Literary Allusions

Fear and Trembling. Fear and Trembling. By: Søren Kierkegaard
  • To Kill a Mockingbird - The movie (originally a book) Juliet pretends to show to Jack
  • Of Mice and Men: Book Sawyer is reading in prison flashbacks; Ben quotes from it, in episode 3.04.
  • The Confidence Man (1857), Herman Melville, is the name of an episode and referenced specifically by Locke.
  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose BierceSawyer reading Watership Down
  • Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad. Mentioned frequently in commentaries.
  • Lord of the Flies, William Golding. Similar stranded-on-an-island plot.
  • Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens. Desmond's last Dickens in "Live Together, Die Alone."
  • The Bad Twin, Gary Troup (letters rearranged spells "purgatory")
  • The Langoliers, Stephen King. Referenced by Cuse and Lindelhof as inspiration.
  • The Stand, Stephen King. Referenced by Cuse and Lindelhof as inspiration.
  • Carrie, Stephen King. An island book club selection of Juliet's in "A Tale of Two Cities."
  • The Turn of the Screw, Henry James. Hiding the training video in "Orientation."
  • Watership Down, Richard Adams. Sawyer's reading material in "The Moth."
  • The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand. Sawyer is seen reading it during season three.
  • The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Given to Henry by Locke in "Maternity Leave."
  • A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle. Sawyer reads this after finishing Watership Down.
  • Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. Locke makes a remark referencing this book to Jack. The episode title "White Rabbit" is a reference to Wonderland.
  • The Third Policeman, by Flann O'Brien. Desmond grabs it off the shelf before leaving the Swan Station.
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Namesake of season three's season premiere.
  • The names Locke, Rousseau, Hume, and Carlyle are all famous philosophers.
  • The Bible. The episodes "Exodus" and "The 23rd Psalm" are direct references. Many episodes have other biblical allusions.
  • The Mysterious Island, By Jules Verne. A group of Civil War POWs land on a strange island in the s. Pacific in a hot air balloon. Their experiences on the island are followed and aided by an unseen force.
  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie - The Lost Boys and a very similar visual when the Tailies children are taken by The Others (a line of kids, one clutching a teddy bear). The visual reference was confirmed by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse to be a coincidence.
  • The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum. Henry Gale (the dead guy Ben initially claims to be) is the name of Dorothy's uncle. The "wizard" flies off in a hot air balloon and crash lands in OZ.
  • Are You There God,it's Me, Margaret? Judy Blume. More Sawyer reading material. Also the time that Sun asked Sawyer for a pregnancy test. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
  • Island, Aldous Huxley. Pala Ferry is a reference to the Island, Pala.
  • On Writing, Stephen King. A white bunny with an 8 on it's back (The one "killed" by Ben) is used in King's book as an example of writing as telepathy
  • Prey by Michael Crichton. Story centers on a nano-technology experiment gone awry; nanos appear as a black cloud with the ability to mimic any form they see, attacking their creators and posing as "others?" While the producers have stated that the Smoke Monster is not a collection of nanobots, there's definite influence.
  • Deus Ex Machina, Greek drama term, lost translation: "Hand of God". Greek dramatists often solved sticky plot or moral dilemmas through a direct edict from one of the gods; characters didn't have to make the choice or take responsibility themselves. Name of the episode in which Locke leads Boone off to his death after having a vision. This term can also define a person, thing or event that arrives at the last minute to save a seemingly impossible situation.
  • The Odyssey, Homer. The character Penelope might be a reference to Odysseus' wife, who waited for her lost husband for twenty years.
  • Green Lantern/Flash, DC Comics. Hurley was reading a comic book with both of these heroes in it on the airplane. Walt found it and read it often before it was tossed into the fire. This particular issue has Green Lantern and the Flash fighting innocent aliens and a master of magnetism. It is also relevant that the theme of Green Lantern comics is overcoming fear.
  • John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693) - Locke and Michael debate what is best for Walt with regard to growing up on the island. Michael would nurture or protect Walt against hardship, while Locke counsels that while they are on the island, Walt should be given every opportunity to inure and prepare himself against the dangers of the island. In Thoughts, John Locke proposes that excesses and pampering are inappropriate to the constitution of a future citizen, and that practical skills should be taught and repeated as early in life as possible.
  • George Orwell, 1984 (1949). The presence of monitors and viewscreens in The Swan, The Pearl, and The Hydra, and the associated implications of being at all times watched fit neatly into Orwell's reservations about the future of technology and of humanity.
  • Jeremy Bentham, Panopticon (1787). Eighteenth-century social philosopher's manual on a potential model for prison reform. He proposes a structure oriented in such a way that all prisoners are visible to prison guards at all times.
  • Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish (1975). French philosopher's theory that from the spectacular punishments of the middle ages and renaissance, the passage of time has witnessed a self-governing society based in the fear of punishment that is rarely ever executed. From birth, people are interpellated into a culture that instills the fear, not only of being always watched, but turns people into their own prison guards.
  • Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719). Based loosely on the tale of Scotsman Alexander Selkirk, it is the story of an average middle-class Englishman who finds himself shipwrecked on an uncharted island. Here, he recapitulates the development of human society. He institutes systems of agriculture, architecture, and husbandry, along with imposing the idea of property and ownership to a supposedly uninhabited island. Establishing himself, he later establishes social institutions and controls over an aboriginal figure, as well as over a group of likewise stranded Europeans.
  • Edmund Burke, Juliet's husband, is also the name of the English philosopher (1729-1797) known as the father of modern conservatism.
  • Mikhail Bakunin is also the name of the father of political anarchism (1814-1876). "The passion for destruction is a creative passion."
  • Animal Farm, George Orwell. Arzt's quote of "The pigs are walking" in "Expose" is a reference to this novel.
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh; John Locke fills in the name Gilgamesh for the statement Enkidu's friend while in the hatch during "Collision."
  • "Expose" really reminded me of the book 'Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead' by Tom Stoppard. That book existentially chronicles the misadventures of two bit characters in Shakespeare's 'Hamlet as they bumble their way through the more important scenes of Hamlet's life. Nikki and Paulo were the same, bumbling their way through the larger picture of the happenings on the island. I loved how they were the first to discover the drug runner's plane, the Pearl Station, and even have an encounter with the Others, but none of it meant anything to them because they were such shallow people.
  • Ethan from the Others has the last name of Rom (Ethan Rom), alluding to Ethan Frome, a novel by Edith Wharton.
  • Huis Clos (1944), a play by existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, features three of the recently deceased housed together in Hell. They discover that they are expected, and in the end, fated, to torture each other. The play's title is typically translated in English as No Exit. Considering that two different characters in Ep 3x19 "The Brig" claim that everyone who was on board Flight 815 is dead, the allusion seems to be particularly relevant.
  • From wikipedia, Benjamin could mean "son of my pain", in reference to the Bible, where Benjamin's mother Rachel died just after she gave birth.
  • Jacob means "cheater". This could make Jacob Prometheus, who tried to cheat Zeus, and was constrained by Zeus to a mountain summit.
  • The Moon Pool, A. Merritt. Classic pulp scifi/fantasy novel concerning the strange adventures of the botanist Dr. Walter Goodwin on mysterious, otherworldly islands in the South Pacific (this character shares his name with the Other known as Goodwin).
  • The Pearl is a novel by John Steinbeck in which a Mexican Indian couple discovers the Pearl of the world and is consequently corrupted by it. This is also the name of one of the hatches.
  • "The Shape of Things To Come" is the title of an H.G. Wells novel. It is referred to as a "fictional history," detailing a speculative future of almost 200 years.
  • Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Conner is being read by Jacob at the moment Locke is thrown from the window by his father. Interestingly enough, despite it appearing in Jacob's hands as a novel, it is actually a short story of only fourteen pages, and is ultimately a take on black versus white (which dovetails with the whole backgammon theme). Perhaps the title itself is most applicable to the storyline for obvious reasons.

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spackette Penelope 2 Jul 11 2008, 5:06 AM EDT by Dingbatty
Thread started: Oct 21 2007, 4:39 PM EDT  Watch
Sorry to be a bother, but the reference to Penelope from Homer's epic poem is inaccurate. Penelope actually waited TWENTY years for Odysseus to return, not seven as stated above.
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amiishere psalm 23 0 May 13 2008, 5:12 AM EDT by amiishere
Thread started: May 13 2008, 5:12 AM EDT  Watch
interesting this psalm was used in the story line because in its first line it says ' the lord is my shephard.'
perhaps ther eis a link between jack shepard and this?
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Anonymous Tabula rasa 0 May 14 2007, 12:41 AM EDT by Anonymous
Thread started: May 14 2007, 12:41 AM EDT  Watch
means blank slate - John Locke (philosopher) believed that human minds are like blank slates, we gain knowledge from experience. Knowledge is not innate

- Marc
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