Thursday, October 26, 2006

'Lost' in Translation

Last night's episode of Lost had a very memorable scene in which Ben/Henry Gale brings a caged rabbit into a room where Sawyer is strapped to a table after having undergone some sort of surgery. The rabbit has the number 8 painted on its back.

Ben proceeds to shake the cage until the rabbit "dies" because of some sort of killer pacemaker that has been implanted in the bunny—the same kind of pacemaker Ben says they put in Sawyer.

Dramatic stuff, to be sure. As any Lost fan knows, no detail on the show is accidental. We all know that the number 8 is significant because it's part of the 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 sequence. As we watched the show, however, my wife noticed something else.

Here's a brief passage from Stephen King's 2000 book On Writing:
In the cage is a white rabbit with a pink nose and pink-rimmed eyes. In its front paws is a carrot-stub upon which it is contentedly munching. On its back, clearly marked in blue ink, is the numeral 8.
Coincidence? Don't bet on it. Careful viewers will remember that, in the season premiere, the Others are having some sort of book club. Up for discussion is a Stephen King book.

What does it all mean? We'll have to wait and watch. For King, the example was all about creating an indelible image in the reader's mind.
The most interesting thing here isn't even the carrot-munching rabbit in the cage, but the number on its back. Not a six, not a four, not nineteen-point-five. It's an eight. This is what we're looking at, and we all see it. I didn’t tell you. You didn't ask me. I never opened my mouth and you never opened yours. We're not even in the same year together, let alone the same room … except we are together. We're close.

We're having a meeting of the minds.
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