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Poetry
Personification in Poetry



Personification in Poetry
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.3

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    mundane, personify, Langston, outright, plies, recognition, lullaby, personification, rickety, inanimate, papaya, effective, death, original, whimsical, view
     content words:    Mother Goose, William Blake, British Romantic, Sunflowers Move, Yellow Room, Emily Dickinson, Many-colored Brooms, Evening West, Purple Ravelling, Langston Hughes


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Personification in Poetry
By Brenda B. Covert
  

1     Personification is a long word with a simple meaning. The root word in personification is person. That gives you a clue to the word's meaning. It's the technique of using human qualities to describe an object, idea, or animal. A red balloon, the wind, your pet, or justice can each be personified if it suits the writer's purpose. Personification gives the reader a fresh look at something familiar!
 
2     Personification often finds its way into poetry. It can also be used to good effect in prose. Consider the classic Mother Goose rhyme called "The Cat and the Fiddle." In it, a dish runs away with a spoon! You probably remember the illustration of a dish and spoon with faces, arms, and legs, smiling as they ran away while holding hands. In the nursery rhyme, the personification adds to the silliness.
 
3     William Blake, a British poet, wrote the following poem titled, "Two Sunflowers Move in the Yellow Room." Notice how the sunflowers speak, arrange themselves, and count -- all human abilities. Rather than being outright silly, the poem is whimsical.

"Ah, William, we're weary of weather,"
said the sunflowers, shining with dew.
"Our traveling habits have tired us.
Can you give us a room with a view?"
They arranged themselves at the window
and counted the steps of the sun,
and they both took root in the carpet
where the topaz tortoises run.

Paragraphs 4 to 7:
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