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So, after all that heavy thinking about Sawyer and Locke, post "The Man From Tallahassee," I was just pondering this simple question: In a word, what does each person on the island want? For LOCKE, I'd say Power. SAWYER, whether he knows it or not (and you can totally argue with me on this one) Acceptance, although he'd probably still tell you it's Vengeance.


What about the rest of them? Yes, they all need redemption and love (and a nice, hot shower and a comfy bed) but if you had to sum up their deepest desire in one word? And if that's not what they should want, what do they need?

JACK: That's tough. I think he thinks he wants Control. But not in a scary, power-mad Locke way, but just because he's had too much chaos in his life. And in making his decision to leave on the sub, I think he opted for Freedom. We all know he never wanted to lead and this is a not entirely optional way out of that.

KATE: Also a tough one. We all know Kate doesn't know *who* she wants, let alone *what.* Do we even know Kate at all? Does she know herself? She tried settling down and it didn't work, so fresh starts and true love don't work for her. I almost think she must hate herself more than Sawyer does because she does not seem comfortable in her own skin. At the risk of being extremely clichéd, I'd say Freedom is kind of her cage but she craves it all the same.

SAYID: Forgiveness. He got it from one of his victims and from Nadia as well, but he can't ever be completely forgiven for what he's done.

CHARLIE: Love. The poor guy just wants to be loved.

CLAIRE: Dare, I say, Respect. No one ever gives this girl any respect, hence her huffiness when Charlie did not buy into her avian rescue plan.

HURLEY: He'd probably love to be thin and get the girl, but I'm guessing at the top of his list is to be Uncursed.

DESMOND: He blew his second chance with Penny. The writers seem to think he's struggling to be a Great Man. I think he really just wants Penny. (And hey, I'd say being psychic and saving lives is a definitely a kind of greatness. He and Hurley and Charlie should definitely sit back and discuss their different curses. Desmond: I can foresee people's deaths. Hurley: Everyone around me dies. Charlie: *backs away slowly from both of them*


But what do you think?

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( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
isis2015
Mar. 25th, 2007 06:34 am (UTC)
I agree with pretty much everything. Especially Kate and Sawyer.

As the seasons progress, Sawyer gets closer and closer to having actual friendships. Like the one he's slowly building with Hurley. I think acceptance is what he really wants, but it also scares the hell out of him, which is why he acts the way that he does, why he does his best to keep people away from him.

And Kate, I believe, will always need her freedom. Maybe that's what keeps her from choosing between Sawyer and Jack. It's like, in her mind, once she does, she's boxed into something, like she was with Kevin. Maybe she thinks if she chooses, she's just going to end up leaving because, well, that's what she does.
halfdutch
Mar. 25th, 2007 04:14 pm (UTC)
I'm starting to forgive Kate a little bit for how she treated Sawyer. She couldn't just drug him and run away like she did to Kevin, so she did the next best thing, act like nothing happened between them and run off to go rescue Jack. (Heh, I had an idea for a fic once where Kate drugged a series of men she had seduced, LOL, like that was a necessary part of her whole M.O.)
eponine119
Mar. 25th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
You're kind of onto something, though. Remember when Kate drugged Jack in season one?
halfdutch
Mar. 25th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, I do! You know, I think I'm going to dust that fic idea off. :) I'm kind of stuck with what I'm working on anyway. Thanks for the nudge!
ficangel
Mar. 25th, 2007 12:35 pm (UTC)
I think it's a toss-up for Desmond between Honor and Penny. He can't seem to decide whether or not he wants Honor for its own sake, or because it's the only way that he can see himself being worthy of her.
halfdutch
Mar. 25th, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC)
Ahh, Honor. Yes. *nods* Absolutely. Because he did break up with her, after all. I think that's what led him "back" to the island (if he ever was really away) but now that he's on the island, I don't know if that's what's driving him quite so much. Honor among castaways is a little bit harder to achieve, so I think he's doing what he can in that department by rescuing Charlie and not being falling-down drunk as much as he might like.
xphile101
Mar. 25th, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC)
I don't know if I'd say "loved" for Charlie as much as "needed." He wants someone to want him to be around, which is probably why he gravitated towards Claire (who's needier than a pregnant woman? And after that, who's needier than a baby?).
halfdutch
Mar. 25th, 2007 04:20 pm (UTC)
Very true. *nods* He did pick the two neediest and most defenseless (and most cuddly!) people on the island to attach himself to. I think he briefly flirted with getting Locke's and Jack's approval, and of course, impressing Shannon and Kate, but settled for being buddies with Hurley and substitute daddy to Aaron -- and manages to be more annoying and self-righteous than Claire herself about it half the time!
eponine119
Mar. 25th, 2007 04:27 pm (UTC)
Wow, this was great. Motivations are one of those things writers (and actors) are supposed to keep in mind at all times, but I'm not sure they do.

The fact that what most of these characters say they want is not what they actually want is what drives conflict. You've illustrated just how much "story" these characters have left in them.

As for Sawyer, I don't think vengeance is what he wants on the island though it is what he wants out of life, or says he does. You're right that acceptance is what he truly wants or needs. I think a big thing with him is power, as well, or control. My first thought of what he wants on the island was "stuff!" but his stash is really just a measure of control, including control of how the other castaways interact with him.

Did I mention you're a genius? Cause you are. This was brilliant.
halfdutch
Mar. 25th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you! :) It is something they should all be keeping in mind and making sure each character reads true to their own inner compass, no matter what's going on, but I'm not sure that they do. Looking back, it seems like there's a continuity there sometimes, and other times, not so much!

And yes, what they want on the island is very different from what they want out of live, overall, especially for Desmond and Sawyer, I'd say. Jack is always struggling with responsiblity and guilt, Kate is always running and Hurley is cursed wherever he goes, but Desmond and Sawyer's destinies are quite different here. Locke too, except that I think he's always wanted power and control and now he's able to get it, so his desires haven't changed, just his opportunity to achieve them.
I was thinking of providing a list, like Control, Power, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Love, Safety, Peace - and realized that they all want those things, in varying degrees, with Control and Power being at the top of most of their lists. Jack gets control by making sure everyone is safe from harm, Sawyer gets control by collecting things and making people come to him for them and Locke gains control by being the scary guy with all the knives who can commune with the island. And I think Kate gets control by not letting anyone control her. But, say for Hurley, those aren't issues at all, since, of course, he and Charlie are the beta males and sidekicks of the story, for the most part.

And I couldn't think what to come up with Jin and Sun except that they want to be happy and be with each other, which aren't very dramatically compelling drives. They were so much more interesting when she was keeping a secret from him! Now she's kind of the island maternal figure and he's comic relief.
isis2015
Mar. 25th, 2007 07:14 pm (UTC)
And I couldn't think what to come up with Jin and Sun except that they want to be happy and be with each other, which aren't very dramatically compelling drives.

I'm going to have to disagree with that. Of course, it depends mostly upon your perspective and who's stories really grab you, but Sun and Jin have always interested me (well, more one than the other, but they can be a packaged deal sometimes) and I think that they're are a little more complicated then that.

For Sun, what I would pick is Independence. The way I see it, all of her life she's been controlled by someone. First it was her father, and then it was Jin. Coming from Jin it was something of a betrayal because he loved her and he wasn't supposed to try to control her. The way she gained her independence off the island was by planning to leave Jin. On the island, I believe, she gets more independent every season. In the beginning, I don't think her name was said without Jin's. It was like they were one person. But now, they're grown apart enough to become individuals, but still remain together. Sun has made so many steps forward and she's finally been able to have both her independence and her marriage -- like at the the end of 'The Whole Truth' when she tells Jin that she's going to stay alone in the garden for a while longer and he doesn't spaz out on her. I agree that there is a maternal figure thing, what with the fact that they keep shoving babies at her, but I also think that was always a part of her, long before she was pregnant, so it's easy for me to ignore in favor of all the other things I see in her.

For Jin, I would say that he's similar to Desmond in the way that what he really wants is Sun, but he never believes he's good enough for her. Like Penny, Sun was very rich with a prick for a father, and she fell in love with someone way below her social standing and her father made it very hard on them. Jin behaved the way he did in the first season, I believe, because he had been being violent for so long, he'd forgotten how to be anything else. He still thought he had to fight to keep Sun, which was, unknown to him, one of the reasons she wanted to leave him in the first place. As time went on, and they fell apart and came back together, I think he realized what he was doing to her as well as the fact that he really didn't have to fight for her any more, as well as the fact that she was her own person, and if he loved her, he would let her be that. But he always struggles with that violent guy, the guy he became because of how much he wanted to be with Sun.
halfdutch
Mar. 26th, 2007 01:48 am (UTC)
I agree with all of this and yet I'm just not really feeling it lately. It almost seems like the writers have decided Sun and JIn's arcs are done and they're kind of idling in the background. Not that they're not interesting, but they've had very little of interest to do lately. I believe there's a Jin backstory coming up, so a chance to give him more to do. They're hardly the only ones who've been sidelined and Sayid and Claire have gotten good eps, so .. *fingers crossed*

(And I don't knock Jin as comic relief but no one ever wants to be just that!)
themoononastick
Mar. 25th, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
While I agree that Charlie wants to be loved, I think that what he wants most is, like Claire, respect. Most of his negative actions have been driven by a sense of frustration at someone not giving him the respect that he (thinks) he deserves - half a dozen hissy fits, his 'revenge' on Locke and so on - he seems so desperate for someone (anyone) to take him seriously and to be able to prove that he is useful in some way. I think his decent into drug addiction destroyed any sense of self-respect that he had (and most likely lost him the respect of his family and friends) and that is what he is most desperate to get back. So maybe self-respect rather than respect. Hmmm.

I'm not sure if Sayid believes he can ever be forgiven for his sins, I think his is a true journey of redemption in that he is searching for a way to atone for his past but not necessarily looking for a way to be absolved from it. While you're right that redemption is very much a want shared by all of the characters, for me, it is a thing I most strongly identify with Sayid - for example we know that Sawyer killed a man but we also know that his reasons for doing so were (however we view the taking of a life) fuelled by a need for revenge and that he was tricked into taking the life that he took, whereas Sayid's actions as an 'intelligence officer' were not driven by any personal vendetta or other 'forgiveable' circumstance and ,again for me, that is what drives him now, his knowledge that he can never truly be forgiven but that he can attempt to balance the bad actions in his past with good actions in the present.

[sorry, that all probably sounds like I am arguing with you which I'm not, I was just on a roll! *smooch*]
halfdutch
Mar. 25th, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC)
Oh no, this is all good! :) I certainly don't think my take was the definitive one on any of them and I was hoping to get discussion just like this going. I would certainly agree that Charlie also wants respect and I was very close to putting that down for him as well as Claire. He's tried to volunteer for missions as often as he can and to be taken seriously and he kind of hovered around Locke and Jack the way Boone did, perhaps hoping to end up as a righthand man. But no one has ever taken his efforts seriously and, much like Boone, nothing seems to go right, whether it's protecting Aaron or shooting Ethan.

I guess, in choosing Love for Charlie, I was mostly thinking of his childhood, with his mom gone and his dead completely AWOL (if I remember correctly, we don't know a thing about him) and Liam abandoning him. But as eponine119 pointed out, what most of them want is different on and off the island.

And I think we all can find Sawyer's crime justifiable, given that his drive for revenge is so personal and stems from something so primal that happened in his childhood; for him to not seek revenge would practically be a miracle. In Sayid's case, yes, he was an adult with free will who did not have to choose that path, even if he had ways to justify to himself at the time.

And then I think we have Locke, a mixture of the two, who was screwed-over as a child but had the most harm done to him as an adult and is slowly self-destructing as a result. He doesn't have either the degree of distance and control over that hole in his soul that Sawyer and Sayid seem to have, to be able to cope day to day. I think (as I was saying in my big Sawyer & Locke post) that the island has intensified and enabled the dangerous and destructive side of Locke, whereas it's offered Sawyer and Sayid the opportunity to become better men, in a way.
themoononastick
Mar. 25th, 2007 06:48 pm (UTC)
If you look at the way Charlie acts when he is with Sayid (and for once I'm not thinking slashily, honest, I'm only using this icon 'cos it's the only one I have!) you can see how different he is when someone is not treating him as a child. Sayid treats Charlie as an equal and because of that Charlie doesn't bitch and moan and question decisions he just does what he is asked to do. Look at the way he reacted to Hurley telling him about his lottery win, Charlie assumed Hurley was taking the piss and so he flew off the handle and stomped off into the jungle for some pouting time - his desire for respect (and his own lack of self-respect) is so strong that it colours the way he sees everyone around him, making him constantly question people's motives for the way they treat him. It's kinda sad really.

I agree with you about Locke's dangerous side being brought out by the island, it's interesting that while most of the other characters are being improved (as such) by their time on the island, Locke is the only one who could be seen to be being badly affected by his time there. I wonder why that is and even if the writers meant for him to be viewed that way or if they meant for his actions to be seen as him seizing control of his life after spending so much time with little or no control. hmmm.
halfdutch
Mar. 26th, 2007 01:45 am (UTC)
Sayid/Charlie 4eva! :)

Charlie and Hurley have had some stumbling blocks in their road to becoming BFF. *pets both boys and their issues*

Locke spinning out of control seems a recent development, but then again he did let Boone die. And remember the "Bzzt" joke he made with the dynamite? Heh, I have an icon of that, with him laughing and Jack looking like he wants to murder him. So, yeah, Locke's always been a little unhinged and kinda reckless. But lately, yow. Stand back! The man has a date with destiny, even if he has to bumrush it! Seriously, I do think the island is his golden opportunity, not just for getting his legs back but for being able to get that control and respect he's never had. Would anyone back in the real world have consulted him about anyting besides geeky war games? I think not!
foxxcub
Mar. 25th, 2007 09:54 pm (UTC)
I think Hurley wants respect, too, in the sense that he doesn't want people looking at him as "crazy" anymore. Maybe that comes with the "uncursed" part, but really, I think he just wants to be normal again--relatively speaking. ;)
halfdutch
Mar. 26th, 2007 01:40 am (UTC)
True, and he deserves it! Who got the battery? Who got the manifest from Sawyer? Who organized the golf game and the census? Hurley!

And hey, I don't think Charlie knows about the mental institution, does he? No one knows anything else about anyone on this island! Except The Others!
alemyrddin
Mar. 26th, 2007 10:02 am (UTC)
Well, I think that the fact that we are able to recognize some motivation behind the characters means that we are obsessed... lol! the authors and actors have been doing a good job.
Moreover, I think that each character has more than a motivation, because this is what makes a character more complex and interesting.

But I agree that some characters are more driven by one of them, and I agree with what have been said so far.

I think however that Jack's motivation is not only control (though it's important for him), but also forgiveness and, in a lesser way, acceptance. It has been said a lot of times that he is grieved by the guilt for whatever he had done in life, so I think that for him forgiveness is the tool to a new life.
Of course, at the moment this is not his first thought, but it can be perhaps his main motivation as soon as he will be off the island. I hope that the time on the island will give him forgiveness even if he is not asking for it.

As for control, most of his action aim at gaining control, but I don't see it as an end, but as a way to an end, which is to get off the island and start living again.
Maybe Jack must learn that he can live also on the island - and I don't mean "live there forever", but at the moment he is acting with only the "get off this island" end in mind, and he is not living in the meantime.
frightened
Mar. 27th, 2007 11:05 am (UTC)
Mmm. Which all makes me wonder: what's the island up to when choosing whose wishes she grants? (Yeah, I'm not gonna analyse my choice of pronoun there right now, but given the thing does seem to have a personality, it makes sentence structure easier.)

The island likes Locke better than Ben - assuming the island's 'good', does that mean that Locke's fundamentally a good guy and Ben's fundamentally not? Or, assuming the island's 'bad', vice versa?

The killing of Eko suggested that the island sometimes deals out some karmic smackdown for people's deeds, however much the actions were forced by circumstances. But then Sayid, at least, would also be due a smackdown, which doesn't seem to have happened. And if the island's in the business of righting wrongs, I can see her granting Locke's wish for independence, but I can't imagine his subsequent grab for power was what she had in mind. In which case... ooh, maybe that's the meaning of the "you're/we're next" after she killed Eko. Though if she can take back his mobility as a hint that she wants a sacrifice, I'm sure she could take it back if she thinks it's being misused. But then, see below: maybe she likes her consequences more extreme.

Maybe she's like a terrifying old-skool heathen god, and she's on the side of whoever bothers to sacrifice to her, but you'd better not take her for granted. Maybe Rousseau's survived for so long because she knows when to leave well enough alone. But in that case, why heal Rose, who seems to be a Christian and therefore not really in the business of sacrificing people to islands on the offchance of a reward? (Unless Rose is hiding some major dark side... ha. Kidding.) Why manifest stuff to help people deal with their issues? Sawyer and the boar, for instance - I really can't see that kind of being giving a damn whether Sawyer gets a second chance not to kill someone. And healing Locke in the first place - although maybe she just saw a potential cult-member there and wanted to give him a nudge. Can't see her thinking that'd work with Rose, Sawyer et al, though. And I can't see that sort of being thinking Eko needed to be punished, in particular - I mean, why bother? Unless she was just really, really pissed off that he was building a church on her territory, of course ;-) Hey, maybe that's why Charlie's apparently doomed, too.

Speaking of:

He and Hurley and Charlie should definitely sit back and discuss their different curses. Desmond: I can foresee people's deaths. Hurley: Everyone around me dies. Charlie: *backs away slowly from both of them*

Hahahahaha. Totally.
frightened
Mar. 27th, 2007 12:05 pm (UTC)
Also, I've been wondering how much the political philosophy references tie in to people's characters. (I'm also waiting for them to introduce a Hobbes, since we have a Locke, a Rousseau, and a Burke.) I guess Rousseau's running around in a state of nature, and I've not really read enough Burke to know how he fits with Juliet's or Edmund's characters. Ben should've been a Hobbes. Strong charismatic leader because life without him would be nasty, brutish and short - or at least I'm sure he sees himself that way.

Locke's desire for power doesn't really fit in with his name, from what I've read in the Second Treatise of Government. Though there was his "it's a free island" moment. Liberty through property... hmmm. Not so much. Locke's more like the second-in-command of a crazed cult (if the island's the leader). And I suppose it could be said he's rebelling against Jack's assumption of natural power (the whole doctor = leader thing) but... hmm. Not so much. Makes me wonder if the names are supposed to be indicative, or ironic, or just "look at us we did political theory 101".
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