there. They stood dormant on runways and in hangars. They collected snow on their wings. In the cold months, they were ideal for food storage. In summer the ones near orchards were filled with trays of fruit that dehydrated in the heat. Teenagers snuck into them to have sex. Rust blossomed and streaked.
These lines are excerpted from Chapter 6, which begins “An Incomplete List:” and proceeds to list things that are lost in the collapse of civilization, including electricity and pharmaceuticals. This section of the list explains… (147 more words in this explanation)
They'd performed more modern plays sometimes in the first few years, but what was startling, what no one would have anticipated, was that audiences seemed to prefer Shakespeare to their other theatrical offerings.
"People want what was best about the world," Dieter said.
In the introduction to The Traveling Symphony, we learn that they perform music of all varieties, but that their theatre portion is strictly Shakespearean. Though they tried to perform more modern plays in the first… (143 more words in this explanation)
I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth.
This line is spoken by Dr. Eleven in one of Miranda’s “Station Eleven” comic books. In the image accompanying this line, Dr. Eleven stands beside his dog Luli, surveying the broken space station and trying… (74 more words in this explanation)
What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.
Mandel provides this short list of what was lost, even shorter than Chapter Six’s “an incomplete list,” during the Symphony’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in St. Deborah by the Water. Mandel emphasizes that… (72 more words in this explanation)
All three caravans of the Traveling Symphony are labeled as such, THE TRAVELING SYMPHONY lettered in white on both sides, but the lead caravan carries an additional line of text: Because survival is insufficient.
This quote provides the Symphony’s motto, later revealed as Kirsten’s favorite line of text in the English language: “survival is insufficient.” The line, lifted from an episode of Star Trek, speaks to the idea… (72 more words in this explanation)
"The flu," the prophet said, "the great cleansing that we suffered twenty years ago, that flu was our flood. The light we carry within us is the ark that carried Noah and his people over the face of the terrible waters, and I submit that we were saved"—his voice was rising—"not only to bring the light, to spread the light, but to be the light. We were saved because we are the light. We are the pure."
After the performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in St. Deborah by the Water, the prophet stands and delivers this small sermon to the townspeople in the audience and to the members of the Traveling… (139 more words in this explanation)
Being alive is a risk.
After the prophet’s sermon, he quietly asks the conductor if the Symphony will leave Alexandra to be another one of his brides. The Symphony refuses, and packs and leaves in a hurry. In deciding where… (119 more words in this explanation)
"You're always half on Station Eleven," Pablo said during a fight a week or so ago, "and I don't even understand your project. What are you actually going for here?"
"You don't have to understand it," she said. "It's mine."
These lines come from an argument between Pablo and Miranda that Miranda reflects on in her office job. Pablo says that she is always “half on Station Eleven,” meaning that she is always partially thinking… (176 more words in this explanation)
I repent nothing.
After leaving her abusive relationship with Pablo and beginning her life with Arthur, Miranda begins saying this to herself in the mirror: that she repents nothing. This line is meant as self-assurance to herself that… (83 more words in this explanation)
“No one ever thinks they're awful, even people who really actually are. It's some sort of survival mechanism."
“I think this is happening because it was supposed to happen." Elizabeth speaks very softly.
"I'd prefer not to think that I'm following a script," Miranda says.
This painful exchange comes at the end of the awkward dinner party at Miranda and Arthur’s Hollywood home, later referenced in one of Miranda’s Station Eleven comic books. Miranda has just realized that Arthur is… (168 more words in this explanation)
Some towns … want to talk about what happened, about the past. Other towns, discussion of the past is discouraged. We went to a place once where the children didn't know the world had ever been different, although you'd think all the rusted-out automobiles and telephones wires would give them a clue.
These lines are excerpted from an interview that François Diallo conducted with Kirsten in the town of New Petoskey in Year Fifteen. Here, Kirsten discusses the difference among small towns relating to the way they… (126 more words in this explanation)
"If you are the light, if your enemies are darkness, then there's nothing that you cannot justify. There's nothing you can't survive, because there's nothing that you will not do."
Kirsten speaks these to August lines after the prophet has kidnapped Sayid and Dieter. In them, she unknowingly echoes the sentiment that Miranda expressed to the Prophet’s mother, Elizabeth Colton: bad people usually don’t think… (100 more words in this explanation)
I was thinking about the island. It seems past-tense somehow, like a dream I had once. I walk down these streets and wander in and out of parks and dance in clubs and I think "once I walked along the beach with my best friend V., once I built forts with my little brother in the forest, once all I saw were trees" and all those true things sound false, it's like a fairy tale someone told me. I stand waiting for lights to change on corners in Toronto and that whole place, the island I mean, it seems like a different planet.
These lines are excerpted from one of Arthur’s letters to his best friend Victoria, later published in the form of the book Dear V. In this letter, Arthur reflects on his hometown Delano Island while… (134 more words in this explanation)
On silent afternoons in his brother's apartment, Jeevan found himself thinking about how human the city is, how human everything is. We bemoaned the impersonality of the modern world, but that was a lie, it seemed to him; it had never been impersonal at all. There had always been a massive delicate infrastructure of people, all of them working unnoticed around us, and when people stop going to work, the entire operation grinds to a halt.
While locked up in Frank’s apartment to survive the Georgia Flu and the collapse of civilization, Jeevan reflects on the very civilization that is falling, and how essentially human it is. A common complaint about… (106 more words in this explanation)
“Well, we'll just stay here till the lights come back on or the Red Cross shows up or whatever."
“What makes you think the lights will come back on?" Frank asked without looking up. Jeevan started to reply, but words failed him.
This exchange takes place in Frank’s apartment, while Frank and Jeevan are trying to wait out the Georgia Flu and the collapse of civilization. The two are discussing what their long-term plan should be. Jeevan… (85 more words in this explanation)
I’ve been thinking about immortality lately. … They're all immortal to me. First we only want to be seen, but once we're seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.
These lines are from the book that Frank is ghostwriting about a philanthropist. While bored in the apartment, Jeevan asks his brother to read a segment of his work, and Frank reads the pages that… (105 more words in this explanation)
I can't remember the year we spent on the road, and I think that means I can't remember the worst of it. But my point is, doesn't it seem to you that the people who have the hardest time in this—this current era, whatever you want to call it, the world after the Georgia Flu—doesn't it seem like the people who struggle the most with it are the people who remember the old world clearly?
This is another excerpt from Kirsten’s interview with François in Year Fifteen. In this moment, she tells François that she remembers nothing from Year One, which, she believes, means that she can’t remember the worst… (119 more words in this explanation)
“Well, it's nice that at least the celebrity gossip survived.'"
Kirsten offers this line to August after ransacking an un-looted house. She discovers an old tabloid to add to her collection with a picture of Arthur and Miranda at the theatre at which Kirsten and… (115 more words in this explanation)
I think about my childhood, the life I lived on Delano Island, that place was so small. Everyone knew me, not because I was special or anything just because everyone knew everyone, and the claustrophobia of that, I can't tell you. I just wanted some privacy. For as long as I could remember I just wanted to get out, and then I got to Toronto and no one knew me. Toronto felt like freedom.
While Clark is informing Elizabeth Colton of the news of Arthur’s death and his will’s stipulation that the funeral be held in Toronto, Clark remembers a conversation in which Arthur spoke the excerpted lines. Delano… (94 more words in this explanation)
The corridor was silent. It was necessary to walk very slowly, her hand on the wall. A man was curled on his side near the elevators, shivering. She wanted to speak to him, but speaking would take too much strength, so she looked at him instead—I see you, I see you—and hoped this was enough.
These lines describe some of Miranda’s final moments in a hotel in Malaysia. She is suffering from the Georgia Flu, and will soon die. Interestingly, she is the only one of the novel’s major characters… (94 more words in this explanation)
“I was in the hotel,” he said finally. “I followed your footprints in the snow.” There were tears on his face.
“Okay," someone said, "but why are you crying?”
“I'd thought I was the only one,” he said.
This short exchange takes place around Day One-Hundred, after the settlers in the Severn City Airport send out a scouting party to see what is left of the world after the decimation of the Georgia… (144 more words in this explanation)
When it came down to it, François had realized, all of the Symphony's stories were the same, in two variations. Everyone else died, I walked, I found the Symphony. Or, I was very young when it happened, I was born after it happened, I have no memories or few memories of any other way of living, and I have been walking all my life.
These lines follow the end of François’ interview with Kirsten. At this time, he has also conducted interviews with most members of the Symphony as well. Through this process he has realized that the Symphony… (133 more words in this explanation)
She had once met an old man up near Kincardine who'd sworn that the murdered follow their killers to the grave, and she was thinking of this as they walked, the idea of dragging souls across the landscape like cans on a string. The way the archer had smiled, just at the end.
Kirsten thinks about killing after an altercation with the prophet’s men in which she was forced to kill an archer. She thinks about an old man who told her that the murdered follow their killers… (128 more words in this explanation)
She stepped back. “It isn't possible,” she said.
“But there it is. Look again.”
In the distance, pinpricks of light arranged into a grid. There, plainly visible on the side of a hill some miles distant: a town, or a village, whose streets were lit up with electricity.
This exchange takes place in an air traffic control tower at Severn City Airport. The prophet is dead, and Kirsten has been reunited with Charlie and Jeremy. At the top of the tower, Clark has… (98 more words in this explanation)