BOOKS / AUTHORS / MOVIES
Concretely & Explicitly Seen or Mentioned References
*marks books seen within hatch scenes
(Austen, Jane) â€“ Charlie jokes with the girls at the bar in â€œHomecomingâ€ that Jane Austen would not approve. Austen is the author of several popular classics on upbringing in â€œproperâ€ society, and is especially well-known for her in-depth characterizations of strong female roles and observations of human interconnectiveness.
(Hemingway, Ernest) â€“ Locke tells Jack that Hemingway felt he was living in Dostoevskyâ€™s shadow, likely a reference to the rift that was developing between the two lostaways on the show as well. Hemingway was known for his passionate yet matter-of-fact / economic style of writing, as well as his adventure-loving and at times volatile nature in real life. Many of his stories are about Man battling Nature as a metaphor for the internal struggle within all of us.
(King, Stephen) â€“ Henry Gale, in response to Lockeâ€™s offer for The Brothers Karamazov to pass the time in captivity, sarcastically requests Stephen King instead. King is the author of The Langoliers, a story of a strange flight where the passengers that are asleep find themselves stranded after passing through a time warp (with unseen monsters called langoliers in hot pursuit trying to “eat up the events of the past”). He also wrote The Stand, about a post-apocalyptic world (dessimated by a deadly virus) in which good and evil are polarized forces poised for epic battle, and there is mention of a “black rock” (though this is a small version which hangs around the evil leader’s neck).
Spoiler: From the DVD commentary on D7 of S1:
TPTB says that the table where writers brainstorm for new episodes of LOST is â€œnever without a copy of The Standâ€.
King is also the author of The Talisman, in which the hero is named Jack Sawyer, a boy who goes on a life-changing journey (who in turn may be a reference to Mark Twaine’s Tom Sawyer, known for his “con” of whitewash trickery). In many of his pop-horror books, clairvoyance and parapsychology play key roles.
Alice in Wonderland (Carroll, Lewis; 1865) â€“ One of the S1 episode titles is â€œWhite Rabbitâ€, about Jack chasing a fleeting image of his now-dead father through the jungle, a relationship which he is far from having closure with. The book can be read on many levels, but could be seen as exemplifying human self-discovery, and the never-ending search for a just-out-of-reach truth in a complex fantasy world. White rabbits are also referenced in popular fiction including â€œThe Matrixâ€ & A Wrinkle in Time.
Bad Twin (Troup, Gary; 2006) â€“ Hurley is seen reading a copy of this manuscript in one of the earlier episodes. It is written from the perspective of one of the Oceanic 815 passengers that did not survive the crash, and is about a pair of twins (one of which is missing), and later moves into a parallel world where friends and enemies look alike, and the idea of identity and truth itself becomes challenged. Set to be released in May as a spin-off from the series.
Bible, The (Holy) â€“ There are countless Christian religious themes explored, directly and indirectly, in almost every episode and facet of the show. In addition, â€œNumbersâ€ and “Exodus” are books of the Bible, and the â€œ23rd Psalmâ€ is directly taken from it as well; the skeletons in the caves are dubbed â€œAdam & Eveâ€.
Brothers Karamazov, The (Dostoevsky, Fyodor; 1879)* â€“ A book offered by Locke to Henry Gale to help pass the time while he is held prisoner in episode â€œMaternity Leaveâ€. It is a book about three brothers that plot and kill their father, and later must face consequences. Major lessons from the book include the idea that free will exists but is a curse, especially when pertaining to questions of faith and redemption (concepts that are troubling Mr. Eko in the same episode, and just about every other character in the series at different times). Additionally, one of the characters who is most secure in his religious beliefs, Zosima, believes that it is not one manâ€™s place to judge another, because human lives are interwoven and everything we do affects anothersâ€™ life and comes back around. This idea of karma is exemplified in an early episode in which Sawyer is haunted by the shrimp truck man he murdered (mistaking him for the real Sawyer), with his last words â€œItâ€™ll come back aroundâ€, later heard as whispers in the jungle and (in his eyes) as the reincarnated form of a boar that taunts him.
Green Lantern / Flash : Faster Friends Comic (1997) â€“ Walt is seen in more than one episode reading a Spanish version of this comic, before it is burned out of anger by his father. Both times, shortly after these moments, polar bears (seen within the comic) are then seen in real life. Story: GL & Flash team up to defeat an alien from a crash-landed spacecraft without questioning of his motives as being unpeaceful; later, it is captured and held for years in a govt run lab. After it escapes, there is the possibility of war with the parasitic alien world; there are also elements in the story of mistaken identities and a sickness which finds a cure through a stem-cell-like treatment.
Harry Potter (Rowling, J.K.; 1997) â€“ (ETA SpidermanHouston) Hurley jokes that Sawyer’s new glasses make him look like “someone steam-rolled Harry Potter”. Mostly just a point of derision to poke fun at a studly, masculine character. Harry Potter is also a fantasy book about a boy who finds himself as he trains for a future in wizardry.
â€œHearts and Mindsâ€ (1974) â€“ One of the early S1 episode titles. Also, an Academy Award-winning pacifist documentary about the Vietnam War, with insights about militarism and human conflict.
Heart of Darkness (Conrad, Joseph; 1902) â€“ Jack refers to the jungle as a â€œheart of darknessâ€ on the show. Recurring themes in the book include the use of descent into the jungle as a metaphor for descent into the dark depths of the soul; Africa is the setting of the book, and also often referenced within the LOST series. ETA camelsmoker: Another “Heart of Darkness”/”Apocalypse Now” reference: in “Numbers” Charlie refers to Hurley as “Colonel bloody Kurtz”.
House of the Rising Sun (Hustmyre, Chuck; 2004) â€“ Title of an S1 episode, which (in addition to the play on word with Sun’s name and the suggestion of an Eastern setting) may or may not also be a reference to the book of the same name (both have strong mafia elements to the plot).
Lancelot (Percy, Walker; 1977) â€“ Sawyer is seen reading this in â€œMaternity Leaveâ€. I have not read it and will use snippets / paraphrasing of drabauerâ€™s analysis here (apologies if I mangle any of it, but couldnâ€™t include the whole thing here): The narrator is accused of a horrific crime, paralleling Henry Galeâ€™s situation, and again there is the question of how punishment will be dealt justly. It also is another allegory of the search for a grail theme, though this time, unholy; and a reference to a Pandoraâ€™s Box. Lance rejects absolution and religion. He appears to be losing touch with reality as he continues his rant, but is conscious of his delirium. ETA volney: Lance’s crime of blowing up his house to kill his wife (which he felt was justified) also mirror’s Kate’s crime.
Lord of the Flies, The (Golding, William; 1954) â€“ Sawyer, after he captures Jin for what he believes to be his burning of the raft (later proven false), says â€œItâ€™s Lord of the Flies timeâ€. The book is about a group of schoolboys trying to recreate society after being stranded on an island, only to have it break down when the darker side of human nature defies attempts to establish order. The main conflict in the book is the widening ideological gap between Ralph, the rational & moral leader who wants to establish order, and Jack, who wants a hedonistic, animalistic anarchy. Murder and mayhem ensue as the story continues and things get out of hand. Other similarities to the show include the importance of glasses (Piggy’s; used for making fire), asthma (Piggy’s), a castaway that feels a naturalistic connection to the island (Simon), the recurrent appearance of boars, and a running gag of confusion between a pair of characters–Scott/Steve (redshirts) vs. Sam/Eric. (Latter references came from a numbers forum post) ETA ALostRockStar: Simon’s not-so-accidental death in the book and Boone’s death in the show also can be seen as “sacrifices” to the island.
Memoirs of a Geisha (Golden, Arthur; 1997) â€“ In an airport scene, an American lady, critical of Sun’s apparent subserviance to Jin, says their spat is “straight out of Memoirs of a Geisha”. The book tracks the transformation of a young village girl into a strong-willed geisha, in a woven romantic tale about defiance against societal norms; according to one review, very reminiscent of Jane Austen’s work. ETA ALostRockStar: Also, the main character is the daughter of a fisherman, and falls in love by fateful meeting atop a bridge, much like Jin & Sun’s story.
Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, An (Bierce, Ambrose; 1891)* â€“ Locke is seen holding a copy when he claims he is alphabetizing the books in the hatch (when he is actually looking for more pieces of the orientation film). It is a short macabre French story about a man who is condemned to be hanged on a bridge. It follows his journey as he struggles to escape and return home, only to have the reader find out in the end that the events have all taken place within his mind, during his final moments before death by hanging. It was also an unusual episode of The Twilight Zone, the only externally produced episode of the long-running sci-fi series. TZ episodes repeatedly explored themes of manâ€™s lonely place in the universe and subjective perceptions of reality.
Third Policeman, The (Oâ€™Brien, Flann; 1967)* â€“ On the show, it is the book that Desmond is seen stuffing into his bag full of belongings, shortly before fleeing his years of isolation in the hatch for the jungle. The books is a darkly absurd/surreal novel told from the perspective of a narrator and admitted murderer, who later determines to find three policeman, the last of which involves descent into a strange and parallel world where men become one with the bicycles they ride. In his search, he researches the works of a madman who believes â€œdarkness is a hallucinationâ€. Additionally â€œthe boxâ€ in the novel is a bunk that resembles that of the dark hatch. Lastly, he has a number of rather wacky theories, which may be a nod to internet fans of the show.
Spoiler: According to a BBC report & an article in the Chicago Tribune on Sept 21 of last year:
…The Third Policeman also was to contain key insights into LOST, a fact that led to it selling more copies in the 3 weeks following the episode’s airing than in the 6 years that preceded this. LOST script writer Craig Wright said the book was chosen “very specifically for a reason.”
Turn of the Screw, The (James, Henry; 1898 & in book form, later in 1900’s)* â€“ The DHARMA orientation tape is found behind a copy of this book. It is the story of a governess in a country house that becomes convinced there is a ghostly conspiracy that is behind the mysterious goings-on within the house, and that an evil spirit has possessed the children. As the story concludes, we are left uncertain if the entire story is the result of her descent into madness (in her head) or really occurring as she perceives things.
Watership Down (Adams, Richard; 1972) â€“ Sawyer is seen on several occasions reading this book, which he glibly refers to as a cute tale â€œabout bunniesâ€; it later becomes a source of conflict when Boone accuses him of stealing it out of his luggage, along with inhalers that his sister needs for an asthmatic attack. The book is an allegory about rabbits that survive many trials and tribulations in their quest to find â€œhomeâ€ after escaping the clairvoyantly foreseen destruction of their old warren. In the process, they learn lessons about the cyclic nature of life and the best way to establish government (first encountering a socialist society, then a totalitarian one, and finally settling on a democratic vision they must defend). Fiver is a clairvoyant outcast rabbit that helps the group find their way to the promised land, with similarities to Walt and Locke. In the opening scene of the movie based on the novel, there is also a close-up where a rabbit eye fills the screen, as a reminder that this tale will be told from their perspective. One of the chapters in the book is also named “Deus Ex Machina” (like one of the LOST episode titles), after the idea of a literary device used to unexpectedly untangle plot situations.
Wrinkle in Time, A (Lâ€™Engle, Madeline; 1962) â€“ Sawyer is seen reading this book. It is a sci-fi about time travel and also has references to loss of a father and many Christian themes. This time travel is facilitated by tesseracts (a 4-dimensional version of a cube, with the last dimension being time–a real concept of Euclidian geometry). The great evil being they are fighting against is called “The Dark Thing”, which takes the form of a giant black cloud that eats up the universe.
Other miscellaneous books seen within the hatch in brief screencaps (of which I have no synopses / analyses for yet)â€”much less â€œcenter stageâ€ in significance: Dirty Work (Woods, Stuart; 2003)*, High Hand (Phillips, Gary; 2000)*, Hooded Crow, A (Thomas, Craig; 1992)*, Rainbow Six (Clancy, Tom; 1999)*, Hindsights (Kawasaki, Guy; 1994)* and After All These Years (Isaacs, Susan; 1994)*. The dates are strange??? (more recent than the time we are expecting the hatch to be from)
Looser Associations / Possible Implied References
Epic of Gilgamesh, The (roughly 2500? BC) â€“ The answer to a crossword puzzle in â€œCollisionâ€. Considered by many to be the worldâ€™s oldest written story, it is a Babylonian epic written on tablets about the adventures of a the great king Gilgamesh, on a trek which covers both mortal and immortal worlds. This ancient work is said to have substantially influenced the development of later masterpieces The Holy Bible and The Odyssey.
“Finding Nemo” (2003) – Possibly the “cartoon about a fish” that Shannon remembered the song “La Mer” from (Below). Hard to say if there’s a direct connection with the show, but the movie is about a lost young fish that goes to great lengths and overcomes many obstacles to be reuinited with home & a father (with whom he has had “issues” with).
â€œGodfather, Theâ€ (1972) â€“ In the Pilot, Locke has an orange peel smile when he unsuccessfully attempts to humor Kate after the grim activity of taking the shoes off of a corpse. In the movie, the Don dies shortly after a scene in which he shows an orange peel smile (may or may not be a real allusion).
Hitchhikerâ€™s Guide to the Galaxy, The (Adams, Douglas; 1985) â€“ The last number of the infamous numeric series on the show is 42 (and quite separate from the others). In the book (which is written more as a humorous sci-fi satire), 42 is the answer to the meaning of â€œLife, the Universe and Everythingâ€.
Lottery, The (Jackson, Shirley; 1948) â€“ White & black stones are seen in both the series (Adam & Eve) and this short story, where they are used to determine who will live or die. Additionally, Hurley wins a lottery, but ironically feels cursed rather than blessed; in the short story, the â€œwinning familyâ€ of the lottery ironically ends up getting stoned to death by the village and used as scapegoats.
Most Dangerous Game, The (Connell, Richard; 1924) â€“ In â€œHearts and Mindsâ€, when Locke is questioned about why the boar are moving out of the valley, says it is in response to man, â€œthe most dangerous predator of allâ€; also, they hunt men on the show in the episodes â€œHomecomingâ€ and â€œThe Hunting Partyâ€. The short story itself is about a man named Rainsford who is brought to an island to be hunted like prey by a deranged general. It is a story about learning self-sufficiency and survival skills in the face of a bizarre human cat-and-mouse game.
Mysterious Island, The (Verne, Jules; 1875) â€“ (ETA camelsmoker) In “Whatever the Case May Be”, Shannon makes reference to “Mystery freakin’ Island”. Verne is known for writing a number of adventure/fantasy books, but this one has particular similarities to the plot of our series. It starts off with a hot air balloon ride that gets blown way off course to an uncharted island in the South Pacific–the castaways are a small group and a dog. They along the way also encounter pirates, and one nearly gets killed; additionally, they manage to survive on the island by manufacturing many things, including nitroglycerine, and a boat.
â€œOutsiders, Theâ€ (Movie 1983; Adapted From Hinten, S.E. book; 1967) â€“ Sawyer calls Hurley â€œPonyboyâ€, after a character from this movie about greaser outcasts. While superficially, the two stories are very different (with the latter focusing more on a culture of car idolatry), they are both about what it takes to conform to group order, and struggling for survival in a harsh environment.
â€œStar Warsâ€ (1977; Later Trilogy Movies 1980, 1983) â€“ Hurley calls Jackâ€™s trick of calming Shannonâ€™s asthma attack a â€œJedi momentâ€. The movie trilogy is also about a battle between good & evil externally as well as internally within the characters, with both having protagonists that have â€œfather issuesâ€. ETA Graham_K: Additionally, in “Exodus”, Sawyer calls Michael and Jin “Han and Chewie”; ETA camelsmoker, Sawyer calls Hurley “Jabba”.
â€œWizard of Oz, Theâ€ (Movie 1921; Adapted from Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The, by Baum, L. Frank; 1900) â€“ Henry Gale is the name of the mysterious stranger the lostaways encounter, and is also the full name of Dorothyâ€™s Uncle Henry in the movie; hot air balloons also figure into both stories. The story of The Wizard is a parable of the search to find oneself, and ends with Dorothy discovering that there is a mortal force â€œbehind the curtainsâ€ that is not nearly as omnipotent or scary as originally perceived. ETA I_Took_Walt: The Baum book upon which the movie is based (which does not have the full Gale name consistantly used) is itself a political satire that ties in themes of “duping the public with illusionary promises” and ideology of William Jennings Bryan, later downplayed for the popular movie audience. ETA jbolt: Zeke is also the name of the hired hand on the Gale farm, who advises Dorothy to “have courage” (and later the same actor plays the Cowardly Lion).
Sawyer-invented nicknames that are allusions to books, movies, TV:
Ana-Lucia: Hot Lips (M.A.S.H.)
Jack: Dr. Quinn
Jin: Mr. Miyagi (The Karate Kid), Sulu (Star Trek), Chewie (Star Wars)
Hurley: Babar, Jabba (Star Wars), Ponyboy (The Outsiders), Stay-Puft (Ghostbusters)
Michael: Han (Star Wars)
Mr. Eko: Shaft
Walt: Tattoo (Fantasy Island), Short Round (Indiana Jones)
Sledgeweb’s outside link
drabauer’s thread (link within broken)
(For brevityâ€™s sake, I am including only songs heard prominently during the episodes, not all the songs of the soundtrackâ€”click here for more on the soundtrack & songs within it. They are almost all cleverly chosen to impart meaning and subtext to the show, but I am not doing a list/analysis here for any except the first few.)
â€œCatch a Falling Starâ€ (Como, Perry; 1958) â€“ The song which Claire remembers her father singing to her in her childhood, and which she requests a couple who will potentially adopt her baby sing to him one day (before she has second thoughts about the adoption). Also, the song that the plane mobile plays, in the flashback nursery scene with Ethan in “Maternity Leave”.
“Intermezzo” from “Carmen” (Bizet, Charles; 1875) â€“ Very possibly the song playing on Danielle’s music box in “Solitary”.
â€œMer, Laâ€ (Trennet, Charles; 1943) â€“ Shannon translated the notes on the sides of Rousseauâ€™s map calculations to be lyrics from the French song (a memory of an ex-boyfriendâ€™s son watching a childrenâ€™s movie with this song triggered this association). It was the basis for the â€œBeyond the Seaâ€. Translated lyrics of the original are as follows (courtesy of Mr. & Mrs. camelsmoker):
which one sees dancing along the clear gulfs
has sparkles of silver.
Of changing sparkles
Under the rain.
Of summer sky confuses
its white sheep
With angels so pure.
Shepherdess of blue infinity.
Next to the ponds
Those tall wet reeds.
Those white birds
And those rusty houses.
Has rocked them (like a baby)
Along the clear gulfs
And with a love song The sea
Has rocked my heart for life.
Commercial Songs Heard in Series by Episode (courtesy of http://www.have-dog.com/lost/):
Tabula Rasa: “Leavin’ on Your Mind” (Cline, Patsy); “Wash Away” (Purdy, Joe)
House of the Rising Sun: “Are You Sure” (Nelson, Willie)
The Moth: “You All Everybody” (Drive Shaft)
Confidence Man: “I Shall Not Walk Alone” (Blind Boys of Alabama)
Whatever the Case May Be: “La Mer” (Trenet, Charles)
…In Translation: “Delicate” (Rice, Damien)
Do No Harm: “Heart and Soul”
The Greater Good: “I Got You (I Feel Good)” (Brown, James)
Exodus PII-III: “The Redemption Song” (Marley, Bob)
Man of Science, Man of Faith / Adrift: “Make Your Own Kind of Music” (Elliot, Mama Cass)
Everybody Hates Hugo: “My Conversation” (Smith, Slim); “Easy Money” (Joel, Billy); “Up on the Roof” (Drifters, The)
Abandoned: “Stay (Wasting Time)” (Dave Mathews Band)
Collision: “Outside” (Staind)
What Kate Did: “The End of the World” (Davis, Skeeter); “Walkin’ After Midnight” (Cline, Patsy)
The 23rd Psalm: “He’s Evil” (Kinks, The)
ETA I_Took_Walt: Explicitly referenced songs in episode titles may include “House of the Rising Sun” (traditionally performed by Bob Dylan and the Animals), “Born to Run” (Bruce Springsteen), and possibly “White Rabbit” (Jefferson Airplane) and “Exodus” (Bob Marley).
(ETA Son of Locke)
Michelangelo, Buonarroti â€“ “Statue of David” story told by Locke in “Hearts and Minds” (to Boone, in reference to “works in progress”, in that case, the attempt to open the hatch).
O’Keefe, Georgia paintings seen in medical bunker of “Maternity Leave”.
Veraccio, Andrea de â€“ “The Baptism of Christ” (angels painted by da Vinci & Boticelli) shown in Charlie’s flashback in “Fire + Water”.