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21 Personification Examples (+ Definition & Related Terms)

Do you want some good personification examples?

Whether or not you’re writing a poem, learning a play, and even in search of some methods to boost your copywriting, personification is a strong determine of speech.

Not fairly certain what personification is? Let’s take a fast look:

The ocean sighed and moaned.

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Right here, the ocean is described prefer it’s a residing being: sighing and moaning, like a human. 

That’s personification. 

So how (and why) does personification get utilized in literature, poetry, popular culture, and on a regular basis life?

Let’s dig in.

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personification examples featured

Personification Definition

The time period “personification” is utilized in just a few alternative ways. Right here’s the most typical definition — and the one we’re going to be specializing in all through our examples.

Personification is the attribution of human traits to inanimate objects, animals, and even summary concepts.

You may also hear “personification” used to point {that a} character embodies a specific concept, high quality, or vice, in a chunk of literature or artwork.

Why Do Writers Use Personification?

Personification is a type of figurative language, the place writers convey an concept or feeling by saying one thing that isn’t actually true.

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Personification could make a non-human entity appear extra vivid, much more harmful, particularly if the personification includes the usage of sensory phrases.

For instance:

“The hearth swallowed the home” might need extra of an emotional impression than “The hearth engulfed the home.”

Typically, notably in poetry, personification is used to create a particular temper. It’d make issues appear extra ominous, as an illustration, or it may give a way of thriller.

Examples of Personification

It’s best to grasp personification (and the way it differs from different strategies, like anthropomorphism) by looking at some examples.

As you’ll be able to see from the vary of examples right here, personification is extensively used not solely in basic works of literature but in addition in fashionable tradition and on a regular basis speech.

Examples of Personification in Literature

personification examples literature

1. The Inform-Story Coronary heart, Edgar Allan Poe (1843)

Dying, in approaching him had stalked together with his black shadow earlier than him, and enveloped the sufferer.

(You’ll be able to read the whole story here.)

This quick story by Poe is crammed with themes of horror and insanity.

Like all of Poe’s writing, it’s evocative and suspenseful. On this quick extract, dying is personified: it “stalks” like an individual and casts a shadow.

Dying is commonly personified, typically to the extent of turning into an precise character — for examples of that, strive Terry Pratchett’s Discworld sequence or Emily Dickinson’s poem Because I Could Not Stop for Death.

2. Blackberry Wine, Joanne Harris

Wine talks; ask anybody. The oracle on the avenue nook; the uninvited visitor on the wedding ceremony feast; the holy idiot. It ventriloquizes. It has 1,000,000 voices. It unleashes the tongue, teasing out secrets and techniques you by no means meant to inform, secrets and techniques you by no means even knew. It shouts, rants, whispers. It speaks of nice plans, tragic loves and horrible betrayals. It screams with laughter. It chuckles softly to itself.

Wine is personified from the primary sentence of this novel: “wine talks.” It’s given human attributes, not simply the power to speak, however to tease out secrets and techniques, to shout, rant, whisper, and even snigger.

Within the authentic UK version of the e-book, the wine itself acts as a narrator:

“Take me, as an illustration. Fleurie, 1962. Final survivor of a crate of twelve, bottled and laid down the 12 months Jay was born. … 5 years in the past, he laid me out on a desk set with silver candlesticks, however nothing got here of it. Regardless of that he and the lady stayed collectively.”

The US version (unusually) is sort of totally different, with the whimsical first-person narrative of the wine fully missing; as a substitute, the story is advised as a extra simple third-person narrative.

3. Romeo’s Speech, Act 2 scene 2, Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare (1597)

However comfortable! What mild by yonder window breaks?

It’s the east, and Juliet is the solar.

Come up, honest solar, and kill the envious moon,

Who’s already sick and pale with grief,

That thou, her maid, artwork way more honest than she.

(You’ll be able to read the rest of the speech here.)

On this very well-known speech from Romeo and Juliet, Romeo personifies the moon, attributing human feelings (envy, grief) in addition to human qualities (turning into sick) to it.

Pure forces, just like the solar, moon, stars, wind, rain, storms, tides, and hearth are sometimes personified in literature.

Apparently, right here, Juliet is in contrast with the solar in a metaphor — making her extra highly effective and in addition extra distant than she actually is as a human teenager.

Examples of Personification in Poetry

personification examples poetry

4. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, William Wordsworth (1807)

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on excessive o’er vales and hills,

When all of sudden I noticed a crowd,

A number, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the timber,

Fluttering and dancing within the breeze.

(You’ll be able to read the whole poem here.)

This very well-known poem from the romantic poet William Wordsworth describes seeing a “crowd” — a really human time period — of daffodils. The daffodils are “dancing” within the breeze, a human motion that brings alive their motion and evokes a way of pleasure within the imagined sight.

The daffodils’ vigorous, whimsical nature is additional explored within the second stanza, which tells us they have been “tossing their heads in sprightly dance.”

Even the primary line of this poem has a level of personification, suggesting that clouds might be lonely.

5. Valentine, Carol Ann Duffy (1993)

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I provide you with an onion.

Its fierce kiss will keep in your lips,

possessive and devoted

On this poem, Carol Ann Duffy makes use of an onion as a logo of affection. The onion is given the power to “kiss” — a human motion — and it’s additionally given two human feelings, possessiveness, and faithfulness.

6. New Yr Work Chitchat, Brian Bilston (2022)

Right here’s a poem about returning to work within the New Yr and having to take part in idle chitchat about Christmas. pic.twitter.com/mCei8tCS82

— Brian Bilston (@brian_bilston) January 4, 2022

This humorous and (considerably uncharacteristically) sinister poem is by Brian Bilston, who’s usually referred to as the “poet laureate of Twitter”.

In it, the narrator’s desires are personified as one thing with human thumbs: they “smudge their thumbprints on the day to return.”

Examples of Personification in Pop Tradition

personification examples pop culture

7. When Bull Beats Bear (sequence of advertisements), Gray Canada

Personification can contain pictures or illustrations, not simply phrases. The picture under is a part of a short series of humorous and eye-catching ads, with a toy bull beating up a toy bear.

Right here, the bull is personified: it’s sitting in an armchair and studying a newspaper, with its ft up on a bearskin rug:

personification examples bull meets bear

8. John McClane, Die Onerous (1988)

John McClane: Now I do know what a TV dinner looks like.

In movies, personification is commonly used for one-liners, like this quip from John McClane, crawling by a vent within the Nakatomi Plaza. Clearly, TV dinners don’t actually have the human capability to really feel.

Take a look at the clip under.

Yippee-ki-yay mom….readers 🙂

9. Dexter Morgan, Dexter (2006 – 2013)

I’m Dexter and I’m undecided what I’m. I simply know there’s one thing darkish in me, and I disguise it. I definitely don’t speak about it, nevertheless it’s there — all the time. This Darkish Passenger. And when he’s driving, I really feel… alive. Half sick with the joys, the entire wrongness. I don’t struggle him, I don’t wish to. He’s all I’ve received. Nothing else may love me, not even… particularly not me. Or is that only a lie the Darkish Passenger tells me?

Dexter’s “Darkish Passenger” is how he describes his impulse to kill. He provides it human qualities — like the power to like, and the power to inform lies.

Take a look at the clip right here:

Twelve Widespread Examples of Personification

We use personification on a regular basis in on a regular basis speech. Some personification has tipped over into cliche — akin to after I say that meals I’m craving is “calling my title.”

Listed below are 12 examples of how we personify on a regular basis occasions and objects:

  • “The steel screamed.”
  • “Lightning danced throughout the sky.”
  • “The automobile grumbled.”
  • “The pc wasn’t co-operating.”
  • “The cake was calling my title.”
  • “The bells sang out.”
  • “The flowers have been begging for water.”
  • “The engine was hungry.”
  • “Justice is blind.”
  • “The timber watched.”
  • “The occasion died.”
  • “The desk groaned.”
  • Related Phrases

    Subsequent, we’ll dive into some literary phrases carefully associated to personification. It’s necessary to tell apart between these, because it’s simple to get personification muddled up with a few of them — notably with anthropomorphism.

    Anthropomorphism

    Anthropomorphism is when an animal or object behaves in a human-like manner. It’s simple to confuse it with personification, however right here’s how they differ.

    If the narrator refers back to the moon as “watching”, however means this solely as a metaphor, that’s personification.

    If the moon has eyes and is really watching the Earth, that’s anthropomorphism.

    Anthropomorphism is often related to work aimed toward kids, nevertheless it additionally takes place in loads of critical, grownup works. (Consider George Orwell’s Animal Farm, as an illustration.)

    Pathetic Fallacy

    Pathetic fallacy attributes human emotion to one thing that’s non-human.

    Word that it’s all the time about emotion — not about different human attributes, like “singing” or “strolling”.

    Crucially, pathetic fallacy can be used to hyperlink with one thing {that a} human character is feeling — the issues round them replicate their temper. If the sky is “sullen” however the narrator is filled with cheer, that’s not a great instance of pathetic fallacy.

    Typically, pathetic fallacy is utilized in relation to nature. The rain is perhaps described as “depressing”, as an illustration — however actually it’s the character who’s sad.

    Allegory

    An allegory is a narrative or poem that has a hidden which means — normally a political or ethical message.

    The story may appear to be about one factor on the floor, however there’s a deeper which means to it. Generally, this which means is spelled out, maybe with the allegory being introduced first, then an interpretation being supplied.

    An awesome instance is Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the place human beliefs about actuality are likened to folks in a cave, in a position to solely see shadows relatively than the true issues that forged these shadows.

    You possibly can consider an allegory as being like a really prolonged, whole-story, metaphor.

    Metaphor

    A metaphor attracts a parallel between one factor and one other, fully unrelated, factor. It states that one factor is the opposite — though this isn’t actually true. As an example, “this argument is a slippery slope” or “the snow is a white carpet throughout the land.”

    In Romeo’s speech earlier, he used a metaphor when speaking about Juliet, saying “Juliet is the solar.”

    Use These Personification Examples in Your Writing or Learning

    We’ve checked out numerous totally different examples of personification above. Some are very latest, others are centuries outdated. Some are from basic works of literature, others are from popular culture.

    Whether or not you’re learning literature, aiming to change into a greater author, and even hoping to make additional money writing, attending to grips with personification may help.

    Subsequent time you’re studying a e-book or poem, or watching a TV present, hold a watch out for personification. Don’t simply spot it, although — work out what impact it has. That manner, you’ll acquire a deeper understanding of how personification works.

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