The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown
Location: Ms. Hutchinson's Room

Group 1:
Ben Sawtelle
Connor Fallon
Red DeSmith
Thomas Robichaud
Erik Fischer
Jacob Smith (Sr)
Julie Hutchinson


Open Discussion:

1) Start with a quick whip around talking about what your favorite part was and who your favorite character is. (5 minutes)
2) Did the book remind you of anything else you've read? (10 minutes)
3) If you could rewrite a part, what would you rewrite and why? (20 minutes)
4) What would you want to ask the Dan Brown? (15 minutes)
5) What was the most thought provoking scene? (20 minutes)
6) Another point of view: based on the "thought provoking scenes" from agenda part 5. (20 minutes)


Compare and Contrast two characters:
  • Robert Langdon
  • Mal'akh (also known as Dr. Christopher Abaddon/Andros Dareios/Zachary Solomon)
  • Peter Solomon
  • Katherine Solomon
  • Isabel Solomon
  • Warren Bellamy
  • Inoue Sato
  • Reverend Colin Galloway
  • Trent Anderson
  • Jonas Faukman
  • Nola Kaye

Thomas Robichaud
It was a disaster. With the release of the video showing the Masonic rituals, the country was in turmoil. There were rioters running rampant through nearly every major city in the U.S. Nobody had ever suspected that members of the government could ever be caught up in something such as this. The Supreme court was holding massive trials for any and all politicians and major government leaders known to be in the society, with the rest deep in cover.
Robert awoke to the sound of arguing. After debating the infrastructure and social activities for a day and a half, he had given in. It’s hard to argue for a cause which you yourself have virtually given up on. Warren Bellamy had called over and over to nearly every major news station, pleading and even attempting to bribe the video off the air and to kill all discussions about it, but to no avail. The news stations only care was about their own ratings. What they didn’t realize was that their ratings wouldn’t mean much when their higher ups were jailed for the crimes that they were shown doing in the Mason’s video.
“Tell them it was a prank.” He would repeat, almost as if he had a script, “Tell them that this is some acting class at some school. Tell them anything other than the truth!” He’d argue. He was always told the same thing. The people deserved to know. Besides, with the supposed recorder of the video dead, there was no way that the people would believe it anyway.
That left one option. Waiting. So they’d wait. The masons, and especially Peter, believed that the whole event would eventually blow over and everyone would forget about it. Granted, after blowing over the government would be left with barely more than half of the elected officials, if the trials continued as they had been.
“If thats what it takes.” Peter would say. He’d already resigned from his post at the Smithsonian. “The masons can recover. We will survive. Slowly, we will come back, no matter what it takes. Just like the buildings of our masonic forefathers, we will stand strong amongst the winds and rains of this unfortunate event. No matter what is thrown against us, our foundations will hold, and it is just a matter of building back up what is pulled down. A society such as the masons cannot be destroyed in a day.”

Connor Fallon
Dialogue concerning The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Person 1 liked the book
Person 2 didn’t like the book

Person 1: I thought this book was great! It was full of suspense, action, science, and history!
Person 2: Yeah, but can you really believe it all? I mean, do you seriously think the Freemasons have such a powerful clientele?
Person 1: Well, I’ll admit it’s a little far-fetched, but it is fiction.
Person 2: Yeah, realistic fiction. If it’s listed as realistic, shouldn’t it be realistic? All that crazy stuff about avoiding the CIA, secret tunnels under the capitol, it’s all absolute bologna!
Person 1: It is realistic! At least, it certainly isn’t fantasy or Sci-Fi, but it is fiction! A small number of exaggerated details are allowed, are they not?
Person 2: Well, maybe. Personally I thought the whole character of Mal’akh was just plain creepy. The part where they discover his basement lair is disturbing. All the creepy voodoo magic stuff he has, and his sacrifice table where he left Katherine Solomon to slowly bleed to death? So weird! Also, the end was so long. I thought it would never end, and it could’ve been wrapped up much quicker and more succinctly.
Person 1: That’s true, but I thought that scene in the basement really brought out more of Mal’akh’s character. It just showed how truly convinced he was that ancient and evil powers existed in the world, and that he thought he was meant to serve them. Another great scene was when Langdon and Katherine were in the taxi. They realized they were being listened to by the CIA, and to avoid revealing their true destination, they pretended to discover they needed to go somewhere else. They got the cab driver to drive them that subway station, and took a different train then the CIA was expecting and escaped.
Person 2: There we are again with the slightly unbelievable nature of this book. But I suppose it is fiction, and an “action/adventure” book, so a certain amount of drama can be afforded.

Ben Sawtelle
Around six in the afternoon a man appeared at Harvard looking for a symbologist named Robert Langdon. Walking up to the desk in the main office. “Can u direct me to Robert Langdon please?” the man said. “I believe he is in the pool doing laps, that is where he usually is right about now” the secretary responded. “Thank you,” As he started toward the pool he took out a letter and held it in his hand. Finally arriving at the pool he walked inside. “Ah there he is,” he thought to himself. “Mr. Langdon I have a letter for you,” “ oh and who might you be?” “Im just the messenger sir,” “ok well where is the letter?” “Here you go sir.” As Langdon begins to open the letter the messenger walks away.
Dear Robert,
I would love for you to come to Washington and give a lecture at the Capitol building. The lecture will be in about three weeks. I would love to catch up. Sincerely,
Peter Solomon
When Robert read the letter he was so excited to go and catch up with Peter that he went to his office and wrote a response. While thinking over what he is going to present he put together a few notes. Robert finished his note cards and was packed and ready for his trip to Washington. Waiting at the terminal, Robert went over his notes in his head over and over making sure they were all right. Finally they called for boarding. It was a lovely flight, and Robert was so happy to land in Washington. When he got off the plane he went to get his one suitcase and meet his driver out front of the terminal.

Red DeSmith:
“Now remember,” Mal’akh whispered, “When they call, exactly as I instructed you.”
He removed the gag off of Officer Paige Montgomery, who fell down on the table gasping for breath. Was she dreaming? Earlier in the evening her partner had received a 911 call, something about a possible hostage situation in Kalorama Heights. When Paige had lost all contact with her, she had gone in as backup, only to find her partner dead and herself being attacked by what could only be described as a tattooed demon. Now unless she did as he told her her partner would not be the only dead policeman in Kalorama Heights.
Just then, the phone began to ring. “Answer it,” Mal’akh hissed. Paige knew she had no other choice but to play along. Timidly, she picked up the phone, breathing heavily.
“I have the information you want, but if you want it, you’ll have to give us Peter.”
Just then, Officer Paige Montgomery felt the light stab of a knife on her back. She turned to see Mal’akh poised, ready to kill her if anything went wrong.
“Who is this?” she replied. The knife eased off of her back slightly.
“Robert Langdon,” the voice on the phone replied, “Who are you?”
“Your name is Langdon?” Paige asked, trying to sound surprised. “There’s someone here asking for you.” She lied. There was nobody there asking for him.
“I’m sorry, who is this?” the voice asked again, determined.
“Officer Paige Montgomery with Preferred Security.” Her voice was getting shaky, she could no longer feel anything below her waster, where she was bound with thick rope. Then again, she felt the sting of the knife in her back. “Maybe you can help us with this,” she continued. “About an hour ago, my partner responded to a 911 call in Kalorama Heights,” she paused, wondering if she should try to tell them not to come. She knew this meant certain death, her only hope was in working with this monster. “A possible hostage situation,” she continued. “I lost all contact with her, and so I called backup and came to check the residence. We found my partner dead in the backyard. The home owner was gone, and so we broke in. A cell phone was ringing on the hall table, and I-”
“You’re inside?” the voice demanded
“Yes, and the 911 tip... was a good one,” she said, hoping that this Mr. Langdon would interpret this as some kind of warning. Almost instantly she felt the sharp sting of the blade digging deeper into her back. “Sorry if I sound rattled, but my partner’s dead, and we found a man being held here against his will. He’s in bad shape, and we’re working on him now. He’s been asking for two people- one named Langdon and one named Katherine.” She let out a breath as the knife eased off from her back.
“That’s my brother!” another female voice yelled into the receiver. “I made the 911 call! Is he okay?!”
Paige thought, “So you’re the person who got me into this mess.”
“Actually, ma’am, he’s...” Mal’akh pushed his blade into her this time even harder than before, causing her voice to crack. “He’s in bad shape. He’s missing his right hand...” Paige wanted so badly to scream out, to tell them not to come, that there was danger. But then she thought about her family, her job, everyone she knew, and wanted to cry when she realized she had to keep working with this madman.
“Please,” the voice on the phone said, “I want to talk to him!”
Mal’akh leaned over her shoulder. “No,” he whispered.
“They’re working on him at the moment,” Paige lied “He’s in and out of consciousness. If you’re anywhere in the area, you should get over here. He obviously wants to see you.” Paige couldn’t believe she was leading these people right into a trap.
“We’re about six minutes away!” The voice replied. Paige thought again about telling them to turn back, but again decided not to.
“Then I suggest you hurry.” Suddenly, she felt the phone being taken from her as she was handcuffed. Mal’akh then held the phone to her ear. “Sorry, it looks like I’m needed. I’ll speak to you when you arrive.” Mal’akh hung up.
He walked away, stroking his knife like it was a precious jewel. “So,” Paige said, “are you going to let me go now?”
Mal’akh returned, still stroking his blade. “No,” he said coldly, and then he slit her throat.

Jake Smith

“So Mark, I saw you reading the end of the Lost Symbol in Physics, what’d you think?”
“You read it too Nick? Didn’t you think it was amazing?”
“Oh... uh, I actually really didn’t like it at all”
“What?! Why not?
“Well, I guess my biggest problem with it was its plot, its style seemed a little too much like a young adult book rather than the intellectual and subtle writing style that I was expecting from a summer reading assignment.”
“Yeah, I guess, but I still found the novel really enjoyable despite That, Dan Brown did a great job with all the plot twists. I was caught completely off guard when Mal'akh turned out to be Peter Solomon’s son all along, especially because all of the horrible things he did to him and his sister, Mal'akh’s aunt. It was hard for me to believe that he could torture Katherine Solomon, his own sister. Not to mention the very end when you find out that religious texts aren’t religious texts at all but a means of which to hide ancient messages, I just find things like that so interesting to think about, you know?”
“Well, I suppose that the author did always surprise you, but I feel that the reason that the author surprised you was because the plot twists were just so random. There was nothing earlier in the plot that would suggest even the slightest hint that Mal’akh was actually Zachary Solomon, you said it yourself, you couldn’t believe that he could do those things to his own family. I feel like when authors create a plot twist without any foreshadowing, it cheapens said plot twist. When there’s a major plot twist in a novel, I want to be amazed that the author hid it from me so well, but when I read these plot twist I was simply annoyed, I felt like Dan Brown was just throwing new elements into the book without ever alluding to them.”
“Yeah, well, I suppose that’s true, but I still found the novel to be interesting, you know? Even if it wasn’t the greatest piece of literature ever. I understand that there is a difference between the greats of literature and Dan Brown. Even if he doesn’t use the same subtlety and finesse in his writing style as some other writers, he was still able to entertain me through his novel.”
“Yeah, I guess his story was exciting but I feel like it was interesting only because of the action in the book. Anyone can write a book with a lot of exciting plot points, but I believe that it takes a truly great author to make a less exciting plot into one that is just as interesting. for instance, when I read A prayer for Owen Meany for AP literature tis year, I actually enjoyed it more and found myself just as interested and ready to turn the page as I was when I read the The Lost Symbol. I also just found Owen Meany more intellectually stimulating than The Lost Symbol. Literary devices such as foreshadowing, flash backs, and clever word play were more prevalent, which was, to me at least, infinitely more enticing than the blind action and excitement of a story which has a less complex plot.”
“Yeah, Owen Meany was a better way to get ready for AP english, but still, I guess what I find important in a piece of writing is that it excites me and makes me turn the next page every time I get to the end of one. It doesn’t really matter how it interests me as long as it does, you know?”
“Yeah, I get that, ok man, we should probably get to english.”
“Yeah, lets go.”