Personification is a literary technique in which animals, ideas or other non-human objects are given human characteristics. Obviously, the root of the word personification is "person." When employing personification, the writer will give the object any number of varying qualities, including the following:
Often, personification is used in poetry. It serves to provide a deeper meaning to the work, as human beings will look at the world through a human perspective. By applying these attributes to animals or inanimate objects, it allows the reader insight or clarity of description. One of the most recognizable instances of personification in literature can be found in the Mother Goose nursery rhyme "The Cat and the Fiddle," where, as every preschooler knows, the dish runs away with the spoon. Obviously, neither dishes nor spoons can move on their own, but then again, cows cannot jump over the moon, nor cats play the violin.
While nursery rhymes employ personification for entertainment, other uses are far more serious. Poet William Blake, for example, used personification in "Two Sunflowers Move in the Yellow Room," where he wrote: "Ah, William, we're weary of weather," / said the sunflowers, shining with dew. The emotional impact of this image becomes enhanced by Blake's use of personification.