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        Anthropomorphism vs. Personification | Meaning & Uses

        • calenderOct 17, 2023
        • calender 3 min read

        From the cat speaking in Puss in Boots to thinking that the sun is smiling, personification, and anthropomorphism are commonly used literary devices. While both these devices involve giving human qualities to non-human entities, there is a difference between the two. In this article, we have explained the difference between anthropomorphism vs. personification with specific examples. 

        We have also described when to use these devices in daily life. So without wasting time, let’s delve right into it! 

        Upgrade your writing to perfection today! 

        What is the difference between personification and anthropomorphism? 

        Anthropomorphism means giving human traits to plants, animals, objects, and gods. The entity is shown to act and behave like humans. 

        While personification also involves giving human qualities to non-human entities, there is a difference. In personification, the non-human entity doesn’t act like humans. Ascribing human tendencies to non-human entities is more figurative. Let us see some examples to understand the difference between anthropomorphism and personification: 

        Anthropomorphism vs. personification examples 

        Example: Pinocchio by Carlo Collodo 

        The character of Pinocchio in the popular short story of Pinocchio is an example of anthropomorphism. The reason is that Pinocchio is a wooden puppet who speaks, walks, and acts like a child. He also expresses a desire to go to school and lies like humans.

        Example: Animal Farm by George Orwell 

        In this novel, various animals such as pigs, and horses are given human qualities and these animals behave like humans. For example, the pigs named Squealer, Napoleon, and Snowball formulate principles like humans.

        Now let us see an example of personification. 

        Example: Daffodils by William Wordsworth

        Personification can be seen in William Wordsworth’s poem Daffodils. In this poem, the daffodils are described as “dancing in the breeze”, and “tossing their heads in sprightly dance”. Here, the human quality of dancing and tossing their head which is given to daffodils is figurative. The daffodils aren’t actually dancing like humans. 

        Here is another example of personification to clearly explain the difference: 

        Example:  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 

        In this book, there is a line: “Maycomb was an old town but it was a tired, old town when I first knew it.” Here the human qualities of being old and tired are ascribed to the town. However, the town is not behaving like an old and tired human. This makes it an example of personification. 

        These personification vs. anthropomorphism examples clearly demonstrate what is the difference between anthropomorphism and personification. Both these literary devices are commonly used in literature to create entertaining and delightful characters. Dive in to understand how to when to use anthropomorphism and personification. 

        When to use anthropomorphism and personification?  

        Anthropomorphism and personification can be used while writing fiction. These literary devices can also be utilized in poems. Both these literary techniques can also be applied while writing non-fiction works like self-help books, biographies, and autobiographies. These devices can also be used to create analogies and explain complex topics related to politics, religion, etc. 

        Anthropomorphism or personification is not used in formal and official communication. They are also not used while communicating technical information where literal language is required. 

        We hope the given explanation and examples have clarified all your doubts about personification vs. anthropomorphism. Since we provide editing and proofreading services, we realize the importance of using language creatively to engage the audience. 

        To help you use language creatively without making errors, we have created detailed resources for you. Bookmark these resources and kickstart your writing journey! 

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        Priya Linkedin

        Priya has a talent for academic research and enjoys simplifying complex topics. When she's not helping students improve their writing, she can be seen reading poetry, playing the harmonium, or learning classical dance.

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