- "There's the lighthouse. I'll be safe if I can make it there. Please let me make it there."
- —Max during her "nightmare"
The Lighthouse is a navigation tower designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses and aid in navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways.
The lighthouse of Arcadia Bay is located outside of town on the edge of the forest nearest to the harbor. To reach the lighthouse, visitor follow a winding trail that starts from the parking lot up a hill toward the cliffside where a bench resides. The surrounding area is populated with wildlife that visitors and locals are urged to leave alone. The youth of Arcadia frequent the area around the lighthouse, presumably during the summer, leaving telltale signs of their activities such as graffiti and soft drink bottles behind.
Events of Life Is Strange
The lighthouse appeared to Max Caulfield when she is "dreaming" of being stuck in a storm. Initially confused about where she might be, she spotted the light coming from the lighthouse and believed she would be safe if she could reach the structure.
Traveling up the trail, Max reached the top where she caught a glimpse a tornado that was headed toward the town. A boat was thrown from the tornado and destroyed the top of the lighthouse. The lighthouse top crashed on top of Max, who "woke up" in Mark Jefferson's classroom.
Later, after reuniting with Chloe Price, Max recognizes the place where Chloe has brought them after her fight with David Madsen is the same place as her nightmare. At the top of cliff where the lighthouse resided, Max experiences what she believed was a vision. Following the ghostly form of a deer, she avoided several environmental dangers to reach the top. The deer leads her to a news paper reporting a storm that is supposed to occur in four days.
Since before the Greco-Roman Period, lighthouses were historically used as navigation and guidance for ships out at sea returning to shore. Lighthouses served as markers for then clearly undefined ports. They were managed by lighthouse keepers who doubly functioned as rescuers for persons who were shipwrecked or needed aid. Following the advancement of technology (such as the use of GPS), however, lighthouses were slowly decommissioned and have become tourist attractions.
In fiction lighthouses are symbolic of their former role as a guide, sanctuary, guardianship and shelter. The light of a lighthouse is often representative of god-like characters. Additionally, with regard to dreams, lighthouses used are foreshadowing devices, warning a character of coming danger or illuminating dangers already present within the narrative. The lighthouse is typically situated a great distance from the character to emphasize the journey to safe harbor and threat of danger present.
- The beginning of "Chrysalis" somewhat mirrors the beginning of Remedy Entertainment's Xbox 360 launch title, Alan Wake. In their dreams, both Max Caulfield and Alan Wake believe the point of safety from approaching danger is a lighthouse seen in the distance. In both their dreams, they meet an apparent end within and outside the lighthouse before waking up.