Preliminary thoughts on “Lighthouse”

“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. 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 “Lighthouse.”

PS: Yet another guest appearance for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland! Jack’s son, David, had an annotated edition in his room.


6 Responses to “Preliminary thoughts on “Lighthouse””

  1. TM Lawrence Says:

    Funny, I think I have found a new home in the Lostverse and perhaps a constant to anchor my driftings…

    This is a repost of my own response to another site, on Tuesday night:

    The lighthouse draws lost souls to the island yes oh yes but they will find a way without the beacon (Wallace is Walt or Widmore or Desmond or some other manifestation of prescient time-travelling wayfarer through L’Engle wrinkling tesseract or Verne sub or Baum balloon or Homeric sea-tossed ship) yes oh yes yet it is really Woolf’s Lighthouse and that bemoans of father and son alienation and reconciliation and “lost time” and impermanence and the importance of beauty and philosophy and connectedness and the risk of losing all that good by inaction as one stares out at the erosive sea–and concretely, directly of porcine crania that scare some children but not others in a darkening nursery resisting sibling resolution until wise and nurturing mother smothers discord with blanket which parenthetically invokes both Lost Boys and good Wendy as well as Golding’s bad boys and the Lord of the Flies in other works by no small accident, not to mention similar monstrosities manufactured by crazed and Malkin-misinformed mothers in this very episode yes oh yes and there is THE pharos on Pharos a seventh-wonder leading dark antiquity safe to well-lit library-laden Alexandrian shore yes oh yes and lighthouse as simple truth omnipresent for the first “Lost Time”–except Jin’s white lie–this episode yes yes yes and Proust’s Lost Time and Joycean Ulysses and Woolf’s Lighthouse all screamingly and emphatically demandingly driving us to consider the literary device “Stream of Consciousness” itself which in the Outer Limits of man’s media frenzy will provide a compass bearing and guiding light wherein impenetrable books and the humanity of respect for the differently abled may well save us all yes oh yes.

    • Uh, wow. haha. I agree that this is a great place to anchor. I’ve watched every episode of Lost at least twice and most of them three or four times. I’ve spent countless hours scouring the internet for information about Egyptian, Greek, and Roman mythology. Etc. (Yes, oh yes.) I’ve had a blast with it and learned a lot in the process. Most importantly, I have actually grown because of it. Having other people who are as interested in it to share ideas with increases my enjoyment of it exponentially. Thanks to all who contribute to this fascinating and ongoing discussion.


  2. I love that the ancient Egyptians made cat mummies.

  3. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.

  4. good stuff

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