Literary Devices: Personification

Hey Lovelies!

Happy Thursday to you all! I hope everyone’s week has been going well so far and that you have some fun plans for the weekend. Today we’ll be talking about personification and then I swear we won’t be talking about really closely related literary devices for a while. In fact, this one will flow quite nicely into our topic next week of setting descriptions.

Let’s start off with our definition:

Personification: is a figure of speech in which a thing – an idea or an animal – is given human attributes. The non-human objects are portrayed in such a way that we feel they have the ability to act like human beings.

I know this sounds exactly like anthropomorphism. They are extremely similar. There is a slight difference. Anthropomorphism describes animals and objects with human characteristics. Personification is a description that gives whatever human like characteristics. Anthropomorphism is active and personification is more passive. Anthropomorphism means that the animals are also characters. Personification the animal or object isn’t really a character.

I hope that’s as clear as mud for you sly foxes! (See what I did there?)

How do we use personification in our own writing:

  • It help us develop themes. By having you compare and contrast inanimate things in your story you can have it relate back to your character(s)’s life and what they’re going through.
  • It helps to create tone. The weather raging outside doesn’t make for a good tone for your scene and you can have this reappear throughout your story.
  • It helps develop the atmosphere of your story. 
  • Personification also uses metaphors and similes to helps get its description and purpose across (see my little joke above).

Simile: a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid (e.g., as brave as a lioncrazy like a fox ). Similes generally use “like” or “as” in their comparisons.

Metaphor: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

  • However, like almost anything, too much of something just doesn’t work – it’ll get boring and you’ll use your readers. Unless you, of course, are using it to elicit humor, then totally go for it.

That’s it for me today! I hope you all have a great weekend! I will talk at you all next week. Just a reminder we will be talking about setting descriptions!

Until next week!




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Danielle Adams

Danielle Adams

Danielle Adams is a writer and editor for a local marketing agency. She has formerly worked as a writer for the Investing News Network and as an editor for Whetstone, a bi-annually published literary magazine. Aside from writing, Danielle has an unabiding love for all marine life and the outdoors. She loves taking long hikes with her husband and cooking delicious meals in the kitchen.


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