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The World as an Island: Lost and the Intersection of Religion and Politics

Airen Hall
Syracuse University


This case study explores the ways in which the popular television drama Lost can serve as a backdrop  for discussing three key issues in the intersection of religion and politics: the problem of Othering, the process of constructing religio-political identities, and the matter of religiously motivated or justified violence. Politics and religion are two sides of a cultural coin, as both involve power and stimuli for social action, though from different angles. On Lost, just as in reality, religion and politics weave in and out of each other. The show operates at both the center of popular culture and in a space between, reflective and referential, inviting viewers to make connections and peel back layer after layer as they watch week   after week. A brief discussion of Lost will be followed by an in-depth look at a single episode.

On the surface, the plot of Lost is quite simple. En route to Los Angeles from Australia, Oceanic Flight 815 crashes on a tropical island, and the survivors are left to fend for themselves. They struggle to stay alive in an unfamiliar environment and face the equally challenging task of functioning as a community. Encounters with other inhabitants of the island result both in hope for rescue and violent tragedy. The island itself is mysterious, both paradise and nightmare. Eventually, rescue does come for a small number of the survivors. However, the fates of both those supposedly rescued and those who remain on the island continue to be uncertain.

This simple storyline is constantly cast into chaos. Lost is full of plot twists and turns, and each episode follows multiple storylines on the island while also adding a flashback or flash-forward story that relates specifically to one major character or another. These flashbacks serve multiple purposes: fleshing out key characters, revealing significant connections that existed between survivors before the plane crash, and helping to solve some mysteries of the island while revealing others. The layering of the stories and the intricacy with which they interrelate makes recounting a more detailed plotline difficult if not impossible (a primary reason this case study will focus primarily on a single episode).

Lost has been wildly successful not merely in viewership, but also in viewer response. Approximately 15.5 million American viewers currently tune in every Thursday night to watch the mysterious dramas unfold on Lost, and the show has been ranked as the second most popular television program in the world. Watching the television show is only the beginning, however. The producers of the show have made a concerted effort to engage viewers on multiple levels in the form of podcasts, Internet sites, web games, tie-in novels, and the like. A game called The Lost Experience ran during the summer between the second and third seasons, allowing fans to participate in an Internet scavenger hunt to uncover answers to questions and more questions. The DVDs of each season include extra features designed to supplement the show. The show’s official website offers a book club, encouraging fans to pursue the literary connections featured prominently on the show. ABC airs commercials for fictional companies that play key roles in Lost plotlines to spur fan interest by blurring the line between fiction and reality. Added to the mix are fan sites and products. A site based on the Wikipedia model, Lostpedia, offers a comprehensive resource for fans and newcomers alike—and it is created and updated by fans.

Moreover, Lost’s success comes from the fact that, despite the special effects and dramatic plot twists, the show is fundamentally an extravagant character study, a show about people. The characters that drive the show, from the crash survivors to the mysterious previous inhabitants of the island, make up a complicated group. A wide range of ethnicities, religious affiliations, and nationalities find representation among them. Several characters are white Americans of the sort who often populate television: Jack Shephard, a handsome surgeon who believes only in science; Kate Austen, a beautiful woman with a criminal past; John Locke, a man who is miraculously healed by the powers of the island; James “Sawyer” Ford, a surly con-man; Juliet Burke, a doctor who is manipulated into coming to the island to work for a enigmatic man named Benjamin Linus. But there are also Sun-Hwa and Jin-Soo Kwon, a Korean couple with a rocky relationship; Eko Tunde, an African warlord and drug smuggler who also happens to be a Catholic priest; and Sayid Jarrah, an Iraqi Muslim who has left behind his life as a soldier to search for his childhood sweetheart. Michael Dawson and his son, Walt, a boy who seems to have paranormal abilities, are African-Americans, as is Rose, an older woman who has been cured by the island like Locke. Hugo “Hurley” Reyes, an overweight lottery winner who believes himself cursed by a plague of bad luck, and Ana-Lucia Cortez, a former police officer with a fierce temper, are both Hispanic. Claire Littleton, who is eight months pregnant when the plane crashes and gives birth to a son on the island, is Australian. Charlie Pace, a washed-up rock star from a one-hit wonder band, is British. Desmond Hume, who crashed his boat on the island years before of the passengers of Oceanic 815 end up there, is Scottish. Danielle Rousseau is a French woman who was a member of a scientific research team that landed on the island in 1988; the other team members are dead and she has been surviving on her own there for nearly sixteen years.

Many of the characters have names which call to mind prominent philosophers, scientists, and thinkers: John Locke, Desmond Hume, Danielle Rousseau, Juliet and Edmund Burke—the list goes on. Philosophical conundrums and themes abound in the various plotlines: free will vs. determinism, the mind-body connection, the question of how time operates, etc. There is a particular emphasis on problems in political philosophy and Enlightenment debates over social organization, democracy, and the relationship between nature and civilization. On Lost, political issues come up both in the internal group dynamics of the Oceanic 815 survivors and in the conflicts that arise between different factions on the island (such as Linus’ band of followers).

Religious issues and themes are equally as prominent. The show is rife with biblical allusions, as well as references to everything from Greek mythology to shamanism. Religious symbols are visually obvious and characters talk about religion openly. New Age spirituality makes frequent appearances in the form of psychics, numerology, tarot reading, and the like. More conventional faiths and practices are also common: Sayid is a devout Muslim, Desmond once studied to be a monk, and several characters are Catholic.

There is also a religious dimension to the island itself. The religion of the island is not a formalized institution, but rather refers to the intense spiritual and metaphysical pull the island exerts on certain individuals and to the manner in which those individuals respond to that force. Linus and many of his followers have a particularly strong relationship to the “religion” of the island, as do characters like John Locke. For these devotees of the island “religion,” their passionate dedication draws together issues of power, belief, and both material and spiritual concerns.

Lost is therefore a particularly good example of the popular potential of the layering of media. It is television for the new millennium: interactive, multivocal, and multifaceted. Yet the genius of the program is that while one could easily devote a forty-hour week to diving into all the Lost paraphernalia, it is also possible to simply watch the show once a week in a more traditional model of viewing television and still enjoy the experience. Viewers can focus on the action and drama, but can also pay particular attention to the characters and how they deal with philosophical, religious, and political issues. Lost can engage on a number of different levels, which is a crucial component to its success.

Though a more in-depth analysis is possible by viewing Lost in its entirety, examining a single key episode can begin a number of conversations about significant issues in religion and politics. This discussion will focus on the 13th episode of the third season, titled “The Man From Tallahassee.” In this episode, the explosion of a submarine invites questions about religious violence, the power struggle between two men opens up a discussion of religio-political identities, and the shifting allegiances of various characters highlight the problem of Othering.

The second season of Lost closes with three of the main characters (Kate Austen, Jack Shephard, and James “Sawyer” Ford) taken captive by the mysterious group the Oceanic 815 survivors simply call “the Others.” In the first several episodes of the third season, Kate, Jack, and Sawyer are subjected to a variety of tests, experiments, and tortures, all designed to eventually coerce Jack (a talented surgeon) to perform life-saving back surgery on Benjamin Linus, the leader of the Others. With the help of one of the Others, named Juliet, and due to a clever plot devised by Jack, Kate and Sawyer are able to escape. Jack bargains with Ben to win his own freedom, not just from the Others, but also from the island. Juliet also convinces Ben to allow her to leave.

After Kate and Sawyer escape from the Others’ compound, Kate is wracked with guilt and concern for Jack’s well-being, since she is unaware of the deal he made with Ben to leave the island. Once Kate and Sawyer arrive back at the Oceanic 815 survivors’ camp, she immediately persuades Sayid, a former soldier, to aid her in rescuing Jack. Danielle Rousseau, the French woman, decides to accompany Kate and Sayid, because the Others have her daughter.

Locke also volunteers to go along, ostensibly to help save Jack. However, his true intention is to sabotage a submarine, which he has discovered the Others’ use to travel to and from the island. “The Man From Tallahassee” opens with Kate, Sayid, Rousseau, and Locke reaching the Others’ base camp.

Locke immediately separates from his companions and seeks out Ben. Rousseau also separates from them in order to look for her daughter. The Others quickly capture Kate and Sayid, despite their efforts to go unnoticed. Jack comes to speak with Kate and tells her about his deal with Ben. She is incredulous and angry. She accuses him of abandoning the other Oceanic 815 survivors. He tries to reassure her, but she remains unconvinced. Juliet eventually comes to take him to prepare for their voyage home. Kate and Juliet have a history of antagonism from the period of time that Juliet was Kate’s captor and jealousy over their competing relationships with Jack; Juliet’s appearance only makes Kate more upset.

Meanwhile, Locke finds Ben in bed, recovering from surgery. Locke asks Ben to tell him where the submarine is docked. Ben initially refuses, but then his daughter, Alex, comes into the room unexpectedly. Locke threatens her and forces her to fetch his bag (which the Others captured along with Sayid) while he holds Ben hostage. While Alex leaves to retrieve the bag, Ben questions Locke about Locke’s own miraculous recovery. They also discuss Locke’s plans to destroy the submarine. Ben tells Locke about his deal with Jack and asks him not to blow up the sub. Once Alex returns, however, Locke insists that Ben tell her to take him to the submarine. Ben acquiesces, and on the way to the submarine Alex warns Locke that Ben might have been manipulating him.

Locke takes little interest in her counsel. Once Alex has led Locke to the submarine, he immediately takes action to destroy the vessel. It explodes as Jack and Juliet arrive at the dock to board the submarine and leave the island. The Others immediately take Locke captive. Jack and Juliet are both enraged and deeply disappointed, as both of them viewed the submarine as their one chance to return to their lives off the island.

Ben is actually delighted with this turn of events, and comes to taunt Locke. He reveals that he wanted Locke to destroy the submarine all along, since he wanted to find a way to force Jack and Juliet to stay on the island without making it appear to his followers that he had broken his word. As the episode closes, Ben seems to have won the upper hand, since Locke, Sayid, and Kate have all been captured and Jack and Juliet have no means by which to leave.

“The Man From Tallahassee” thus showcases a particularly explosive moment; a piece of the larger puzzle that is the conflict between the Oceanic 815 survivors and the Others and the quest to solve the mysteries of the island. This conflict is manifested in the struggle between Locke and Ben, as well as in the subtler conflict between Jack, Kate, and Juliet.

A key component of many religio-political conflicts is the problem of “othering;” that is, the exoticizing and/or dehumanizing of one group of people by another. Such a move leads to a reductive and polarized relationship, typically characterized by one-dimensional “us-versus-them” rhetoric. Historian of religion Jonathon Z. Smith has written extensively about the problem of the “other” in religion. He suggests that human beings are fundamentally concerned with notions of boundary and categorization, and that such concerns are inherently part of how humans construct their own identities and their relationships with other humans. As can be clearly seen in the moniker “the Others,” Otherness operates as a key conceptual framework for Lost. Survivors describe the Others as “animals.” Lost, however, reinforces the constructed nature of Otherness and rigorously calls the category into question, exposing the ambiguities and contradictions inherent in such divisions.

When Jack speaks with Kate after the Others have imprisoned her during her attempt to rescue him, she speaks bitterly and accusatorily. “So you’re with them now,” she says. Jack replies with some weariness, “I’m not ‘with’ anyone, Kate.” Kate has had bad experiences with the Others, unquestionably. Still, the Others remain fundamentally a mystery to her. She does not know who they are or what their project is. She knows none of them as individuals and sees all of them as part of a monolithic enemy. To her, “us-versus-them” rhetoric is all that makes sense.

Jack, on the other hand, has had a very different set of encounters with the Others, and most especially with Juliet. He has also had a different relationship with the Oceanic 815 survivors than Kate has. He rejects the simple division of “us-versus-them” because he has had the opportunity to see some pieces of a bigger picture. While Jack clearly views Ben as an enemy and harbors no great fondness for many of Ben’s followers, he has seen that the Others are not a perfectly homogeneous group.

Juliet’s character is a significant case in point in this regard, as she is a primary reason Jack begins to see the Others in a more complicated way. When the audience first encounters her, she is aiding Ben in his imprisonment and torture of Jack, Sawyer, and Kate. She oversees Sawyer and Kate as they are forced to do seemingly pointless manual labor to physically wear them down. Sawyer describes her as capable of murder with only the slightest provocation and the audience cannot help but agree. Juliet seems very much the epitome of an Other: without feeling or sentiment, ruthless and calculating. She is absolutely different and separate, from the crash survivors and almost from humanity.

Over time, however, through seeing more of her interactions with people on the island and in learning more about her life before the island through flashbacks, the audience learns that Juliet is not so easily pigeonholed. Once, she was an idealistic young scientist, devoted to finding a cure for her sister’s infertility. Ben lured her to the island under false pretenses and forced her to stay there against her will. She despises him for what he has done to her and what she has seen him do to other people (for instance, he engineers the kidnapping of several children from the Oceanic 815 group). She desperately wants to leave the island just as the Oceanic Flight 815 survivors do. Slowly a complicated figure emerges, one who is not a member of the survivors’ group, but one who cannot always be an Other, either. Her loyalties are divided and complex, her motivations not always clear. She becomes in fact, almost more threatening because she is revealed to be all too human.

Moreover, Juliet is fully cognizant of these many sides of herself, and the show is willing to even poke fun at her contested “Otherness.” In a later episode from the fourth season, “The Other Woman,” Jack questions Juliet about a strange woman they have seen in the jungle.
JACK: That woman--what was her name?
JULIET: Harper.
JACK: The two of you friends?
JULIET: Not exactly. She was my therapist.
JACK: You people had therapists?
JULIET: It’s very stressful being an Other, Jack.

In this statement, which Juliet makes wryly but sincerely, the audience is invited to consider a number of issues. Juliet knows she is separate from Jack and his group, and that they see her as part of the Others. Yet she has an ambiguous relationship with her status as an Other and has suffered great personal costs because of her involvement with them. Her off-hand remark is comical but accurate: being one of the “Others” is not painless, nor is it straightforward.

Also complicated are the religious and political identities and actions of the people on the island. “The Man from Tallahassee” makes vividly clear that the “religion of the island” exerts tremendous influence over both Ben and Locke, who are locked in a political and religious rivalry. Both men feel they have claim to deeply spiritual connections to the island. At several points over the course of the show, Ben explicitly insists that he and his group are the “good guys.” Locke sees his miraculous recovery as only the first link in a chain of evidence that proves the island is speaking to him. Ben’s second-in-command, Richard, seems to confirm this when he tells Locke that he is “special.”

When Ben and Locke clash, they often use religiously charged language to accuse and challenge the other. During their conversation as they wait for Alex to bring Locke’s bag and then lead him to the submarine, Locke accuses Ben: “You’re a hypocrite! A Pharisee. You don’t deserve to be on this island. If you had any idea what this place really was . . . ” Ben sees Locke as a naïve interloper, while Locke sees Ben as an arrogant fool who cares more about power and comfort than serving the interests of the island.
Both men struggle to construct themselves identities as political leaders of the island by highlighting the quasi-religious bonds they have with the island. The real “leader” of the island is supposedly a mysterious entity named “Jacob,” a man only Ben could communicate with—until Locke arrived on the scene, that is. The battle between the two men is as much about who speaks for the island, who is Jacob’s prophet, and who is the island’s true savior as much as anything. Ben’s position and power was hard-won; Locke threatens both.

Significantly, the show never reduces Ben or Locke to having only one driving motivation, however. Ben has a daughter about whom he cares very much (though in fact she is not biologically his; he stole her from Rousseau when she was a baby). Through Locke’s back stories, the audience sees he has a long, troubled relationship with his father (Ben in fact suggests that Locke’s devotion to the island is a front for his deeper issues with his father). These personal relationships are as significant to their characters as their religious beliefs or political ambitions.

In fact, all of the characters on Lost display similar depth and complexity. The richness of the characterizations demonstrates the intertwining of material concerns and belief, the tension between religious and secular selves, and the fact that while religious commitments might be significant, they are not sufficient. Religion plays a role, but it is never the sole motivating factor for a character’s thoughts or behavior. Another excellent example of this is the character of Sayid, who accompanies Kate, Locke, and Rousseau on their mission to rescue Jack. His flashbacks reveal his past as an interrogator for the Iraqi Republican Guard and his devotion to his childhood sweetheart, Nadia. At various moments throughout the show, Sayid is shown praying or otherwise demonstrating his Muslim faith. He is tormented by the fact that he tortured prisoners and haunted by Nadia’s memory, as well as religiously devout in his own way. He is a lover and a soldier and a man of piety, deeply private and obviously spiritual, yet persistently pragmatic and skeptical. From the beginning, Sayid openly challenges monolithic stereotypes about what it means to be Arab or Muslim.

The very act of Locke blowing up the submarine is a concrete manifestation of how the complexity of such religio-political identities can burst through into material, often violent, consequences. Though terrorism is a term that invites misunderstanding, it is frequently applied when religion and violence come together. Locke’s action could certainly be construed as quasi-“terrorist” in nature (if the island had a news channel, undoubtedly the story of Locke’s action would run as such). Indeed, the destruction of the submarine is primarily motivated by Locke’s deep devotion to the island. He views himself as a kind of island-savior, a messiah who needs to protect the island from outside invasion and Ben’s machinations. Blowing up the submarine is the bold effort of a religious zealot on behalf of his cause, and from a less generous angle seems like the work of a crazed religious fanatic. Though presumably no one is physically harmed by Locke’s actions (though the submarine appears empty, it is unclear whether or not any Others might have been onboard), Jack and Juliet are victims in less tangible ways. Additional Others might have been equally dismayed at the destruction of what is purported to be the one means off the island.

The submarine explosion is a strategic act on the part of Ben and Locke, as both men contribute to its destruction. Locke wants to sabotage the submarine both symbolically and practically; he wants everyone on the island to stay there and no one else to arrive, but he also wants to make the point to Ben that he is the new island messiah. Ben wants to keep Jack and Juliet from leaving but also sees the destruction of the submarine as just the kind of spectacle he needs to manipulate his followers. To Locke, Ben construes Locke’s act as a manifestation of the island’s preference for Ben. To himself, Locke justifies the act as a necessary sacrifice for the good of island. Both men cast the situation in a quasi-religious light, in similar, though competing, terms. The violent act becomes imbued with conflicting and competing versions of a religious narrative.

The failed rescue attempt and its accompanying drama as portrayed in “The Man from Tallahassee” are not the end of the story, of course. Four seasons of ABC’s popular drama Lost have aired at the time of this writing; two more remain to be seen. As the stories continue to unfold in further episodes, the situation as it stands after Locke blows up the submarine changes radically. Throughout, however, the construction of complex identities continues. Violence, motivated by faith and many other causes, continues to plague the island. Even though sharp divisions arise between the original camps and new loyalties and boundaries are formed, the concept of otherness remains significant. These themes, and the questions that necessarily accompany them, persist.

 

The World as an Island: Teaching Notes

Lost is a show about difference, about divergence, about how things break apart and come back together. Thoughtfully bringing Lost into the conversation about religion and politics, whether inside or outside of the classroom, opens up new spaces for discussion. Lost offers a unique lens through which to envision the world as an island.

For a fan of the show, thinking about how the action on Lost exemplifies various philosophical, religious, political, or sociological ideas is merely an enjoyable exercise—useful in some sense, perhaps, but primarily for entertainment. But if such thinking can be brought into an educational setting, then concrete gains can be seen from bringing the fictional into conversation with reality. Due to the layering of media demonstrated in the Lost phenomenon and the popularity of the program, it is easy to see how Lost would capture attention of students. The characters are compelling. The action and melodrama draw audiences in. Fiction has limits and possibilities beyond those of real-life situations; it offers a displacement of genuine concerns and questions onto a field where reality is malleable. This approach invites students to enter into a concept from a number of different directions, encouraging them to see how the various spheres of their lives overlap and collide.

Though explicit references to specific scholars and/or theoretical models have been omitted from the case itself, the case does come out of a theoretical grounding. This case study operates from Charles Long’s definition of religion and Andrew Heywood’s definition of politics. Long argues that religion is “orientation in the ultimate sense, that is, how one comes to term with the ultimate significance of one’s place in the world”, particularly in moments of cultural contact. Long considers religion as “more than a structure of thought; it is experience, expression, motivations, intentions, behaviors, styles, and rhythms.” Religion may incorporate elements of the otherworldly, but it is always made manifest in the material world in fundamental ways. Heywood has suggested that politics is “the activity through which people make, preserve and amend the general rules under which they live.” Politics, then, is related to both governing and social relations, both competition and cooperation.

These definitions allow for some flexibility and dynamism in discussing the intersection of religion and politics. Long’s notion of religion allows for the inclusion of established religious institutions (i.e. Christianity) as well as other less “traditional” models. Lost deals with religion in both of these contexts: the religion of the island itself and the more conventional faiths and practices that the Oceanic 815 survivors and other inhabitants of the island bring with them. Heywood’s definition of politics broadens the discussion past mere questions of official government and opens the conversation to include the interpersonal dynamics that go along with struggles over leadership and power in many contexts.

Sociologist Rhys H. Williams writes about how religion as both a cultural system and an ideology plays a “remarkably robust” role as an identity marker, particularly in analyses of political behavior. He suggests that one reason for the power of religious influence has to do with how religion aids in the construction of symbolic worlds and worldviews that incorporate assumptions about duty and relationship. For Williams, “religion is ‘implicit’ culture . . . effective, if nonarticulated, set of organizing principles.” Williams’ definition can easily be brought into conversation with Charles Long’s; both see religion as functioning as an essential component of identity, and both point to the material and ideological aspects of religious identity.
Along similar lines, legal scholar William P. Marshall contends that religion is political because “religion must be understood as a pervasive social force that has an inevitable political effect.” He points out that religious identities manifest themselves in political action in both explicit and implicit ways. Marshall’s argument acknowledges the reality of the diverse ways in which religious and political identities come together (in conjunction with other identities and commitments) in individuals and communities. For Marshall, religion is phenomenon that encompasses worldview, ideology, orientation, and action.

Discussions of the case study could take one or both of two different directions. Primarily, students could use the events depicted in the case study to ask questions about what othering is and how it functions, how layers of identity are formed, what it means to identify an act of violence as having religious significance, the permeability of divisions between religious and political spheres, and so on. Additionally, students could approach the case on a meta-level, as an example of how popular media in a globalized world engages with real-life issues and dilemmas.

This case study would likely be most effective if the students were able to actually watch clips from the episode discussed (or the episode in its entirety). Many of the scenes explicitly referenced in the case study can be found on YouTube, though instructors may prefer to obtain a copy of the episode on DVD to better control content. Many episodes are also available for free streaming online (http://abc.go.com/primetime/lost).

There are several supplementary academic readings which would facilitate discussion and augment student understanding of the issues at hand. These readings tackle the larger concepts of religion, othering, violence, and identity. For instance, reading Mark Jurgensmeyer’s take on the performative nature of religiously motivated violence would add insight into the layers of meaning in Locke blowing up the submarine. Bruce Lincoln’s book Holy Terrors would also add to the discussion of religion and violence. Reading one or both of J. Z. Smith’s articles on othering and difference would offer constructive tools for exploring those topics.

Additional materials on Lost itself are also available. The website Lostpedia (http://lostpedia.com/wiki/Main_Page) offers transcripts of episodes, character biographies, episode recaps, discussions of prominent themes and issues, photographs of characters and screen shots from episodes, and much more. Instructors may wish to browse the content available to familiarize themselves with some of this material, especially if they have little or no prior experience with the show.

Further Reading on the Issues:

Gabardi, Wayne. “Contemporary Models of Democracy.” Polity Vol. 33, No. 4.
(Summer, 2001): 547-568.

Heywood, Andrew. Politics. New York: Palgrave, 2002.

Jurgensmeyer, Mark. Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

Lincoln, Bruce. “Religion, Rebellion, Revolution.” In Holy Terrors: Thinking About
Religion After September 11. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Long, Charles. Significations. Aurora, CO: Fortress Press, 1999.

Marshall, William P. “The Culture of Belief and the Politics of Religion.” Law and
Contemporary Problems. Vol. 63, No. 1 & 2 (Winter-Spring, 2000): 453-465.

Smith, J. Z. “Differential Equations: On Constructing the Other.” In Relating Religion.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

----. “What a Difference a Difference Makes.” In Relating Religion. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 2004.

Williams, Rhys H. “Religion as Political Resource: Culture or Ideology?” Journal for the
Scientific Study of Religion Vol. 35, No. 4 (December 1996): 368-378.

Further Reading on Lost:

Card, Orson Scott, ed. Getting Lost: Survival, Baggage, and Starting Over in J. J.
Abrams’ Lost. Benbella Books, 2006.

Douthat, Ross. “Lost and Saved on Television.” First Things: A Journal of Religion,
Culture, and Public Life (May 2007).

Kaye, Sharon M., ed. Lost and Philosophy: The Island Has Its Reasons. Blackwell
Publishing, 2007.

McCracken, Allison. “Lost.” FlowTV: A Critical Forum on Television and Media
Culture Vol. 1 No 4. (19 November 2004). < http://flowtv.org/?p=671>.

Mittell, Jason. “Lost in an Alternate Reality.” FlowTV: A Critical Forum on Television
and Media Culture Vol. 4 No. 7 (16 June 2006). < http://flowtv.org/?p=165>.

Wood, J. Living Lost: Why We’re All Stuck on the Island. Garrett County Press, 2007.
See the BBC article at <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/5231334.stm>. Lostpedia. <http://lostpedia.com/wiki/Main_Page>. Every episode of Lost takes up multiple storylines, one of which is a “back story” for a character. This case will focus not on the back story in “The Man From Tallahassee,” but on the primary story as it unfolds on the island. Season 2, Episode 6, “Abandoned.” Season 3, Episode 13, “The Man From Tallahassee” Season 3, Episode 2,“The Glass Ballerina” Season 4, Episode 5, “The Other Woman” Season 2, Episode 24 “Live Together, Die Alone” Season 3, Episode 19 “The Brig” Season 3, Episode 13, “The Man From Tallahassee” Charles Long, Significations (Aurora, CO: Fortress Press, 1999), 7. Ibid., 7. Andrew Heywood, Politics (New York: Palgrave, 2002), 4. Heywood writes this as an introduction to a basic textbook on political science; I find the definition useful despite its humble origins. Rhys H. Williams, “Religion as Political Resource: Culture or Ideology?” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 35, No. 4 (December 1996): 369. Ibid., 370. Ibid., 370. William P. Marshall, “The Culture of Belief and the Politics of Religion,” Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 63, No. 1 & 2 (Winter-Spring, 2000): 454.

 

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