James Hilton's “Lost Horizons” tells the story of a random group of characters who become stranded in a strange lamasery. Located among the Himalayan Mountains, this place called Shangri-la seems to have strange effects on anyone who resides within the valley (Zurich). These individuals, their reactions and this new utopia are the basis for a story that raises the question if given the chance, who would choose to live in a place like Shangri-la?
The book is written as a story within a story. It begins by explaining how the tale of Shangri-La became known. During a dinner between three old friends, a neurologist, a secretary named Wyland and a novelist named Rutherford, the tale of Hugh Conway and Shangri-la become the topic of conversation. Rutherford reveals that he met Conway after the time spent at Shangri-la and had written down what he knew of the story. He then gives his manuscript to the neurologist, who becomes the unnamed narrator.
The story centers around Hugh Conway, a British diplomat and WWI veteran. Conway, along with his assistant Mallinson, is forced to evacuate from India due to an impending war. Conway and Mallinson board a plane they believe will take them to Peshawar. The plane also carries a British missionary named Miss. Brinklow and an American named Barnard.
Several hours after leaving India they realize that the plane has been hijacked and the pilot refuses to tell them where they are going or why. It is only after the plane crashes somewhere in what they guess is Tibet that the pilot finally speaks, instructing the group to find Shangri-la. After a night spent on the plane, a party from the lamasery leads the stranded group through the mountains...
... middle of paper ...
...would be the sole deciding factor in the end. Those who identify with Conway's academic, Miss Brinklow's orthodox, or Bryant's intentions for personal gain, would most likely fair well in a place like Shangri-La. For those who are more like Mallinson, and prefer personal freedom over isolated restrain, would certainly abandon a utopia and rejoin the modern world.
Stableford, Brian. “James Hilton: Overview.” Reference Guide to Short Fiction. Ed. Noelle Detroit: St. James Press, 1994. Literature Resource Center. Web. 2 May 2011.
Stewart, Jule. "Lost Horizon." Geographical (Campion Interactive Publishing) 77.7 (2005): 88. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 2 May 2011.
Zurich, David. "Shangri La on the Edge of Tibet." American Geographical Society's Focus on Geography 52.2 (2009): 14-22. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 2 May 2011.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Utopia Vs. Dystopia Each person has their own vision of utopia. Utopia means an ideal state, a paradise, a land of enchantment. It has been a central part of the history of ideas in Western Civilization. Philosophers and writers continue to imagine and conceive plans for an ideal state even today. They use models of ideal government to express their ideas on contemporary issues and political conditions. Man has never of comparing the real and ideal, actuality and dream, and the stark facts of human condition and hypothetical versions of optimum life and government.... [tags: essays research papers]
965 words (2.8 pages)
- Keeping Peace and Freedom George Bush who is the President of the United States of America came and visited our small town of Flagstaff in September of 2002. As a leader of our country, he reminds the Americans that we should be grateful for our freedom. Through contextualizing, structure, and rhetorical appeals, he gets through to his listeners by reminding us all, that keeping peace and freedom is not an easy job to do. He tells us how lucky we are to have freedom, and what we have to do to keep our “homeland” safe for our children of today.... [tags: Politics Political Freedom Essays]
896 words (2.6 pages)
- FREEDOM AND MANIPULATION Looking the word “freedom” up in the dictionary, I encounter with the following definition: the condition or right of being able or allowed to do, say, think, etc. whatever you want to, without being controlled or limited.¹³ Then, we can assume when you are unable to say things you would like to say, or to think in a different way than the one that has been imposed to you, you are not wholly free. That assumption leads me to have a deeper look at the Utopian Republic, citizens of which are supposedly free beings.... [tags: religion, language, authority]
1274 words (3.6 pages)
- Utopia is a brilliant novel written by Thomas More. The idea of a utopia seems impossible, how can anyone live in a perfect place when perfection is in the eyes of the beholder. The Utopia in this novel is nothing more than abundant of already established ideas therefore it can’t not truly be a Utopia. The abolition of private property is one of More's chief criticisms of Utopia; it seems to mimic the common understandings of communism, which Thomas More’s character Raphael has been accused of protecting not only by me, so this not a new concept.... [tags: Utopia, Thomas More]
1418 words (4.1 pages)
- Analysis of Thomas More's Utopia The historical Thomas More, the author of Utopia, was an extraordinarily complicated man who tied up all the threads of his life in his heroic death. The Utopia is the sort of complicated book that we should expect from so complicated a man. It is heavy with irony, but then irony was the experience of life in the Sixteenth Century. Everywhere--in church, government, society, and even scholarship--profession and practice stood separated by an abyss. The great difficulty of irony is that we cannot always be sure when the ironic writer or speaker is being serious and when he is being comical.... [tags: Thomas More Utopia Literature Essays]
5938 words (17 pages)
- Over the past few centuries the word "utopia" has developed a variety of meanings: a perfect state, paradise, heaven on earth, but the original definition of the word means something quite different. "Utopia", coined by Saint Thomas More in his famous work Utopia, written during the English Renaissance, literally means "nowhere". It is ironic that a word meaning nowhere has become a catchall phrase for paradise. More’s work is popular because of its wit, its use of metaphor, and its proposals for the perfect state.... [tags: Thomas More Utopia]
2630 words (7.5 pages)
- Introduction “I HAD DESIRED IT WITH AN ARDOR THAT FAR EXCEEDED MODERATION; BUT NOW THAT I HAD FINISHED, THE BEAUTY OF THE DREAM VANISHED, AND BREATHLESS HORROR AND DISGUST FILLED MY HEART.” This statement by Mary Shelley, from the story Frankenstein, reflects the passions of men to pursue dreams, despite the often imminent consequences of their actions. In Thomas More’s Utopia, the reader experiences a similar tension for an uncertain place called Utopia. This place is described by a visitor to this land, named Raphael, as having a perfect society.... [tags: Shelley More Utopia Frankenstein Essays]
1829 words (5.2 pages)
- To create a perfect society. That was the dream that Walt Disney had in the 1960’s when he dreamt up the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (1). Today, this is better known as Disney’s theme park, EPCOT. In 1995, however, the Disney people established their own town, making another of Walt’s dreams come true. Simply named Celebration, it is located in central Florida. In order to live in the utopian community, there are strict guidelines that each and every citizen must follow, known in the legal world as a “covenant”.... [tags: Disney Utopia Society]
1645 words (4.7 pages)
- Walden's Utopia In a post-World War Two era, there was much longing for improvement on current society. Burrhus F. Skinner decided to give his take on what he felt were the appropriate steps to take in order to make a true "Utopia." There have been attempts at other utopia's (which is from the Greek for "no place") and Skinner in his book took the best elements of each utopia and put them into one. However, this does not mean that this utopia he creates in his story, called Walden Two, emulating Thoreau's Walden Pond in Maine, is not without flaws.... [tags: Walden Philosophy No Place Utopia]
1695 words (4.8 pages)
- Thomas More’s, Utopia is one of the most politically and socially influential texts to date. His audience, which ranges from academic and social scholars to college students, all can gain a different understanding of the work and it’s meaning. In order to fully comprehend More’s message, one must have an appreciation for the time and culture in which he lived. After grasping historical concepts, one reads Utopia, not as just a volume recounting a fictitious island society, but rather as a critique on a time of corruption and reformation.... [tags: essays research papers fc]
1354 words (3.9 pages)