Personification is a figure of speech where human qualities are given to animals, objects or ideas.
In the arts, personification means representing a non-human thing as if it were human. Personification gives human traits and qualities, such as emotions, desires, sensations, gestures and speech, often by way of a metaphor.
Personification is much used in visual arts. Examples in writing are "the leaves waved in the wind", "the ocean heaved a sigh" or "the Sun smiled at us". In easy language personification is just giving an example of a living being for a non living thing. "The wind shouted". Obviously the wind cannot shout, only people can. This is what is called personification.
A few more examples of personification in sentences:-
- The stars danced playfully in the moonlit sky.
- Opportunity was knocking at her door.
- At precisely 6:30 am my alarm clock sprang to life.
- The tornado ran through town without a care.
- My life came screeching to a halt.
- Time creeps up on you.
- The hare laughed at the tortoise.
- The news took me by surprise.
- The tsunami raced towards the coastline.
- The sky smiled, as the angry clouds raced across it.
Another commonly used personification is found in storybooks where animals are commonly attributed names or labels for recognition. This is called anthropomorphism. Organisms may also be used as embodiment or incarnations of a concept, for example, the snake in the bible represented temptation, or Loki represents sin in the movie, Thor.
Another word for comparing a person with an object is Objectification.