The subthemes of Night discussed above were animated by a a poem about surmounting the dark of life, an exhuberant painting of a sleepy hamlet ablaze with stars overhead, a recognition in song of the power of support, and a movie with comic night scenes. Here are two more subthemes that don’t link so directly to any of the four works of art.
Invictus, an assertive poem by William Ernest Henley, starts with a striking image of darkness and night. Despite the pit from pole to pole – a terrifying world without light and with its fell clutch of circumstance, the brave soul of the poem holds firm to his belief in himself – he makes decisions, he controls his own thoughts, he sustains his spirit. The subthemes of Night emanate mostly from the first stanza.
It Happened One Night, starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, includes many scenes at night during the unlikely escape to New York City by a journalist and a wealthy heiress. Colbert dives off her father’s yacht at night, the bus pulls over at night, and the two stars memorably spend several nights together. Those scenes suggest several subthemes of Night.
Stand by Me, sung by Ben E. King, starts with the darkness of night as the metaphor for difficult times in life (much like the start of Invictus). But if you can stand shoulder to shoulder with the one you love, even the fearsome dark won’t frighten you. Here is the song. Other subthemes of Night brighten this rock song hit.
The Starry Night, painted by Vincent Van Gogh near the end of his life, mystically and magically depicts a small hamlet at night with a teeming mélange of swirling stars overhead. From this famous painting we can amplify several subthemes of Night.