What is personification?
Personification is when you:
- give something that is not a person, human characteristics
- describe an object carrying out an action as if it were a human
Often we see personification used in literature.
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Personification does NOT mean making an animal act and look like they are a human – that has a different name, anthropomorphism.
Examples of anthropomorphism
- Cars – the Pixar film in which cars behave like humans
- Peter rabbit – a rabbit that walks and behaves like a human
- Mickey Mouse
- The stars danced playfully in the moonlit sky.
- The first rays of sunlight tiptoed through the meadow.
- Opportunity came knocking and this time, she was going to answer!
- The wind howled through the trees as they trembled in fear.
- The sea waved gently at her as she disappeared from view.
- The sun glared down on the fields, turning anything it touched to a crisp.
- The buildings pierced the clouds, climbing higher and higher into the sky.
- The doorbell sang its merry tune signalling the arrival of their visitors.
- The sausage sprang to life and leaped out of the frying pan and onto the floor.
- The flood raged through the streets, engulfing everything in its path.
Why do we use personification?
Writers use personification to make descriptions more vivid, and to help readers sympathise with and better understand non-human characters in a book.
To imagine that objects and animals act like us, in a conscious and deliberate way, is human nature, so by incorporating this into their texts, authors are using aspects of human nature to appeal to our senses.
If we believe objects move and react in the same way we do, we feel a lot closer to them, and build a connection to them.