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 flame of the candle danced in the dark.
- The stars danced playfully in the moonlit sky.
- Opportunity was knocking at her door.
- At precisely 6:30 am my alarm clock sprang in to life.
- The tornado ran through town without a care.
- Time creeps up on you.
- The hare laughed at the tortoise.
- The tsunami raced towards the coastline.
- The sun smiled and chased away the angry clouds.
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 Loki represents sin in the movie, Thor.
Another word for comparing a person with an object is Objectification.