When we say ‘personification’ do we mean the physical appearance of things, or simply what we perceive to be a person? Personification refers to the act of representing things as having an individual life. So, what is personification? Personification refers to a situation where an object is representational and yet has no independent existence of its own.
Personification can take on many guises. For instance, Descartes uses the example of a tree planted by the water in his brain. He says that it has a definite shape and size and yet possesses physical attributes. In a sense, Descartes is talking about what is personification when it comes to the attributes of an existing thing.
Another example of what is personification is found in a poem by Christopher Marlowe: “Like a mist that is put into the eye of a man, so is a man being taken out of his element.” The poem describes the way a man’s true character is lost when he removes his essential human characteristics and puts them inside this transformed physical being. He loses his grasp of reason, courage, and his sense of what is right and wrong. He becomes captive to vanity, sensuality, and emotionalism
Thus, the question of what is the personification can also mean ‘what is a personified thing?’ A lovable character, for instance, is what is personified in a toothache book or an inflatable toy. Marlowe’s definition of a man reduced to a mere physical being is ‘a man being taken out of his element.’ But what is the element of a human body? A toothache cannot exist without an arm, a heart, and a brain.
Personification can be defined as converting one’s abstract ideas into concrete things. This idea is often related to philosophical questions about what is real or ideal. Philosophical concepts such as reality, idealism, and abstract thought are not simple to translate or understand. As a result, many philosophers choose instead to simplify their thoughts by means of figurative language. For example, when an author wishes to describe heaven to a reader, he uses figurative language such as clouds to describe the paradise on earth.
What is personification is often used in literature to describe other literary devices such as similes. For instance, George Eliot used similes to make her poems more appealing to the reader. She explained that people who cannot imagine what heaven is like would be attracted by her ingenious words. However, a modern person might find it difficult to translate her metaphors into everyday language, and so she employs literary devices such as similes to describe things in a more appealing manner.
Personification can also be used to describe abstract thoughts. For instance, Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote “I only ask that you leave me alone” is an example of what is personification used to represent something abstract and yet human characteristics. Franklin’s use of what is personification was a way for him to convey his feelings of loneliness and isolation to other people. He did this by creating a character out of himself using literary devices. For instance, when Franklin quoted, “A tree of life is known by its fruits” he was personifying the act of planting and cultivating seeds, which in turn became the tree of life we know today.
Other popular examples of what is personification include works like The Wind in the Rose and Fahrenheit. Both of these books are written in verse, and both authors chose to describe human characteristics through the medium of verse. In Fahrenheit, James Joyce describes the sensation of summer by describing the “baldustrie” – the book’s airy interior. He then adds, “And what is man, if not a bald, shaven man?”