Personification is something we all do. It means to attribute some human qualities to something which is not human, whether is is a living creature such as your pet puppy or an inanimate object like a house, and ocean, a sky. It can even be an idea we choose to personify.
the attribution of human nature or character to animals, inanimate objects, or abstract notions, especially as a rhetorical figure.
the representation of a thing or abstraction in the form of a person, as in art.
the person or thing embodying a quality or the like; an embodiment or incarnation: He is the personification of tact.
“It would be curious to discover who it is to whom one writes in a diary. Possibly to some mysterious personification of one’s own identity.” Beatrice Webb
Personification is the treating of an inanimate object as if it were animate and is one of the most beautiful and effective of all the figures of speech. Personification depends much on a vivid imagination and it lends itself to poetry and song lyrics. Personification is used in two ways:
– when an inanimate object is given a personality as if it were a living human being. William Blake personifies sunflowers in the poem Two Sunflowers Move in a Yellow Room
Move in the Yellow Room.
‘Ah, William, we’re weary of weather,
said the sunflowers, shining with dew.
Our traveling habits have tired us.
Can you give us a room with a view?”
Personification is also at work when there are descriptions of inanimate objects, but associated with them is some human attribute, such as “a howling wind”
examples of personification
Classic Examples in Literature
“When the moon rose late in the night, people said it was refusing food, as a sullen husband refuses his wife’s food when they have quarreled.” Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
“… I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.” The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Personification is something we all do. It means to attribute some human qualities to something which is not human, whether is is a living creature such as your pet puppy or an inanimate object like a house, and ocean, a sky or even an abstract idea.