Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof have made Lost a richly involved viewing experience with a veritable scavenger hunt of literary, pop-culture and philosophical references. The hints provide as many red herrings as they do useful clues to help fans unravel the show’s mystery. To help you make sense of it all, below are but eight intriguing tomes that have worked their way into the Lost mythology.
1. The Third Policeman – Way back in the beginning of season two, Cuse and Lindelof hinted that Brian O’Nolan’s The Third Policeman held the keys to many a Lost secret. The connections between the book and the series are many: an underground chamber, mirrors used to see into the past (the lighthouse, perhaps?) and a box from which anything you desire can be produced. The kicker? The book concludes with the revelation that the main character has been dead all along without knowing it, a theory the Lost creators have squashed when it comes to the Island dwellers.
2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Aside from having taken episode titles directly from L. Frank Baum’s book (“The Man Behind the Curtain,” “There’s No Place Like Home”) Lost has worked The Wonderful Wizard of Oz into its story in a number of other places, most notably when introducing Ben Linus. Before revealing himself to be the leader of the Others, Ben claimed to be a man named Henry Gale who had crashed on the Island in a hot air balloon. Henry Gale was the name of Dorothy’s uncle in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In the book, he had a farmhand named Zeke, which was one of Sawyer’s nicknames for the Other named Tom. Lost’s creators have declined to comment on whether any more will be revealed about Henry Gale in the show’s final episodes.
3. The Bible – Lost’s Biblical references are myriad. There’s the Island’s own Adam and Eve (which we recently learned are the bodies of Jacob’s brother and adoptive mother). There was Mr. Eko, who recited the 23rd Psalm as he was killed by the Smoke Monster, and who wrote a truncated Genesis 13:14 on his stick as an instruction to Locke (“Lift up your eyes and look north”). Most recently, the conflict between Jacob and the Man in Black has brought to mind the sibling rivalry of Jacob and Esau.
4. Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There – Alice’s greatest contribution to the show is the white rabbit. Ghosts regularly appear to characters on the Island and lead them to revelatory discoveries, much like the White Rabbit of Lewis Carroll’s novel led Alice to Wonderland in the first place. Posters featuring the Rabbit have adorned Lost sets, including Aaron’s bedroom and the DHARMA cafeteria. Jack is seen reading Alice to Aaron and refers to having read it to his flash-sideways son, David. Then, there’s the Looking Glass station, where Charlie met his watery demise.