Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Personification in literature: Why personification hook the readers?

Personification in literature is a type of metaphor in which human qualities are attributed to non-human objects. It is one of the best ways to create a figurative language. In personification, animals(like a dog, cat etc), objects(stone, tree etc) or any ideas are given human characteristics like emotion, desires, speech, gesture etc. 

For example, "The sun smiled at us." "The branches of the tree are frightening when woodcutter starts to cut at the bottom." Sun is an object, it is not human. Only the human can smile. But in this sentence, the sun is showing the characteristics of human which is "smile". The tree is frightening here like a human.  

Importance of personification in literature

Personification has great importance. There are many benefits in attributing human qualities to non-human objects in literature. Some benefits are :

-It creates vivid and crystal clear images. 
-It invokes readers' emotion and sensitivity. 
-It hooks the reader on what the writer is conveying. 
-It helps to avoid boredom caused by plain sentences.  
-It helps to create tunes in the heart of the reader. 

Why personification in literature hook the readers?

If something attracts us, it has to do something with our mind. We have the right mind and left mind. Both this mind should function harmoniously. Our right mind is imaginative mind and our left mind is logical. Our mind works in imagination with the association. 

In personification, there is a projection of human qualities into non-human objects. What is its effect? Our mind dives into the world of imagination perceiving how the non-human objects are behaving. Since we already know the human qualities, it makes us easy to imagine about the objects; its nature and actions.

If there is only a plain description of the object, there will be no imagination. Even if there is imagination, it is very limited. It bores the readers. They do not turn over pages. But personification triggers the imagination regarding human qualities to objects. What will happen when we dive into the imagination? The answer is simple, our right mind is activated.

Likewise, we use personification when there is some similarity between the human and non-human object. If there is no similarity, personification will not work. We only use "The sun smile...." when the sun seems happy and smiling.

For personification, there should exist some link or associations between human and object. Association is itself logical. We use "The sun smile..." because it seems so. There exist a cause and effect relationship. What is its effect? With this logical connection, our left mind is activated. From this analysis, we can conclude, personification activates both the right mind and left mind; make them work harmoniously. So it can create a strong effect on our mind and hook the readers. 

Personification: Innate psychology

Personification can be considered as an innate human thinking process. If we look closely to the human prehistory, we can find our ancestors used to personify objects everything around. They had a belief that everything in the world has the soul or spirit, which gives life to them. This belief is called animism. They had belief non-human objects share some soul like a human; they can think, feel like a human; there exists a relationship between human and non-human. 


Personification in literature is a figurative language in which there is the attribution of human qualities in non-human objects. It helps to create clear and vivid images to the readers. When we personify object, it activates both the right and left mind harmoniously. Our prehistoric ancestors used to personify objects. Personification is our innate mental process.


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