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Unleashing Imagination: The Power of Personification in Language

Comprehensive Definition, Description, Examples & Rules 

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Personification meaning is the rhetorical figure of speech that personifies inanimate objects or non-human objects or things into humans, giving them spiritual meaning and life with grace. This literary device with its magical imagination gives thoughts and feelings to inanimate objects or entities. 

It adds depth to the whole literature, this literary device makes its readers think out of the box and imagine and feel the beauty and feeling related to non-human beings or entire. It was widely used in medieval literature and early modern literature. 

Personification relates to multiple aspects like sensory spirituality, visible, invisible, and sometimes opinions as well. personification creates depth and widens the imagination scope for its readers.

Definition and Meaning- what is personification?

What is personification? Personification is a poetic literary device used in language to give human-like traits to inanimate and non-human beings or objects. It gives life and meaning to non-human entities. This literary device gives readers another imaginative viewpoint and perspective to look at non-human or inanimate objects.

“the wind whispered through trees’ ‘ here the wind is an inanimate entity that is being personified as it whispers. it gives emotions and depth to these natural entities saying wind is whispering to trees. like humans would talk to their fellows. This personification definition of non-human entities gives an imaginary depth and beauty to the literature together.

Personification as a literary device invokes emotions in their readers toward objects and entities by infusing these human traits into nonhuman things. It takes readers into another world where they make deep connections not only with humans but those inanimate entities which they never imagined having human intentions, emotions, and traits.

Examples of Personification

Here are some personification examples in sentences:

“the autumn leaves danced in the wind, painting the ground with a tapestry of colors” from the picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde here personifies autumn leaves as they make graceful moments as humans dance. Using words like painting gives it creativity and beauty, making it look aesthetic to readers.

Excerpts from the poem The Road not taken by Robert Frost also give beautiful examples of personification.” And looked down one as far as I could, to where it bent in the undergrowth” and “Oh! I kept first for another day” here frost personifies these roads giving them human attributes by showing that these roads would wait for the poet till he returns, giving these roads human intellect and emotions. Here the poet gives the decision-making quality of these 2 roads highlighting his own struggle to make a choice about which road or path to take in life. 

Personification is often used by people in their language and communication like ” this city never sleeps”. This attribute of not sleeping given to an inanimate entity like a city personifies a city with human traits, indicating it is really busy and signifies the hustle and bustle of city life. This gives our language more creativity and depth which people could relate to.

Significance and Benefits

Personification as a literary device gives its readers an emotional connection with the elements of literature:

  • Readers never forget the human description of their surroundings and environment or any other non-human entity because of how beautifully it personifies and gives depth to the literary creation, making non-humans alive.

  • Evoking empathy and emotions through words towards the environment, surrounding, and objects that the narrator personifies. It lifts up the emotional intelligence of the readers and gives the reader a new perspective on feeling emotions beyond human interaction.

  • Imagination and creativity are invoked in the reader’s mind. They get to experience unimaginable descriptions of inanimate things beyond their normal life experiences which make the reading experience rich with the meaning and beauty of language.

  • For example “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams, Tom Wingfield described a photograph of his father as ” a grinning yellow devil” Here the author personified the picture giving it a menacing attribute like a human. make the work of writing more interesting and creative for readers. 

  • Personification makes complex concepts of writing more creative, relatable, and memorable to readers. like in normal communication people would often say ” Time flew by, stealing away our precious moments” Here time is personified giving attributes like flowing and stealing giving it a mischievous human character. It explains how creatively inanimate entities can be used in language which is more relatable to humans.

  • Personification as a literary device lifts up the whole writing and infuses a unique style into the writer’s work. It can give literature much more life and make the reading experience memorable.

Personification as a Poetic Device

Personification is used as a poetic device to give life and depth of imagination to the poems by giving human traits to the inanimate and non-human entities. It’s common for many poets to use personification poetic device giving life to natural elements like wind, sun, trees, sea, sky, etc to create depth and vivid imagination in their poetry. poets use personification to create emotions with animals and other non-human entities like “birds singing beautiful melodies for the forest animals”. 

It is often said it’s a figurative language that is not meant to be taken directly but should be understood as a metaphor, it helps poets to give meaning to abstract ideas and depth to their imagination in language.

For example William Wordsworth’s poem ” Daffodil”, he says “Daffodils flutter and dance in the breeze” Here the poet personifies the daffodils as humans dancing giving the readers the whole idea of joy and happiness using Personification.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Personification can be used synonymously like anthropomorphism, embodiment, allegory, etc. Personification synonym include: 

  • Anthropomorphism- is describing animals and objects with human traits and characteristics eg. giving life to a clock teapot and candlestick in the popular writing “Beauty and the Beast”.

  • Allegory- a story or poem which explains any abstract idea or concept eg. The story “Lion and Mouse”, and “Tortoise and Hare” give abstract ideas about where the weak can help or overcome the strong.

  • Embodiment- giving physical form to an idea, concept, or emotion. An example in George Orwell’s novel ” Animal Farm” gave different animals different characters of political and social aspects.
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Key Takeaways

  1. Personification is a literary device that gives emotions and depth to literature by giving human attributes to inanimate entities.

  2. Personification can be used in poems, novels, plays, literary work, or in daily communication and language.

  3. There are some alternatives and synonyms to personification with slight variability in meaning e.g. embodiment, anthropomorphism, and allegory, etc.

  4. Personification has a wide variety of purposes: it gives readers a wide perspective, invokes imagination, and brings out the creativity in language. give meaning to abstract ideas.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of using personification in writing?

Personification creates depth in writing. It helps the reader to evoke emotions for inanimate entities which gives their emotional and spiritual intellect another perspective to look at things.

Is personification only used in poetry?

Personification is a literary device which is to give human attributes to nonhuman objects; it can be used in poems, novels, plays, and in communication and language of the present day.

What are the effects of personification on a reader?

Personification gives the reader a view of the world through a new perspective where inanimate objects, the environment, and possibly anything that is not human, have a new life and personality and can communicate through human traits. This makes the writing memorable and relatable to the reader.

Can you provide examples of personification in everyday language?

The wind growled last night” Here the wind is personified as it growled indicating a storm. “MY alarm clock yelled at me in the morning to wake me up” Here the alarm clock is personified as a person and indicated it’s buzzing giving it creativity in language. “Time never slows down for anyone ” Time is given a human attribute saying it walks and moves like a human, giving depth to the words.

Are there any famous poems or literary works that use personification extensively?

The road was not taken by Robert Frost. Here the poet personifies the road as giving them decision-making qualities. ” The Raven” by Edgar Poe. It personifies the actions and gives attributes of an intellectual being.

Are there any alternatives or synonyms for personification?

Yes, personification has some alternatives like embodiment, allegory, anthropomorphism, etc.

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