As this novel describes life before and after the epidemic, a virus that wiped out most of the population, the power of art and its significance on civilization is emphasized as a form of finding hope. This novel analyzed art as something we take for granted. Those who survived the Georgian Flu went through a life crisis and experienced negative episodes which impacted them in every aspect, having to see the ill reach their last breath and people dying one day after another. These experiences can truly traumatize an individual because it is something one doesn't expect to go through growing up. The passion these individuals found in art was like their sanctuary, something that made them feel safe and got their minds off the apocalypse.
Moreover, the symbolism of art in a culture such as the one in the novel, includes lots of nostalgia and emotions which contributes to their current situation as fortunate survivors. In a world without art and the culture it engages, there would be a lack of creativity, of imagination, and our planet would seem dull without images or performances. Therefore, Miranda spent years creating comics that embedded art because it was something she was truly passionate about and happily states she does not regret a single thing. Art is what made her feel alive and allowed members from the Traveling Symphony to get their minds off reality. In addition, the novel started with a performance itself with participating actors where Arthur Lear instantly died which eventually dragged the scene throughout the entire book.
Furthermore, art is considered such thing to those who get their eye caught on it and determine its valuable enough to be contemplated as an artwork. Members presented in the novel appreciate the symbolism found in artistry. The power of art is formed through the hands of humanity, humans choose what they want to value. The group's motto, stating "survival is insufficient", connects to how the Traveling Symphony took time out of their days to bring positivity into people's lives, the art and music they associated with brought joy to the community even after they outlived the severe flu. The first sentence in chapter 11 states, "What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty" (56), for them, it was the one thing that mattered because there was nothing left. They were kind gestures as they tried helping others preserve one of the only things that wasn't completely terminated by the Georgian Flu. The form of entertainment this group of musicians and actors provided helped change the world in a way that brought everybody together. Art often has a bigger and deeper message behind a song lyric or a painting, and many times, others can relate and analyze exactly what they meant when using their creative minds to generate it.
Also, art taught these individuals what they were capable of and much more, they had to learn by themselves, nobody else was going to put in the work. Miranda and Kristen spent a lot of their time expressing their emotions through art such as the comic book Station Eleven and Dr. Eleven and joining the Traveling Symphony because they both believed surviving was truly not enough. They are working for the status they want in their life, rather than regretting the chances they never took. There is a very thin line between life and death, anybody can leave at any second of the day. Jeevan explains, "I love watching old movies. I watch the faces of long-dead actors on the screen, and I think about how they'll never truly die. … First, we only want to be seen, but once we're seen, that's not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered," (164) but because nothing worth having comes easy, not everybody is famous, and not everybody is willing to put in the effort.
The value depicted upon art in a society is defined based upon how the public envisions it. Although we cannot predict how someone will react when presented to a new form of art, it can challenge a new idea, rather than conforming with a current situation, one can try to change or better their standards to change one's own world. Miranda describes the comic book as something that "makes me happy. It’s peaceful, spending hours working on it. It doesn’t really matter to me if anyone else sees it, (95)” since she didn’t have plans to publish it. Consequently, nobody needs to experience an epidemic to realize that survival is not sufficient, one should learn how to leave their comfort zone and accomplish more for their own good.
Certainly, art shows enthusiasm, happiness, and the beauty of our surroundings rather than something disastrous and depressing. It could make us feel less alone, reminding us that we are not by ourselves, somebody else may be going through the same thing. Museums are filled with tourists and residents on a daily which are filled with collections and exhibitions of art, connecting to them is like a natural human instinct. Art has always been an important topic throughout history from BCE years, to the Enlightenment period, to present day. Art is what makes a life feel joyful, whether it's filled with vibrant colors or portrays a family eating dinner through a play. Art brings pleasure and has an emotional beauty, as shown, survivors learned to mentally move on.