Anything, excluding humans, described as possessing human features and characteristics. A figure of speech in which a thing or idea is represented as a person. You say one thing but you really mean another.
- The wind blew the flowers as if they had sneezed.
- The paint was a fresh toned color.
Obviously, sneezing is something that flowers cannot do, but humans can. Therefore, the flowers and paint have been personified through a human-like characteristic.
Sipiora states, "He fed the young flame with wisps of dry grass and with the tiniest dry twig" (153). We know that flames can't eat, but humans can. What he meant in this statement is that he continued to place dry grass and twigs on the fire so that he would have a large fire and it would continue to burn.
Fowler states, "I could hear the whisper of snowflakes, nudging each other as they fell Fowler" (385). Snowflakes can't talk, so the author describes how softly the snowflakes fell to the ground in close proximity.
- Sipiora, Phillip. Reading and Writing about Literature. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: 2002.
- Sorenson, Sharon. Webster's New World Student Writing: Student Writing Handbook. Foster City, CA: 2000.
- Fowler, Ramsey H. The Little, Brown Handbook. Boston, Toronto: 1983.
- Chapin, Chester Fisher. Personification in Eighteenth Century English Poetry. New York, New York: 1994.
- Paxson, James S. The Poetics of Personification. Cambridge, England/ New York, New York: 1994.