Monday, May 07, 2007

TV's Lost - An Allegory?

Like millions of people, I have been watching and enjoying ABC's Lost for the last few years.

It just dawned on me this week that maybe the show is a deliberate allegory. defines allegory thusly,

1. a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.
2. a symbolical narrative: the allegory of Piers Plowman.

Now, like most normal people I couldn't stand trying to figure out stuff like this back in English class. Who is supposed to represent what? Why is the story muddled with "deeper meanings"? And was the symbolism even intended by the author or is it all just a bunch of academic mental masturbation? I mean how many scores of dead authors and artists are looking down from heaven and chortling at the analyses of their works?

So where do I see metaphor in Lost?

Well, the "Others" are depraved socialists who worship science - as such they see humans as mere lab rats (Hitler anyone?). While Jack, Kate, and the rest of the gang represent the goodness of common man. Though seemingly mired in fate, the plane crash survivors still have enough free will to wield against their personal and common demons. There's no doubt in my mind that this clash of free will versus determinism is a deliberate motif - as it is in so many works of literature.

There is of course the supernatural element of the island in the "beast" coupled with the isle's mystical healing powers: John Locke's cured paralysis, Sun's miraculous pregnancy, etc. But I am going to end my discourse right here.

I just did a google of "Lost is an allegory" and found a blog that sees the show as political allegory of the post-9/11 world. Skimming the posts, I found them a little too extrapolative for me. This blogger actually sees Desmond as a fighter of "neoconservatism" and Naomi(the parachutist) as representing the United Nations.

More likely, somebody is lacing their kool-aid with vodka on Wednesday nights.

More web surfing finds that Lost is supposed to be about "man versus man", "man versus nature", etc. Some people really just suck the life out of everything. I think the term for it is "killjoy".

And since I don't really want to be lumped in with these losers, I promise to never post on Lost as an allegory again.

1 comment:

The Owner said...

I used to feel the same way about buried allusion and metaphor when I was in high school English... especially because most of the allusion was to the Bible and seeing as how my Bible literacy was about as weak as everyone else's (compared to the past, when apparently everyone read the Bible in its entirety and were familiar with its stories and characters) I missed most of it. This is another reason why I plan to read the Bible in full one of these days.

Nowadays, I really appreciate buried symbolism, especially in movies. It's fun to watch a movie more than once to try to catch what else is going on underneath. I like it in books, too. I think it's admirable when an author is talented enough to not only tell an enthralling story but also sneak some secret messages into all of it without distracting the reader from what's going on.