Personification| 11 examples in literature

The impersonation of human characteristics attributed to inanimate objects is called personification. It has been frequently used in many literatures especially in poetry. Here the readers will find 10 examples of personification and its use in poetry

Origin of Personification


The term was originated in 1728.

Definition

The impersonation of human characteristics attributed to inanimate objects is called personification. It has been frequently used in many literatures especially in poetry. It paved the way for the writers to personify the world life by giving familiar human behaviours and emotions to animals, inanimate objects, and abstract ideas. It gives the qualities of a person to an animal, an object or an idea. It arises from a natural tendency in man in moments of intense feeling to invest things and ideas with qualities and passions like his own.

Examples of Personification

• The trees whispered their discontent.
• The flowers begged for water.
• I heard the streets speaking about you.
• I love the sound of raindrops dancing on the roof.
• The stars are smiling at me today.
• I feel my computer hates me.
• ‘Love’ is blind.
• The popcorn leapt out of the bowl.
• ‘Opportunity knocks at the door, but only once’.
• My office door is kind to me.

examples of personification

“Mirror” (by Sylvia Plath)

“I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately”.

The personification of the mirror has been described in this poem. The ‘mirror’ has been telling the story. In other words, the writer tells us the importance of this object in the lives of people. In fact, ‘Plath’ shows her own struggle to gain her identity in the society and he tells that to gain identity, it is necessary to look smart, young and good-looking.

“Song of the rain” by (Khalil Jibran)

“I am dotted silver thread’s dropped from heaven’,
By the gods, Nautre then takes me, to adorn
Her fields and valleys.”

In the poem, rain has been personified. The writer has personified the rain as life-living. It gives the source of pleasure for the flowers. ‘Rain’ gives pleasures to the human and it has been considered as the messenger of mercy.

“I Wandered lonely as a Cloud” (by William Wordsworth)

“Besides the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze

“William Wordsworth” in these lines compares the dancing of daffodils with humans and in this he has personified the daffodils with humans as human dances, so the daffodils are dancing.

“Ten thousand saw I at the glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee”

Here in the above lines, again “Wordsworth” while giving non-living objects (daffodils) the quality of humans compares the quality of their dancing. He compares the heads of daffodils moving and the waves near the daffodils are also dancing which in other words is the quality of humans.

“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley

“The moon gazed on my midnight
Labours, while, with unrelaxed and
Breathless eagerness, I pursued
Nature to her hiding-places”

In the poem, moon and nature has been personified. They have been presented as they are behaving like humans.

“My Town” (by Sharon Hendricks)

“the leaves on the ground
Danced in the wind
The brook sang merrily as it
Went on its way”.

Here in above stanza of the poem, the poet has personified the leaves and brook with the humans. Leaves have been personified with the human quality of dancing as when the wind blows the leaves dance. Similarly the singing is the quality of humans which has been personified with the brook.

“Ode on a Grecian Urn” (by Keat’s)

In “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, the speaker refers to the urn as an “unravished bride of quietness” which is apparently is personified with the humans. However, the literal meaning of the “unravished bride of quietness” is that speaker wants to indicates that urn has evolved in it the history of the world and it is a great source of pleasure for the people. He personified the colours of urn that each colour has some event or story in it.

The Moon and the Yew Tree by “Sylvia Plath”

“The moon is no door. It’s a face in it’s own right’,
White as the knuckle and terribly upset.
It drags the sea after it like a dark crime, it is quiet
With the O gape of complete despair. I live here.
twice on Sunday’, the bell’s startle the sky,
eight great tongue’s affirming the resurrection.
At the end, they soberly bong out their name’s.

“Paradise Lost” (by Milton)

“So saying, her rash hand, in evil hour.
Forth reaching to the fruit, she pluck’d, she ate,
Earth felt the wound; and Nature, from her seat,
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe,
That all was lost”.

“Milton” personified the situation when ‘Eve’ took the forbidden fruit. Here the situation of human has been personified with the plucking of fruit.

“Cloud” (by P.B. Shelley)

“I bring fresh shower’s for the thirsting flower’s,
From the seas and the streams”

In the above lines, thirst of flowers has been personified with the thirst of humans. The writer uses the personification for thirsting flowers that he would bring water from the seas and streams as humans to quench their thirst bring water from the seas.

“As You Like it” (by Shakespeare)

“The icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter’s wind.”

“Milton’s letter to Cronwell”

“Peace hath her victories.
“No less renowned than war”

‘Milton’ in the above lines gives the extreme wisdom that victory through peace does not carry any blood-shed whereas the war exists in itself the suffering of human beings and loss of precious lives.

Further Reading

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