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The Lost Book Club – The Great Divorce

By roomforhuman,

  Filed under: Lost Theories
  Comments: 11


With all of the buzz about C.S. Lewis going around, I thought I would bring a theory to the table regarding one of his best books: The Great Divorce.

The allegorical aspects of this literary work lie in the idea that you either choose to live in pleasure and self-indulgence and thus end up in Hell, or you turn and repent, thus gaining access to Heaven.  This is a major theme in the world of Lost.  Here are a few connections:

1. In The Great Divorce: Those who are in Purgatory (the grey land), waiting for Hell, are invited onto a bus that will take them to the foothills of heaven. 

On LOST: All of our Losties were in the grey lands of their lives before crashing onto the island. 

2. In The Great Divorce: These people find it near impossible to acclimate to these various foothills, because they are so used to their old lives.  Some love the new terrain, while others want to return to the grey land.

On LOST: Many of our Losties want to get off the island, but a select few, who see the true beauty of the island, want to stay and explore the awesomeness of it.

3. In The Great Divorce: The people on the bus ride are visited by people they had once known in their lives.  These old friends try to convince the bus people to repent of their old lives so that they will acclimate to the foothills.  Many fear the change and return to the grey lands.

On LOST: Our Losties are constantly visited by the ghosts of their pasts.  And these ghosts regularly try to convince the Losties to put their old lives behind them and start new on the island.  Unfortunately, many of them still want to leave…and 6 of them do.

Now, let’s look at the 3 Losties we’ve seen off the island (foothills) and back in the real world (grey lands).  They are miserable. I understand that we don’t fully understand why they’re miserable yet, but it may be safe to say that the island, though it requires more sacrifice, offers a better life. 


What are your thoughts? 



  • Ashley Webb

    Just one thought. Hurley’s reference to the Oceanic 6 may not necessarily mean there were only 6 to return. For example, The 6 may have hidden Kate’s survival and return to allow her a new identity. There are secrets Jack is concerned Hurley will reveal…

  • Indeed, the Lewis connection excited me so much when I heard. “The Great Divorce” is one of my favorite books ever. Also, another thing that I though was interesting was a possible connection with Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia.” In the story, time is different in our world and in Narnia (eg. while many years (50-ish? I can’t remember) have past in Narnia, the children, now adults in Narnia, return to the wardrobe and back to this world it the VERY MOMENT they went into Narnia). I just think the time thing is interesting.

    Another EXTREMELY interesting thing I noticed was that Charlotte’s father (as Ben tells us) is named David. This would make him David Lewis. Could this be another philosophy reference?

    David Kellogg Lewis

    If it is, it would be very interesting in light of David Lewis’ theories regarding possible worlds and parallel universes.

  • Ann

    I’ve never read “The Great Divorce” — I’ll be hitting the library Monday now — but it sure does sound exactly like what the show’s about. But doesn’t this seem to fly in the face of what Carlton and Damon have been saying all along, that the island is NOT purgatory? Could this just be a red herring?

  • kinyah

    there’s no canon to suggest that Kate is miserable back in the “grey lands”.

  • roomforhuman

    Ann, it could be a red herring of sorts, but I’m thinking that there is some substance to the theory. At least the ghosts of the past part of it. I think the island conjures up these ghosts to convince the Losties to stop living as they always have and start living for something greater. Whatever that may be.

    kinyah, I agree. I sort of made that statement on assumption, although I don’t see us finding out that she’s overjoyed to back off the island.

  • Colm

    With reference to Kate not being miserable off the island, maybe she’s just holding out from the Island’s forces longer than Jack and Hurley were able. Maybe something happens in each of the “Oceanic Six’s” lives after they escape from the Island that makes them more vulnerable to the Islands “advances” to get them to return. For Hurley it was the upset and (maybe) the feeling he betrayed the people that were left behind. For Jack, maybe something happened when he got back that made him start drinking heavily and the Island exerted It’s pull on him, making him desperate to want to go back.
    For Kate maybe another run-in with the cops or her mother. I guess only time will tell. Just my thoughts anyways,

  • buffy

    Granted, we haven’t seen Kate’s episode yet, so we can’t really say either way, although she definitely didn’t look like life was peachy keen when she met future-jack at the airport. (despite the odd wispy filters she was under for the whole scene.)

    Jack also didn’t want to go back yet when he met Hurley for the game of Horse, so perhaps Kate’s misery off-island just hadn’t fully caught up with her yet.

    Or maybe she’s just as stubborn and pig headed off-island as she is on-island.

    Interestingly, in The Great Divorce (my favorite book ever, as well) everyone’s misery causes them to constantly move away from everyone else in the grey land, both emotionally and physically, forever and ever until it becomes totally impossible for them to ever be reached by anyone again.

  • roomforhuman

    Buffy, I didn’t think about how those in the grey lands slowly lose touch. That seems like a huge connection to how our Losties are off island. It’s like they want nothing to do with eachother. Especially Hurley, who would rather be locked up in a mental institution and have no contact with anyone. I think your on to something there.

  • boloboffin

    This is also getting into Bartleby territory: “I would prefer not to.”

  • LB#10

    i need help reallly badllyy!!!!!!

    1) what do the people keep moving away from eachother?
    2) who is george mcdonald in the story?

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