Personification with Examples | Personification in Poems and Literature

What is Personification?

Personification is a figure of speech where human qualities are given to lifeless objects or ideas. These may be emotions, desires, sensations, gestures, or speech.

Example

Opportunity was knocking her door.

(Here we are giving human quality of knocking to object of opportunities, so, personification is used)

Personification is a common form of metaphor in that human qualities are given to nonhuman things. It is a literary device found in literature.

Personification is an effective use of figurative language.

Let’s see some examples of personifications.

Examples

  1. The sun smiled at us.
  2. The sunlight danced.
  3. Love is blind.
  4. The stars danced playfully in the moonlight sky.
  5. The streets are calling me.
  6. My iPod died.
  7. My computer works very hard.
  8. The trees danced in the breeze.
  9. The book is crying.
  10. Rocks are dancing.
  11. That picture says a lot.
  12. Her eyes are not smiling at us.
  13. The wind is whispering outside.
  14. That car is driving too fast.
  15. The sun smiled at us.
  16. Anxiety is sitting on her face.
  17. My phone is not collaborating with me.
  18. My pen is not cooperating with me.

Personification is often confused with literary term anthropomorphism due to major similarities.

personification
Personification

Personification Vs Anthropomorphism

PersonificationAnthropomorphism
To give human qualities to lifeless objects or ideas or nonhuman.To give human qualities to animals, objects.
Personification is figurative.Anthropomorphism is literal.
Personification is a little more difficult.Anthropomorphism is easy to find.
Examples
The sunlight danced.
The streets are calling me.
Examples
Simba in the lion king.
Nemo and Dory in finding Nemo.
Personification Vs Anthropomorphism

Personification in songs

Song 1

“Shadow of the day” by Linking Park

And the sum
Will set for you
The sun will set for you
And the shadow of the day will embrace the world in grey.
And the sum will set for you.

Song 2

“Stop and stare” by One Republic

This town is colder now,
I think it’s sick of us
It’s time to make
Our move, I’m
Shaking off the rust.

Song 3

“Window Song” by Finger Eleven

All the windows are
Playing their game
Wher I won’t see
Outside again
Till I write all the fog-away.

Personification in poems

“Daffodils” by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crown,
A host, of golden daffodils,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

This poem brings a beauty of nature to life. The daffodils are personified as a crowd of people dancing.

“Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emil Dickinson

Hope is the thing with the feather
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all

In this stanza, poet personified the hope, because the poet describing hope is the thing with the feathers and sings the sound without any words.

Personification in literature

Personification is found in literature to help readers to understand the nonhuman subjects.

Here are some examples of personification in literature.

“Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare

The grey-ey’d morn smiles on the frowing night, check’ ring the Eastern clouds with streaks of light.”  

In this stanza poet describing the morning smiling at the night, he is personifying the morning and create a setting for Romeo and Juliet’s Love to unfold.

“The sick rose” by William Blake

O Rose thou are sick,
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy,
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy?

In this stanza, the poet describes roses aren’t like people who become ill. Poet uses personification to enhance the description of the rose.

“Tintern Abbey” by William Wordsworth

I bounded o’er the mountains, by the sides of the deep river, and the lonely streams,

Whenever nature led: more like a man flying from something that he dreads, than one who sought the thing he loved.

In this stanza, the poet considers nature and learned from nature. He beautifully personified the streams in his words.

“In lonely rooms and mid the din of towns and cities, I have owed to them

In hours of weariness, sensation sweet.”

In this poem, the poet seems that nature has healing power. In these lines he beautifully used personification for reader’s imagination)

“Torridge River” by Ted Hughes

The river walks in the valley singing
Letting her veils blow
A novelty from the real side of Adam
April in the lift of her arm
December in the turn of her shoulder
As it sauntering was a long stillness
She who has not once tasted death

For the poet the river is an image continuity of life, renewing of life through healing. By use of personification, the poet describes the river.

In literature we often found personification. Poet uses personification for the readers’ imagination. Due to personification readers understand non-human things.

Why writers use personification?

  • To make our writing more interesting.
  • Allows to describe things clearly and originally
  • To understand reader’s imagination.

Points for writing personification

Here are examples in which it’s effective to use personification in writing.

  • Express creativeness
  • Implementation poetic skill
  • Generate humor
  • Enhance imagination

Express Creativeness

Personification expresses a high level of creativity. As a figure of speech, the human qualities given to a non-human things through personification to make sense.

Demanding creativity on the part of the write to find out connection and develop successful personification.

Implementation poetic skill

Many poets believe on personification to create clear imagery and memorable imagery.

For example

In Led Zeppelin’s poem Thank You,

And so today, my world it similes

In this line poet skillfully personifies the world.

My world is not single thing, it is many things. This a beautiful use of personification.

Generate Humor

Personification can be an outstanding device to generate humor for a reader. This is particularly true among young readers who understand the comedic contrast between a non-human thing as human qualities.

Personification allows for generating humor related to comedy.

Enhance Imagination

Personification is a literary tool that allows readers to increase their imagination by believing that non-human can behave as a human character. People personify things in daily lives by giving human qualities to non-human things. This allows readers and writers to view a image of human qualities by imagination. Readers may also grow a huge understanding of human behavior.

Purposes of Functions of Personification

Personification is used to give human qualities to lifeless objects. The purpose of this figure of speech is to show lifeless things to life to clearly explain then. Writer use personification to make their writing more clear and to have the reader understand the object.

Personification gives deeper meaning to literary devices. It adds clearness to expressions. It is easier for users to understand something that is human. Personification encourages us to develop an outlook that is new as well as creative.

Further reading:

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