Photo by Matt D’Annunzio

India Hamilton ’16

English

Hometown: Pasadena, California

 Who I was when I got to Reed: At the age of 14 I went to a poncy boarding school (Phillips Exeter Academy) because I was tired of being the only kid in class raising my hand.

Influential book: When I was in preschool the kids would ask the teacher to read Bony-Legs by Joanna Cole, which I hated because it was so scary. I keep coming back to it, thinking if I look at it now that I’m older, it will terrify me less. It never does. That book shaped my appreciation for darker fairy tales.

Favorite class: English 205, The Victorian Novel After Midnight, with Prof. Jay Dickson [English 1996–]. The Victorians are absolutely fascinating and Dracula, for example, brings together the Freudian fears of the time with the vampire as a manifestation of people’s anxieties.

A concept that blew my mind: For both Reed and Portland there is a celebration of weirdness or strangeness, but at the same time there is a tension between wanting to celebrate the strange and keep things the way that they are.

Outside the classroom: I played Dr. Faustus in a production of Gertrude Stein’s Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights and never felt more powerful. I also played an angel in Marisol. Theatre at Reed has changed how I think about theatre and how I watch a performance now.

How Reed changed me: Reed definitely humbled me. I’ve learned that I don’t need to flaunt the things I do know—to pull out the big guns all the time—and to value other people’s opinions. If someone thinks different from you it’s not the end of the world. You can still find a way to work together and through that. “I’m right” is what the paper is for; the conversation is a different thing entirely.

Financial aid: In addition to other generous forms of compensation, I received the David Eddings Literature and Language Scholarship. Sometimes when I was having a bad day I’d think, “At some point someone thought, ‘This girl is doing work that is interesting and valuable and we should take care of her.’”

Thesis: Sowing Season and Other Short Stories

What it’s about: Mine is a creative thesis, a series of short stories that hearken back to my love of fantasy and fairy tales, but with a darker, more adult twist. I started writing at a very young age by listening to fantastic stories and wanting to add to them or create my own world.

What it’s really about: Scary fairy tales, lonely women, and sexual frustration.

What’s next: I am interested in creating consumable media that is valuable and that tells stories that people need to hear.

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