Hololiterature, a Holographic Interpretation of the "Scarlet Letter", by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Essay by PraxisCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 1993

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Comprehension of anything requires a framework already in place in order to place it in out sphere of reference. Especially those that are 'fuzzy' or difficult to nail down. The brain and the atom are not fully understood, but by comparing functions, structures, and similar operations to known items or concepts one can obtain a hold on the unknown and even extrapolate unknown processes from known ones. (For example, the brain is similar to a computer. They both have memory, input/output, and similar structures-transistors to synapses.) This technique works with literature and a deeper understanding a grasp of a book's meaning becomes possible.

The Scarlet Letter can be viewed through an understanding of the operation and production of holograms. First, an understanding of the holographic process is needed before any comparisons are possible.

First and foremost a hologram requires a source of coherent wave-like energy. The second is a recording medium of extremely high resolution to record the microscopic interference patterns of light.

The third major requirement is utter stability and freedom from vibrations. As for producing an actual hologram, here is described a two-beam transmission holograph. (So named because viewing it requires shining the same coherent light back through it) The laser is placed on a platform in the sand and a mirror directs the light diagonally across the table. A beamsplitter divides the beam into two parts. One goes to a mirror that directs the light through a spreading lens onto the photographic plate at an angle. The other beam is bounced off a mirror and through a spreading lens onto the object to be holographed. The table is allowed to settle and an exposure made. The light from the first beam, called the reference beam, and the reflected light from the object combine to produce microscopic interference...