Study Guide

Meeting at Night Versions of Reality

By Robert Browning

Versions of Reality

Browning's poems are notorious for the psychological depth and penetration, and "Meeting at Night" is no exception. The poem gives us a unique first-person point of view, and actually shows how a person's passions can affect the way in which they view the world, suggesting the importance of emotions in establishing a "reality."

Questions About Versions of Reality

  1. Is anything actually "real," or does it all depend on our own perspectives? Are the speaker's surroundings colored by his experiences?
  2. Have you ever seen waves and thought of them as "fiery ringlets"? Have you ever imagined anything as a "fiery ringlet"?
  3. How does the stream-of-consciousness style of writing influence your understanding of the speaker's journey and the meeting?

Chew on This

"Meeting at Night," like much of Browning's poetry, is an exercise in understanding the operations of psychology on the world around us.

The frequent references to color in this poem (yellow, grey, black, fiery, blue) emphasize the poem's interest in our own unique ways of perceiving reality, because color is something that is subjective and appears different to everybody. After all, blue for me might appear turquoise to you.

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