What is Personification?

What is Personification? A simple answer would be the creative process by which an object is made recognizable and uniquely human. It is an approach to art where an artist creates an abstract object that is then personified. Personification can be defined as the union of an object with the idea or creativity that it bestows upon a creator.

What is Personification? It happens when an inanimate object is made more human and therefore more personable. This definition applies both to humans and to inanimate objects. For example, a dog is traditionally made more appealing by its ability to play fetch.

What is Personification?
What is Personification?

What is Personification used for? Personification has been used to represent different human qualities in a wide variety of ways. It has often been used to represent human qualities such as rationality, sensuality and imagination in literature, plays and movies. For instance, in William Shakespeare’s play Othello (asinine), the Moorish queen is said to have transformed herself into a human female, and this explains her ability to seduce men (occasionally).

Another common example of the phenomenon of personification is in advertising. Many advertisements are created to convey messages to the target audience, but they fail to mention something non-ordinary about many people. This failure to acknowledge a non-ordinary quality can then result in mass marketing being successful, even if the message is wrong. One good example is Sun Ra’s “Starseed.” Sun Ra is meant to represent the sun as the embodiment of life, love and vitality, but because it is placed in a seemingly ordinary setting (the image of a sunflower), it evokes the emotions of childhood happiness.

So how can we analyse the phenomenon of personification? Personification can be analysed on the levels of individual characteristics or behaviours, but on a more abstract level, psychology professor Martha Crenwagen describes personification as a way of representing the hidden qualities and goals behind ordinary objects. The human qualities that are personified are then seen to have a higher moral status than their more ordinary counter-parts, despite the fact that these qualities are not ‘visible’ to the naked eye. The secret truth is that the world would be a very different place were everything to be seen in the same, generic light as all objects.

How then should one view the famous example of swallowing the sun? If we look at the example from the scientific standpoint, we can see that the sun is just a massive amount of radiation in space, and is not even particularly noteworthy except for the fact that it gives off heat. But from a perspective of the aesthetic sense, the sun’s warmth has the effect of making the sun a ‘personification’ of all the pleasant human qualities that we value in our lives. The warmth that the sun emits is therefore seen as a personification of life; the heart, the warmth of the skin, the creativity of the mind, the endurance of the body, the colour of the eyes – in short, a totality of human characteristics that we find extremely pleasing and satisfying. In this way, the sun becomes a representative for all the good things that we wish for in our lives.

However, the sun does not represent only the suns’ heat, but also all of the other human characteristics that it contains. When anthropomorphism is used in regards to this example, it is important to remember that the sun is a relatively passive element. When a representation such as the sun is used, it is important to remember that the sun is not actually being consumed by the animal which is representing it, but is merely’standing there’ by itself. Therefore, what is anthropomorphism used for if not to represent the qualities of a living thing, but rather, for aesthetic purposes?

While anthropomorphism can certainly be an interesting part of the history of science and its ever-changing representations, it should not be used alone. It should not be used to explain the mysteries of the universe or of life in general. For many philosophers, there are plenty of beautiful answers to these questions that do not require the use of anthropomorphism, such as the ideas of Spinoza. When anthropomorphism is used in a non-fiction piece, it should be paired with other types of metaphors, such as the Sun, the Ocean, or the Fire. These types of metaphors can teach us about nature without having to get into explanations as to how these elements became physical objects – after all, we already know how they got their physical forms in the first place! The best way to understand the metaphors in a non-fiction article is to keep them simple, elegant, and reflective of the values that the author wishes to convey through the article.

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