Major Works Data Sheet: Lost Boys
by Marc Helke
·Title: Lost Boys
·Author: Orson Scott Card
·Date Of Publication: 1992
·Historical Information About The Period Of Publication: In 1992, the most notable
event that may have influenced the plot of this book is serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's
pleading guilty but insane for the murder of fifteen boys and young men. This draws a
parallel to the disappearances and murders that occur in Lost Boys.
·Biographical Information About The Author: Orson Scott Card was born in Richland,
Washington, in August 1951. He moved to Greensboro, North Carolina in 1983, where
he currently lives. Card is the author of the well-known Ender series. He is a member of
the Mormon faith, and frequently incorporates the religion into his novels, including Lost
Boys. He primarily writes science-fiction and fantasy books, but has recently branched
out into thrillers like Lost Boys, Treasure Box, and Enchantment. Card is married with
five children, one of which is a video game programmer, which parallels Step Fletcher in
Lost Boys. One of Card's children (now deceased) had cerebral palsy, which also shows
up in Lost Boys. It is clear that Card uses his own experiences and events from his life
and incorporates them in his writing.
·Characteristics Of The Genre: Thrillers are characterized by a quickly paced plot, with
many cliffhangers and suspense. There is commonly one main enemy, with many red
herrings to throw the protagonist off. Sometimes, like in the case of Lost Boys, the
protagonist is drawn into conflict by accident.
·Plot Summary: Step Fletcher and his family have recently moved to Steuben, North
Carolina. They have very little money, and Step is beginning work at Eight Bits, Inc., a
video game processing company. Step had created a critically acclaimed, famous game,
Hacker Snack, but somehow his family has lost all the money from it. Meanwhile, Step's
wife, DeAnne, is pregnant with a fourth child. They have three children already: Stevie,
8; Robbie, 6; and Elizabeth, 2. Their new life is hard for them at first; Step has to deal
with a shady boss (Ray Keene), an obnoxious supervisor (Dicky Northanger), and a
pedophile coworker (Gallowglass). Step is at the company merely to write manuals for
products created by the company, but he eventually finds out that he is to be assisting in
writing code for the programs behind his supervisor's back. He also discovers that they
are producing a version of his game behind his back, which is also illegal. Stevie, on the
other hand, transfers to a new school, and has trouble fitting in. He cannot understand
the Southern accents of his peers, and they all pick on him. Even Stevie's teacher, Mrs.
Jones, makes fun of him. DeAnne perhaps faces the most pressure of all: she has to deal
with caring for all of her children without much help from her husband, due to the
abnormal hours of his work. They begin to adjust, however and things start to fall into
place. Their landlord's father Baptize Waters (Bappy, for short) is a kind, old man and
frequently visits to help them maintain the house. The Fletchers are Mormons and are
quickly accepted into the Steuben First Ward. The Fletchers quickly rise in status in the
church body due to their high level of activity in the church, but problems begin to arise
again. Step goes to discuss Stevie with his teacher, and records it all on tape. The
teacher begins to think he is stalking her and quits. The psychotic Sister LeSueur, from
the church, haunts their family with her "visions sent by God". She tries to make Stevie
rebel against his parents. Step also has to deal with an insane young man, Lee Weeks,
who believes that he is God. All the while Stevie has been playing with imaginary
friends, each of whom possesses the same name as one of seven children who has
disappeared from Steuben. DeAnne has been taking Stevie to a psychiatrist, Lee Weeks'
mother, but the sessions fail to produce anything. One weekend, Step and the rest of the
Eight Bits, Inc. visit a computer convention in San Francisco, California. It is there that
Step meets Dan Arkasian, owner of Agamemnon, Inc., another software distributor.
Arkasian offers Step a contract to work for Agamemnon, with the pay being much better
than that offered by Eight Bits, Inc. Step does not take the contract but brings it home
with him in case he decides to quit at Eight Bits. He arrives home and the next week,
somebody sends them an anonymous package, with a tape inside. The tape contains the
song "Every Breath You Take," by The Police, and sends the Fletchers the clear message
that someone is watching them. A serial killer has been identified in the newspaper as
the cause of the disappearances of the boys in Steuben, and the Fletchers believe that this
killer is after Stevie. They call Doug Douglas and tell him about Stevie's imaginary
friends and how they believe that these friends are connected to the lost boys. Douglas
visits them, affirming that the tape was not sent to them by the serial killer and urges
them to keep their children inside the house unless supervised outside. DeAnne has her
baby, and they learn that the baby, named Jeremy, has cerebral palsy. Christmas arrives,
and Stevie is still playing with his imaginary friends. On Christmas night, he asks his
parents if his friends can come in. They go to the door, and standing there are the seven
lost boys. Step and DeAnne let them in, and the boys spend Christmas with them. Stevie
reveals that he discovered that Bappy is the one who has been kidnapping and killing the
boys, and that when Stevie attempted to tell him to stop, Bappy killed Stevie. The boys
in the house and Stevie are not in fact boys, but ghosts of the boys. The bodies of the
boys are buried under the house. Step calls Doug Douglas, who arrests Bappy and allows
the parents of the lost boys to see their children once more. Stevie is gone, and so the
Fletchers move out of their house, going to live in a condo. They all begin life anew in
·Describe The Author's Style: Card writes in a simple, modern style, using
contemporary English and parallels to modern America. He does not use a specific
dialect, but rather just modern English. Card does an excellent job of describing objects
and people in the book and uses the dialogue to bring out the chief personality traits in
·Examples That Demonstrate Style: p. 168 "Oh, I know," said Step. "The real answer is
to keep our children away from her and then teach people the truth every chance we get.
That's the thing we have going for us--she really is wrong and we really are right, and so
good and wise people will eventually see through her and recognize what she really is." -Step's comment to DeAnne about what to do concerning Sister LeSeuer shows that Step
is very perceptive and has a good sense of right and wrong.
p. 380 "DeAnne had recovered enough to go home, but she didn't want to. "I've never
left the hospital without my baby," she said." -DeAnne's comment about wanting to take
her baby home with her shows that she is a loving mother and is determined to do the
best for her children.
·Memorable Quotes: p. 362 "What, you mean you guys are secretly developing nuclear
weapons for the PLO or something? And I don't have a new boss. I'm going back to
freelancing. I have a contract for Hacker Snack, I told you that." -Step is adamant in his
decision to quit Eight Bits, Inc. His remark to Dicky shows just how hostile Eight Bits
has been towards him while he worked there.
p. 216 "How can I put this, Brother Fletcher? Let's just say that he was first contacted by
Brother and Sister LeSueur, and he took all the lessons in their home." -Brother
Freebody's comment to Step about Lee Week's strangeness shows how it isn't just Step
and DeAnne who think low of the LeSueurs.
Role In Story
||Orchestrates the move to
Steuben, basically every
decision the Fletcher
family makes goes
||Cares for the Fletcher
children, is the most
observant of Stevie's
||Loving, acute, faithful,
||Step and DeAnne's son,
the oldest of the Fletcher
||Is the focus of the
conflict, can see the lost
boys, is killed by Bappy.
||Impartial, quiet, genius.|
||The second oldest
||Sees the lost boys once,
loses his ball in the storm
||The only girl in the
Fletcher family, is the
youngest until the birth
||Target of Gallowglass's
pedophilia, no other real
||No real significance,
enters the story towards
the end when he is born.
||Landlord's father, serial
||Cares for the Fletchers'
house, is the killer of the
seven lost boys.
||"Prophet" of God in the
Steuben First Ward.
||Serves as an annoyance
to the Fletchers. If things
don't go her way, they
don't go at all.
||Vain, falsely righteous.|
||Reclusive boss of Eight
Bits, Inc. Manages
||Manages the division of
Eight Bits, Inc. where
Step works. Is a terrible
programmer, so Step has
to make the programs run
right behind his back.
||Step's first friend at
Eight Bits, Inc.
||Is a pedophile, targets
Elizabeth at the company
||Pedophile, sick and
||Principal of Stevie's new
||Oversees Stevie's school,
asks Mrs. Jones to leave
after Step confronts her.
||Stevie's new teacher.
||Drives Stevie to play
with imaginary friends by
making fun of how smart
he is and how he cannot
understand the Southern
|The Lost Boys
||Seven boys who were
killed by Baptize Waters.
||Can be sensed by Stevie,
they become his only
friends in Steuben.
Stevie later joins them.
||Friendly, lost, wraiths.|
Son of Mrs. Weeks, new
to the Mormon Church.
Believes himself to be
God, plagues the
||Lee Weeks' mother,
·Setting: Lost Boys is set in Steuben, North Carolina. Steuben parallels Greensboro
almost perfectly: there are few sidewalks, huge storm drains, and the majority of the city
is suburban. The area that most of the action takes place in is the Fletcher's house. The
setting serves to localize the action and assist the reader in relating to the setting, if they
live in a suburban area.
·Significance Of Opening Scene: The opening scene introduces us to all of the Fletcher
family and sets up the premise of their reasons for moving to Steuben, North Carolina.
Their conversation with the highway patrolman also foreshadows that their life in
Steuben isn't going to go as smoothly as they'd like it to.
·Significance Of Closing Scene: In the closing scene, the Fletchers move out of their
house and go to live in a condo. The mourning of Stevie's death has ended, and it is
made clear that for once in the book, the Fletcher's life is beginning to look up. They
will still commemorate Stevie in the future, and everything is going to be all right.
·Symbols: Robbie losing his ball in the storm drain: Symbolizes how the entire Fletcher
family becomes drawn into Stevie's playing with imaginary friends.
Insects invading the house periodically: Symbolizes how just when the Fletchers
experience something good in their life, they are plagued once again by a new threat.
Jeremy's cerebral palsy: Symbolizes how almost every aspect of their new life in
Steuben has crippled the Fletcher family.
·Possible Themes/Topics Of Discussion: How far is too far, as pertaining to a parent and
How large of a role should religion play in a child's life?
How should children be treated at school and how much should their treatment by others
How much should the government actually monitor the lives of ordinary people?
[Copyright © Marc Helke, 2009. Reprinted with permission.]