Lost: Lighthouse

So often, when I am watching Lost, I am looking for the Biblical and religious references in the show. I have always known the show includes tons of literary references, but it wasn’t until last night’s episode, Lighthouse, that I stopped to notice all of the analogies to other famous books, like Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass.

I guess it’s sort of like the Lighthouse itself. It was there all of the time, but the Losties didn’t notice it, because “they weren’t looking for it”, as Hurley explains.

I’m starting to wonder if each character’s life is a reference to a different literary work. While the characters on Lost remain the same, they also mirror the supporting characters in various books, giving clues to the overall meaning of Lost.

For example, John Locke has always struck me as Jesus in the Bible. Three episodes featuring Jack as a main character have played on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. His first episode was named “The White Rabbit”, then “Through the Looking Glass (part 1 and 2)” and now “Lighthouse”, which has a steady stream of Carrollisms.

And if this thought process is correct, then crazy Claire with her wild hair and freaky eyes, is definitely going to be acting out Stephen King’s Carrie. And how fitting, since Emilie de Ravin, the character who plays Claire, was in a TV movie of the book, Carrie.

OK, so let’s look at some of the clues from the books, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Jack notices his son is reading, The Annotated Alice, and tells him he used to read the book to him when he was young. He says David loved Alice’s two kittens, Kitty and Snowdrop, one black and the other white. In the book, Alice blames the black cat for all of the mischief caused in the book, but in the end, he is deemed completely innocent.

I’m starting to convince myself that is exactly what I have been doing with Jacob and Fake Locke. I have presumed the man in white would naturally be good, while the man represented by black — black clothing, black smoke and a black stone — is evil. But it’s starting to seem more likely that Jacob is the one who has ruined everyone’s life by pushing them toward the island, while the man in black wants to give them free will and the good life they would have had if Jacob had not interfered.

In Through the Looking Glass, Alice wonders what life would be like on the other side of a mirror. She steps up to the looking glass and steps through. Similarly, the mirrors in the Lighthouse show the key points in the character’s lives where Jacob had entered the picture and made a significant contact. They flashed through images of the church where Sawyer’s parent’s funeral took place, the pagoda where Sun and Jin were married and finally Jack’s own childhood home.

Alice discovers a book which she can only read by holding it up to a mirror. Above the mirrors in the Lighthouse in Lost are the words: “seus siyd dadru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi”. Read backwards, it says “I show not your face but your daddy issues.” All of the characters in Lost seem to have “daddy issues” but what does that mean to the overall story?

In the book, Alice meets the Red Queen who reveals to her that the entire countryside is laid out like a giant chessboard, and Alice is one of the pieces. Likewise, in a promo for Season 6, the island is shown as a chessboard with the Losties as the pieces.

Alice meets Tweetledee and Tweetledum, the overweight twins, who seem like dimwits, but actually offer her good advice, much like Hurley’s relationship with Jack throughout the show. They introduce Alice to the snoozing Red King and tell her that she exists only has a figure in his dream and will therfore cease to exist when he wakes up, much like the parallel existences in this season.

Wasn’t it interesting that Jack wasn’t sure if he could remember having his appendix removed? He often acts as though he has some vague recollection of life on the island, much like we feel when waking from a dream.

The absent-minded White Queen best remembers future events that haven’t happened yet, and time moves in reverse.

The Red Queen also talks about living more than one day at a time. Alice comments that “‘In our country…there is only one day at a time.’ The Red Queen said ‘That’s a poor thin way of doing things. Now here we mostly have days and nights two or three at a time, and sometimes in the winter we take as many as five nights together – for warmth you know.'”

This also reminds me of The Chronicles of Narnia, another classic tale referenced in Lost. Just as one of the Dharma stations is named “The Looking Glass”, with a picture of a rabbit, another is called “The Lamp Post”. The characters step into Narnia and live out their entire lives in that alternate existence. But when they move back into the “real” world, they are at exactly the same point in time at which they left. They are able to live two parallel lives simultaneously.

One other reference to Lewis Carroll is the number “42” which is the final number in the series on the hatch, as well as the number given to “Kwon” on the roof of Jacob’s cave and on the wheel in the Lighthouse. The number 42 was Carroll’s favorite number and used often in his books.

So, I am guessing that the ending of Season 6 might be something like the ending of Carroll’s books. He doesn’t really answer the question of whether Alice’s experience was real or a dream, but leaves it up to the reader to decide whether she wants to believe the fantasy.

Other points that struck me last night:

  • Jack and Hurley came to the cave Jack had found when chasing his father in the episode called “The White Rabbit”. Hurley points out that perhaps the skeletons in the cave — Adam and Eve — are actually their own skeletons after they had traveled there in a different time and died. Why do I have the feeling that Hurley has a better handle on time travel than anyone else and he is correct?
  • Wasn’t it freaky when Jack runs into Dogen at his son’s piano audition? Dogen tells Jack that it’s sad that the kids have to face so much pressure.
  • And what about the interaction between Hurley and Dogen when Hurley is following the symbols on his arm in the hallway? Jacob tells Hurley just to tell Dogen he can do what he wants, apparently because he is a “candidate”. This response causes Dogen to leave him alone. Does this mean that the candidates really do have free will and their lives aren’t being controlled by Jacob?
  • Jacob told Hurley to turn the dial in the Lighthouse to the number 108. Was this just to get Hurley to turn past the other numbers so Jack would see the flashes? Or was there something significant at the number 108?
  • I loved how Jacob told Hurley that he could appear to some people in a cab and tell them exactly what to do. Others needed to stare out at the ocean for a while. That sounded like a huge statement about how some people easily believe in God or another belief system, while others need to ponder and have all the answers before they can believe.
  • I’m anxious to find out the difference between a “candidate” — one of the people chosen by Jacob, and a “recruit” — one of the people chosen by Fake Locke. How do the “rules” apply differently to the two groups?
  • Finally, Claire. Oh, Claire. How about those shifty eyes that seemed to be Claire’s at times and then possessed at others? I got chills when they showed her dead animal baby. And then we meet her “friend”. WHAT did that mean? Does the Man in Black appear to her in the form of Fake Locke or does she see him another way?

My mind is spinning from all of the information in the Lighthouse. I’m not sure what it all means, but it was interesting to analyze. What did you think?

Don’t miss a post. Subscribe in a reader!


  1. Since the first appearance of the Man In Black, I've thought that we were going to have a switch, with black being good and Jacob being bad. Before their conversation on the beach, the fish that Jacob catches and cooks is a red herring.

  2. Excellent post and theories! I didn't know any of that stuff about Alice in Wonderland but it's great (even though it makes my brain hurt even more!). :)I have heard the theories about Smocke being good, Jacob being evil. I really, really hope that isn't true. Although it would be very typical of a very post-modern show to make what appears good to be evil and what appears to be evil good.I enjoyed reading your post!

  3. Enjoyed reading your take on the Alice in Wonderland references, especially about the black cat being innocent after all. Hmmm…interesting.I'd be sad though if Jacob is truly evil, he seems so laid back and casual, that plot twist would upset me (but the writers might do that).Glad that Daddy Jack made ammends with his son (his son?!?!?) and breaking the cycle of bad parenting.And Hurley. YAY! for plenty of Hurley!

  4. OK… So I was just reading some other posts and I think the number 108 refers to Desmond. He had to push the button every 108 minutes! I hope so, anyway… I would love to see him come back!! And besides… whatever happened to that whole Widmore plot line that once seemed SO important!

  5. I said it last week. I wouldn't put it past these writers to pull a switcheroo. But your thoughts relating it to the kittens. Whoa! And the letters at the lighthouse. Well, you have done some serious research. Good stuff.

  6. I enjoyed your re-cap. (Found you through Rocks in My Dryer BTW)I have never read Alice in Wonderland, shocking, I know, so I was glad to read your take on the references that LOST makes. Seems now, if I read AIW I may just see all kinds of LOST in it. LOLI think its such a neat idea that each character has his or her own literary work attached to them. THAT would be so cool.I don't want a switcheroo. I want the MIB to be the bad guy and Jacob to be the good guy. However, I have always found Jacob to be a bit creepy and the MIB (on the beach) to be more normal. He's creepy as Locke and the Smoke Monster though.Claire! The weird "baby" in the crib! Ack! She is so far gone . . .

  7. Verrrrry interesting. Also the "seus siyd dadru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi" from Lost when read backwards says "I show not your face but your daddy issues, reminded me strongly of the mirror of Erised from Harry Potter. It says "Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi" or I show not your face but your hearts desire. "cafru oyt on wohsi"is the same on both mirrors.

  8. Random observation: Jack said he smashed his dad's coffin because "he wasn't in it." Likewise, I wonder if he smashes the mirror (which shows the image of his childhood house) because his dad wasn't in the house when he was young?Also, it's possible that "Shepard" on the lighthouse wheel didn't refer to Jack at all, but to Christian. Then again, I suppose Christian wouldn't have been on the passenger list since he was technically cargo.

  9. Wow, thank you for the thoughtful, enlightening analysis…the best one I've read yet. I would have enjoyed watching this episode so much more if I had previously read Alice in Wonderful(which has coincidentally been sitting on my nightstand unread for about 2 months now– I have more motivation to read it)! I really enjoy reading your summations and thought on the Lost episode, you definitely provide insights that I never would pick up on my own. I am hoping with all hope that Smocke is not the good guy and Jacob is not the bad guy. (btw- found you via Rocks in my Dryer).

  10. 108 is very important: the numbers add up to 1084+8+15+16+23+42 = 108 and the Oceanic 6 were on the island for 108 days (per Jack when they were rescued)Lots of Of Mice and Men references as well – check out the last line of the book, it's very telling – "Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin' them two guys?" and Sawyer/Ford quotes it to Ben: A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. It don't make any difference who the guy is, so long as he's with you. I tell ya…I tell ya, a guy gets too lonely, and he gets sick."

Leave a Reply