Video:What Is Personification?with Jen D'Amore
Personification is a wide-spread literary and conversational tool that gives human qualities to inanimate objects. This how-to video from About.com gives an overview of personification.See Transcript
Transcript:What Is Personification?
Hi, I'm Jen D'Amore for About.com, and this video is about personification. What is personification?
What is Personification?
When human qualities are given to an inanimate object, that is considered personification of that inanimate object.
Inanimate objects can't think, feel, or act like human beings, but using humanistic traits can embellish a description or more eloquently define our relationship to the object.
How is Personification Used?
So what is a human trait? Thoughts, feelings, human actions, and characteristics.
Children often personify their teddy bears or other stuffed animals describing what they perceive to be the toy's thoughts and feelings, including how the bear loves them back, or likes to play.
Car's and boats are often personified: "Man, she's a beauty!"
Personification is often used as a literary device to enhance descriptions.
A family of redwood trees huddles together, loyally supporting one another linking their roots to weather the storms they will face ahead.
While the trees are not actually acting loyal, since that is a human trait, this description is much more poetic than a dry scientific description without any personification.
Examples of Personification
Here are some other examples:
The weeds waged war on the unassuming garden.
The morning sun tickled her skin, inviting her outdoors.
The ocean called him.
These are much more poetic ways of describing an overgrowth of weeds and a nice day.
If you want to create your own phrase with personification, you can start with a simple statement or action, like "pushed by the wind, the leaves roll along the ground," and change the description to how you might describe the same action if done by a human or humans, in this case, "to the wind's sweet song, the leaves dance across the ground." Wind doesn't really sing, and leaves don't really dance. This is personification of both the wind and the leaves.
Objects of nature are a great place to start practicing personification as they seem to have a life of their own (coincidentally that statement also contains personification).
As an exercise, make a list of what you see in nature and try to describe each using humanistic characteristics.
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