Some of the books on Lost are more significant than others. The books that are actually shown are the most significant. If they’re shown and discussed they’re probably of greatest importance. Of lesser importance, but still relevant are those that are referenced by characters, referenced as the titles of certain episodes, and those that are referenced by certain events within the show.
When a book makes multiple appearances, it’s certainly worth thinking about a bit more. This post will take a look at three books that have reappeared in recent weeks.
Carrie is a third season addition to the Lost book list. It was the subject of Juliet’s book group meeting in the first episode of season 3 (“A Tale of Two Cities”). Because Juliet wanted to read it and it was mentioned that Ben didn’t, it gave the first hint of dissension in the ranks of the Others, although at the time we didn’t know that Juliet was an Other or that Ben was “Henry Gale’s” real name.
We learned later that Carrie is Juliet’ s favorite book and it made several appearances in the most recent Juliet episode “One of Us.” After reading Carrie, I suggested that this implies that Juliet, like Carrie, does not belong anywhere, and – ever the outsider – she will exact her revenge on those who have tormented her, likely the Others. Likely Ben, especially if siding with the survivors might be her best shot at getting off the island, something that must surely seem more possible to her with the arrival of Naomi the Parachutist. Juliet isn’t on the Others’ side, nor is she really on the surviviors’ side.
She’s on her own and like Carrie killing the promgoers, Juliet will happily exact a terrible revenge on Ben if given the chance, though she may have to get in line behind Locke when it comes time to hand Ben his ass.
I think Watership Down has made more appearances and had more references than any other book on the show. It may even be the first literary work to appear, making its debut in “White Rabbit.” Sawyer found it in the crash; it had been Boone’s book, and when Boone saw Sawyer reading it in “Confidence Man” it was “proof” that Sawyer might be sitting on Shannon’s asthma medication, a turn of events that eventually got him “tortured by a real live Iraqi and a spinal surgeon.”
I wrote about Watership Down and some of the many parallels between it an Lost a few months ago, but seeing Sawyer rereading it again in “Left Behind” brought something else to the fore.
In Watership Down, the female rabbits die on the way to the new settlement leaving the rabbits of Watership Down with no way to reproduce and continue their colony. Sound like the Others? The good rabbits stage a raid on another warren, a totalitarian state, to liberate the female bunnies from the forces of the evil General Woundwart and his authoritarian regime. Not unlike what seems about to happen on Lost, except that the Others are the totalitarian society, at least as long as Ben is in charge.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
While The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has not actually been shown, it was referenced in Ben’s alias and alibi from last season: ‘Henry Gale’ who crashed his hot air balloon on the island.
We got another reference in the title of last week’s episode: “The Man Behind the Curtain.” In it Locke accuses Ben of being “the man behind the curtain” while arguing that there is no all powerful, all knowing “Jacob” from whom Ben take orders.
Last summer, I read and wrote about The Wizard of Oz:
The journey down the Yellow Brick Road ultimately becomes one of self discovery similar to what the characters on Lost experience during their adventures on the island. They too have what they thought they lacked ultimately allowing them the ability to change themselves and find redemption. The Wizard of Oz is about reaching one’s potential, a concept we see time and again on Lost, and also an apparent goal of the Hanso Foundation.
The example that springs to mind first is that of John Locke who finds within himself the strength, the ability to lead, and the conviction that he never knew he had. It’s worth remembering that Henry claimed to be coming for John because he was “one of the good ones.”
It is in this most recent episode that Locke’s trip down the Yellow Brick Road finally lands him before the Wizard. For the first time in his life, he is filled with self-confidence and conviction. Over the past few episodes we’ve seen Locke finally transform into what he has wanted to be all his life: a leader of men.
Naturally, this scares the hell out of out charlatan wizard, Ben. Despite the Norman-Bates-arguing-with-Mother feel of the Jacob scene in “The Man Behind the Curtain,” it’s clear that Ben believed there is a Jacob, and I’m thinking he’s not crazy. There is a Jacob, and my wacko theory is that Jacob is John Locke. Locke doesn’t know it yet, nor does Ben; it’s a future Locke that Ben knows as Jacob.
I’ve always been fond of the alternate reality/alternate timestream theory of the island, and I like the timestream aspect of it lately. Of course it means that Locke has to survive the gunshot wound he received from Ben who fears that Locke is about to become the new leader (dare I say savior?) of the Others, a role that I can’t help but think would have been Mr Eko’s if the actor hadn’t wanted to leave the show.
Another Wizard issue (as I mentioned last summer) is that The Wizard of Oz also suggests the lost continent-Atlantis-Lemuria theory:
The Wizard of Oz also brings us to the Lost Continent Theories in which we are meant to wonder if the survivors are actually on the remains of Lemuria, a Pacific Ocean version of Atlantis. This is implied by the four-toed statue that Sayid sees in the season two finale and by the fact that psychic Edgar Cayce (worth looking into since so many of his ideas correspond to what we see in Lost) “confirmed” the existence of Lemuria (and Atlantis).
Cayce believed that the citizens of Lemuria had psychic abilities and were both technologically and spiritually advanced. He also referred to Lemuria as Oz.
Adding in the many Alice in Wonderland references throughout the show, including in “The Man Behind the Curtain,” and that the title of the season three finale is “Through the Looking Glass,” the alternate time/reality aspect of the island is looking more and more plausible.
As to Locke’s return, it reminds me of The Shining (by Stephen King, who has two books on the Lost list so far.) Imagine Locke standing in a men’s room. Someone who has been on the island for an eternity without aging (Alpert?) informing Locke that he is Jacob, the island’s caretaker:
“You’re the caretaker, Mr Locke. You’ve always been the caretaker.”
And while we’re at it, let’s not forget that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Sound like Jack Shepard?
And what about Walt? Oh, yeah, that’s right… “Walt isn’t here right now, Mrs. Torrance.”
Okay. I’m getting carried away here.
For some good reading and more ‘serious’ and in-depth (and less book-oriented) analysis of “The Man Behind the Curtain” visit:
- Apropos of Something where Jess awards points to each character in the weekly “lost-vivor” posts. Here’s the one for “The Man Behind the Curtain.”
- DarkUFO has an interesting run down of the episode and also wonders if Locke might be Jacob.
- Brian at Lost…and Gone Forever does an impressive analysis as usual including some good theories about how Ben came to be with the Hostiles.
- The Tyco Times presents an unusual theory (h/t Holli for the link) about little Annie.