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'Lost': Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?

This portrait of Virginia Woolf, taken by Gisele

This portrait of Virginia Woolf, taken by Gisele Freund, is part of "Women Seeing Women," a collection of photographs of and by women throughout the 20th century. Photo Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Much much to talk about last night. But for time and space reasons, I'm just going to focus on one matter today, and how that sheds some light - pun intended - on 'The Lighthouse.'

With it's high literary intentions, it's impossible to take anything on "Lost" at face value, and when the symbol of the lighthouse is suddenly thrust upon 12 million of us, the question must be asked - why?

Simple, friends! It's a direct allusion to Virginia Woolf's great modernist novel, "To the Lighthouse" - one of those landmark works of fiction (as my high school English teacher may well have said) - that profoundly affected narrative structure for all high-art novels that came after (1927) publication. It was one of those Everything books that synthesized Freudian psychology with a modernist lit technique that eschewed straight narrative in favor of this dreamy, otherworld, highly stylized drift-of-consciousness that dabbled in and dived into the deepest recesses of the characters' conscious and subconscious.

It was a difficult read.

But then, "Lost" is a difficult watch.

Thanks to dear Virginia, the lighthouse became the most potent literary symbol of just about the entire 20th century - ranking right up there with Yeats' rose. It would, and has, appeared in thousands of unexpected contexts - including the final season of "The Sopranos," where it also assumed enormous and profound meaning for comatose Tony.

What did a "lighthouse" mean in lit terms? It meant nothing, per se - symbols don't mean anything. Instead, it mystically represented the deepest recesses of the characters' souls, linking them to all eternity - past, present and future. And for each character - be it Mrs. Ramsey or Mr. Ramsey, the strange married couple, or their equally strange children, James and Cam (thank God for SparkNotes to help me dust off my decrepit memory), it was something they could never reach, or attain. It was Out There - across the sands of time.

The lighthouse, in some respects, was an ideal - the final meaning of it all (and at a time, after the Great War, when meaning was so elusive.) Mr. Ramsey was the rock-ribbed empiricist - whose Gods were Locke and Hume (he was an expert on both.) To him, it was just a stupid tower.

Aren't you glad you come to TVZone for all this gobbledygook!!

What does it mean for Hurley and Jack - in 2007? Again, best to ask Darlton. I'm just your humble messenger, alerting you to their literary aspirations. But (again) I think this tower is Freudian - maybe even Oedipal for Jack (who in sideways life, was left with his precious mother only). Jack ends up just like Mrs. Ramsey - looking out at the ocean. In some respects, he wanted to kill his own father (just as James did in the Woolf novel - fantasized about offing the old boy with an ax to the chest). But Sideways Jack wants to stop the cycle - he wants to be the wonderful father to David his own father never was. To me, 2007 Jack is trying to figure this out.

Hurley? He's bonded to Jacob (another famous Woolf character). Jacob's ghost has seen the past, present and future - he's that synthesis of which I speak. Hurley is embracing the vision. Hurley is the candidate - the perfect candidate. He is the wise man of "Lost."

And more stream-of-consciousness from Gay next week.

Now, on to my review of "The Marriage Ref."

A portrait of Virginia Woolf from the book "Women Seeing Women" (Los Angeles Times Photo / Robert Gauthier)

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