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Personification

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Personification

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Personification is the attribution of human characteristics to inanimate objects, events or abstract ideas.

Example

The wire tripped me up.

This is a happy house.

Democracy is taking its revenge upon Communism.

Discussion

We all have a need to explain what happens around us, giving meaning and sustaining our sense of control. As we naturally understand the world from a human perspective, with human thought and emotions, we often apply these in our explanations as we describe events and thoughts.

One place why personification happens is where we make mistakes, such as bumping into tables or getting wires mixed up. Rather than blame ourselves, we blame the situation or thing where we erred. In order to attribute blame, we have to assume it has consciousness and human fallibility. Of course this is nonsense, but we still very commonly do it.

Personification is also called Prosopopoeia. The personification of animals is called Anthropomorphism or Fictio.

Classification: Meaning, Falsehood

See also

Fictio, The need to explain, Metaphor

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