This week I have furthered my knowledge in apocalyptic literature by reading the novel Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. In this blog, I will address the theme of fear and the comparison of the Georgia Flu to the COVID-19 virus we deal with today in our world. Mandel explores the theme of fear through many outlets such as the ways the characters handle the initial outbreak of the Georgia Flu, how the world handles the infected, and how the characters adapt to surviving. In the initial outbreak of the Georgia Flu we see people exit the city in such a fast and massive way that it clogs up the roadways and main exits out. People show the fear they have with potentially catching the virus and the anxiety it can cause them. For example, we see how fear can lead to anxiety with the character Jeevan in this story. When Jeevan is talking to Hua on the phone and learning about the initial outbreak of the Georgia Flu, Hua says “I know how paranoid you can get.” (19). The book explores the idea of how people can develop terrible levels of anxiety from an pandemic and the powerful influence it can have over their actions. How the people can act towards the infected is explored in this novel as well. In the book at the Severn City Airport, Clark talks about the Air Gradia 452 flight and how everyone had decided to “keep the jet sealed rather than expose a packed airport to a fatal contagion.” (249) Fear of the virus and death showed why the characters in this book made an unspeakable decision in order to survive. This example explored how humans can make some of the most radical decisions when faced with fear and survival. Also, we see how characters like Tyler use fear to create a cult in order to survive and gain power. Tyler, or the prophet, uses the fear of individuals and convinces them that their survival was for a greater purpose and reason. He then uses his followers to gain power and take over towns. This use of the theme of fear shows how the absence of hope in that fear can lead people to wanting a greater purpose and reason to survive. Do you think fear has been used as tactic in our country to attempt to control the behavior of individuals during our COVID-19 pandemic?
The Georgia Flu in Station Eleven and the COVID-19 pandemic in our world today have some connections in the way they have affected the world. The first connection I saw was the increase in anxiety among the characters in Station Eleven and the adults in our country. In the book, there was fear created by the Georgia Flu and the anxiety that came along with it because of the fatality rate. Found on this website, https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/ , it talks about how four in ten adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic and this has increased from one in ten adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019. These symptoms have been increasing in our country due to the stress over coronavirus coupled with the negative economic and health effects that have been caused by it. Also, I thought it was interesting how Station Eleven addressed people with disabilities during a pandemic. In the novel Clark has a brother named Frank that is disabled and he eventually takes his own life because he knows he will hold Clark back from being able to survive outside of the apartment. The additional difficulties that come along with being disabled during a pandemic have been discussed on this website, https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/everyone-included-covid-19.html. In this website it mentions how people with disabilities in the world today cannot practice safe social distancing or isolation guidelines as easily as others because they need help and support from other people for every day self-care tasks. This shows people with disabilities can be disadvantaged in staying healthy and surviving throughout a pandemic.
Source for Image: https://www.wired.com/story/first-denial-then-fear-covid-19-patients-in-their-own-words/
This blog will addresses the idea of de-evolution causing the violation of reproductive rights in Louise Erdrich’s book Future Home of the Living God and how that can relate to what I have seen taking place in our country today. Throughout this book we learn of an apocalypse taking place due to a disease and the government has decided to regulate females and their reproductive rights due to concerns of de-evolution. The belief among scientists in this book is that humans may “skip straight back to a previous hominin” or “homo erectus perhaps” (55). This causes the government to capture women and either inseminate them or help them give birth in order to take their babies and study them. The government believes this is the best thing for all women and expects all citizens to help in the effort to capture pregnant women for the protection and greater good of humanity. This reminds me of our country today in a way because of the attempt of certain politicians and their partisan policies of restricting family planning and health services for women. Found in this website, https://www.thirdway.org/memo/talking-about-reproductive-rights-in-2020 , there is evidence that shows state legislatures have been steadily decreasing the amount of family planning providers found in the state and they make state funding dependent upon these providers not offering abortion services. I can see similarities here on how governments can restrict and control women and their bodies along with their reproductive rights based on the belief that it is for the greater good. In the book it is for the greater good of the human race to control and study the de-evolution of the human race through the women and their pregnancies and in our country today many politicians believe and push policies that it is for the greater good to regulate the bodies of women who are pregnant to protect the fetus. Found on this website, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20443281/ , we can see why some politicians argue for these type of regulations because they say “the fetus is a person”. Overall I see a connection between the government in this book and how they control women and their reproductive rights and how the government of our country can in ways do the same. Similar to the control on women’s bodies in Future Home of the Living God, do you think our government in the United States already has too much influence and control over women’s bodies and their reproductive rights? I think it was interesting how Louise Erdrich used reproduction rights to show the influence and control governments can and already have over their citizens. Louise Erdrich also did an amazing job showing how humans tend to view the best solution to problems they do not understand is through the process of eradication. This idea can be applied to both the capturing of women in this book and the prevention of reproductive healthcare in times that women need it in our country.
Source for Image: https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/emer-o-toole-science-and-sociology-are-on-the-side-of-pro-choice-1.2294754