A Night for Hard Thoughts

“It was a night made for hard thoughts. Sharp stars pierced singly through the blackness, not sweeps of them or clusters or Milky Ways as there might have been in the South, but single, chilled points of light, as unromantic as knife blades. Devon, muffled under the gentle occupation of the snow, was dominated by them; the cold Yankee stars ruled this night. They did not invoke in me thoughts of God, or sailing before the mast, or some great love as crowded night skies at home had done; I thought instead, in the light of those cold points, of the decision facing me.”

— from A Separate Peace by John Knowles

The narrator’s decision had to do with enlisting in the military. Take a closer look at the imagery in this paragraph. War imagery. And yet, it is handled so deftly that a person not facing a war-like decision still can relate. I know I’ve squinted into black nights, thinking hard thoughts.

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