“Miranda is drawing Leon Prevant’s reception area before she realizes what she’s doing. The prairies of carpet, the desk, Leon’s closed office door, the wall of glass. [. . .] Trying to convey the serenity of this place where she spends her most pleasant hours [. . .].
'You’re always half on Station Eleven,' Pablo said.”
This quote takes place in Chapter 14, as Pablo and Miranda’s relationship ends and Miranda spends more time at her day job while working on Station Eleven after hours. As Miranda grows increasingly unhappy at home, she escapes into the world of Station Eleven. Here, as she’s creating a pivotal scene in the graphic novel, she doesn’t even notice that she has started to replicate her real life within the panels of the graphic novel. Miranda both finds solace in escaping her unsatisfactory relationship through drawing and captures the serenity she feels at work by replicating it in her art. In this way, Miranda leaves reality for her art and also brings the best part of her real life into her graphic novel. Pablo, recognizing that he’s only getting half of Miranda, complains about the way she disappears into creating. Miranda is able to, in a sense, create an escape hatch from a life that she’s outgrown and essentially draws her way into a new world.
“Miranda opened her eyes in time to see the sunrise. A wash of violent color, pink and streaks of brilliant orange, the container ships on the horizon suspended between the blaze of the sky and the water aflame, the seascape bleeding into confused visions of Station Eleven, its extravagant sunsets and its indigo sea.”
This quote comes at the end of Chapter 41 as Miranda lays dying on the beach from the flu. Miranda has spent her life escaping into the world of her graphic novel. Making art has helped her survive abusive relationships and make it through Arthur leaving her. Her art has also been a way for her to make sense of loss, grief, and loneliness. Part of the beauty she experiences as she passes away is of the world that she created in Station Eleven. It’s almost as if, in this moment when she slips from reality, into the beyond, she merges with her creation. Her art lives on beyond her and continues to provide comfort and escape to Kirsten and Tyler. This suggests the power of art in times of difficulty and tragedy comes not in merely reflecting life but in being integral to character’s experience and understanding of it.
“The man from the front row was running now, and Arthur was in motion too; he fell against a pillar and began to slide and now snow was falling all around him, shining in the lights. He thought it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.”
This quote takes place in Chapter 53, as Mandel portrays Arthur’s death onstage for the second time from Arthur’s own perspective. Here, as Arthur is dying onstage, the world around him blurs and he doesn’t know where he is. Like Miranda’s death, he seems to be half in the world of his art and half in reverie about the real world. Just as he cannot tell the difference as he passes between the stage snow and real snow, he enters into an uncanny space where the past and present, art and reality all blur together. It is as though they are overlaid on top of each other. Both depictions of Arthur’s death blur in this way and seem to frame the novel as a whole. He dies in a beautiful blur of nostalgia, art, confusion, and awe, which parallels the way the world itself ends in the novel.