Here at Indiana Review, our little blue light has undergone a makeover. We thought she (he?) was looking a bit naked, so the most apparent solution was to break out the scissors and construction paper. The raw emotional power and slight sexiness of the lamp made it obvious that it should be dressed as Hawthorne’s Hester Prynne, cloaked in Puritan layers and with only the bright and scandalous letters “IR” to show her secret shame. In time, perhaps these letters will become as infamous and compelling as the original scarlet letter. After all, wouldn’t it be exciting to find oneself in “a moral wilderness” that’s “as vast, as intricate and shadowy, as the untamed forest” (Hawthorne chapter 18)? Standing on her scaffold of a chair outside the office, Hester the lamp is a reminder that words are untamed, and that the wilderness of literature is not necessarily a bad place in which to find oneself.
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