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Free Study Guide for Lost Horizon by James Hilton

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FREE BOOKNOTES - LOST HORIZON BY JAMES HILTON

CONFLICT

Protagonist

The protagonist of a story is the main character who traditionally undergoes some sort of change. He or she must usually overcome some opposing force. In this story the protagonist is Hugh Conway. He finds what he has been searching for in Shangri-La, but is unable to give up his sense of responsibility. In the end, he has disappeared once again in search of his heartís desire in the Valley of Blue Moon.

Antagonist

The antagonist of a story is the force that provides an obstacle for the protagonist. The antagonist does not always have to be a single character or even a person at all. The antagonist of the story is Charles Mallinson. His desire to return to the outer world pulls at Conway and his desire to stay in Shangri-La. He sees the valley as evil and fights desperately to leave it. In the end, he is lost and the reader comes to feel that he was a fool to turn his back on paradise.

Climax


The climax of a plot is the major turning point that allows the protagonist to resolve the conflict. The climax occurs when Perrault names Conway as the new High Lama and then dies.

Outcome

The outcome, resolution, or denouement occurs when Conway finally agrees to take Mallinson and Lo-Tsen back to the outer world even though he has no desire to leave himself. What happens to him after he leaves but before he comes across Rutherford is never known, but he tells his story and tries to find his way back to the paradise he so unwillingly left.


SHORT SUMMARY (Synopsis)

The narrator reads a manuscript written by Rutherford telling the story of four travelersí experiences, after being hijacked, in a mysterious valley known as Shangri-La. Conway, the main character of the four, falls in love with the Valley of Blue Moon and eventually is named the new High Lama. Barnard and Miss Brinklow also find happiness in staying there. Only Mallinson desperately wants to leave and his negativity creates an imbalance there for all the characters.

Eventually, Conway agrees to lead him out of the valley, but he is the only one who survives the trip. Then, once he overcomes amnesia, Conway disappears again in a bid to return to the paradise he had come to love. In the end, the narrator and Rutherford come to believe in the existence of Shangri-La and desperately hope that Conway finds his way there again.

 

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