Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Memory can bring back those joyful moments, in times of great tragedy; in Station Eleven there are a lot of moments where having memories of the previous world can be comforting. This Doomsday book Station Eleven by Emily Mandel is about how memories can impact people in the world of a pandemic. Where it can sometimes bring hope to people, for them to preserve that memory of that beautiful moment or place. Motivating them to continue working through those hard times, so that one day, they can come back to that world of peace and joy. Mandel takes the opportunity to give the characters an event that they have to overcome, even if there are times where they have lost all hope. Where the author takes the world as we know it and changes to collapse world, where only a few amounts of people have survived. The infamous Georgia flu appeared shortly after a few of the main characters go through their very first hard time, where Arthur one of the main characters go through a heart attack, leaving the rest with great fear and worry. Coming back, the flu was spreading rapidly with all the symptoms that destroyed the population of the world that we once knew. Throughout the novel, their constant events where it compares and contrasts before and after a life of the pandemic throughout all the characters that had survived. For instance, one of the characters named Kristen, a young eight-year-old girl, wanders into the Traveling Symphony, a group of artists who travel through settlements of survivors to perform music and plays. Also, throughout their journey, Kristen tries to find anything in the world after the pandemic that might trigger her mind to preserve the memories of the previous world alive and find some kind of comforting through them. “Nothing in Kristen’s collection suggested the Arthur Leander she remembered, but what did actually remember? Arthur was a fleeting impression of kindness and gray hair, a man who’d once pressed two comics books intro he hands– I have a present for you, she was almost certain he’d said– and sometime after this moment, the clearest memory she retrained from before the collapse.”(Mandel.41). This shows how simple things such as comic book can trigger the mind, to find memories of the world she used to know and want to keep intact, based on the fact that by doing so, she can find hope and some kind of comfort to avoid the current situation that might be in. On occasion, people tend to forget those memories of the past completely, where Kristen almost forgets what one of the people that took care of her said and how the person’s personality was at that moment. Also, that is why during Kristen’s journey with the symphony, she tends to find anything from the previous world, that might bring her memories back, because, if someone loses that kind of memories, it can create some kind of anxiety.
In today’s world, multiple events display how memories impact people in some type of way. One event demonstrates how simple things can recall old memories. “Neuroscientists have discovered that when someone recalls an old memory, a representation of the entire event is instantaneously reactivated in the brain that often includes the people, location, smells, music, and other trivia. Recalling old memories can have a cinematic quality”(Bergland). Based on that, the neuroscientists did some experiments to see how the person’s brain will react when the person is presented with something valuable from their past. Besides, the results were that if a person is trying to retrieve an old memory, the brain is going to start creating a neocortical activity to bring back the memory and depending on the value that the memory once had, it’s going to create a higher level of hippocampal activity, to make memories more vivid. With that in mind, if someone has a high level of hippocampal activity, that means that the memory was way too valuable to the person, that it makes the memory so vividly and with that, the person can feel some kind of comfort or hope, depending on the situation that they are in. In the novel of Station Eleven, when Kristen attempts to find something that might trigger her mind of the previous world alive, and find comfort while doing so. Then she finds some comics in an abandoned house, where it makes her remember some part of the memory, based on the fact that she doesn’t remember what her friend Jeevan said to her exactly. Even do that might be true, she still find some comfort on remembering an action that Jeevan took prior the collapse of the world as we know it, that gave her some kind of hope or kindness to the extent that she finds that memory so precious and whenever she finds other magazines or comics she will remember that moment in her life, to avoid the conflicts that are happening in the world that she is currently in. But, then again, the fact that she needs to remember those precious moments, means as stated in the modern event of neuroscience, that if the person doesn’t high amount of hippocampal activity, occurring in their brains, they might see a vivid image of that memory, but it will stay too long in the brain for the person to remember each detail of situation and in the end they might just forget it later on.
In the modern world, we all know that we cannot remember all the things that happened during our childhood, it can be really hard to try to remember everything to the detail and people tend to give up doing so. Since as time goes by we all forgot something that occurred in the previous years and the novel Kristen is a perfect example of that, since forgot some of the aspects of the previous world. “How could you not remember something like that?’ It was beautiful, “I was eight’ Alexandra nodded, unsatisfied and obviously thinking that if she’d seen a lit-up computer when she was eight, she’d have remember it”( Mandel, 39). Since people tend to lose part of their memories constantly in life, there are some occasions where there might be something that affects people’s minds, for Kristen it was the fact that she was just to young and she might have seen one but since time passed by, she forgot. In the modern event “ How social media is hurting your memory, it talks about how in today’s world social Media is hurting our memories and we are losing the memories we once had. By the simple fact that people think that by simply record some type of experience, thinking that it will stay in their minds forever. With that in mind, there is a university that is called Pristen University, were they did an experiment on how people perform on a memory, if they try to record, enjoy and focus on the ted talk that was held on that university. “Tamir and her team found that sharing experiences on social media did not seem to affect how much people felt that they had enjoyed the experience or were engaged. However, those who wrote down, recorded or shared their experiences performed about 10% worse on memory tests across all experiments.”(Gregory). This shows another occasions of a reason why people tend to not keep some memories on their mind, with the simple fact that they don’t play too much attention on what is happening just in front of their faces, and instead they are focusing on other things, like record a video of some event, thinking that the video will help them keep a memory of the past. When might in the future, delete that video and forget partially of what happened in that moment, thinking that they never show that happening like Kristen of the novel Station eleven.
Even do some memories might bring hope and comfort to some people and the thought that by losing them can cause anxiety of not knowing what happen to very detail of the memory. There are some memories that people tend to want to forget them completely, based on the fact that they caused some kind of trauma to the person. For instance, in the novel of Station Eleven, the once known Tyler son of Arthur became the corrupted prophet that he is, based on the influence of other people and the trauma that he had when he thought of any possible reason why his father left him and his mother, before the pandemic even started. In addition, that trauma made him come a step closer to what a sociopath since it corrupted his mind, to the point where he used faith to force people to follow his will, in the pandemic world and if not, then they were killed.”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.'(Mandel 60). This shows how his past trauma made him so cold hearted that he completed forgot all memory of his past life and now believes that he only has memory of being the chosen one, that would guide people through the pandemic and saved them. Furthermore, in modern day event called “Wounds need air:personal trauma in watchmen” talks about even in the movies where every hero goes through some type of trauma through their journey to become something greater than themselves. Were no matter how hard they try to push that memory out of their mind, they are still affected by the simple fact that they went through that traumatize moment in life which is hard to bear.”In Watchmen, trauma is laid bare, personally, historically, and culturally. It is not just a motivation or memory that can be pushed aside at will, but a haunting, draining, confusing force which stymies every advance. The graphic novel was part of a trend that injected the superhero genre with the realities of human frailty and violence. It was not alone in this work, and we have seen this legacy on our screens, from Thor’s weight gain to Jessica Jones’s panic attack…..Although we hear the word “trauma” often, we need to understand it in more depth before we begin. Personal trauma is a mental and emotional response to a surprising and deeply upsetting development or series of events. It begins with an external threat that seems overpowering, such as violence, natural disasters, and terminal diagnoses. Trauma is emotionally overwhelming and interferes with remembering and analyzing what happened”(Willenborg). This clearly defines how trauma can affect a person on a personal level, even if your mind tries to forget it, it will stay on your mind forever since the situation was so severe, that made you change as a person. Which, in the novel we can clearly see that even do Tyler thinks that he has overcome his past trauma, we can still how that past trauma affect him as person, since he came from being a kind person, to a corrupted prophet in the end, and from that we can infer the fact that the memory is still a part of tyler’s mind.
In conclusion, even memories of the past can be comforting to people, in times of a great tragedy or sorrow and helps them to have hope. In addition, the idea that if they keep working hard through those hard times, that somehow they will come back to the place of peace. For instance, were Kristen find comfort on things that she finds in pandemic world that reminded her of the previous world, that she wants to keep vivid and makes her have some kind of hope that everything will someday return to normal. But, the fact that she needs those reminders, means that people like her tend to forget memories from the past and have a low level of hippocampal activity and constantly need some type of object to remind her of the life that she once had. But in some of the occasions, like her is the fact that she was just young in the time that the pandemic occurred, it mostly explains why she doesn’t remember every single detail of what exactly happened in the past or the fact that she might not pay close attention to what happened in the past. Even do all the prior might be true about memories, there is still some memories that are just tend to be forgotten, with the case of tyler that made have some kind of trauma, that later on will make him convert to a corrupt prophet.