Personification meaning literary quote

Sometimes the sun smiles, the wind whispers to the trees, and the shadows of the leaves dance in the wind. When we talk about non-human things as if they were human, we personify them. Personification is a kind of metaphor in which you describe an inanimate object, abstract thing, or non-human animal in human terms. Here are a few common examples of personification:. The tired old car coughed and weezed and crawled down the street.

This sort of description, common in literature, uses several human qualities to create a vivid image of a very old car for the reader. Personification energizes prose and poetry alike. Peace had deserted Devon.

Although not in the look of the campus and village; they retained much of their dreaming summer calm. Fall had barely touched the full splendor of the trees, and during the height of the day the sun briefly regained its summertime power.

In the air there was only an edge of coolness to imply the coming winter. But all had been caught up, like the first fallen leaves, by a new and energetic wind.

ESL - Literary Devices (Onomatopoeia, Personification, Simile, and Metaphor)

In this example, peace, an abstract idea, can desert a place. Also, the campus and village dream and the fall touches the trees. This example shows that personification can be used for purposes more meaningful than merely making the description of a scene more vivid.

After all, how can death be a person, let alone a mother? Personification is a prominent feature of animated films and commercials alike. Personified animals can be fun and dynamic as well as cute and cuddly.

Here are a few instances of personification in pop culture:. In this anthropomorphism which is extended personification, see Related Terms the lizard stands upright, uses hand motions, laughs, and speaks with a Cockney accent. The Geico Gecko is a strong example of successful personification in advertising. A charming French candlestick, dishes who sing and dance, an anxious clock with a moustache, synchronized diving spoons, a polite and matronly teapot, the list goes on! Beauty and the Beast is rich with personification, providing all sorts of household items with souls and personalities.

Like personification, anthropomorphism is the giving of human characteristics to objects or animals.Definition and Examples of Personification in Writing. Personification Definition: Personification is a literary device that gives humanlike characteristics to non-human entities.

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Personification is a type of figurative language. What is the definition of personification? Personification occurs when a writer makes a non-human thing have human behavior. Hence, the writer person ifies that object.

Figurative language is any word or phrase that is not to be taken literally but is used in writing for effect. The wind cannot literally dance, as a human can. Therefore, the phrase is figurative and the wind is personified. This example uses personification to provide sensory language for the sound the ocean makes.

The ocean cannot literally sing, as a human can. Therefore, the phrase is figurative and the ocean is personified. This example uses personification to provide mood and imagery for the movement and sound the windows make.

The windows cannot literally tremble, as a human can. Therefore, the phrase is figurative and the windows are personified. This example uses personification to imply that New York is constantly a bustling city. The city cannot literally sleep, nor can the city be awake, like a human can.

However, this common phrase is accepted to mean that New York is a lively, energetic city, day or night. This example uses personification to imply that time can grab you, pull you, and direct you. Time is not a human but is personified to act like a human in these lyrics. You see examples of personification in financial settings and news stories quite often. Here is a common example from Market Watch using oil prices. Writers utilize personification for effect. Applying human characteristics to non-human things gives those things particular qualities that they would otherwise lack.

Personification makes literature and writing more engaging and more interesting. In many cases, it brings life to abstract object or ideas. For example, in the above example, time is given human qualities and, therefore, brings this abstract concept to life. Personification is used to enhance writing and to emphasize a point. It is much more powerful to say.

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Below is an excerpt. Personified Definition: Personified is the action of thinking or representing inanimate objects or abstraction as having personality, thought, or qualities of living, human beings. Something that is personified is an example of personification.

Personified is nothing more than the verb form of personification. What is personification? Personification is an effective literary device used to enhance writing. When a writer personifies an object, he gives it figurative, humanlike qualities in order to create a particular effect. Contents 1 What Does Personification Mean?Sign in with Facebook Sign in options.

Join Goodreads. Quotes tagged as "personification" Showing of Here they demand that God should act according to human justice, and do what seems right to them or else cease to be God. Ah, if indeed this memory to your mind Recall some sweet employment, pity me, That even now the dawn's dim herald see! I charge you, goddess, in the name of one You loved as well: endure, hold off the sun.

This time I saw it, moving through the branches. Like the trees were listening; like they would've been sad about us, sad for us, only they'd heard it all so many thousand times before. I wish I'd been born a storm. Or a menace. Or a single grenade. No heart, no tears, just as a terrible gale'd have been good. If [by doing this] I become that, then so be it. No heart, no tears, just a terrible gale'd been good.

Let Love then smile at our defeat. I have gone back to it so many times, each time dreading it and each time finding it no better than the last time, that by now it has become something of an old friend. My old friend the bad novel. She is moon. Her eyes slit and yellow she is the last one out of a dingy bar in Albuquerque— Fourth Street, or from similar avenues in Hong Kong. Where someone else has also awakened, the night thrown back and asked, 'where is the moon, my lover'?

And from here I always answer in my dreaming, 'the last time I saw her was in the arms of another sky'. Hunger was the inscription on the baker's shelves, written in every small loaf of his scanty stock of bad bread; at the sausage-shop, in every dead-dog preparation that was offered for sale. Hunger rattled its dry bones among the roasting chestnuts in the turned cylinder; Hunger was shred into atomics in every farthing porringer of husky chips of potato, fried with some reluctant drops of oil.

Think about that. Try to wrap your brain around the supernatural and spiritual implications that the name bears down you. Your Mom's Car, holding its hand out straight, fingers curled, a zombie reaching for your neck. It let a floorboard give way just to feel him brush against its walls.

He cannot comprehend another's infinity; he is conscious only of his own—flying sunbeam, falling rose, pebble that asks for one quiet plunge below the fretting interplay of space and time. He knows that he will survive at the end of things, and be gathered by Fate as a jewel from the slime, and be handed with admiration round the assembly of the gods. Forster, Howards End.

I am glad to be back here among my English friends.Personification is a type of figurative language in which non-human things are described as having human attributes, as in the sentence, "The rain poured down on the wedding guests, indifferent to their plans.

However, saying that the rain feels indifferent poetically emphasizes the cruel timing of the rain. Personification can help writers to create more vivid descriptions, to make readers see the world in new ways, and to more powerfully capture the human experience of the world since people really do often interpret the non-human entities of the world as having human traits. Personification is a powerful and widely-used literary tool for several reasons.

What is Personification? Definition and Examples of Personification in Writing

One reason is that it allows readers to develop a greater sense of relation to and identification with non-human entities. Attributing a human emotion to something inanimate—as in the sentence about "indifferent rain"—can make that thing easier to understand and more vivid in the reader's imagination, while at the same time presenting a significantly more complex description than is possible with the use of traditional adjectives like "wet" or "gray".

Personification typically involves bestowing a single human quality upon a non-human thing. For instance:. However, sometimes personification involves referring to a non-human thing as a complete person with many human qualities. Consider the way in which old-fashioned ship captains referred to their vessels as "she," or the way in which Kanye West refers to his beloved city of Chicago as a girl named "Windy.

Both cases count as personification—Kanye asks us to momentarily re-imagine something nonhuman Chicago as human, because that way we'll be able to understand that the city has a personality and a soul that make him feel connected to it just as he would feel connected to a romantic partner.

Similarly, it was common for sea captains back in the day to casually refer to their ships as "she" in order to convey that they felt as much respect, gratitude, and responsibility for the ships as they would towards a woman they loved. Personification is the attribution of human characteristics to a non-human entity for the purpose of creating figurative language and imagery.

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Anthropomorphismby contrast, is the literal attribution of human characteristics to animals and other non-human things, often for the purpose of creating a specific type of character: a non-human being that behaves like a human.

The human qualities assigned to these characters are not just figurative ways of describing them, as they are in personification. Rather, in anthropomorphism the non-human entities actually do human things like talking, falling in love, wiggling their eyebrows, and generally behaving like people behave. When we use personification, we don't create characters, but instead simply describe non-human things as possessing human characteristics, like in the sentence, "The wind played hide-and-go-seek among the trees.

That would be anthropomorphism. Instead, the wind looks and behaves as wind normally does, but through the power of personification the reader can now imagine the wind's movement in a completely new way, because he or she can now compare that movement to the familiar but different movement of playing hide-and-go-seek. Writers use personification to create startling or whimsical visual images, which help to make the world of a book or poem all the more vivid in a reader's imagination.

Often, authors use personification to describe the hidden lives of objects as a way of calling the reader's attention to the underlying mood, conflicts, or themes of the novel—of which even the characters themselves may not be fully aware.

To the Lighthouse takes place in a summer house on the Isle of Skye, off the coast of Scotland. Part 1 of the book describes an eventful summer that the family spends in the house, while Part 2, "Time Passes," describes the passage of the seasons when the family is away from the house. In this example from Part 2, Chapter 2, Woolf describes the summer house in the family's absence:. Nothing stirred in the drawing-room or in the dining-room or on the staircase. Only through the rusty hinges and swollen sea-moistened woodwork certain airs, detached from the body of the wind the house was ramshackle after all crept round corners and ventured indoors.

Almost one might imagine them, as they entered the drawing-room questioning and wondering, toying with the flap of hanging wall-paper, asking, would it hang much longer, when would it fall? Then smoothly brushing the walls, they passed on musingly as if asking the red and yellow roses on the wall-paper whether they would fade, and questioning gently, for there was time at their disposal the torn letters in the waste-paper basket, the flowers, the books, all of which were now open to them and asking, Were they allies?

Were they enemies? How long would they endure? In this passage, Woolf personifies the wind by describing it as though it were a person who, "questioning and wondering," ventures through rooms and creeps around corners, inspecting the family's possessions and "toying with" them.

personification meaning literary quote

Woolf could easily have written a more straightforward description of the house and the items within it. However, through the use of personification she allows the reader to identify with the wind, and in doing so to discover or "venture into" the empty house as the wind does here, "musingly" and curiously. The Old Man and the Sea is the story of an unlucky fisherman named Santiago.

Santiago has been unable to catch a fish for 84 days, but on the 85th day catches the biggest marlin he has ever seen.

Then, on the 86th day, he catches a dolphin a type of fish; not the ocean mammal for dinner:. Just before it was dark, as they passed a great island of Sargasso weed that heaved and swung in the light sea as though the ocean were making love with something under a yellow blanket, his small line was taken by a dolphin. Hemingway's personification of the ocean as "making love" both captures the rolling nature of the waves and also speaks to the fact that, after his change of luck, Santiago once again sees the ocean as a "partner" full of vitality and teeming with life.General Education.

Personification is an important literary device —as a form of metaphor, personification compares two things quickly and efficiently, often in a poetic fashion. But what is it? This isn't quite personification, but it is cute. Personification is pretty simple, but before we can get into what it is, we need to discuss metaphors.

Personification is a form of metaphor, a literary device comparing two things by applying the qualities of one thing to another.

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Within the context of the Leaves of Grass preface, where this quote comes from, the quote means that, through love and patience and living with meaning and purpose, your entire self will have meaning and purpose, just as a poem does. Personification is a more specific type of metaphor in which something that is not human is given human traits. Neither of these things can conspire—autumn is a season, and the sun is a star—but for the purpose of illustrating how perfect the season is, Keats suggests that they can.

In this example, Keats gives both autumn and the sun the human ability to conspire. As the sun moves further from the earth and the weather grows colder, the season switches to autumn, as if the two were consciously working together.

Hence, the idea of conspiring. As you can see, personification can add a dramatic and more evocative flair to writing. But when he suggests that the sun and autumn are conspiring, we get a much more vivid, memorable picture of what the seasons are like.

This isn't personification either. Keats is just one writer using personification—there are lots of different ways to use this literary device to great effect.

personification meaning literary quote

Check out these examples:. Stars, having no eyes, cannot wink. A mouth can yawn, but a cave mouth cannot. Still, we get the mental image of the cave mouth stretched wide. We often encounter figurative language like personification in poetry, where a few words have to carry a lot of meaning. Some of the most famous examples in poetry are:.

In this poem, Death is personified as a person driving a carriage. These they squander on my fingers. I had not asked for such a blood sisterhood; they must love me. They accommodate themselves to my milkbottle, flattening their sides.

Check out these famous examples from literature:. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground…. Scott Fitzgerald. If these eyes were attached to a human being, they might brood as an extension of the human.

But the eyes of TJ Eckleburg are painted on a billboard, not attached to a human face. It breathes, in the warmth, breathing itself in.Personification is a common form of metaphor in that human characteristics are attributed to nonhuman things. This allows writers to create life and motion within inanimate objects, animalsand even abstract ideas by assigning them recognizable human behaviors and emotions.

This is an effective use of figurative language because personification relies on imagination for understanding. Of course, readers know at a logical level that nonhuman things cannot feel, behave, or think like humans.

However, personifying nonhuman things can be an interesting, creative, and effective way for a writer to illustrate a concept or make a point. This literary device is effective in creating an imaginary world for children in which crayons can communicate like humans.

Here are some well-known and recognizable titles and quotes featuring this figure of speech:. Personification is often confused with the literary term anthropomorphism due to fundamental similarities.

However, there is a difference between these two literary devices. Anthropomorphism is when human characteristics or qualities are applied to animals or deities, not inanimate objects or abstract ideas. As a literary device, anthropomorphism allows an animal or deity to behave as a human.

This is reflected in Greek dramas in which gods would appear and involve themselves in human actions and relationships.

Personification Quotes

In addition to gods, writers use anthropomorphism to create animals that display human traits or likenesses such as wearing clothes or speaking. There are several examples of this literary device in popular culture and literature. For example, Mickey Mouse is a character that illustrates anthropomorphism in that he wears clothes and talks like a human, though he is technically an animal. Therefore, while anthropomorphism is limited to animals and deities, personification can be more widely applied as a literary device by including inanimate objects and abstract ideas.

Personification allows writers to attribute human characteristics to nonhuman things without turning those things into human-like characters, as is done with anthropomorphism. Overall, as a literary device, personification functions as a means of creating imagery and connections between the animate and inanimate for readers.

Therefore, personification allows writers to convey meaning in a creative and poetic way. Personification demonstrates a high level of creativity.

To be valuable as a figure of speech, the human attributes assigned to a nonhuman thing through personification must make sense in some way. There must be some connection between them that resonates with the reader, demanding creativity on the part of the writer to find that connection and develop successful personification.

Many poets rely on personification to create vivid imagery and memorable symbolism. This is a powerful use of personification, as the narrator ends up projecting more complex and intricate human characteristics onto the bird as the poem continues though the raven only speaks the same word.

Personification can be an excellent tool in creating humor for a reader. This is especially true among young readers who tend to appreciate the comedic contrast between a nonhuman thing being portrayed as possessing human characteristics. Personification allows for creating humor related to incongruity and even absurdity. In fact, people tend to personify things in their daily lives by assigning human behavior or feelings to pets and even objects.

For example, a child may assign emotions to a favorite stuffed animal to match their own feelings.Personification Definition: when an author gives human-like characteristics to non-human objects or abstract ideas.

personification meaning literary quote

Personification occurs when an author gives human-like qualities to an inanimate object, animal, natural force, or abstract idea. It is a figure of speech, and can be used to simplify or familiarize a complex issue or idea.

Personification is most used in regards to an abstract idea with emotions such as love, hatred, and jealousy, and in natural phenomena such as death, birth, and storms.

Personification is usually found in poetry and fiction, and it can be extremely useful for explaining complicated topics to children.

Personification can also be used to create characteristics that mirror a setting or mood in a story, or create an important symbol, like the description of the rosebush growing outside of the prison door in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

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