Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lost's Literacy

Here is an excerpt from a blog written by a harvard professor found HERE about the references to kids books in the show LOST.  It is followed by a link to a place that lists them all for all you fans out there.

Astonishing to me was the number of references to stories for children.* Alice in Wonderland is almost de rigueur these days, and it did not surprise me to find an episode called Through the Looking Glass or talk about Wonderland. But I did sit up and take notice when The Turn of the Screw appeared on a bookshelf, when Hurley corrected Sawyer’s pronunciation of Babar, and when a character named Henry Gale showed up (an allusion to Dorothy Gale’s Uncle Henry in The Wizard of Oz) and claimed to have reached the island by a hot air balloon (the Wizard of Oz is also an aeronaut).
Why all the literary allusions in a visual medium? Well, for one thing, Lost was created by writers who are inserting themselves into a storytelling tradition with deep roots in print culture. And by paying homage to stories from the Age of Gutenberg, they are in a sense establishing their cultural legitimacy and revealing themselves to be defenders of the literary tradition rather than rivals of it. In aiming to create a new mythology, Lost also draws on biblical discourses and resorts to bricolage to create its own foundational story about origins and meaning. The discussions about faith versus reason and meaning versus nothingness may feel reductive but the premise itself demands them.
*Sawyer (note the name!) is an unlikely expert in children’s books, but in Season 2 he refers to Pippi Longstocking as well as Little Red Riding Hood.
For more on literary allusions in Lost, see…


  1. I love LOST and never noticed all the literacy references! How fun!!!

  2. We are watching LOST all the way through and I have been noticing all of these. Jake was the one who was adamant about the wizard of oz reference and I thought he was a little crazy, but he was right and is loving that he can rub that in my face right now.