Personification examples and characteristics


The  personification is a literary device that consists of giving objects and animals characteristics of people. In other words, personification can be defined as the attribution of life to irrational and inanimate things, or of human qualities to all species other than man. Personification characteristics and examples

The purpose of prosopopoeia is to enrich and embellish a text to give it a fanciful and imaginary meaning. In some cases, personification is applied to things that have no body or that are imprecise.

An example mentioned in the previous paragraph is the following: “His soul danced with joy”; in this sentence, an incorporeal element (the soul) is given the quality of a person to be able to dance.

Personification is commonly used in stories, fables, poetry, and everyday language. Although this form of expression gives the message a touch of fantasy, it seeks to activate thought, imagination, reasoning and transform the way the world is perceived.

How to make a prosopopoeia or personification

A  personification can be elaborated taking into account three steps, which are:

Type of text you want to write

In the first place, to develop a prosopopoeia or personification you must identify or be clear about the type of text you want to write, be it narrative or poetic. This will allow to give the human quality to a character (animal or object), or in the case of poetry to apply it in a descriptive way through a metaphor or simile. Personification characteristics and examples

Know why you want to use

The answer to why you want to use the prosopopoeia or personification in a text must be linked to the intention and purpose that the human quality will have in the animal, object or abstract entity. This means that personification cannot be casual, but functional.

Functionality of the prosopopoeia or personification

The prosopopoeia or personification must be included in the narrative or poetry to fulfill a function or purpose, otherwise, it will only be seen as a filling of text and isolated from what is expressed. For example, if a writing refers to time, it is pertinent to give a watch the ability to speak.

The opposite of prosopopoeia or personification

Just as the prosopopoeia or personification endows animals or things with human characteristics, there are also literary and stylistic elements with opposite purposes. One of them is animalization, which, as the word indicates, consists of giving human beings animal traits.


  1. – Daniel has eyes like a cat.
  2. – Juliet’s hair looks like a lion’s mane.
  3. – His teeth are like a mouse’s.


On the other hand, in some texts reification can be included, which is about giving characteristics of objects or inanimate elements to people or animals.


  1. – Cinderella’s stepmother was as cold as an iceberg.
  2. – Manuel’s heart turned to stone after his cat passed away.
  3. – The athlete was as fast as a hurricane wind.

Personification and the performing arts

Personification is a resource that extends to the performing arts, especially the theater. In the theater it is up to the actors to play characters far from themselves, then they must adopt different characteristics and qualities. For example, an actor can play a historical character or personify an animal.

The personification in the theater is guided by an acting director and the histrionic abilities of the person who performs the interpretation. Personification characteristics and examples

Examples of personification

  1. The wind whispered through the dark and gloomy forest. It can be seen that the subject of the sentence, the wind, is personified through the verb whisper.
  2. – The gardener lovingly added manure to his crops, believing that he was making happy flowers . Flowers are humanized by giving them the quality of the human feeling of happiness.
  3. – As we walked through the burning desert, the sun was beating down on us . The humanized element is the sun by giving it the quality of striking.
  4. Time crawled as Tim sat in the hot detention room, painfully staring at the clock . The humanized element is time by giving it the quality of drag.
  5. – The lumberjack leveled the large number of trees in a clearing and his chainsaw sang his deadly song . The humanized element is the chainsaw, which is given the quality of singing.
  6. – When Monica walked through the shoe store, every shiny pair of heels called out to her . The personification applies to heels, giving them the quality of communication.
  7. – When the Patriots defeated the British Army, freedom echoed across the fruit plains . The characteristic personified by sound went to the abstract element of freedom.
  8. – While Alicia was looking for the missing pencil, she said sarcastically: “well, I guess she just walked away from my desk . ” She looked at her companions accusingly. The personified element is the pencil given the quality of walking.
  9. The horrible yellow wallpaper in the kitchen yelled at Kelly . The element humanized through sound is the color of the wallpaper.
  10. – Guillermo ate the last chocolate cookie before his father returned home, guilt peeked out and chewed him . The humanized element through peeking and chewing is guilt.
  11. – Drops of dew sing to the stones of the garden . The personified element is dewdrops given the quality of singing.
  12. – Home called me at dawn and dew. The personified element is the home to which the quality of calling is attributed.
  13. – The wind moaned loudly . The wind is personified as having the quality of moaning.
  14. – When dancing the water, he stayed there for a while singing and 3 men with him as listeners . The personified element is water because it has been assigned the characteristic of dancing.
  15. – A tree curves dark where the wall rises, its branches tortured like a hideous hand . The personified elements are the branches of the tree assigned the quality of suffering torture.
  16. – The snow whispered as it fell to the ground . Humanization was applied to snow by giving it the quality of whispering.
  17. – The birds expressed their joy . Birds were personified by being attributed the quality of feeling joy.
  18. – The groundhog floated indecisively . It was given the human quality of discerning the groundhog.
  19. – The computer hates me . He was assigned the human quality of hating the computer.
  20. – The lights flickered in the distance . The human quality of the sense of sight was assigned to lights.
  21. – The moon is a tough lover. The humanized element was the moon for being considered a lover.
  22. – The sun winked good night as it disappeared behind the mountain . The quality of the sense of sight is assigned to the sun.
  23. – The great full moon led me confidently through the forest . The personified quality of trust was assigned to the moon.
  24. The mountain cackled at the rumbling beneath its surface . The personified quality of the sense of hearing was assigned to the mountain.
  25. – As the rain ran to the ground, everyone ran for cover . The humanized quality of running was attributed to the rain.
  26. The old car snorted and flinched as the man started the engine . It gives the human breathing quality to the car.
  27. – The wind howled a sad cry as it blew through the old windows . The human quality assigned to the wind is screaming.
  28. – The leaves danced on the ground while the children played around the old tree . The personified quality of the dance was assigned to the leaves.
  29. – When the boy started his math test, his pencil turned the page . The personified quality of discerning was assigned to the pencil for this page turn.
  30. – The tornado devoured everything in its path . The tornado is credited with the personified quality of devouring everything. Personification characteristics and examples


  1. – The waves of the sea danced to the sound of the wind and the seagulls fluttered smiling.
  2. – Death was running after her, although many times she managed to dodge it, finally it took her to her dark room.
  3. – The morning star guided him during his solitary walk.
  4. – In the distance could be heard the murmur of the wind and the high-pitched cries of stray dogs.
  5. – Don Gato knew of the arrival of his beloved Gatina because he read in the newspaper about her presentation at the Teatro de Bellas Gartes.
  6. – The angry wind swept away the sad trees that remained in the forest.
  7. – The city smiles at tourists and gives them its best settings.
  8. – The flowers woke up as soon as the morning dew caressed their petals.
  9. – The cicadas intoned their highest notes to welcome the bleak winter.
  10. – The mountain was dressed in green and adorned the town with its imposing height.
  11. – The waves hug the sand and the stones take advantage of bathing.
  12. – The snail asked the ants to clean his house.
  13. – Loneliness ignored the spiteful and raised the volume to silence.
  14. – The night fell silent and kept the shy butterflies company.
  15. – The moon smiled at him and his heart leapt with joy.

Children’s stories with personification

  1.  Aesop’s wind and sun .
  2. – Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault.
  3.  Eric Carle’s very hungry caterpillar .
  4. – The mole who wanted to know who had done that in his head from Werner Holzwarth.
  5. – Make way for Robert McCloskey’s ducklings .
  6.  Ed Young’s Seven Blind Mice .
  7. – The Pedro rabbit from Beatrix Potter.
  8. – The conceited mouse of Achilles Nazoa.
  9. – The fox and the old lion of Aesop.
  10.  Aesop’s Cicada and Ant .

Fragment of The Smug Little Mouse

– “… There was among the mice that were born there later a ratica more beautiful than the rose and the carnation. Her name was not mouse as you might suppose, because they called her Hortensia, which is a woman’s name …

– “But she was very proud and so it happened that once a little mouse that also lived there approached her and that, standing up on two legs, trembling like paper, she asked the little mouse to marry him …

– “… And going out to the meadow he spoke to the sun shouting: Jeeey! You, who are so important because you are the king of the world, come and marry me because I am worthy of being the wife of a person of your importance… ”. Personification characteristics and examples

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