By Jericka Lavin
After finishing Ghostographs, I took the time to decide which of the novella’s “flash fiction” stood out to me the most. Ultimately, I decided that the story that spoke the loudest was “Tess” (19). From the second I started reading to the second it ended, I was drawn in. It wasn’t a happy or nostalgic story like most of Romasco Moore’s other, but rather sad.
This story began with a little girl, Tess, shining bright like a star in the night sky. As the story unfolds, the other folks in the town tried to extinguish her light because of “how smug she got in a darkened room” (19). Why were they so upset that Tess was such a happy and bright girl? Was it jealously or pure hatred? The story ends with Tess’s light going out and the town finally at peace; however, there is more to the story than just a simple light going out.
I see Tess as a gleeful young girl who tried not to let anything stop her or get in her way. As she gets brighter, the townsfolk try to bring her down, almost as if bringing her down lifts them up. Romasco Moore says “they tried immersing her in the river at midnight, rubbing her skin with coal from am mine disaster, locking her in a lightless room for hours” all in efforts to extinguish her powerful light (19). This paragraph reads like a metaphor for bullying and jealousy. Tess was bullied so badly that one day she decided enough was enough, shutting off her light. After reading this section repeatedly, I fear Tess, after turning off her light, would never turn it back on.
This story made me very emotional, and it resonated with a deep meaning that was unmatched compared to the novella’s other sections. This story was sad yet also beautiful. There is only so much one person can take before their light goes out forever.