Personification is a literary device used to build analogies between human qualifiers and attributes with non-living objects. In simple words, human attributes are associated with non-human things. At its core, personification is a specific type of metaphor. Many personification examples can be found in our everyday life. In fact, there are examples that are extremely clichéd and seem to be imperceptible to the naked ear. For example, you might have heard the phrases like “the angry wind” or “the brooding sky.” These are some of the classic personification examples.
History of Personification
Personification has existed since the Neolithic revolution. It has existed since people started telling stories. Personification has been used to make the concepts of those stories more relatable and strong.
The traces of personification were first found in the ancient works of Athens. It was an established literary device, even at that time. At that time, the personification included the images of Victoria; the Roman goddess was personified. In ancient Rome, personification was widely used by the literary society of that time.
Moreover, personification was also found the religious works. Throughout human history, personification has been seen in different cultures. It has become an allegory for communicating different ideas and stories as the baseline of symbolism. One of the recent developments or the personification of an idea is the historical example of Bharat Mata. It is the personification of India as a goddess. The roots can be traced down to the nineteenth century. The popularity of the ideas escalated during the independence movement. It is just a single example of personification; others include Merlion, Uncle Sam, and Britannia.
Personification of Ideas
At the start of this article, we explained that personification is about assigning human attributes to objects and non-human things. There is no need to use concrete nouns for the personification of ideas. The ideas are personified by illuminating them through abstract thoughts. It is clearly visible in the ancient civilizations as the personified abstract concepts in the form of gods. For example, in Greek mythology, the Eros was personified as the god of love, and the Romans did the same by personifying Venus as a loving god. The personification of ideas helps understand the concepts and builds a real connection. It can be witnessed in the various works of literature as a mythological cycle.
Moreover, when it comes to the Roman school of thought, the personification of abstraction is its baseline. The Roman ideas aren’t isolated, and they have taken place in a particular social context. It is surely not possible to trace down the entire process of the development of these personified abstract thoughts. The Roman civilization took a leap in reaching a high level of self-consciousness. There is little to no evidence of their struggle to move towards intellectual maturity. There are several examples of personification of ideas in the Roman school of thought. Since then, the personification of ideas has developed to different dimensions. You can explore those ends and get an idea of how to carry them.
Personification in Poetry
Personification connects us intimately with the objects and non-living things that are personified. You can explore the personification in the literature while digging it out in the poetic genre. In Particular, the students can use it to experiment with this device in their work. There is an option to explore personification by choosing a poem and discussing it with your peers. You can read the personified poems together and identify the personified objects in them.
There is a need to brainstorm about how the poet has employed personification and impacted the poem’s overall effect.
You can try to use such expressions in your literary work to come up with phrases that can capture the mind of others. It is possible by coming up with verbs that are associated with things people do like play, sing, dance, and more. Afterwards, start relating them with non-human things and objects, like a river, fox, thunder, or book. For example, you can express that grass is dancing under the sunlight. Another example would be that the “book sang the deeds of the hero. The practice will make you confident in recognizing the usage of personification in work and how it can be implied. After little practice, you will get your words to dance on the page.
What is a Personification in Writing?
Personification is about making the sentence prettier to grab the readers’ attention. The personification supplements a thought by coating it with human perspective and vividness. Personification brings objects to life by comparing them with human emotions and behaviours. It makes it easier for the reader to connect with the object, and through it, they immerse deeper into the story. With the help of personification, you can captivate the attention of readers.
In literary terms, personification is an imperative speech, and it is used by applying literary tools and ideas to animals and objects by giving them human qualities. In other words, the objects or the animals are personified. It helps in describing things easily, and the readers feel a connection with it. The usage of personification in the literature greatly impacts showcasing the non-human entity more vivid and clear. Writers generally use personification to boost the reader’s emotions and sensitivity.
The Impact and Significance of Personification in Literature
The personification is considered to be a decorative device, but it is the one that gives an abysmal and deeper meaning to writing. The gleam added through personification can attract the readers and make them remember the text or passage for a long time. For example, the writers and poets add the personification factor to describe inanimate things as living entities. It helps them in making nature and action clearer. As a result, the readers can easily understand human traits and relate to objects and things easily.
In English literature, there is a wide usage of personification. The poem 'Paul Revere’s Ride’ written by Henry Wadsworth, is a classic example of personification in literature. Below you can find some stanzas from it.
And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare.
Gaze at him with a spectral glare.
As if they already stood aghast.
At the bloody work, they would look upon.
In this stanza, the windows are personified, making the writing more real and catchy.
When Is There a Need to Use Personification?
Personification has the elasticity to be used in all creative writings for describing scenes and inner feelings. Personification is a common element used in poetry, prose, songs, and even speeches. It is a figurative and emotional language. Personification cannot be used in formal essays, literal situations, or technical writings.
For example, suppose a person is working on a broken blender, and he/she would not say that “The blender is angry and will not blend anything at all” Instead, they would say that the blender isn’t working and there is something wrong with it.
Furthermore, there are situations where personification can be used in non-fiction writing for making abstract ideas vivid and entertaining. For example, you might have heard about the physicist Leonard Susskind, and he often says things like, “The electrons don’t want to be in the same state.” The audience would never think that he is associating human feelings with electrons. Instead, it is understandable that he is just using an effective way to describe a difficult concept.
How to Use Personification in Writing?
Personification in writing can make your words stronger and influence the readers. Therefore, personification should be definitely used in creative writing. So, let’s get an eye on using personification in writing.
Read Personified Passages
You need to pay attention to the passages written by writers who use personification in their writing. You need to get to know what you like the most in this regard. It will help you in coming up with great personification ideas.
There is a need to determine what seems more effective than others. Like any other writing device, the more content you consume, the more you will pull ideas and develop your ideas and style.
Pay Attention to Mood and Connotation
The personification helps your reader better understand what you want to convey. For example, if you need to describe the positive feelings of the sun, then you can write something like:
“The sun weaved its fingers through her auburn curls.”
Furthermore, you need not personify anything without a purpose; otherwise, it will seem to be an exaggeration. You only need to use personified phrases to connect the reader with your story.
Use Personification Appropriately
Similar to any other writing device, the usage of personification should also be appropriate. There is no need to slather personification on every other object you describe. It must be used in an effective way, or it would certainly become overbearing.
Personification is an all-time favourite form of figurative language for many writers. It helps in empathizing with the reader with the story. It helps them in giving a closer tie to the characters.
Creative writing is about freedom, and there aren’t any kind of restrictions on it. In contrast, in business and academic writing, there are restrictions. There is room for describing objects with human traits and personality behaviours in creative writing. The personification of an object means that you are trying to figuratively describe it with humanly behavioural patterns. Let’s read some of the personification examples.
“The curtains danced in the breeze.”
“My alarm clock yells at me every morning to get out of bed.”
“The flowers are begging for water.”
“The moon is smiling at the stars in the sky.”
“Time flies when you are having fun.”
Personification is a technique that writers use for illustrating human traits in non-human things and objects. The basic cardinal rules of writing are to show, not to tell, and personification is one of the ways that can work in this regard.
Personification is about using metaphors for describing non-humanly things. Apart from personification, other literary devices are used in creative writing. For example, you might have heard about the Valley of Ashes in “The Great Gatsby.” The work is a classic example of personification, and you can get to know about it. The understanding of personification can be built through reading extensive literature.
The writers and authors can use personification to make their stories more interesting and engaging. You would be able to keep going with the flow. You would be able to force the reader to visualize it. As a result, the reader will get deeper into the story.
The grammar mistakes in your writing can seriously distort the expressions and metaphors you want to build. No matter how many unique thoughts you have jotted down, if there are mistakes, the reader will consequently not able to grab the essence or idea. There is no need to let that happen when a grammar check is available at your disposal. You can edit your first draft and catch the mistakes that make your writing vague and imprecise. You can try your hand at personification by reading the works of other writers to get a better understanding.