The Real Tom Sawyer's long con
Seems to me that in the middle of the book Tom Sawyer (just as we are currently in the middle of the story of Lost), is a chapter called “Memories of the Lost Heroes” (at chapter 17, it's a near miss at being #16), in which Tom Saywer and his two friends are presumed dead. Tom and Huck and another friend, Joe, have run away from home for a barefoot (Sawyer) wilderness adventure and have taken up residence on an island (island!!!) in the middle of the Mississippi River.
Meanwhile, flash back to their hometown, where everyone thinks they are dead and the townspeople are holding a funeral. No bodies have been recovered, but they have been missing long enough that they have been declared dead and are being mourned woefully by those who didn’t like them all that much when they were alive (mainland families are being convinced that their relatives died in the plane crash, despite not recovering the bodies).
If you remember, there were ships in the river on the lookout for the missing boys. Some of them were firing cannon over the surface of the water, believing that the boys’ dead and sunken bodies would be pulled to the surface by the resonance (remember, there is a ship nearby looking for the “Lost” boys on the show too).
What do I think all of this means? While the 3rd Policeman reference a while back led us to believe that perhaps the island people were in a terrible version of hell, this leads me to believe that the survivors really are survivors. Because after all, the “lost heroes” in the book, while presumed dead, did eventually come back from the island to attend their own funeral, very much alive.