© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Cremation of Sam McGee

The Cremation of Sam McGee

by Robert Service

The Midnight Sun

Symbol Analysis

In the way, way north, in the summer time, the sun shines almost all day, even at midnight. Because of that, some call it (kind of obviously) the land of the midnight sun. This only gets one mention in the poem, (well, two if you count the refrain) but we think it does a really good job of setting the scene.

  • Line 1: This mention of the midnight sun lets us know that we’re in a strange and exotic place. It’s also a bit of a paradox. The one thing we usually don’t associate with midnight is sunshine. Up here, though, we’re in kind of a topsy-turvy world, where the sun shines at midnight, and people come back from the dead.
  • Line 61: This gets one more mention at the end, when the first stanza is repeated. (That's called a refrain. We should point out (just to be annoying) that this poem takes place at the end of December, so there wouldn’t be any midnight sun. That only happens in the summertime; in the winter it's the opposite and dark almost all day. Maybe he tried out "there are strange things done in the midnight dark," but it didn’t sound as good.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement