Personification is a literary technique that gives human characteristics to animals or inanimate objects that do not experience emotions or human responses. It is a common technique which has been used by writers and storytellers throughout millennia. It is a great way to make your descriptions more vivid and to add a sense of adventure to your narrative. It is excellent for writing children’s novels because it allows kids to use their imaginations, and it can make an otherwise bland story more fun.
Walt Disney films, Lewis Carroll’s books and George Orwell’s Animal Farm are good examples of personification. You can give anything, from a stone to a star, human characteristics and describe them as if they were acting and speaking in a human way.
The religious type of personification is called anthropomorphism and is a way to attribute human qualities to God or the Gods. Personification is also used in poetry to strengthen metaphors and similes. A good example of this is the nursery rhyme The Cat and the Fiddle.
The Cat & the Fiddle
Hey diddle, diddle
The cat and the fiddle
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
By Mother Goose
It is also possible to personify abstract things like emotions. Love and anger have often been personified in poetry and prose. The weather is another non-living topic which is often personified.
|Excitement is a child
eating ice cream, running
down a hill, playing with
other kids, having fun
in the sun. Excitement
is making cookies,
cake and other kinds
of desserts. Going
to a birthday party and
is always walking in the room
with a smile on her face.Arquesha A.
|Snow speaks to the people its
falling above in the glooming
Its white sparkling voice
as it falls through
the air.By Jake
One of the rules of personification is, “Show. Don’t tell.” It is an excellent way to convey an image or mood without coming out and saying it directly. Instead of saying that something is like something else as in similes, you can personify something metaphorically.
The teapot sang as the water boiled
The ice cubes cackled in their glass
the teacups chattered to one another.
While the chairs were passing gas
The gravy gurgled merrily
As the oil danced in a pan.
Oh my dinnertime chorus
What a lovely, lovely clan!
Poetry by Sharon Hendricks
Advocacy and advertising campaigns often use personification. Examples of this are M&Ms and the California Raisins. People are more likely to buy or care about something if they can relate to it personally and emotionally.
You can practice using personification to write a book by doing simple exercises. AuthorHouse Publishing suggests writing sentences personifying the Sun, the wind, rain, water, snow, a car or an engine for example and have them do human things by using verbs that only humans do or by using adverbs and adjectives that relate to human beings.
To find out more about personification, there are many websites which will give you more information about this interesting subject.