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Preliminary Thoughts: The Lighthouse

By nomaD,

  Filed under: Lost
  Comments: 1

“The Lighthouse” definitely rings some literary bells. First, it recalls To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, which is divided into three parts, the last section titled simply “The Lighthouse.”

The novel depicts the changing dynamics of a large family, the Ramsays, over the course of a ten-year period during which time many characters die and World War I comes and goes. In the first section, “the Window,” some of the family members want to visit a lighthouse but the father discourages the idea. At the end, after several years have passed, they finally make the visit to the lighthouse. During this trip Mr. Ramsay and his son share a special father-son moment–James, who is accustomed to his dad’s criticism and high expectations is surprised when Mr. Ramsay lavishes him with praise. This sounds like a familiar family situation.

Thanks to SCS of TheSanatorium for this post!

In Lost, specifically in the Shephard family, the evolution of fatherly love took more time (an entire generation and a leap to an alternate universe), but at least Jack does learn to express his unconditional love for his son, David. Another clear similarity between Lost and this novel lies in the element of perspective. Woolf uses multiple voices to tell the story, a  technique where the point of view shifts from one character to the next, creating a highly textured story. This form of construction is a fundamental characteristic of Lost’s storytelling. There is no one single voice of authority that can provide a whole narrative; various single threads of narrative are woven together to create a complete tapestry (to use the image of Jacob weaving).

The Lighthouse of Alexandria, built in the 3rd Century. More commentary forthcoming on this image…

The other reference that immediately comes to mind is the story of Hero and Leander, a tale of two young lovers from Greek mythology. Hero, the beautiful priestess lives in solitude at the top of a towering lighthouse at the edge of Sestus. Guided by Hero’s lamp, Leander swims across the channel every night to visit her, and then returns each morning. The story ends in tragedy when Leander loses his way and drowns in a storm one night. When Hero finds his body she throws herself into the water, killing herself.

At this point, any strong connections to Lost are fuzzy, but both stories popped into my head when I remembered that tonight’s episode was titled “The Lighthouse.”

PS: Yet another guest appearance for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland! See the annotated edition in David’s room. Jack picks up the book and asks his son if he remembers (Jack) reading it to him when David was little. FOR MORE ON THE LITERARY ASPECTS OF THIS AND OTHER LOST LIT CLICK HERE


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