Wednesday, August 15, 2007



This book is seen many times throughout the 2nd season. First as Henry Gale (Ben) is in the hatch he asks for something to read and Locke hands him this book, while Ben asks for Stephen King. Also, Henry Gale (Ben) uses the cover page to draw a map to his balloon. All of these things with the balloon and Henry Gale will be covered in my next few posts as I intend to tackle the Wizard of Oz. As for this book, as many classics, I have noticed, it gets hard to fight through the language barrier, and Dostoyevsky, though a very incredible author, seems to make things hard on the reader with his charcter names being somewhat confusing. However the social, philosophical and religious themes this story tackles make this book very powerful. Hmmm, doesn't lost tackle some of those similar themes. Let us Explore the similarities a bit, shall we?

Similarities in brothers Karamazov

  • Smyrdnakov is coerced into killing his father very much like sawyer was with Locke.
  • Ivan writes a prose story about Christ being reborn. When he is reborn the church puts him into prison because when he was tempted by Satan he showed the world that they had free-will. According to Ivan, nothing is more insufferable than Freedom. There are many free-will debates on LOST
  • Alyosha joined a monastery and then is told by the head monk to leave because he had a greater calling in life; that he was set to do bigger things in the outside world. This is a very similar situation as to Desmond.
  • Alyosha also meets the love of his life while in the monastery, also similar to the Desmond back-story.
  • Alyosha has a situation where he runs to defend a boy who is getting beat up by bullies and ends up getting hit for it. It may be a bit of a stretch but Jack also had that happen in a flashback episode for him.
  • The whole idea of patricide is a very strong theme in LOST, and the karamazovs end up killing their father. Ben, Locke/sawyer, and Kate all literally killed their fathers. Jin told everyone his father was dead, thus killing him socially and in a round about way. Jack destroyed his father’s career by testifying against him in his malpractice hearing, consequently sending his father to Australia where he met his death.
  • Locke is in a wheelchair due to an accident prior to the crash and alyosha’s love Lise is too in a wheelchair.
  • Father Zosima is a very similar character to Eko. He becomes a priest mostly due to his brother’s involvement in religion and subsequent death. Father Zosima becomes a priest as a form of atonement for a wayward youth and as a promise to his brother at his deathbed. Eko too promises his brother to build him a church.
  • Father Zosima tells Alyosha that he reminds him of his brother. . . or brotha. As I have already shown that Desmond and Alyosha are similar, Zosima tells Alyosha that he has a very important job to do outside the monastery (pushing the button) and also to save a brother, Mitia, who has lost his way.
  • Mitia, through many experiences with people letting him down and deceiving him, has lost his faith in humanity. Locke is very similar to Mitia in this respect. Also they ae similar in their pfilosophies and eventually both have break downs saying their lives have been worthless in pursuit of a errant purpose, Mitia with love and morality, Locke with Pushing the button.
  • Finally both come to the realization that they were wrong but it is too late the damage is done, Locke lets the hatch implode and Mitia in killing his father.
  • It has already been discussed, the fact that Eko and Locke are polar opposites. In my opinion Eko is Zosima and Locke is Mitia.
  • The Manner in which Zosima dies is similar to Eko. Both say a Psalm and raise their arms to the sky. In the book this is said to mean and acceptance of the nature and beauty of the world and a form of relief that it is over and that Zosima is pure and ready. I can only guess that Eko is of the same mindset.
Next Book: Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum/The Dark Tower series by Stephen King (this one is not mentioned on Lostpedia's literary reference page, however in re-watching some episodes I saw the book on Ben's night stand in "The Man from Tallahassee" . . . so we shall see. Also this one may take a while so bear with me.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Stand by Stephen King

This was a long, but incredibly entertaining book. Although there were a few rather graphic scenes, it was still worth the time I put in to it, and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, LOST fan or not. While this book was not seen or mentioned specifically in any episode of LOST, It was said to be an inspiration for the series by its producers. There are many similarities in form as well as content. This particular blog may be a work in progress as there really is a lot to cover, so bear with us...
  • First of all, The Stand is essentially a character driven narrative. Much like LOST, the main characters are faced with a huge catastrophe in which they are the survivors. The story from this point is molded by the characters, their personalities, and choices.
  • A few of the characters in the book are very similar to those in LOST as well, in fact these characters deserve their own list...
    • Larry Underwood - The most notably similar characters are that of the one-hit wonder rockstars Larry Underwood and Charlie Pace. Both of these characters had to overcome the demons of their rocker pasts, drugs, women, financial woes, and most of all selfishness. However through the course of the book, Larry becomes one of the most endearing characters as he struggles to turn his life in the right direction. In the end he willingly sacrifices his own life in order to save his friends from the "others" or "bad guys".
    • Fran Goldsmith - Fran is young, attractive, and pregnant. Much like Claire on the island, she split up with the child's father prior to the plague. She has a constant fear throughout the book that the "dark man" is coming after her baby. Just like Claire and her fear of the others coming to take her baby. Fran also has a fear that the child will contract the sickness that the rest of the survivors are immune to. This is also similar to the fear of some vague sickness that is supposedly on the island.
    • Randall Flagg, "The Dark Man" - There are a few different possibilities with this one. This is the main bad guy of the book, the leader of The Stand's version of the "Others". There are a few similarities to Ben, especially in his mode of flattery and manipulation, however Ben seems a bit too cowardly and lacks the pure evil that embodies Flagg. Flagg wears a yellow smiley face button on the right breast of his denim jacket. Ben claims to have crashed in a balloon whose canopy sported a big yellow smiley face.
    • Harold Lauder - This one doesn't really become apparent till later in the third season, but I feel like Harold and Locke have quite a bit in common. They both seem to have an overwhelming need to prove themselves to the rest of their group. They have come from past lives where they were not taken seriously, and are determined to change that. They both start out with the "good guys" but as time goes on they make a move to the other side. The transition from good to evil is much more apparent in Harold than it is in Locke, but both seem to be rooted in selfish desires. They both participate in the sabotage of people that were once considered their friends. Once they have made their way to the other side, both of them narrowly survive an assassination attempt. Harold by Flagg, Locke by Ben. Both contemplate suicide, but only Harold actually goes through with it.
  • Throughout the course of the book, there are several cultural references, including Books, Music, Film and Literature. A few of these are also mentioned in LOST, a few notable ones include: The Bible, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, The Wizard of Oz, Watership Down, and Shakespeare (The Tempest, a story where there is a shipwreck on an island).
  • Both The Stand and Lost deal with the rebuilding of a society after a huge catastrophe. The plague, and the plane wreck.
  • Vivid dreams and visions seem to occur frequently in both.
  • The description of old dynamite 'sweating' and producing nitro glycerine is discussed by Harold Lauder, just as is is brought up by the science teacher that gets blown up in Lost.
  • The Van that Hurley finds is started up in the same fashion as the car Stu Redman and Tom Cullen find in the Stand.
  • No one is safe from death. It doesn't mater how much you like a certain character, or how much they've been built up by the author, or director. They still might go and die on you.
  • Numbers: The spiritual Leader of the survivors of the plague, Abigail Freemantle, is 108 years old, which is the sum of all the numbers in Lost.
  • When the 4 characters go to make their "Stand" against Flagg and Company, 3 continue while one is sent back toreport of the fate of the other three. This senario is similar to the end of season 2 when Jack, Sawyer, Kate and Hurley go to make a stand agaisnt the Others and Hurley is sent back.
  • There are murmurings later in the book among the people residing in Las Vegas whether Flagg is the one to lead them in the future. There are obvious similar murmurings among the Others on whether Ben is the one chosen to lead them in the future.
  • Many characters have passed away yet have come back in dreams to warn others that are left or to give advice. In the Stand, Nick frequently comes to Tom in dreams and eventually helps save Stu. Boone is a frequent dream visitor to Locke and was able to give John advice to save Eko's life.
Next Book: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dosoyevsky/The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne

This book is referenced in multiple occasions but is not actually seen in LOST. Once in the first season, Shannon speaks of the Mysterious Freaking Island. Also, later in the third season, Charlie makes a quasi-breakfast in bed for Claire. When she asks what it is, he replies "an assortment of Mysterious Island fruits."

My Opinion:
There are many similar plot lines in this book, however I might discourage anyone from reading this book. It has a section in the book of about 15 chapters that reads like a 1800's instruction booklet on how to survive being marooned on an island. Unless you want to know how to make bricks from scratch, how to mine for iron ore, or, my personal favorite chapter, how to tell if a plant is edible or not (25 freakin' pages on vegetation), then I would suggest merely reading this synopsis or buying the cliff-notes. Needless to say it wasn't my favorite read. I would compare it to Moby Dick in that you kind of have to sift through the boring information to find anything entertaining that could have been summed up in about ten chapters.

LOST References:
* In the Mysterious Island, a handful of people survive a Hot-Air Balloon crash in the 1800's and land on a deserted island. On this deserted island, many unexplained things begin to happen. Not to point out the obvious but, a hot air balloon was that times version of a plane, therefore the plot lines are very similar.
*One survivor is a golden retriever dog named Top. This dog seems to have a heightened sense of what is happening on the island. Vincent is a very similar character in LOST.
* In the LOST Experience an old Ape was introduced as part of the Dharma Initiative's life expansion project. This Ape was known as Joop. In the Mysterious Island, the survivors meet an orangutan who they befriend and add as a servant. His name is Jupiter, which they call Jupe for short.
*The first book of Mysterious Island is all dedicated to the survivors discovering ways to continue surviving, ie. finding water and food sources, finding shelter learning about the islands layout. The first season of LOST is developed the same way (though a tad bit more entertaining).
*The survivors in the Mysterious Island discover that they are not alone on the Island and they end up battling the Others (a band of pirates) for ownership of the island.
*The survivors had setup wires between their home and their corral so as to be able to telegraph between the two. They are messaged by a mysteriuos person to go to the corral where they find a new wire which they follow. This wire leads to the Ocean. There is also a mysterious wire which leads to the ocean in LOST which Hurley finds.
*The survivors in the book wait for the tide to leave and follow the wire to the edge of the ocean where there is a drop off. This wire goes below the island as there are caverns underneath this drop off. Using a boat they are able to follow it under the ocean/island and come to a dry spot where the wire stops at a hatch. They open this hatch and find a light shining many feet below the opening. The obvious hatch connections are there in LOST, and not to mention the wire leading to a new place, as it did in LOST (to the Looking Glass). When Locke opens the hatch he too sees a light.
*When the survivors explore the hatch they find a room with many books that appears to be a library. When the Losties go under and open the hatch they find a place with many books as well.
*In the book, the survivors come upon one single person inside the hatch, Captain Nemo. Nemo prior to his arrival on the island, had been an outcast from the military and chose to get a boat/submarine and sail across the world. After his arrival on the Island he had lost all of his shipmates/co-workers to death and was left all alone. He since had been helping the people on the island without them knowing it. In LOST the losties, found a single person in the hatch, Desmond. In his prior life he had been dishonorably discharged from the military (still not 100% sure why) and afterwhich he gets himself a boat (from Libby) so he can sail around the world. Upon his arrival on the island, his co-worker Kelvin dies (at his hands) and he is left all alone. By pressing the button every 108 minutes, he is saving the people on the islands life without them knowing it.
My opinion continued -
I believe that Desmond is a composite of Jules Verne Characters. I believe he has a bit of Ayrton in him in that he was in prison and seeks redemption. I obviously believe he has quite a bit of captain Nemo in him (who is a character from both the Mysterious Island and 20,000 leagues under the sea. I also believe his storyline of a race around the world comes directly from around the world in 80 days.
Next Book : The Stand by Stephen King

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

I actually read this one as the first one, but it was prior to our blogging so I thought I would Catch everybody up. The majority of this information can be found on, butmostly because I added it, so I will do some copy and pasting as I do believe it is copyrighted to me :)
Catch-22 is probably the most entertaining story of all the books we have read in the club, in fact it may be one of the more entertaining books I have read in a long time. It chronicles the story of an Army pilot by the name of Yossarian, who is tired of flying missions and wants to simply go home. It is a humorous satire on the military, government and all around leadership. The very idea of a Catch-22 has to do with being in a "damned if you do-damned if you don't" situation, which is a very obvious in LOST even prior to the episode actually titled "Catch-22". In this episode, Naomi, is found crashed on the island from a parachute and in her backpack a copy of the book Ardil-22 (Catch-22 in Portuguese) is found. There are many similarities to the episode as well as to the narrative. Here are a few we found:

  • Like in Lost, one of the main themes deals with the characters wanting to escape from an island and go back home. Though not literally trapped on the island, as in Lost, the island Pianosa in the book is the squadron's base of operations, and the characters are just as inescapably tied to it. Another similarity is the non-linear structure and the flashbacks within flashbacks and the no clear distinction of "real-time events." Also, with each flashback, the viewer gains greater detail into the plot of Lost.
  • The very name of the book catch 22 comes from an idea in the book that the characters are in a "damned if you do damned if you don't" situation. The soldiers, Yossarian and company, are only able to stop flying missions if they are deemed insane, however they have to be insane to continue to fly the missions in the first place. Therefore if they are found insane, they are found fit to fly, and if they are not insane, they are naturally fit to fly. The same can be said in many episodes and situations in the show. For example, Sun has to speak English to Michael in order to save her husband in House of the Rising Sun, which jeopardizes her marriage. Jack must choose between saving Boone or Joanna in White Rabbit. Even more obviously in the episode "Catch 22", Desmond knows Charlie is going to die and has to choose between saving him or possibly, in his mind, allowing Penny to come to the island.
  • Another Catch-22 situation is found in the episode D.O.C.. Sun is confronted with two possibilities. One, that her unborn child is fathered by Jae Lee before coming to the island, which would in turn ensure that she live through the pregnancy. Two, that the father is Jin, who she has grown to love all over again, yet the baby would have been conceived on the island causing the death of the baby and herself. Both situations have very damning consequences as well as silver linings, thus a Catch-22.
  • In the book Catch-22, the main character Yossarian is given a choice in the end to either go home, off of the island they are stationed, and essentially send his squadron off to fly more suicidal missions, or to stay and fight along side them and reveal the truth about the Generals who were keeping them on the island. This very same decision is placed in front of two characters in Lost. Michael is given the decision in ? to free Henry Gale, AKA Benjamin Linus and shoot Ana Lucia and Libby to get him and son off the island. He takes it. More similar to Yossarian, Jack is given the same decision to save Ben through surgery and get off the island or save his friends. Jack, like Yossarian, opts to take door number 3. Yossarian runs away to Sweden while Jack opts to slice Ben during surgery and demand his friend's freedom.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Langoliers by Stephen King

The next book we chose to read was the Langoliers by Stephen King. This has been the book that most resembles the plot of LOST especially if you take into consideration the possibility that the LOST-ies flight 815 flew through to another dimension. In this story, a group of supposed strangers fly on a flight from LA to Boston and pass through a rip in the space time continuum arriving in a new time and dimension. The following list is what we found as correlations between the entire arc series of LOST, seeing as it was not featured in a specific episode yet has been sighted as a major influence by both producers Damon Lindleoff and Carlton Cuse.
  • There is a Character in the book named Nick, who has a british accent and worked in special ops in the military as an interrogator. This character's background as well as overall personality and moral compass is very similar to Sayid.
  • There is a strong debate throughout about fate and destiny. In the book it is debated whether it is coincidence that a jet pilot, who was merely a passenger on the plane, survives a crazy incident in the air to be able to land the plane. The same debate is discussed by Ben when he finds that a spinal surgeon, Jack, comes to the island right as Ben discovers that he needs spinal surgery.
  • All the passengers that survive passing through the time rip, on the book, were asleep when it happens. Jack, claims to have blacked out prior to the crashing of the plane. Also every episode of a new character begins with an opening of their eyes as if awaking from a sleep. It may not be confirmed whether or not all the survivors had their eye's closed during the crash, however upon watching the pilot episode again, both Jack and Locke definitely were closing their eyes while Locke was asleep.
  • The antagonist in the book, Craig Toomey, was tortured all his life by a rough childhood and crazy parenting, including a mother who was a drunk and exhibited insane traits. John Locke's mother Emily was in and out of an insane asylum and was addicted to drugs.
  • Craig Toomey constantly has vision's of things that aren't really there including of his family. John Locke is constantly seeing visions (more of Boone, who he seemed to take under his wing almost as a son).
  • A more obvious connection would be that the story begins on a plane which touches down with only a small percentage of the passengers surviving in a strange land.
  • The new land in the book exhibits different traits, such as no weather patterns and muffled sounds, colors and tastes. The new land on LOST seems to exhibit healing traits.
  • All the character's in the book appear to be strangers but upon deeper review of their lives, they are all somehow connected. Similar in LOST, upon deeper analysis of each individual's life, we find many connections.
  • A round mysterious figure seems to be chasing after the survivors in the new land. In fact, the first noise heard on the new found land was that of a chewing sound. The first scare on the island in LOST is that of either the Polar Bear or the Black smoky cloud. The smoky cloud seems to resemble the mysterious object known as the Langolier.
  • Oddly enough as it is, both of the flights, 29 in Langoliers and 815 in Lost, seem to have LAX in their itinerary. Also Both Flights have number significances. Obviously the LOST numbers come into play, however 29 is an important number in the Langoliers.
  • All of the character's in the Langoliers have things in their past that seem to haunt them as do those of LOST.
  • The main character Robert is flying on flight 29 to identify/claim the dead body of his ex-wife. Jack is on the exact same mission to Australia, to pick-up his father's body.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

The first book we chose to read was The Fountianhead by Ayn Rand, a novel describing the philosophical theory of objectivism through a story of an architect and the different personalities surrounding him. This book was seen in Season 3 episode 12 ("Par Avion") being read by Sawyer. A little side-note, this is a very long book (694 pages to be exact). I realize Sawyer has nothing but time on the island, however he must be a pretty fast reader to finish such an intense, lengthy book in such a short amount of time.
Wikipedia Links
The Fountainhead
Correlations to the Episode Featured
  • One of the most obvious correlations is found not in this episode, but in episode 13, "The Man From Tallahassee" In this episode, Locke blows up the submarine that could potentially provide access to leave the island. This is very similar to the way that the main character Howard Roark blows up a building that he has designed, after others have changed it from his original design, he cannot stand to see something that erected that disagrees with the way he intended it to be. In this same fashion, Locke blows up the submarine because it does not fit in with his personal plan of how he feels things should be. He so desperately knows that he must stay on the island that he is willing to go to any lengths to prevent the 'losties' from being rescued.
  • Ellsworth Toohey, in one of his famous speeches to Peter Keating, discusses the idea that if a free thinking individual is born into a society they must either join the collective way of thinking or go crazy trying to live their life as an individual. At the end of the episode Jack is seen playing catch with Tom and it appears as though he may have joined their group's way of life and thinking.

Correlations to LOST in General
  • The existence of selflessness vs. selfishness in a society is a very prevalent theme in both.
  • There is a group of people in the book who, through coercion, are able to dictate the thinking of the collective society. As in LOST, the idea that a group or foundation can force people to press a button every 108 seconds among other things is a reoccurring theme.
  • A book in The Fountainhead is written called the Gallant Gallstone, which discussed the existence, or lack thereof, of free-will. That is also reoccurring theme, free-will vs. destiny.
  • Gail Wynand, the owner of the Banner, has groups of people at his disposal to find out any amount of information about any individual to be used against them. Ben appears to have the same network at his finger tips.
  • Ellsworth Toohey, a writer for the Banner and an all-around ruthless guy, says at one point in the book that the way to destroy someone these days is not to murder them but to destroy their soul by taking away what is most important to them. Ben displays this same philosophy as he tends to go for the "losties" self respect as opposed to their lives. Another parallel between Toohey and Ben is that they are both masters at manipulation. They do not need to use force to get someone to do what he wants. They are both crafty enough to make the person believe that it was their idea all along.
  • Howard in the end blows up a housing development because it wasn't part of his design. Locke also blows up both a building and a submarine because they don't fit in with his plan, or his design, to stay on the island.
  • A huge theme throughout the book is dependence on other people and whether it is ethical or smart to depend on others or to rely solely on oneself. The theme of live together die alone is also part of LOST.
  • Ellsworth Toohey is a proponent of a very socialistic ideal which entails that nobody in a society should be so good at their trade that they become irreplaceable, and that anybody and everybody should be able to do the job of another person. If ever, according to Toohey, someone becomes so good at their trade that they become irreplaceable, then it would mess up the balance in life. It appears that the 'others' are part of a quasi-socialistic society that may encompass the same ideals.
  • A very big reoccurring theme in the latter stages of the book is that of sacrifice. The idea of objectivsim has a little bit to do with how sacrifice is an idea put up by leaders of groups to gain control over the actions of a collective. It is also stated where sacrifices are given, there must be someone receiving offerings, so it is adviced to avoid those people who ask one to sacrifice things. Locke on multiple occaisions claims that the island demands sacrifices of both people and things as well as habits. It also discusses the true reason for not having vices or habits as a selfish one which does not make it a true sacrifice. Charlie sacrificed his addiction to heroine but it really was selfish motive. Objectivism states that through selfish motives, all positive things are done.

The LOST Book Club

There have been a few blogs that have attempted to extract meaning from the books that have been mentioned so far on LOST. Most of these have contained some very insightful, as well as a few incomplete explanations on the books. We have decided to make it our goal, not only to read the books, but shed some light as to why the producers of the show felt it necessary to place them there, as it is obviously no accident. One of the reasons we love watching LOST, and possibly one of the reasons it has become so popular, is the fact that there are always mysteries to unravel. It's always nice when a question is answered, but if the show ceased to ask questions, what would be the fun?
Another exciting aspect of LOST and its literary references is that it gives its viewers an opportunity to be involved with the mysteries and complexities of the show, while the show is taking its inevitable seasonal break. Since there will not be any new episodes till February of '08, we feel that this is a perfect opportunity to take the time to read and discuss the themes and allusions contained in the books referenced in LOST. We haven't started in any particular order, but we encourage comments and want to further discussion of ideas! Besides what's the fun of seeking answers, if you can't share those answers with others? So please, feel free to add your insights! This is not intended as just a blog, but a start of a discussion.