I was thinking yesterday and today about how common some themes are in art. There are somethings that are so full of meaning, they can be used as themes over and over and over again and they are still so rich and so mysterious people will keep writing about them and singing about them and painting them.
So I think, WATER. In Housekeeping, the book I recently read, water was a big theme. It was just there, always present in that story. It was the lake, it was the fog around them, it was a smell they always had in their noses. It was water. And in that theme, that the book was literally steeped in, some aspects of water stood out: continuous movement, hidden spaces under the surface, a lifeforce, but also a killer. In other works, other aspects stand out- As in The Shipping News, another recent read, water was powerful and unyielding. Ice and storms were not the same as the constant trickle and flow of water in Housekeeping. Different, but still water.
Other Big Themes:
(the) Land (Steinbeck!)
A color- I love that.
Interesting thing: God is not usually a whole theme, but, there is almost always a sub-theme involving a Biblical allusion or a spiritual struggle.