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Lost Exegesis (The Moth) -- Part 2

You can find Part 1 of the essay here. Usually, the essay is spoiler-free until we get to the “Looking Glass” portion after an intertextual intermission. In this case our selected cultural artifacts are all much more interesting in how they function prophetically, so here’s your advance notice of spoilers from here on out.

Intermission

Saint Jack

SAWYER: Ah, damn. Didn't I tell you? Word from the valley is Saint Jack got himself buried in a cave-in.

Let’s start with Saint Jack, a movie directed by Peter Bogdanovich based on the novel by Paul Theroux. Now, Paul Theroux, we should point out, isn’t just a novelist, he’s also justly known as a great travel writer, thanks to his travels to Africa, Singapore, and Japan. He’s earned the enmity of several governments, largely for bringing to light certain aspects of their countries which they’d preferred to keep covered up.

That said, I think the movie is much more celebrated than the book, so that’s what we’ll be attending to. It was shot in several months entirely on location in Singapore, under the pretense of being a standard rom-com (“Jack of Hearts”) as ...

Lost Exegesis (The Moth) -- Part 1

The moth is the obvious symbol of this story, so let’s start there. Both moths and butterflies are of the same family, Lepidoptera. The species, like many insects, goes through several developmental stages, resulting in complete metamorphosis. After an egg is laid, a larva or caterpillar emerges, which will shed its skin several times as it grows. Eventually it enters a pupa or chrysalis stage, cocooned and stewing in its own juices, and dissolving almost utterly. The imago or adult creature emerges, with wings and antennae, ready to reproduce and begin the cycle anew.

Locke is right: butterflies, not moths, get all the attention. Mythologically, for example, the butterfly is symbolic of Psyche (“psyche” is also a word that means “breath” and “soul”), a beautiful mortal woman who becomes a goddess. In this myth, Psyche is taken by Eros into Paradise, with only one rule to abide: She dare not see his face. Unable to resist, she lights a flame at their bedside one night, and is so taken by the beauty of her lover that she spills a drop of hot oil on him. He wakens, sadly, and asks why? She answers, “I had to know.” Psyche awakens ...

Lost Exegesis (House of the Rising Sun) -- Part 2

Part 1 of the essay can be found here. Unlike that part, this one will have spoilers of future episodes.

Watership Down

I have to admit, I was wrong. In the White Rabbit entry I claimed that Watership Down was in four straight episodes. It is not. But have no fear, it will appear again. Nonetheless, we might consider that the book has been “invoked” by virtue of the rabbit on the bus outside the airport terminal where Sun decides to stay with Jin. As such, we will continue to explore this rather delightful tale.

In terms of plot, Part 2 of Watership Down doesn’t have much to do with House of the Rising Sun, but there are a couple of interesting resonances. For example, the rabbits, led by Hazel, form a new warren which they dig out underneath the roots of a massive tree. They call their new home The Honeycombe. So we have a convergence of bee symbolism, the World Tree, and “caves,” just like this episode.

The rabbits make friends with a large bird, Kehaar, who speaks with a thick accent and performs reconnaissance for them. They use this to their advantage when they realize they ...

Lost Exegesis (House of the Rising Sun) -- Part 1

It’s been a while since we had one of these LOST Exegesis posts! So sorry for the delay. It couldn’t be helped. And not just the nearly two months since the last one of these -- I had trouble accessing Eruditorum Press last night.  Anwyays, enough excuses.  It's been a while.  As such, please remember that Part 1 of the essay is spoiler-free. For those who’ve seen the entire series, the second part of the essay, titled “Through the Looking Glass” (and appearing next week in the second part of this massive post), applies foreknowledge to the episode at hand.

So, on to the episode at hand. House of the Rising Sun is complex. Not to say that it’s difficult to understand; on the contrary, it’s rather straightforward, at first glance. It’s here we discover that whatever preconceptions we had about Sun and Jin, they were a bit wrong – these characters are not crass stereotypes – she’s the spoiled rich girl, he’s the poor nice boy corrupted by her father, who would have guessed that? It may have been Walkabout when I fell in love with the show, but it’s House of ...

Lost Exegesis (Pilot Part 2)

One would think, given they pretty much share the same title, that Pilot Part 1 and Pilot Part 2 would be rather similar, that the two parts would fit together as a functional whole. It’s true that both episodes were shot as part of the same production block. However, the two parts aired a week apart. Which was probably wise, for Pilot Part 2 is a very different beast compared to Pilot Part 1.

And one might wonder if the two parts had a different director, but they did not; JJ Abrams helmed both parts. Yet they have a very different feel from each other. Pilot Part 2 is rather visually distinct from its predecessor, as all of it is terribly bright; there’s an awful lot of sunlight. The first episode, on the other hand, had moments of “day becoming night,” scenes dominated by cloud cover and shadow, and even one shot at night. Pilot Part 2, on the other hand, is terribly bright; there’s an awful lot of sunlight. But then, Part 1 covers Day One on the Island, Night One, and the beginning of Day Two. All of Part 2 happens during Day Two.

While ...

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