Think back to seventh grade English. For some of you (including myself) that is a loooooong time ago. But think hard...
There's something you learned way back then called personification.
What? You don't remember it?
Well, quite simply, personification can be defined as giving human traits or characteristics to an inanimate object.
Sound hard? Not really. I'm guessing you've used personification just today.
That slice of chocolate cake is really calling to me.
(Cake can't call because that's a human characteristic)
That humidity beat the snot out of me.
(Humidity can't beat)
The wind whistled through the trees.
(Wind can't whistle)
See? It's that easy!
But....these examples are overdone....they're so common that many times we don't even see the beauty of the personification. And personification can be quite lovely.
Let me show you.
* And like the flowers beside them chill and shiver, Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone - Robert Frost
* Drowsed with the fume of poppies - John Keats
* I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see, I swallow immediately.
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike
I am not cruel, only truthful – from Mirror by Sylvia Plath
And personification isn't just for dead poets. One of my favorite authors used personification quite frequently in her most recent book, The Dark and Hollow Places. Below is my absolute favorite example from that book.
* The clouds are pregnant with snow - Carrie Ryan
I don't know why but this speaks to me like poetry.
So what examples do you have of personification? Do you have a favorite author who uses it? Is it something you incorporate into your writing, whether intentionally or subconsciously?