LOST University

The television show LOST lends itself well to being studied on many different levels. Aside from elements common to literary and media works such as characterization, theme, and symbolism, LOST contains an expansive mythology which spans many subjects. Subjects such as “meteorology, psychology, parapsychology, zoology, electromagnetism, and utopian social…” <you get the idea> are each courses you can take in school.

A special feature called “LOST University” was included as a special feature with the Blu Ray set of LOST Season 5. It was basically just like college. You enroll in courses, sit through lectures on things like religion, language, quantum physics, or history, all presented as pertains to LOST. Then there is homework and exams to take.

I completed the season 5 LOST University feature, I got a 3.9 GPA, and I even got a nifty diploma to show for it.


With Season 6, they decided to continue LOST University on the Blu Ray set, but this time, it is a masters program. You still take classes based on real subjects dealt with on the show, but instead of homework and exams, your duties involve arranging study guides and writing a final “thesis.”

I put together a very brief thesis last night so that I might expedite the process. There was really no constraint on what you could write about, so I found a subject that was relatively easy for me to piece together, and posted my thesis last night. I also had to come up with 3 questions to incite discussion among other students.

Here’s what my (brief) essay looked like:

The Evolving Conflict of LOST

So LOST has ended, and we have finally seen the end of the war that, as far as we are concerned, occurred between Jacob and The Man in Black. LOST has been profound in that the concept of conflict evolves from the very start of the show.

In the beginning, we are introduced to our beloved characters via the crash of Oceanic 815. The first season, for the most part, focuses on our characters and their struggle against the natural (and unnatural) elements of the island. Our characters fight disease (Kate’s marshall), encounter various forms of deadly wildlife (boars, polar bears), even succumb to gravity and other natural forces (Boone). Survival is a persistent theme in Season 1.

As the characters uncover and delve into “the hatch,” the idea of conflict changes. Now, with a source of reasonable shelter, the conflict shifts to the purpose of pressing “the button.” The second season shows the struggle of the characters over this matter, and, once an understanding regarding this “duty” is reached, the characters are introduced to “The Others,” who first manifest during Sawyer, Jin, Michael, and Walt’s attempt to leave the island. The shift of conflict is complete once Desmond turns the fail-safe key, thus removing the conflict over pressing “the button.”

The latter part of season 2 all the way through season 3, deals with the struggle between the Oceanic survivors and “The Others.” At the latter part of season 3, we begin to get introduced to characters from the freighter, who serve as a new conflict point. Throughout season 4, the Oceanic survivors and “The Others” are directly targeted by these new characters and must band together to relieve the threat of the people on the freighter.

While all of this is occurring, John Locke and Ben Linus are being manipulated via The Man in Black in a “long con.” By luring John Locke to a quantum energy well, The Man in Black figures out a way to gain the upper hand in a conflict between he and his brother, Jacob. The manifestation of this conflict is what is explored in the final two seasons of LOST and ultimately becomes the conflict that is resolved, as Jack, along with the help of some of his friends, finally subdues The Man in Black. Not only is this the only conflict that is ever directly resolved, this conflict becomes the most important conflict of the whole show, as it is a veritable good versus evil.


  1. Recall Jacob’s quotation, “…everything else is just progress.” Explain how this may relate to the concept of evolving conflict on the island.
  2. Pick a character who made it from season 1 to season 6 and explain the progression of the conflict either within the character or between the character and the island.
  3. Can you provide any evidence as to what the conflict on the island may have been prior to the birth of Jacob and MiB?

I actually had a lot of fun writing it, and I’m sure I could have done much better if I had dedicated more time, but since I work full time, and have been blogging full time on top of that, I had to just let go and move on…


2 thoughts on “LOST University

  • Gamejak Dan

    Like I said on Twitter, great write-up. I wish I had some time to take part in Lost U…it would’ve been fun. Honestly, they probably didn’t give too many of those out, it’ll be something to show your kids years from now. Then they’ll say: “What’s LOST?” like it was some show I didn’t know my parents watched like the Rockford Files.


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