Tuesday, January 12, 2010

man of science, man of faith

{With "the beginning of the end" rapidly approaching, you can look forward to a lot of LOST posts from me. I have been talking and thinking about it nonstop since Christmas, when my brother gave me a Dharma Swan t-shirt.}
I have often wondered if J.J. Abrams purposefully chose a diminutive form of "John" for the name of Locke's nemesis. John Locke and Jack Shephard are polar opposites in everything--their priorities, their leadership styles, their belief systems. John believes in fatalism; Jack, free will. Jack is a self-proclaimed man of science; John is a man of faith.
I like to think that Abrams was aware of the implications of his choice.
After all, names have been an important aspect of LOST. Many of the characters' names are allusions to literature or philosophy: John Locke/Jeremy Bentham, Danielle Rousseau, Charlotte S. Lewis, Desmond David Hume, Anthony Cooper, Boone Carlyle, James "Sawyer" Ford . Ben's ill-fated mother's final request before she died was that her son be named Benjamin. Flashback Danielle and her french lover had already chosen the name Alex for their baby, whether it was a boy or a girl. And the mysterious Jacob alludes to the Old Testament Jacob: "God loves you as He loved Jacob".
I recently wondered about the effect a name has on a child, and the same theme can be explored in LOST. Sawyer's most recognizable trait is his habit of calling people by nicknames, including himself. James Ford adopted the name of the man that conned his parents, and along with the name, he adopted the man's persona. I can't be the only person who noticed that his personality changed as he started going by James again.
If Jack was really John, would he still be a man of science? Or would he become a man of faith?


Mrs. Davis @ The Carolina Housewife said...

I'm glad to see your enthusiasm about LOST returning! Certainly it's a complex show and the allusions could be analyzed at length. I'm so looking forward to seeing its conclusion this year and where the writer takes it. It's been clear from day 1 that everything was story-boarded and planned years in advance....hope the ending is to the fans' satisfaction!

Anonymous said...

Plus, James Ford claims his name is Jimmy when he ends up in the 70's. Jimmy is a more casual form of James, and notice that his demeanor and his way of living both change when he starts going by this and working for Dharma.

Kristin said...

I'm excited for LOST as well. It's one of those shows that I love, but drives me nuts all at the same time. I just hope it has an ending that makes sense and not a Jack was just dreaming, kinda thing.