Perpetua: The UAH Journal of Undergraduate Research


Madison Smith


College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences




This article addresses how the relationship between morality and humanity evolves upon the disintegration of societal constraints due to the apocalypse in Station Eleven and The Road through the critical analysis of both novels. It examines the characters’ different behaviors spanning their normal personality to their threatened survival state. These mannerisms are scrutinized in respect to Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative, specifically the universal and humanity formulations, as criterion to judge the characters’ moral boundaries in comparison to pre-collapse values. Furthermore, Abraham Maslow’s theory of self-actualization is employed as an additional means to evaluate the ethical principles of the characters under stressful circumstances. These two philosophies serve as a standard to explore the changes in the characters’ interpretation of morality over time throughout various situations. This inquiry produced evidence suggesting that both authors believe some will self-enforce a moral code while others will choose to focus solely on survival. However, Mandel and McCarthy also portray the belief that the concept of morality will evolve and become more fluid in comparison to the pre-collapse society. This conclusion is a result of the conflicts between conscience and survival that force righteous individuals to overstep moral boundaries. Moreover, the investigation revealed the proposition that the environment could influence the principles of the characters through desensitization and instilling aggression.



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