Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 576
The two major themes of Lost Boys dovetail: The corporate world has a deleterious effect on family life, separating the corporate parent from family life in a world where two parent families are not only an ideal but a necessity. Religious faith is also a necessity in building a stable family life. DeAnne and Step Fletcher are conscientious parents, aware of their children's physical, psychological, and spiritual needs. They are also good mates, respectful of one another's needs and views. Step wants desperately to provide a safe and comfortable life for his family. The catch is that to provide financial security. Step must absent himself from the family for long hours, missing important milestones as well as mealtimes. This throws the burden of parenting three small children directly on DeAnne. Step sees his wife struggle through a difficult pregnancy while trying to maintain a home life for her family. Both DeAnne and Step also struggle to keep up commitments to their family's spiritual development in the Mormon religion. In addition to the other burdens, Stevie, the oldest child, is having problems adjusting to his new school and new second grade teacher. Step is conscience-stricken at his inability to do his share of the physical work and at his absence from the day-to-day household routine. He knows that a large part of his work could be done at home, but corporate policy demands his presence at the office from 8 to 5. When he attempts to take a lunch hour to coincide with a planned conference with his son's teacher, he is reprimanded. Step defies the boss's orders to stay at the office, but finds on his return that lunch-break policy has been officially changed to remove any flexibility. Step says to DeAnne: "Things have to work out. They have to work out so I can come home, work at home. So we can get life back the way it's supposed to be. I feel so helpless, so cut off, my boy is having these problems, he's so angry at us, and I can't do a thing, I'm trapped."
Stevie's problems are more complicated than Step or DeAnne can possibly imagine, but they do their best. Both Step and DeAnne confront the sadistic teacher, and she stops tormenting Stevie. However, when Stevie continues to play with imaginary friends, they reluctantly take him to a psychiatrist. This does not work, partly because the psychiatrist is suspicious of their religious faith. Step and DeAnne's faith is a major component of their life. Both of them are active in their ward and especially committed to the teaching ministries. The children also participate, and there are major family discussions of ethics at a level the children can understand. Family life and ritual also revolve around a deep religious faith. In fact, Stevie's religious faith and sense of ethics are the cause of his "problem." His imaginary friends are, in fact, the real spirits of boys murdered by a serial killer. Because of Stevie's goodness and purity, he can see and talk to the boys. He attempts to help them stay in the world of the living to communicate with others to bring the killer to justice. But Stevie's sense of Tightness leads him to confront the killer himself which leads to his death. However, the family is sustained by its faith, and at the bitter-sweet ending, they are allowed to say good-bye to Stevie and know that his death has saved other boys.
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