Personification as a variety of metaphor

Personification is the presentation of inanimate objects as if they were human beings or animals, i.e. attributing human properties or some features typical of animals to lifeless objects - mostly to abstract notions, such as thoughts, actions, intentions, emotions, seasons of the year, elements, etc.
Consider the following examples of personification:

  • I can't get the fuel pump back on because these gears are being uncooperative.
  • The ship began to creak and protest as it struggled against the rising sea.
  • We bought this house instead of the one on Maple because this one is friendlier.
  • This coffee is strong enough to get up and walk away. 
  • The angry clouds in the hateful sky cruelly spat down on the poor man who had forgotten his umbrella.
  • After two hours of political platitudes, everyone grew bored. The delegates were bored; the guests were bored; the speaker himself was bored. Even the chairs were bored. 

As seen from the examples above, though used mostly in poetry, when applied to prose personification produces either a poetic or humorous effect.
Read through the list of the personifications given below and say what sort of effect is achieved, either humorous or poetical.
1) Besides the kettle was aggravating and obstinate. It wouldn't allow itself to be adjusted to the top of the bar; it wouldn't hear of accommodating itself to the knobs of the coal; it would lean forward with a drunken air, and dribble, a very idiot of a kettle. (Dickens)
2) In November a cold, unseen stranger, whom the doctors called Pneumonia, stalked about the colony, touching one here and one there with icy fingers. (O. Henry)
3) O, sleep, o gentle sleep. Nature's soft nurse, how have I frightened thee. That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down, And sleep my senses in forgetfulness? (Shakespeare)
4) The winds hunt up the sun, hunt up the moon. Trouble the dubious dawn, hasten the drear Heights of a threatening noon. No breath of boughs, no fronds... (Maynell)
Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. (Genesis 4:10b)
Montmorency's ambition in life is to get in the way and be sworn at. If it can squirm in anywhere where he particularly is not wanted- and be a perfect nuisance, and make people mad. and have things thrown at his head, then he feels his day has not been wasted. To get somebody to stumble over him. and curse him steadily for an hour, is his highest aim and object; and. when he has succeeded in accomplishing this, his conceit becomes quite unbearable. {Jerome K. Jerome)

Autumn comes And trees are shedding their leaves. And Mother Nature blushes Before disrobing. (N. West)
In the sunlight - in the daytime, when Nature is alive and busy all around us. we like the open hillsides and the deep woods well enough: but in the night, when our Mother Earth has gone to sleep, and left us waking, oh! the world seems so lonesome, and we get frightened, like children in a silent house. (Jerome K. Jerome)
Wisdom cries aloud in the streets: in the markets she raises her voice . .. (Proverbs 1:20)
Fox-terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs are. and it will take years after years of patient effort on the part of us Christians to bring about any appreciable reformation in the rowdiness of the fox-terrier nature. (Jerome K. Jerome)
According to Skrebnev. there are certain formal signals of personification. They are given in the table below: 1.The Night, like some great loving mother, gently lays her hand on our fevered head, and funis our little tear-stained face up to hers, and smiles, and. though she does not speak, we know what she would say and lay our hot. flushed cheek against her bosom and the pain is gone. (Jerome K. Jerome) The use of the personal pronouns he and she with reference to lifeless objects and animals. (There are no strict rules governing the choice of the gender for the personified object - it as a matter of the writer's preference. But traditionally the Sun is always masculine, whereas the Earth and the Moon - feminine (compare - motherland). What is more, there is a tendency to use feminine pronouns for notions naming something unpleasant.)
2.O stretch thy reign, fair Peace! From shore to shore // Till conquest cease, and slavery be no more. Pope) The use of the direct address.
3.No sleep till mom. When Youth and Pleasure meet // To chase the glowing Hours with flying feet. (Byron) Capitalization of the word which expresses a personified notion. Sometimes, however, the capital letter has nothing in common with personification, merely performing an emphasizing function: e.g. It (the wind) seems to chant, in its wild way. of Wrong and Murder done, and false Gods worshipped: in defence of the tables of the Law... (Dickens)

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